CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

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

Thursday, February 21, 2013

An Artist's Reference

“E,” a 6th grader, was first through the door today. She came prepared for artmaking and carried with her a greeting card with a painting of a blossoming amaryllis plant on it. As soon as the whole-group “five-minute lesson” was completed, she went directly to the clay center  to begin sculpting a flower, using the painting on the card for reference and inspiration.

“E” has been working with the idea of flowers and clay over the last several classes. One single flower she crafted on a slender stem broke off at the base of the bloom. Yesterday she put the finishing touches on a decorated lidded jar (shown below), also featuring a flower theme.

The idea of lidded jars has also been repeated by “E” over several classes. After I observed that the first lid slid around on top of the jar, I showed “E” some ideas for creating a “gallery” inside the lid to help keep it in place.

‘E” is demonstrating many of the 8 studio habits we use to guide and describe our work as artists in the studio – Engage and Persist, certainly, as she returns to similar ideas and creates a body of work around a theme. ‘E” also employs the habits Observe:  demonstrating alertness to the flower reference from home that helped shape today’s work, and Envision, as she imagines what to make and how to go about it, seeing the project  “in her mind’s eye.”  

Flowers brought in for a sketching skill-builder became the perfect reference for "E" to continue her work. Now where can we get ladybugs and caterpillars this time of year I wonder...
Develop Craft is the habit “E” employs when she learns and practices new skills and techniques. Actually, it’s hard to name a “studio thinking habit” ‘E” is not demonstrating. Stretch and Explore comes into play when “E” takes a creative risk, or tests out new ideas. Reflect is a habit used throughout her work, to help guide needed adjustments as she goes along.  The last two habits are also in play – Express: Learning to create works that communicate an idea, a feeling, or a personal meaning and Understand Art World: Learning about art history and current practice, learning to work as an artist within a community of artists. “E” uses this habit when she learns about artistic conventions and  practices,  re-interprets and incorporates another artist’s painting into her clay sculpture.

The 8 Studio Thinking Habits of Mind have been on my mind a lot these days, since I am participating in an online conference with Lois Hetland, one of the originators of this framework, and art educators from around the country who are using Studio Thinking habits to inform their work with students.