CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio
CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Going Deep"

What does "going deep" look like in a choice-based art program?
6th-Grader "M" at the wheel
Since students choose which "center" they will work in and what tools, materials and techniques to employ, they sometimes find they have an affinity for a certain medium or process and stay with it a while. When this happens, students have the opportunity to "go deep."
Family Portrait by"H" Grade 7

Sometimes specialization results in new innovations and other times in true mastery. I have seen this happen in the Clay center, when a student falls in love with clay, or in the Sculpture center, working with found objects. Printmakers who tough it out are rewarded with a unique experience only this technique offers. Students who stay with a line of artistic inquiry often become classroom experts and can offer advise or provide inspiration for others. 

Sometimes this happens in an "ah ha" moment, when a student realizes that they can accomplish something new. Other times, serendipity steps in, as when one material pushes up against another and passively suggests a new idea. 

 I am watching this happening with a new crop of 5th graders. One student has moved beyond the mere mechanics of the paper-making technique I demonstrated to all and is nudging this process toward the expression of ideas.
Paper scraps are sorted into color families, to facilitate color-mixing practice
Handmade paper, by "A" grade 5
Papermaking is a fairly mechanical artmaking process. It always surprises and delights me when a student jumps from being merely an alchemist, mixing magic pulp-potions, to being and artist who communicates an idea. That is what happened last week when a student moved paper from a 2D process to a 3D experience (photo above - featuring a 3rd-year papermaker), and again when the pages from a discarded children's book came in close contact with colors of the night sky.

Text and color used by this 8th grade artist to convey meaning