For the Grade 6 Climate Change project, we collaborated with Humanities classes. During our process we first looked at artists with a message, Chris Jordan and Jill Pelto, then we looked at how illustrator Yuko Shimizu develops her ideas and her process. We also tapped into Tim Kelly’s Puzzle Project to look at how our individual artworks can fit together to make a larger composition – in our class and connect to artists all over the world.
For our Zentangled Animals project, we decided to switch it up and play around with watercolours first to create creative backgrounds. We experimented with straws, salt and flicking the paint. Some students decided to use some internet sites to find out what their spirit animal would be and use that for inspiration, while others use images of their favourite animals. We also researched zentangle patterns and we created a few of our own. We created our zentangle illustrations with micron pens – they are the best as they don’t run when wet! Then we put them all together! This was a super fun project and the final works are so beautiful.
The Oaxacan Animals of Mexico is a fun project to do with MS artists. The original artworks are made from carved wood and painted with such bright vibrant colours. I got really luck this year when I was planning this unit, as one of my colleagues, Ms Michael’s is a collector of Oaxacan animal sculptures and she had brought some key pieces of her collection with her when she came to SIS to teach! So she kindly made a video of her collection to show my students. It was so cool to see what the original sculptures look like – the scale, the vibrant unique patterns and the variety of animals. It was the best introduction for this unit and inspired my students so much.
To make our own Oaxacan inspired animals, we first sketched out our ideas, then did a few test clay forms. Finally, we created our final animal form using a variety of techniques: pinch moldings, slab work and of course hatching to keep all our pieces together. We used soft modeling clay and after it dried for a few days, we fired it in the kiln. After the first firing we used underglaze to create patterns and then we covered with glossy clear glaze to make our sculptures glisten.
I love exploring typography with MS and this stencilling project is a great introduction into printmaking, the technique is simple enough for students to grasp the process quickly, but so engaging that they can spend classes on classes experimenting with different combinations to make their series a masterpiece. To begin, we explore the idea of making our words into shapes – more specifically make the shape of an object then fitting in the letters. We sketch out pages of ideas and try to arrange the letters in a creative way, exploring the scale and emphasis of key letters. After we choose our best design, we use thin plastic transparencies (not too thin) and cut out the shapes creating a stencil. It’s important to remember to create joiners for the holes in the letters so they just don’t disappear from the design! (It happens too many times to count). Then we do our first AP print with black ink – to make sure everything is working the way we want and our design is tight. Then, with different coloured paints, a variety of sponges and coloured paper (or magazine pages or collaged paper – so many options for creative backgrounds), students make a series of their prints. The final touch – is getting the students to title, sign and number each of their best prints into their final series for submissions.