Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grade Three: Parks and Playground Design

For their final project of the school year, some third grade classes were introduced to another type of design known as landscape architecture. Students learned that landscape architects plan and transform outdoor green spaces for different uses: parks, playgrounds, gardens, both on public and private properties. Students looked at examples of each and discussed which parts they felt the designer might have planned and how the space was intended to be used and experienced. Students were then instructed to create their own design for either a garden, park or playground and asked to consider what to include that might make their design even more pleasant, attractive and safe. Students used paper to construct both the flat and structural elements within their environment, thus developing their paper craft skills even further.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Observational Drawing: Grade Two, Contour Flowers

Second graders were shown a demonstration of contour drawing: a style of drawing which focuses exclusively on the contour outline of any given shape or object. Traditionally, contour drawing is done in ink and without ever removing the pen from the paper until the drawing’s completion.

Students were given a selection of artificial flowers and instructed to draw only the contour outline of any chosen flower. While artists often attempt this type of drawing as a practice exercise to help create a stronger visual connection between eye and hand, students were allowed to use pencil to help them correct their mistakes, as necessary. Many, however, preferred to use a pen without the aid of a pencil and eraser.

Grade Two: Seeing Forms in Buildings

After several lessons exploring geometric form, second graders began this lesson by looking at a few examples of architecture, such as Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright. In each building, students could easily locate and identify various geometric forms, and discussed why buildings require forms and how many buildings are combinations of several forms. Students were informed that they would be constructed a building of their own design from paper. This required a demonstration of how to fold paper into geometric forms, such as cubes, cylinders and prisms, in order to complete their ideas.  Students were required to include entrances and windows, giving thought to placement and scale, and were encouraged to consider the natural setting around their building, if desired.

Grade Four: Cereal Box Package Design

Fourth graders were shown three consummable items (a bottle of glue, a box of mints, etc) and asked to look carefully are their packaging to identify what all three had in common. Students noticed that all three packages had use of colors, pictures, company logos, and fonts and letterstyles. Students discussed why packages of items we purchase make use of special design elements, and that such elements are planned and designed by artists known as graphic designers. The role of the graphic designer was explained and a list was generated of the many things which employ text and pictures that graphic designers plan, which we use and see everyday.

Students were also shown several examples of laundry detergent bottles and were led to notice that planning all the visual and text elements within package design can convey visual messages to consumers. Classes were then told they would be designing a package for a ficticious cereal brand called ‘Big B’. They were encouraged to invent mascots, logos and company names, as well as slightly change the name to fit an appropriate or interesting idea they had for the cereal. They were required to include pictures and lettering, as well think about fonts and font sizes, colors, placement and visual elements.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Grade One: Sculptures About Nature

First grade student began this lesson by discussing and comparing two contemporary artworks, Floralis Generica by Eduardo Catalano, 2002 and Untitled (Seven Mountains) by Ursula von Rydingsvard, 1987. Students were quick to notice similarities to nature in both sculptures, as well as identifying how each sculpture differed from being an exact replica of anything actually found in nature.

Students were then instructed to create a sculpture inspired by nature in some manner. Works could be realistic or abstract, but materials were limited to being constructed largely from paper. Students were then given a brief demonstration on the basics of paper craft manipulation, but were also encouraged to try their own approach in transforming flat paper into a three-dimensional sculpture.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Grade Four: Elemental Bas-Relief Tiles

Fourth graders began this lesson by viewing examples of bas-relief sculpture, as it has appeared on ancient Roman coins, Renaissance art, and ceramic tiles from the early 20th century Arts and Crafts Movement. Students discussed the differences between relief sculptures and free-standing sculptures, and how the forms differ in each. Here, the forms had to be raised from a flat, supportive background, often in clay, by building up and/or scraping away some areas of clay, in order to allow for such raised areas. Students were then shown many examples of contemporary examples tiles created in such a fashion, some for practical home application, and others as fine art pieces. 
Students were then informed that they would be creating such a tile, using a combination of the four natural elements: air, fire, water, earth, as subject matter. To help inspire possibility in line use, shape and subject, students were shown a few examples of Japanese stencils, from early silk-printing on kimonos, as another possible artistic solution to this creative challenge. Once students created their ceramic, relief tiles inspired by the natural elements, they were fired and glazed.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Grade Five: Symbolic Monoprints

Fourth graders were introduced to the printmaking method of monoprinting, a method of printing very different from other printmaking forms in that there is no permanent plate created from which to create more replicas. In order to help students better understand the complicated process of monoprinting, they were shown a demonstration of inking the printing plate and using stencils to block out desired shapes and areas for printing, as well as drawing into the ink surface. Students were then guided through a discussion and shown various examples of monoprints by contemporary printmakers. Having some idea how a monoprint is created, students were now able to guess the steps each artist employed in each of the examples in order to create their final results.

Students were then instructed to create stencils to represent at least one symbol to be used in a final monoprint. Students were also required to include other printing effects in their print, along with their stencils. Prints were then numbered and signed.