Some of my favorite ideas for lessons come at those strange hours between 3 and 5 where it seems I wake up so often. Unfortunately, it makes for a seriously long day and a vicious cycle of coffee consumption. I am comforted in knowing that I am not the only educator in my building with this affliction. Many times we are united by the late night facebook posts of "anyone else up?"
For whatever reason while I was unable to sleep, I remembered attending the Ohio art Education Association conference in Toledo, Ohio where I was lucky enough to have my hubby join us for the last day. One of the evening events was a special trip to the Toledo Museum of Art to see their exhibits. One that really stuck with me, and not because Mr. MAC set off the museum alarm while looking at it, was an installation by the artist Marisol Escobar called the Cocktail Party. A room filled with mixed media, life size figures with cast faces, painted wooden block bodies and other added elements. I knew I could never have my students work in the scale she did, but I could at least expose them to her. As it turned out she was a hard artist to find a lot of readily available info so she went to the back burner and was filed away in one off the many holy grails of lesson ideas. However, right before school was in session this fall, and right after the 4th cup of coffee on one of these 3 am wake up calls, I figured it out. A combination of recycled materials, a combination of artists, on a scale that was acceptable for 50 plus kiddos, and in my budget............. thus was born "the classroom!"
I have asked my students to trust me on the results. Not every student in my Sculpture classroom has had experience in sculptural techniques, so before starting our actual large scale project with the expensive materials, we spent the last week working with white clay creating fist sized works of wonder. Noggins in such detail that they created an eerie collection as they were put out to dry this weekend before firing. While this was an introductory lesson on basic modelling skills, it will finish as a project they can be proud of. It addresses many of the state standards for Art Education in Ohio, and can stand alone as independent sculptures or as combined as a group installation project. A win-win all around. I am so impressed with what they have done so far and I can't wait to see their new creations and how they finish these over the next few weeks. As a reminder, these are unfinished.....we will be finishing them up with acrylic paints (ohhhhhhh trust me they won't look painted, I know what you are thinking) and some mixed media techniques as well.