SchoolArts Magazine

October 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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OCTOBER 2018 SchoolArts 24 24 M I D D L E S C H O O L MIX IT UP Hannah Salia J ust what is the creative process? I asked my seventh- and eighth-grade students to consider this overarch - ing Essential Question in Mix It Up, a trimester-long master class involving a series of three mixed-media visual art projects. Identifying the phases of the creative process and tracking their own experiences as we journeyed through printmaking, sculpture, and paint - ing, students became aware of their own artistic process and the chal - lenges and successes common to all innovative creators. Having students participate directly in understanding and identifying the actual phases of the creative process allows for a climate of collegiality and inspired student engagement. Students feel like pro - fessionals— respected artists in their own right—when they develop a sense of ownership in their own creative process, and this, in turn, sustains their involvement in projects through all the inevitable challenges that take place. The Creative Process We began by developing some overarching questions about the creative process based on an intro - duction to the phases of creative learning: inspiration (the bright beginning), immersion (the explora - tion and development of the ideas), incubation (the difficult phase where many ideas may need to be abandoned, when space, time, and tolerance for not-knowing are necessary to move forward), illu - mination (the moment when the answer is clear), and completion as the artwork is finished. Students worked in groups to explore these questions, and they periodically revisited them to record their find - ings as the class progressed. Suminagashi and Marbling The class began with a unit on suminagashi and paper marbling, ancient printing techniques that began in ancient Japan and Iran and moved eventually to Europe in the Middle Ages. Suminagashi is created by floating paint directly on water to create patterns using the movement of the water and air, while marbling uses thicker inks floated on a gel-like bath (carra- geenan) and combed or raked into intricate patterns. The resulting print is pulled by placing treated Students became aware of their own artistic process and the challenges and successes common to all innovative creators. OCTOBER 2018 SchoolArts

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