25 February 2007

Beads can embellish anything!

I find that nothing thrills elementary students more than the sight of a large tub of beads. They like to incorporate them into their weavings and sew them onto their fiber projects.

Weaving is Zen

I find that whenever I open the Fiber Center, I have a very loyal group of students from every class who are busily at work every class period. I think it's the magic of seeing something slowly grow under their fingers, as they quietly repeat the mantra 'over, under, over, under'.

Even measuring and cutting the loom requires solitary concentration.


I don't know what it is about clay, but students can't seem to get enough of it. For kindergarteners and 1st graders, it is an immediate experience of process only, with no thought of product. Most of the time, they don't even understand that in a couple of weeks, they will be able to paint what they created and take it home... they are just glad to have the chance to sink their fingers into the ball of clay and bend it to their whim. Older students are very intent on their creations though, as is evident in their rapt expressions as they work.

I have my students use acrylic paint to add color and design to their clay projects. I don't think they could stand it if they had to wait even longer to get their treasures back because they were being glazed and fired again. And with acrylic, there is an infinite array of colors they can use, compared to what they would be able to choose from with glaze.

"Look Ms. G. - the blue is for the sky and the green is for the grass."

We love to build things!

My kids have been chomping at the bit to begin building constructions but I'm not ready yet to open the sculpture center. Maybe it's because I have clay going full steam and I just can't begin to figure out how to give some structure and limits to students as they begin to dive into the baskets and boxes of cardboard I've been collecting. I decided that a good way to get them thinking in the round is to open a center for 3-D paper sculpture and they've been content to work at making 2-D paper pop up into the 3rd dimension. When I demonstrate the various paper folding and bending techniques to the K's and 1st graders, you would have thought I was a magician or something!! I love that look of surprise in their eyes when I bend a paper strip and -boing- a spring appears.

"This is a really cool skatepark -- do you see the ramps and stuff?!"

The 2-D work continues!

Despite the fact that new centers have opened, there are still some diehard 2 dimensional artists who love nothing better than creating reality on a sheet of paper. Here is a beautiful sunset by one of my 5th grade painters..

Talk about a different reality -- check out the unusual inhabitants in this colored pencil rendition of another world!

Here is a student hard at work writing an artist statement to display with his colored pencil drawing.