7 January 2019
Whilst the Hindu festival of lights is foreign to myself and most of my students, we learned that there are many similarities between how people celebrate this and other harvest festivals throughout Asia. The festivities passed in November, but we continued working away to sculpt highly decorative clay lamps used in celebrations and rituals of Diwali.
6 December 2018
This term in Art ECA, we spent our afternoons producing a playful collaborative artwork exploding with colour and pattern. We took our inspiration from the work of Yinka Shonibare, who uses waxprint in his work, drawing on their popularity as “authentically African” fabrics and calling attention to their origins through English and Dutch colonial trade routes.
22 November 2018
For our Grade 6 unit on Creativity, I pulled this delicious construction project from my previous work in Primary because it is a good illustration how the creative process works. And what can be more satisfying to create than our own home? Especially one made of sweets!
6 November 2018
We looked to Vik Muniz’s Pictures of Garbage series and how the monumental portraits he made with and of garbage pickers transformed how they thought of themselves. We then borrowed from Muniz’s use of quotidian objects, using ground coffee to create high contrast portraits of the members of our class community.
1 October 2018
We started with one type of Northwest Coast art - totem poles - to examine totem animals, both real and legendary, and their meanings within these communities, as well as the formal qualities that make Northwest Coast art so easily recognisable amongst the artwork of indigenous North American peoples.
30 September 2018
We started the year with some punchy, delicious art references from the work of Wayne Thiebaud. Grade 6 students researched and transcribed Thiebaud’s Three Machines, and Grade 8 students looked at other paintings of mass culture and production line objects as they learned more about what Pop Art is and how it was challenging to the art world of the 1950s and 1960s.
22 June 2018
The year is up, and my walls are empty again. My last post this year is dedicated to my Grade 12 leavers, who had just enough time this spring to begin and finish painting transcriptions of Yayoi Kusama’s numerous pumpkin paintings.
25 May 2018
Grade 6 and 7 students stepped outside of the box and into the paint palette feetfirst. They looked at how the abstract expressionists took creative risks in order to express their emotions and inner impulses through colour fields and brush strokes, leading to a post-war international art movement that transcended European modernism and crowned New York the new center of the art world.
18 April 2018
In a one-off activity day in celebration of Earth Day, we learned more about the consequences of having so much plastic available everywhere, from straws and cutlery to bottles and shopping bags. We then spent a few hours creating some visual poetry in the hopes of inspiring a change in our attitude and behavior about plastics.
2 April 2018
We explored the design principle of rhythm through the work of Van Gogh, whose dedication to articulating the inner spirituality of nature resulted in a dramatic fusion of rhythm, colour and imagination. We practiced the impulsive, gestural application of paint before moving on to transcriptions and finally creating Van Gogh-esque images of Vietnamese landscapes.
16 March 2018
I wanted my kids to cleanse their palette and experience the meditative joy of working with materials like felt and wool, and sequins, buttons, and beads. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I revisited an old project that turned out to be a surprise success with my Year 2s in a previous school. As I expected, the kids spun gold from thread in sugary sweet images of sliced fruits and vegetables.
9 February 2018
The Tet season is a good time to learn about folk paintings that have for over nine centuries decorated the homes of Vietnamese families celebrating the arrival of spring. Before pulling out the brushes and paint palettes, we looked into the graphic charm of these images, with their simple edges, often humorous and brightly coloured to reflect an optimism for the Lunar New Year.
12 January 2018
I had my high schoolers sit a “test” to transcribe a William Morris design in pencil. I asked that they work with accuracy and precision to communicate the lines, shapes, values, and patterns in their reference material. I was so impressed with their work that I had the students who hadn’t finished in the allotted time complete their drawings upon returning from the break.
8 January 2018
In exploring a different approach to drawing, I wanted my kids to know about Jim Lambie’s Zobop and anything and everything by Yayoi Kusama. Whilst we didn’t have enough tape for Zobop or the patience to create an infinity net, we cut, rolled, laid, squished, and twisted plasticine to create 2-dimensional images bursting with dots, lines, colour, and pattern.
15 December 2017
I commissioned my students to work on a collaborative painting that would help to transform our rather empty-walled canteen into a budding art gallery. We looked into contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama’s work as we worked together to construct a rich tapestry of marks, circles, lines, and patterns.
20 November 2017
I wanted my kids to work with a few of the art elements, and I figured faceted gems would make for a sparkly introduction to value, shape, and colour, and provide an opportunity to practice colour mixing and flat colour painting.
3 November 2017
Naturally I interpreted the topic of balance through an interior design lens, with wallpapers and pattern repeats being the first images to come to mind. I have not taught my students if they finish the year without learning about William Morris!
14 October 2017
Half-term is here, and the time feels right to document the ongoing evolution of my workspace. With a few projects in – and up, student work is finally taking over the powder blue walls. I started with a very empty room, but slowly I’ve been filling my temple to creativity.
1 October 2017
The surfaces in the studio have been christened with acrylic. Dried paint is everywhere! In another big push for a piece for auction, my kids pulled off a large-scale collaborative painting that shows off our pride of place.