We are celebrating Black History Month! This project is special- we begin by reading Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Bryan Collier. This book is a great introduction to an important figure in art history as well as the basic techniques of ceramic artworks, specifically functional pottery.
Dave was an enslaved potter working in South Carolina between 1820-1860. His work still stands with beautifully inscribed poems and signatures. The book describes each pot storing something special, similarly students are consider something special they would like their vessel to contain. We are making traditional coil pots in unique forms.
This year we are starting a sculpture garden in the green space at school. It is a fun, large-scale collaborative project for the whole school. This endeavor is made possible through the generous support of our parents and PTA- thank you!
Here is a first look at works by kindergarten, first, and fourth grade students.
Younger students are making science connections, studying the parts of a flower before making them with clay. The stems, leaves, and flowers are individual parts that can be stacked to make a whole. We are also reading Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert for inspiration.
Older students are also making science connections as they study weather patterns before making colorful wind chimes with clay. Each chime consists of ceramic beads that are hand formed, painted, and glazed. Have you ever hear ceramic wind chimes? The sound is quite lovely. Come look and listen.
Keep an eye out for more installations next school year! Have a great summer!
Fourth grade students visited Telfair Museums' Jepson Center again this year to see sculptures by Auguste Rodin. Celebrating the centennial of his death, students are studying the expression and texture of Rodin's work before creating their very own self-portrait with clay. Using coils of clay and pinching forms, fourth and fifth grade student are exploring additive and subtractive ways to work clay. The finished product is lovely- can you guess who made these sculptures?
In October fourth grade students visited Telfair Museums to take a tour of two exhibits, Watershed: Contemporary Landscape Photography and Complex Uncertainties: Artists in Postwar America. We saw many great works of art; the picture below shows a piece made by Louise Nevelson, which inspired us to make our own monochromatic relief sculptures.
Nevelson (1899-1988) assembled large sculptures with found objects, often discarded materials, then painted them one color. She described her process and product as this,
"I go to the sculpture, and my eye tells me what is right for me. When I compose, I don't have anything but the material, myself, and an assistant. I compose right there while the assistant hammers. Sometimes it's the material that takes over; sometimes it's me that takes over. I permit them to play, like a see saw. I use action and counteraction, like in music, all the time. Action and counteraction. It was always a relationship- my speaking to the wood and the wood speaking back to me."
"But when I fell in love with black, it contained all color. It wasn't a negation of color. It was an acceptance. Because black encompasses all colors. Black is the most aristocratic color of all... You can be quiet and it contains the whole thing. There is no color that will give you the feeling of totality. Of peace. Of greatness. Of quietness. Of excitement, I have seen things that were transformed into black, that took on just greatness. I don't know a lesser word."
We are having fun assembling our own recycled materials, creating unique compositions, then choosing our favorite color to paint these beautiful works!
Read more about Nevelson here, www.louisenevelsonfoundation.org/ .
Hello from the studio at Jacob G. Smith Elementary School! My name is Jillian Luse and I work with emerging artists in kindergarten through fifth grade. This is our online gallery, a space to share what we learn and create.