Month: October 2012

Relief Printing: Linocut

I am currently taking a Survey of Printmaking class and of all the processes the Linocut has to be my favorite. This seems to be the simplest process to transfer images and I see how easily this can be to adapt to the classroom. If you would like to learn more about it, Click on this video on Relief Printing . Below are images of my block, tracing paper and the final prints. We were to take 3 images and create a collage to draw. My inspiration was photographs I had taken in Baltimore at Edgar Allen Poe’s gravesite. I created a collage out of them and transferred the drawing onto the block.

I was able to have very good results right from the beginning and I am looking forward to making collagraph prints with my students soon.Incredible @rt department has a wonderful collagraph print lesson.

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Arts Advocates

“GE hires a lot of engineers. We want young people who can do more than add up a string of numbers and write a coherent sentence. They must be able to solve problems, communicate ideas and be sensitive to the world around them. Participation in the arts is one of the best ways to develop these abilities.” – Clifford V. Smith, President of the General Electric Foundation

Teaching for Artistic Behavior

As I’ve mentioned before, I am finishing up my teaching certification in art. I am currently taking a methods class that has been making me think about how I will teach art when I get the chance to run my own classroom. This week I spent a lot of time reading about teaching artistic behavior. I can’t believe that this way of teaching has been around for over 35 years and I am just now learning about it. If you are interested in teaching this way, I read a wonderful book this week by Diane B. Jaquith and Katherine M. Douglas called Engaging Learners Through Artmaking: Choice Based Art Education in the Classroom. I highly recommend it.

Choice-based art education regards students as artists and offers students real choices for responding to their own ideas and interests through art making.

Essential elements:

  • The student is the artist
  • Students control subject matter, materials, approach
  • Student beliefs drive work
  • Students are self-motivated
  • Experimentation and mistakes are honored

Results: personal work and deep learning

To learn more, visit Teaching of Artistic Behavior

Village Vessels

This week the students created a vessel from self-hardening clay using the coil and/or slab method that represents their interpretation of the settings in which they live or dream of living in. Shape, texture, and architectural details were emphasized. After a brief slideshow, they were given worksheets that they could reference for architectural details, then spent some times working out their creations in their sketchbooks.

The vessels will be painted with tempera and sealed with glossy modge podge next week. They seemed to really enjoy working with the materials and each piece was very different. I very much enjoyed hearing their stories as to why they included certain things.

Materials: Self-hardening clay, various clay hand building tools, trays, paint, brushes, mod podge.

Time: 2 sessions

Arts Advocates

“We need people who think with the creative side of their brains—people who have played in a band, who have painted…it enhances symbiotic thinking capabilities, not always thinking in the same paradigm, learning how to kick-start a new idea, or how to get a job done better, less expensively.”

Annette Byrd, GlaxoSmithKline

Individual Symbolic Weavings

For this project, students designed a weaving using materials that describe them as a person. During the first class, we had the opportunity to view the works of artist Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia who was having a show in the gallery. The school also arranged for the students to meet with him for a Q&A. After learning about his creative process and  symbolic meanings in his weavings we moved into the classroom where the students wove materials onto looms that symbolized things that are important to them.

Much like the artist, they started by creating a watercolor using colors that meant something to them. Some were inspired by music, their pets, their favorite colors, what they were feeling at that moment. We let the watercolors dry and sliced them down to 1/4″ strips in the papercutter.

They used the paper along with other materials we provided or items they brought from home. Each weaving became a unique personal statement for each of the students. We were very pleased with the results!

Another alternative to this project is having them only weave the strips of paper they created.
Materials: Mat board for loom, heavy thread, plastic weaving needles, beads, raffia, various strings and papers.

How much is too much Technology?

I spent some time this semester at a new suburban high school that appears to have all the latest technology available that a teacher could want or need at their disposal. I was pretty excited about this because of my background in graphic design…

I wanted to share a great conversation I had with my co-op teacher between classes yesterday about the extent that he uses this new technology. I observed him use his laptop to take attendance, record grades and e-mail parents. The students were hands on throughout the classes and I observed that they did not use any technology during class time. They did look up artists outside of class time in preparation for assignments and printed them out in the library or computer lab but that was it. Where are the power points and youtube videos? I also noticed a piles of art books scattered about his desk and the countertops and how he used them during discussions with the students instead of using the overhead projector and computer.

I asked the teacher, wouldn’t it be easier to look up various artists online and pull them up to talk about? his answer really surprised me. He said he uses it sparingly. His reason was that he found that when he pulled out a book of art, the students gathered around more readily and were more engaged with what they were looking at. It was as if he was holding this special gift that everyone wanted to know more about. He said that they blank out when he stands there and talks while clicking through slides on the projector because they are so used to staring at screens. He also found that they would look through the book on their own and read the accompanying articles and learn more about the movement or artist, ask more questions throughout the class that would encourage more critical conversations. They would also remember the books and recalled the artists easier. If they didn’t know the artist name, they would describe the book he or she was in and then would find it on their own. He said this works even better than a color handout because if he gives them a worksheet about the artist- most of the time he would find many of the worksheets left behind at the end of class. He has collected the classroom books over the years and has an impressive library that includes many post modern & contemporary artists.

I have been reluctant to buy too many teaching materials because I don’t know what grade level I will end up teaching. I am however glad to have accumulated a huge library of classic and contemporary art books and magazines that I will be able to share with my students no matter what the age level…. Don’t get me wrong tho- I’ll still be sprinkling my classes with a few slammin’ Keynote presentations. I’ll just be sure to vary the classes.