Tag: sculpture project

Art Lesson: Collaborative Relief

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At my previous school I always taught a lesson on the grid method by creating a collaborative grid with my students. Each student would get a section of the original image, and they had to enlarge and re-draw it. In order to accurately re-draw the image they had to pay attention to where lines and shapes intersected the outside edge of the image, which in turn taught them the basic concept of the grid method (read more about this here).

In the process of changing schools I also changed my teaching title, which meant a lot of new lesson planning was ahead of me. I was now exclusively a sculpture teacher, teaching 3D I and 3D II classes. Although I had taught sculpture in the past, and spent a lot of time in ceramics class in high school and college, I felt a lot of pressure to re-create assignments, and think outside of the box. After all I was moving to a private school with an established and impressive art department, I felt I had big shoes to fill in my new work environment.

Although it has been stressful at times trying to produce examples and create new projects, I have loved every minute of it. It truly is amazing how different a class can be when you actually have the budget to support it. I now had the ability to teach interesting, complex, and creative projects, without the fear of running out of supplies with no money left in my budget.

As excited as I was to have a new challenge in my life, I did miss some of my old projects, including my Intro to Art collaborative grid assignment. One day while reminiscing on the past, as I often do, it dawned on me that I could do a collaborative grid project in sculpture, by focusing on relief carving. I had my doubts that everything would come together during the project, but once all of the pieces were in place, I couldn’t believe how amazing it looked. I am so proud of my students and I hope another sculpture teacher can find an interesting way to implement this into their class.

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THE ASSIGNMENT: Collaborative Relief

OBJECTIVE: For students to learn the history and techniques of relief carving, and apply those techniques in a collaborative relief carving project.

SUPPLIES:

  • Lizella Clay
  • Rolling pin or slab roller
  • Ruler
  • Needle tool or knife
  • A variety of clay tools and textured items to carve and add texture
  • Low fire underglaze (I used blue, green, red, brown)
  • Low fire clear transparent glaze
  • Kiln
  • Wood panel
  • Black Paint
  • Heavy duty glue

STEPS:

1. I began this project by introducing my students to the artists, Brunelleschi and Ghiberti, and the famous Florence Baptistry doors competition. I had the students vote on which “Sacrafice of Isaac” relief they liked better, and we continued to discuss the doors as well as the Gates of Paradise doors.

2. After the history lesson I introduced the assignment. I explained that I would randomly hand out a 1″x1″ section of a larger image, and they would have to recreate it as a relief sculpture on a 6″x6″ clay slab. We discussed carving techniques and looked at the variety of tools they could use to create different textures.

3. After the assignment was explained they got to work. Before they started the project I had taken an image of our Fine Arts building, divided it into a grid, and put a number and letter on the back of each square (1A, 1B, 1C, etc.). I made sure to make a few copies, the students tend to misplace their squares and it helps to have extras on hand. As soon as the students got their slab square cut they had to flip it over and carve the letter and number into the back of it.

4. After the students completed their squares I fired them and had the students glaze them. I knew every line and shape would not line up in the image, so my goal was to create a sense of unity through the glaze. I instructed the students to loosely paint underglaze onto their tile (I set up a few colors of blue, green, brown, and red) allow it to dry, then wipe it off with a wet sponge. This technique caused the underglaze to stick in the textured areas, and wipe off of the smooth area, giving it a loosely painted quality. Once the colors were added they painted a layer of clear glaze on top, and once again wiped it off. I loved the shiny vs. matte look this created.

5. Once the pieces were fired a final time I glued them to a piece of wood I cut to size and painted black. My plan is to eventually add a black frame and display it in the Fine Arts Building.

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My students were as impressed as I was with the final product, and it was a huge hit at our annual art show. I love how each piece is important to the whole, and how it truly came together in the end.

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Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you find useful information you can use in your classroom! Please comment if you have additional tips, ideas, or have done something similar in your class! Thanks for helping my spread the word about my blog by liking, tweeting, commenting, and subscribing! I couldn’t do it without you!

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Art Lesson: Fused Glass

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I recently did my first glass fusing art lesson with my high school 3D II students, and they loved it! Only halfway through the first day of fusing almost everyone of my students had proclaimed this as their favorite project. It’s easy, fun, and almost fool proof. Even my students who quickly rushed through, and didn’t really consider the design had a good turn out. I am now starting this with my 3D I student and can’t wait to see what they produce! First off I aplogize for the terrible photographs. They were already set up for our annual art show when I realized I hadn’t gotten pictures yet. They will be replaced with better ones once the show comes down! In this post you will find the necessary supplies, approximate cost, and how to to do this with your own students!

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SUPPLIES:

  • A digital kiln: They do make glass kilns but I converted one of my ceramic kilns to glass only. It is a programable Skutt kiln. By entering “ramp and hold” information I am able to achieve the same results as I would in a glass kiln!
  • Glass glove: Not necessary but a number of my students left class with sliced fingers, and the majority of them were using the gloves by the end of the project
  • Grozer: Glass scorer for organic shapes
  • Glass pliers: For breaking
  • Glass breaker: I found a cheap pink one that works great!
  • Cutting system: I bought a kit that included a waffle grid, Flying Beetle cutter, and a Beetle bit cutter
  • Kiln wash or spray: I use the spray and it is more expensive but you don’t have to set the wash before you fire on it, it’s very easy!
  • Kiln wash sheets: I place these thin sheets on top of my ceramic kiln shelves, each one lasts a few firings, and they cost $5 per sheet, so this adds up.
  • Adhesive, heat gun, bail bonds: This is if you want to do jewelry pieces and pendants
  • Molds: I have a variety of plate and bowl molds, my most popular are my 7″ sqaure bowl and jumping bean mini bowl, I plan to purchase a few of these in the future.
  • 96 COE glass: You must purchase glass with the same COE, 96 is the easiest to work with
  • 96 COE frit: Ground up glass into a sand like substance
  • Noodles and stringers: Long, thin pieces of glass

APPROXIMATE COST: $600.00

HOW TO:

For the assignment I began with a powerpoint explaining the process, what glass fusing is, how it’s done, and what our assignment is. I left the requirements very loose, each student had to create one plate or bowl, using a clear sheet of glass as a base, and add color pieces on top to create their design. I am glad it was open ended because it gave them the chance to push themselves to come up with an interesting design. Once I completed the powerpoint I demonstrated how to use the tools and went over a few tips when working with glass:

  • Glass wants to be 1/4 of an inch thick. If you fire one sheet of glass, without adding to it, it will shrink in order to get to a 1/4″ thick. If you stack two layer of glass it will stay about the same thickness, if you stack more than two it will spread to 1/4″ thick. If you put two layers in one area, and leave another area just one layer, you may end up with an uneven edge because of the shrinking and spreading. 
  • You can’t stack more than three sheets of glass together, I recommended they stick with just two layers.
  • When you layer glass together you run the risk of trapping air pockets
  • If you fire the sheet of clear under the color cut pieces the cut pieces may end up with more rounded edges. If you fire the clear glaze on top it prevents the cut pieces from spreading as much, and you get much cleaner lines

Once they understood the assignment and process they began working on their sketches. They were required to create at least three, and they had to be full color. I wanted them to consider the color and placement of the pieces before they began cutting to reduce the amount of wasted glass. After I approved their design they got to work.

They began by measuring the mold they wanted to use, and drawing it on a sheet of clear using sharpie. This was done at their seat to reduce the amount of traffic at the cutting station. Once they were ready to cut, they moved to the cutting station, made their cuts, breaks, then took it back to their seat. Once their base was cut we used hand sanitizer to remove the sharpie lines. I believe any alcohol based cleaning product will work, I just happened to have hand sanitizer, and it reduced the amount of germs floating around in the room.

After their base was cut they began cutting the color pieces and creating their designs. After each piece was cut they used a couple dots of Elmer’s glue to stick the color piece to the clear glass base. You only want to use enough to keep the glass from sliding when you place it in the kiln. If you use too much it will char in the firing and leave a gray mark. Rather than measuring the space the color piece was meant to go, and then marking the piece based on the ruler, I had my student set the color sheets on their mold and mark where the edges needed to hit. This helped reduce the number of wrong cuts and mis-measuring.

Once their design was complete we placed them in the kiln and full fused them. You can only put one shelf layer of glass in at a time, you can’t stack shelves like you can with ceramics, so this process can take longer if you have to do multiple firings. After they were full fused we placed them in the molds and slumped them!
Art Lesson- Fused Glass Sushi Plates

I have a Skutt electric ceramic kiln, and in order to fire glass I use the “ramp/hold” option on my kiln. The following are firing schedules I currently use, and have had success with. To program them into my kiln I press “ramp/hold” enter the number of segments, hit enter, and enter the rest of the data (temperature rise per hour, goal temp, hold time, for each segment). I then hit “review”, it runs through my program, and at the end I hit the “on” button, it’s very easy!

Tack fuse (glass will have a raised texture)

5 segments (or ramps)

Ramp 1: 400/HR, 1100 degrees, HOLD 5 minutes

Ramp 2: 75/HR, 1250 degrees, HOLD 5 minutes

Ramp 3: 9999 (as fast as possible), 1380 degrees, HOLD 10 minutes

Ramp 4: 9999, 950 degrees, HOLD 10 monutes

Ramp 5: 100 HR, 800 degrees, 0 HOLD

 

Full fuse (glass will be smooth)

5 segments (or ramps)

Ramp 1: 400/HR, 1100 degrees, HOLD 5 minutes

Ramp 2: 75/HR, 1250 degrees, HOLD 5 minutes

Ramp 3: 9999 (as fast as possible), 1450 degrees, HOLD 10 minutes

Ramp 4: 9999, 950 degrees, HOLD 10 monutes

Ramp 5: 100 HR, 800 degrees, 0 HOLD

 

Slump (Glass is just warm enough to take the form of your mold)

6 segments (or ramps)

Ramp 1: 150/HR, 300 degrees, HOLD 15 minutes

Ramp 2: 300/HR, 1100 degrees, HOLD 20 minutes

Ramp 3: 150/HR, 1250 degrees, HOLD 25 minutes

Ramp 4: 400, 950 degrees, HOLD 60 monutes

Ramp 5: 150 HR, 800 degrees, HOLD 10 minutes

Ramp 6: 300/HR, 100 degrees, 0 HOLD

I hope you enjoyed today’s post, and I hope you can use these tips if you are looking to try glass fusing in your classroom. Feel free to comment or email me with questions, concerns, or thoughts in general. Thanks for stopping by!

Art Lessons: The Tape Person Project

This is a project I have done twice, and it was very successful on both occasions. I love it because it introduces the students to installation art, without taking over too much space at school, and the students love it because they get a life size replica of themselves. The only issue I have faced with this project is the amount of tape required. It takes a TON of packaging tape. I would estimate 10-15 rolls of packaging tape per sculpture. After checking prices at office stores, and even dollar stores, I decided to order from an online company. In the end I went with, boxforless.com, and got the tape for about $0.60 per roll. I hope you have the finances to do this project, because it really is a great project for Sculpture I or II.

SUPPLIES

  • Packaging tape
  • Scissors
  • Students
  • Fishing wire (to hang)
  • Paper clips, or something more fancy to hang with

HOW TO

1. I always start new projects with a PowerPoint of an artist exemplar, student examples (if I have them), the steps, and my expectations/grading. I like to give the students all of the information up front, that way there is no miscommunication, although with high school students there is always some form of miscommunication. After I present the project I also add the step-by-step instructions to my board. My theory is by presenting the information to them verbally and visually, through my PowerPoint and on the board where they can reference it during class, there should be zero missteps. You would think this would be fool proof… but get ready… many repeated questions will still await you.

  • For this particular project I decided to present three artist exemplars. The reason I chose to do this is because installation art can be used for a number of reasons. For this assignment I focused on making a person aware of their space, Richard Serra was the exemplar for this, making a person aware of a particular part of their surroundings, Andy Goldsworthy was the exemplar for this, and making a statement about the location, Claes Oldenberg was used for this. I typically have a slide with basic background on the artist, followed by images. Whenever I introduce a new artist I have my students fill out a worksheet I hand out at the beginning of the year. All it is, is two columns with “artist” written above the left column and “artist info” written above the right column. They fill in general points to help them remember the artist on the sheet, and I grade it at the end of the year.
  • I followed the artist exemplars with student examples. Since I had done this project once before, I had a few images to share. I cannot stress enough the importance of photographing student work. It helps tremendously when introducing projects.
  • After all of the examples I explain the assignment and my expectations. I explained to the students they could choose any area of the school to display their sculpture but it had to some how relate to the space. Like the artist exemplars they could either focus on making someone aware of their space by the presence of the sculpture, bringing attention to a specific architectural element or part of the space, or they could make a statement about the space. The students were divided into groups of two, but if they wanted to team up with another group and have their sculptures interact that was an option.

2. In order to create a tape person you must use your own body to construct it, which is why the students need to work in groups. I tell my students to first consider what position their tape person will be in, that way they can arrange their body in that position to make building it easier.

  • The students work on building their person section by section. They wrap the packaging tape sticky side up on a part of their body, for example their forearm, and then they wrap the tape sticky side down. I recommend wrapping two layers sticky side up, two layers sticky side down, in order for the tape person to be thick enough.
  • Once the body part is wrapped they CAREFULLY use scissors to cut the tape off. I have had only one incident where a student was jabbed a little too hard and had a minor cut on his arm. I told him to tell Mom it happened in PE, and all was good.
  • Once they have all of the pieces created they have to tape them back together. First they need to tape the cut line, and then they need to tape the pieces to each other. In this step they must consider the position of the body. Is the elbow bent, is the person crouching, sitting, or standing. They can slightly overlap the sections as they tape them back together, but they must be careful not to lose the correction proportions.
  • I have mannequin heads in my classroom, which we use to create the head. Find something that will work for a head, you do not want your students wrapping their heads in tape.
  • Because you have to wrap sensitive areas, I also recommend dividing the students up based on gender. I allowed my girls to use my storage closet if they felt uncomfortable wrapping certain areas in front of the class.

3. Once the tape people are constructed it’s time to hang. I have had a lot of help from facility employees in the past, but this year I has a little more on my own. If you are hanging in high places, just be careful! Most schools have the tiles that can be moved, with the metal support bars in between. I tie fishing wire to the sculpture, and then to a bent paperclip. I then bend the paperclip around the metal support bar, and put the tiles back in place. This may sound ghetto, but it works like a charm. The tape people are relatively light and as long as you have at least two hanging points you shouldn’t have an issue.

  • If any students want their tape person standing make sure the legs are thick enough to hold the weight, put it in an out of the way spot, and prop it against a wall. I haven’t had a lot of luck with the standing people staying standing. Typically a weak point will buckle, and they turn into sitting people.

Here are examples from my Fall 2012 Sculpture I class! I hope you enjoy!

I don’t know how it happened, but someone I ended up with two groups doing upside down Spidermen in two different areas. Typically I would encourage one group to do something else, but they were both so excited about it, I let it go. The purpose of both sculptures were to bring attention to the high ceilings in the areas. When you are walking in a building you are in day, after day, you begin to forget about all of the interesting architectural details. I thought both did a great job! This sculpture was suspended from the overhang above the entrance. I love how it makes you look up and pay attention to the high ceilings.

Even though I had two Spidermen, at least they were in different areas and had slightly different positions. This sculpture was suspended from the railing. I loved how the head looked from the floor below, all you could see was a round orb until you walked up the stairs. This one is hung in the Middle School building, and of course they ate it up!

This sculpture is one of my favorites from this group. It was well made and they added the wings for an extra detail. I currently work at a private Christian school. This is my first year here, and I came from a title one public school. HUGE difference. As a Christian school we have a chapel, and this piece is placed in the chapel. The students wanted to bring focus to the purpose of the space, to worship. They placed the angel in a position to make it seem as if it is flying towards the altar, and the angel emphasizes the idea of a holy place. This group was very thoughtful with the location.

This sculpture was the only sitting sculpture. It was placed in the library, in a chair that is one of a group of four. The librarians LOVED having it, they cracked up when they saw three students studying in the chairs with the tape person occupying the fourth. The purpose of this sculpture was to highlight the purpose of the space, to read and learn.

This sculpture was placed at the end of the hallway. It was meant to make the viewer aware of their space, if you sit on the bench you may become uncomfortable with a tape person’s hand almost touching your head. I believe this one would’ve been more successful if it had hung lower, however in a high school you must consider keeping things out of reach.

The students, administrators, and faculty all love this project. It’s a great way to display art in your school, and get a lot of chatter going about your program. I found out about this lesson through one of my former coworkers, who found out about it through her former coworker, sometimes the best lessons are the ones that are stolen from others! Good luck, I hope you give it a try, and if you do send me some pictures!