CBMS Choice-Based Art Studio

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

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")


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