CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

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

Friday, June 15, 2018

Summer




Last day of school. Walk to the town pool (filled two days ago, to be ready for us), stop for a creamee, line up with all the teachers to wave the busses good-bye. Have a good summer!

The 6th-grader who said "I walked in with nothing planned, and I'm going to walk out with something creative," graduated from 8th grade last night.  His words inspire me each day, as I pass through that door. 

Time now to clean-up, weed-out, look back, plan ahead, and recharge. 





Wednesday, May 30, 2018

 6th grade has "won" clay this term. It's not a competition, of course, but on kiln-unloading-days, the 6th graders' box is always the most full, and usually the most unique and exciting. But that is another story.
Test tiles to find the right antler color
This story is about the moose mug, pictured above. We, apparently, do not have the right color for moose antlers, and the student who made this mug needed a solution for this. 

Me: "Well, what a potter would do is make some test tiles, mixing various combinations. It would mean making the test tiles today, and waiting for them to be fired, before choosing one to use. I doubt you want to wait for that..."
Student: "Yes, that is what I want to do."
Me: "Oh!"

I provided several small bisqued tiles that we use on the top of glaze jars to show the color. I started marking the glaze colors on the back of the test tiles for the student, using a glaze pencil ("amber/yellow," yellow,/brown/white", etc). We tucked them into the kiln, and when I pulled them out, I noted that my student had added ratio numbers to my notes ("1 yellow/ 2 brown", "1 white/2 amber"). Oh my goodness! A potter!

Today a color was chosen and we found just enough space to sneak this moose into the kiln before the next firing. But wait! There's more! Another student approached me to describe a color needed for the pond that was ready for glaze - and it sounded just like the range of colors my student just made those tests for! So, Student 1 taught student 2 about how to mix the color chosen by following the noted ratios. 

A very good day in the clay center, and a big win for authentic studio-learning, where learners can go deep in areas of interest to become experts in their craft.  

Friday, May 25, 2018

Art Show Season

NOW Showing! 
Student Art Show at the Red Barn Gallery
Lareau Farm (American Flat Bread)
Through June 2, 2018


CBMS displayed only collaborative work in this show - featuring artists who chose to work together while creating art. With the exception of the Face/Box sculpture, all work selected was 2D. We were asked to set up down the center isle of the barn, to reflect the passage from elementary to high school - what a sweet spot to show off some of the artwork made in our studio this year!
















Student Art Show at the Helen Day Art Center
Crossett Brook Middle School was invited to display work at the Stowe area student art show. Although we had just a small display space, the outstanding work of our student artists made a big impact.

CBMS takes the back (white)wall














Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Plaster and Papier Mache'



Plaster and papier mache' are always available choices at the sculpture center in our studio/classroom, but these materials are usually overlooked and don't seem to be integrated into the creative thinking and planning for most of my students. Instead, plaster and papier mache' tend to make a special appearance from time-to-time, usually after a student asks about one or the other, or I decide to feature them to shake things up.




Plaster usually starts innocently enough - as a covering for wire armatures, hand casts, maybe a mask - but all it takes is one 8th-grader to get things rolling: "Can I plaster my face?!?!?!?"
From there it is contagious - one plastered face leading to the next, until everyone brave enough gets a chance under wraps. 
We have a tradition - once the plaster is applied and all that is left is the waiting, the plasterer reads a story to the plastered. 
This gives the plaster a few more minutes to harden, and the person under the plaster a relaxing, nostalgic experience, while the plasterer does a little nurturing.
At least that's how I see it. 

Meanwhile - 
Papier Mache' starts like this, always:

Them: "Can I have a balloon? "
Me: "What for?"
Them: " I want to papier mache'"
Me: (groan) (eye roll) (arms crossed)
Me: "Tell me your plan, because everyone who ever wants to papier mache' thinks the only thing to papier mache' is a balloon. And you know what? When they are done, the result looks exactly like a balloon, only with papier mache' on top."
Them: "No, really, I have a great idea."
I rest my case. 

But - maybe all that whining, eye-rolling and complaining (mine, not theirs) is starting to pay off, because look what I found as I left the studio on Friday...
Giant ear, by "M" - grade 7

Bucket of puppets, grade 6

Mixed assorted works-in-progress



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

5th Grade Collaborative Drawing by "N" and "T"
Authentic Assessment
I was slightly disappointed that these two drawing partners did not choose to display the whole series of skiing drawings they created -the series looks so great lined up next to each other! The two shared with me that they changed the scale of the skier to "zoom in" or "zoom out" on the action. 
But when I read the artist statement accompanying the selected drawing, I understood the value of choosing one from many. Criteria needs to be developed and aesthetic judgment's made. This can be hard! 
Here is the artist statement accompanying "N's" drawing:


"For weeks I have been working on some       very cool skiing sketches and then I chose which one I should finalize and I chose this one. The reason I draw skiing is because I love to ski."

I went through a similar exercise some years ago when working with potter and professor emeritus Marvin Bartel. Marvin had us "make and trim 7 pots, discard two, fire four, and set one aside to decide on later." This forced me to look at my work more critically than I might have and to decide why some would stay and some would go. It was hard to break two pots that seemed perfectly good, but in truth, they were the weakest ones and needed to be culled. 

"N," above, carried out this exercise on his own, and is years ahead of me in critiquing his own work and developing a discerning eye.  

Innovation in Clay


By "S", Grade 6 (Approx. 8")
This clay artist is on to something. After installing a giraffe in her slab-built, slump molded bowl, she went on to make at least two more. Her innovation inspired her classmates to try adding sculptures to slab bowls too. 

By "S" grade 6 (Approx. 14.5"x 6")

"Evolution"

"How the Chicken Evolved" - By "M" & "C", Grade 7


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Art Locker


Step right up and view the Art Locker!
When one student stopped using his locker, a group of friends decided it would be a good place for an art gallery. Each day they talk their way out of study hall and into the art studio to make small pieces of art to display, in secret, in the Art Locker. 
I hope I haven't blown their cover - but look! It's a delight!