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.