CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Printmaking in the art studio took a festive turn this week.

The drying rack has transformed into a card rack - with designs changing daily.

A 3-color print was attempted today by "S." a 6th grade artist who used green paper to add the third color to her holiday design.

 "Rainbow roll" print (the breyer is charged with more than one color ink at a time.)

Self-reflection with
artist's statement, featuring a nice edition of four cards (by "Z," grade 7)

 "A," grade 6, took his time with this image, drawing it one day and printing it the next.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Authentic Integration

A project must be due this week in Social Studies – the art studio has been abuzz with 8th graders bearing passes. The 8th grade doesn’t have art until next semester, but with a project due and a deadline looming, some find their way to the art room to beg materials or use the studio.

Giant Bowl with Kanji, by "S," Garde 8

The theme must be Japan – Some students remembered the Sumi-e (Japanese ink painting) that was set up last year, and ask to get that out. Some head to the sculpture center and become architects. Online sources are employed to translate names and words into kanji, which are then brushed onto clay bowls or scroll paintings. Last month the studio was alive with civil war themes: faded, discolored letters from the front, scrapbooks with stiched samplers, 3-D battle scenes and all kinds of weaponry.
Arts integration in school programs often is employed to make learning more vivid or to showcase cultural aspects of the material being studied. Students report that they learn best when they can learn about a topic through the arts. Usually, it is the teacher who “integrates”  art into core subject matter, so it is interesting from my point of view to observe students in the art studio doing the integrating for themselves – in effect, using visual art to “show what they know.”

As the teacher in the room facilitating this process, I have the opportunity to extend the learning by offering references and resources, suggesting areas for further inquiry or helping to make connections to both the artworld and world at large.
There is some question about the extent of transference of learning from art to other disciplines – a question that contemporary researchers are busy studying. I can attest that from my vantage point behind the art apron that the skills and content knowledge acquired in the art studio are synthesized and employed by this group of students as they investigate and assimilate new information in their other classes at school.


Bas relief in clay, By "D," grade 6
I cleaned the potter’s wheel – stacked the chairs, put fresh newspaper on the painting tables and headed for the door. Walking past the art showcase in the hall I glanced at an unusual piece, completed earlier this week – a “bas relief” clay landscape – painted with acrylic and embellished with real sand (it’s a beach at sunset).  On my way down the stairs I looked up at the bulletin board and noticed a lively marker drawing (a figure), made by tracing French curves.
 I realized these two pieces were made by the same 6th grade student – which prompted me to remember two other projects he completed in the last week or so – one a sewn, stuffed figure (in which he embedded some sort of sound making device), and the other a found-object sculpture (in which he re-introduced the sand-as-paint idea.)

Ninja Pig front view

Ninja Pig back view
This innovative artist goes about the business of making art with an open mind and a world of possibilities. His use of materials is non-conventional and playful. He moves easily from one medium to another, creating personally meaningful artworks and finding success and satisfaction in both process and product.
 Some artists in the CBMS studio work on a single artwork over many weeks, others, like this artist/inventor, make so many I can barely keep up with them all!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Expanding the CBMS Artist Community

Montpelier clay artist Mary Stone

There is a cluster of clay artists in the 7th grade interested in making clay whistles. Over the past two years, some of these students have made “the biggest clay whistle in the world” and many other smaller whistles. This group has explored how the size of the whistle affects the sound and how tone holes function. They have spent hours developing various methods for making the “fipple”  - the opening that makes the whistle “work,” and have strived for improving both form and function.

What good luck that I tuned in to a VPR radio program featuring Mary Stone, a local artist who specializes in clay whistles. Mary lives in Montpelier, and her work can be found at Artisan’s Hand gallery on Main Street next to The Skinny Pancake. We invited Mary to the CBMS art studio to share her knowledge and love of clay whistles. She described her own work and process, exchanged notes with fellow whistle makers, and left behind a tiny clay chickadee whistle, for us to fire in our own kiln. 
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We often refer to the CBMS art studio as a “community of artists.” What a pleasure it was to welcome Mary Stone into that community!

How to make a bird whistle in three steps