Saturday, September 29, 2012

Thane or Bust

Last spring, one of my senior  students wanted to sculpt a clay bust as an art enrichment activity. At first, she considered the idea of trying to make it look like someone in particular.  I assured her that based on my experience,  I was just relieved when my bust ended up looking humanoid, let alone like anyone I knew.  Truly, focusing on mastering clay construction techniques and structurally valid features gives one plenty to chew on in a first pass.  

 Things can really go south when building a bust, from collapsing heads and structural cracks to total annihilation in the kiln. A dear friend of mine experienced a sad result when her bust completely shed it's  face overnight.  Like icebergs calving baby icebergs, the face simply slid off  in it's entirety and, with some creative salvaging, became a mask.  Undaunted, my student maximized her chance of success by paying close attention to honing construction skills and techniques.  As a result, it took a little over three months for "Thane's" completion, but he came out of the kiln in one piece with only one small crack. We think he may be part Elf, but definitely humanoid!

Loaded in kiln and ready to fire

Meet "Thane" by Anna7742

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Outer Limits of Imagination - Advanced Art





From Walt Disney to Aesop's fables, either through the written page or on the silver screen, artists have long explored the idea of animating the inanimate by  gracing things with human characteristics for their own purposes.  For the past few weeks my students have used the stuff of everyday life to spur their imaginations' "outer limits."  Alarm clocks, wire whisks, plumbing fixtures, jewelry, and even nuts and bolts came to life in their anthropomorphic still life drawings.

We used a limited  colored pencil palette against a support of black charcoal paper.  Interpreting items predominately metallic in nature gave drama to the stuff one finds at the bottom of a drawer, or a shelf in the basement.