A place to see what is happening in Fine Arts at Rocky Mountain School for the Gifted and Creative

Saturday, February 07, 2009

If I Had a Hammer

“What if we used a hammer for printmaking?”

This question, by 7-year old “S,” sparked a mini-lesson about how artists employ objects in their environment to make art. At the start of class, learners were invited to choose any item in the art studio (any item that paint would not damage) to test as a printmaking devise. Each child in turn dipped their new tool into paint and observed the resulting image or texture. As this experiment concluded, learners were invited to stay and make prints or to choose a different center and begin their work.
All but one student moved off to work elsewhere. The learner who remained had more experiments to conduct: What would the imprint of a feather look like? Would a pom-pom work as a paintbrush? Many different items were tested, and in the end, some of the objects that were used to make prints were attached to the paper (did you know paint could work like glue?), becoming a permanent part of the resulting image.
Art education professor and artist George Szekely (University of Kentucky) once told me about a field trip he conducted with his class of undergraduates. He gave each student a dollar, and drove them to a dollar store. Their mission: find something to make art with or to make art out of. They returned to the studio to make art with their odd-ball treasures-turned-art –tools (picture; toilet plungers, mustard squeeze bottles, feather dusters, pizza cutters…).
Wouldn’t that be fun?

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