Tried & True Tips for Art Teachers is a monthly roundup of advice and wisdom
from fellow art teachers, put together by the intrepid Glenda Lubiner.
It is almost the end of the school year and now is a great time for us to start cleaning up our rooms. It is also a great time to use all of our “stuff” to create some very expressive three-dimensional art pieces.
May is also a wonderful time to make 3-D art so that you will not have to store it in your room throughout the year. If you do your annual art show in May or June, you can display these worthy pieces and then send them home. Another idea is to hang these 3-D art pieces from the ceiling in your lobby so that the school is decorated throughout the summer months. Enjoy these thoughtful tips.
To Light or Not to Light Lark Keeler from St. Andrews Lower School in Boca Raton, Fla., uses packing tape to create 3-D sculptures. Small or big, they have a glass-like effect and everyone will want to touch them. Lark sometimes adds small LED lights inside of the sculptures to enhance their beauty.
The Snowbirds Have Arrived As many of us know, some of the southern states welcome our northern friends, affectionately called “Snowbirds,” in the winter months. Lark has collaborated with the fourth-grade teachers in her school who were teaching about bird migration and had her students make 3-D snowbirds. They used heavy watercolor paper and watercolor pencils to make these sculptures.
Recycled Materials Add Beauty to Nature In the gardens of the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla., the trees are decorated with recycled admission wristbands. Hundreds of them are tied closely together in the branches of the trees, which illuminate them with bright neon colors. It makes for a beautiful and colorful exhibit. The wristbands are waterproof so they do not disintegrate in the weather. A great way to augment the landscape architecture at your school would be to decorate the trees. Doing this as an instillation would mean that it would be a temporary exhibit. Laminated leftover painted paper scraps; acrylic-painted or permanent-maker colored fabric would be great to use for this project.
THREE is Better than FOUR! Miami Springs Senior High School teacher Beth Goldstein suggests that three legs are always better than four when building 3-D sculptures. When using three legs, all legs are always touching the base surface no matter how uneven the round/base is. When using four legs, they all have to be even or it will wobble. You will definitely have a better-balanced piece of work and more stability with three legs.
Glue Crew Needed Beth also suggests that you should pay attention to your medium when choosing your adhesive. Not all adhesives will bond to all materials. Be mindful of the materials and have your students do some investigating before you start your projects. You need to know if your materials are porous or non-porous, will it adsorb or reflect and you must remember that more often than not when making three dimensional art you are dealing with gravity. Her big take away…hot glue guns are not always the answer!
Don’t Crack Me Up? S-cracks are cracks in pottery that appear in the maturation firing. They usually occur at the bottom center of a thrown piece of art. That is because the base is not as compressed as the rest of the vessel. Beth makes sure her students compress their clay when throwing a pot to prevent s-cracks in their clay.
Chairs with a Flair Nadia Earl from North Hialeah Elementary School in Hialeah, Fla., uses recyclables such as discarded cardboard, foam-core board, toilet-paper tubes, and Popsicle sticks to construct a miniature chairs using small pieces of clear tape.
To do this, pre-cut cardboard and foam-core board into small pieces. Make sure to discuss ergonomics and chair design/diagram. Add discarded pieces of packaging foam and carpet samples for cushions as a finishing touch. Your students can Gesso or plaster the final design or leave in the assembled state. Their choice!
Happy birthday to Keith Haring (May 3, 1958), Georges Braque (May 12, 1882), Jasper Johns (May 15, 1930), Franz Kline (May 23, 1910) and Mary Cassatt (May 25, 1844).
Thank you Lark, Beth and Nadia for your helpful tips.
Arts & Activities Contributing Editor Glenda Lubiner (NBCT) teaches art at Franklin Academy Charter School in Pembroke Pines, Fla. She is also an adjunct professor at Broward College.
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