Working with wire: expressive 3D lines

Hey all. I have a lot to catch up on this blog of mine! I’ve been working very hard this fall, as usual, teaching at Visarts and VMFA, all the while keeping at my full-time graduate work at VCU in the art ed department. O and I’ve also been waiting some tables here and there. Whew.

I finally got a decent digital camera to properly document student work! That is the most exciting thing turning 26 has gotten me. I was able to snap some photos of the work my kids have been doing at the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Richmond. My lovely assistant Elaina and I (also VCU Art Ed grad student) helped our childrens make 3D sculptures with wire and wood. The project was inspired by Giacometti, a Swiss Surrealist/Expressionist who made wirey figures out of bronze. The kids were asked to create expressive self portraits, manipulating the wire, and then adding collaged elements (tissue paper, magazine clippings, pipe cleaners paint). Some of the kids were as young as 8, and found the wire challenging to construct with. However, we pushed through and look how they came out! The work will be shown at the Art After School Expo at Visarts on December 3!

 

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Expressive self portrait in wire

Expressive self portrait in wire

made by 9 year old at Boys and Girls Club of Metro Richmond

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Expressive self portrait in wire

Expressive self portrait in wire

made by 13 year old at Boys and Girls Club of Metro Richmond

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Expressive self portrait in wire

Expressive self portrait in wire

made by 8 year old at Boys and Girls Club of Metro Richmond

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Expressive self portrait in wire

Expressive self portrait in wire

made by 8 year old at the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Richmond

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Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti

“Nature Nurtures Creativity”

My summer of teaching has finally come to a close! It was incredibly busy and also tremendously rewarding. I got to work with a wide range of students, ranging in age from 5 to 16. Each week I was challenged with a new class (out of my 9 classes, I only repeated a class once) and a new group of students. This year I really focused on applying my knowledge of constructivist education that I studied so intensely in my first year of grad school. What this means is, I tried to let the students construct their own knowledge, rather than solely teaching a how-to craft. I led art-making experiences which were more open-ended than I had in years past, allowing for the kids to discover new possibilities. I found that this was especially rewarding for the teens, who really appreciated the freedom to express themselves.

The class I was most excited to try out was the one titled, “Nature Nurtures Creativity”. I got the title from the book, Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. The class was named after Chapter 7, which makes the case that children learn better and are more creative when they are immersed in nature. In this class, which I taught two different weeks with both 9-12 year olds and 5-9 year olds – students used natural materials combined with conventional art materials to create works of art. In the 9-12 class, we constructed robin’s birdhouses with sticks and plywood, and made looms out of sticks and wove natural material and scrap fabrics. In the 5 to 9 year old class, we did leaf rubbing and printing, and created sun catchers with sticks, tissue paper, and leaves. All of the natural materials were collected by the students around the premises of the Visual Arts Center. I’ve attached some fun photos of student work!