Wednesday, February 11, 2009

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School Spirit: The Tale Of The Hippocampos




Well it doesn't help to start something and then neglect it...as in the case of this particular blog site. It is my hope to put online past projects that I think my students have enjoyed as well as new strategies and ideas.

Teaching in the upper school of a private school as a one-person operation was certainly interesting because I was able to work with a wide range of art materials and ideas. We had a little "Art House" on the hill at the edge of the campus with tall trees surrounding it. Someone told me at the end that the building was haunted. I had felt the presence of something or someone many times but it never felt negative. It was lonely in the little house when the students were not there so I guess that I was grateful for the company.

One semester I offered an intermediate level course entitled Ceramic Murals. With this small class of students (7 or 8) we looked at examples of ceramic and tile murals around us and in time to go into Washington D.C. We looked at PowerPoints about the history of use of murals throughout cultures and time. They each researched a specific mural and wrote a paper on the methods and techniques used and also examined the cultural significance of their mural.

At the end of the semester we produced this final product after having experienced a wide range of art methods and activities. The image combines the two symbols of the school, a mustang horse and the nautilus shell. Ever the designer, I managed to order glazes that coordinated with the Common's decor.

We used a high fire stoneware clay body. Making a huge slab and then transferring our original design by tracing it onto the damp clay. As it became leather hard we carved and beveled the edges. Ultimately the clay shrank between 15 to 20% but it was still large enough to be a dominant image over the fireplace! I will tell you about another of the projects from this class in another posting.