Fifth graders had the unique experience of visiting a glass art studio and creating one-of-a-kind glass flowers.
With the assistance of an experienced glass artist, students participated in almost every part of the process. First, each student picked out colors for the stem and petals of their flowers. A ball of near-molten hot clear glass was brought to the “color station” on the end of a pipe. Students rolled the clear glass into the colors of their choice and returned the ball of glass to a furnace, where they continued to turn the pipe ensuring the glass stayed at the right temperature. At another station the rolled the ball along a metal surface in order to manipulate the glass into a longer shape. They returned the glass to the furnace once more before moving to the last station, where they used tongs to pull the glass, forming petals and a stem.
The flowers were cut from the pipe and a blow torch was used to ensure the end of the stem would not cool into a sharp point. The flowers were then placed into a cooling unit, which was actually 900 degrees fahrenheit. They continued to cool over the course of 24 hours, then were packaged and shipped to our school, where you can now view then right outside of the front office.
Eight graders installed work at Black Rock Center for the Arts on Monday, March 12th. The work was selected from each student’s portfolio, which they have been developing over the course of the school year. Projects ranged from drawing to sculpture, printmaking, and ceramics. Three jurors reviewed all of the student artwork and chose 3-4 pieces from each student’s portfolio. The jurors also selected award winners, which were announced at the exhibition reception on March 14th.
Students learned about the Nazca, who were an indigenous people of Peru that lived between 100 BC and 800 AD. The Nazca were exceptional craftsman and women, making objects that ranged from musical instruments to textiles to the kind of pottery featured in this project. The double-spouted pot was a common vessel created by the Nazca people, with a partition down the middle allowing it to hold two liquids at one time. Like most Nazca pottery, this type of pot was painted with abstracted people, gods, animals, and mythological creatures.
Students constructed their own pots from a mix of white and red clay by using the coil method of hand building. The fired works were then painted with imagery borrowed and/or inspired by the Nazca culture.
I switched up this year’s paper relief project and had students use colorful post-its. This made material prep far easier for me and drove home the idea that everyday materials can be transformed into fun and interesting pieces of art.
Seventh graders learned about the artist Linda Riveros, who is a Colombian woman that paints with her feet. Riveros was born without arms due to a rare disorder called tetra-Amelia syndrome. Feeling ostracized by her peers, she turned to painting as a way to express herself. Students watched a short film about Riveros then experimented painting with their feet in various ways. After completing their paintings, students wrote a reflection about the experience.
“I painted a picture of an American flag because I live in the U.S. I grabbed the brush between my big toe and second toe, and sat on a stool, putting my arms on the table behind me. I thought it was fun, because it was weird and different, but it was very hard. I realized how hard it must be for people with disabilities to do any normal activity on a daily basis. It made me think of painting with my hands as extremely easy.”
“I decided to paint football uprights with a football going through it. I put the brush in between my first two toes, I sat down, and my arms kept me from falling. I was frustrated mixed with laughter because it was hard and I almost kept falling. My perspective on painting changed because I now know people do it with their feet and it is amazing that people can overcome such challenging abilities.”
Sixth graders took selfies using their phones and iPads, with some students using filters. The selfies were printed, and folded in to quarters. On each students’ drawing paper, a perpendicular and horizontal line were drawn to correspond with the lines on the folded photograph. Looking at only a quarter of their photograph at a time, students copied what they saw on to the corresponding section of their drawing paper. This method abstracts the photograph by breaking it down into smaller pieces, thus aiding in the accuracy with which students can translate their photograph. The final step was to design a phone “skin,” which was completed with colored pencils.