Sunday, October 14, 2007
Classroom Auction Projects
For an impressive inspirational display of classroom art projects, visit a link to the Rooftop Alternative School in San Francisco. http://mywebpages.comcast.net/rooftop-art/portfolio/auction.html Classrooms with artist parent volunteers can produce spectacular group art objects for their school auctions. I have come across situations in which the parents in charge of classroom art projects were almost forced into the position by default and extremely stressed out by it. The first question is, "what to make". Instead of first looking through magazines and books at other art projects for ideas and asking the teacher and students for input, an alternative is to poll the parent volunteers to see what skills and volunteer time are available to donate to the project, and use those volunteer skills as the basis for selecting a project. Sometimes, it's quite difficult to find volunteers with specific skill sets to help facilitate a project when it is in the process of being implemented. Lining up the volunteers first and selecting a project tailored to their skills, can save a classroom committee parent a lot of anxiety over the year, and make the classroom project enjoyable for everyone. It's likely that some of the parents in a class have basic carpentry, woodworking and tiling skills. This is an example of a project which is not too intrusive on class time, and provides individual distinct student art in the context of a finished piece: a handmade clay tile framed mirror. Ask a parent to place a mirror inside a plywood base. It might be a good idea to install the hanging hardware at this stage. Measure the dimensions of the plywood surrounding the mirror and make dark clay tiles (red clay is always attractive) and cover with white slip to cover the area. (Clay shrinks, so expect a little margin.) Bring the wet tiles into the classroom and have the students do contour drawings through the white slip exposing the dark clay. A variety of nails and paper clips make good drawing tools. A possibility may be to have a theme based motif and have the students draw the images first on paper. After the tiles are dry, have them fired to bisque. The students many then paint a few layers of glaze on their tiles. Fire again. The finished tiles are ready to incorporate into the mirror. Arrange the tiles in a visually pleasing manner. Some will be darker (more white slip will have been removed in the drawing process) than others. Think of the over all balance and weight of the design when arranging the tiles. Lay the tiles in a bed of tile mastic. If you decide to grout, be careful not to cover the face of the tiles with grout, as detail will be lost. Finish the edge with a wood frame stained a color compatible with the color of the darker clay. This is one example of the direction one may go if parent volunteers offer carpentry skills.