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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paper directly on the surface of the water bath and then pulling it off for drying. You can find videos on the process of suminagashi and paper marbling in the Web Links below. Exploring the Medium Students were excited to create their own suminagashi. They mixed their paints, prepared their brushes, and worked with a variety of substrates (water, gel) to produce their complex color patterns that were then printed by floating paper on the water bath. This is a fluid art, difficult to control, and visually stunning! Students experimented with many different combinations of paint, pat- tern, and paper, ultimately creating printed pieces that became the basis for symbolic kite imagery on real kites. They noticed that the stages of inspiration and immersion went almost immediately to completion in this unit, with very little incuba- tion period at all. They attributed this to the fact that we were deliberately exploring the medium without an overarching question to solve. Moving to Sculpture In our 3D project, inspired by David Exner's workshop at the NAEA con - vention several years ago, students were challenged to design large free - standing animals from cardboard, using interlocking notches and slots for the multiple parts that define the animal's attributes. Spatial reasoning, multiple experiments with shape and stability, and a great deal of patience were required for the completed pieces. Students spent considerable time in the more vexing parts of the cre - ative process. Immersion was longer and more divergent, and the incuba - tion periods were prolonged. To my delight, students began to realize what stage they were in, calling out to each other across the classroom, "Don't worry, you're in the incuba - tion stage," or "Just wait, illumina- tion is coming." There was a lot of laughter throughout the project! My students had become aware that each stage led to another stage, not to a dead end. This gave them the cour - age to persist through the difficul- ties, which, in turn, led to success across the entire class. Altered Books Our final project of the term was an in-depth exploration of the art of the altered book. Students were required to have an overarching concept, make a concrete plan for an ongoing visual narrative (it's a book, after all), and show a unified use of mixed-media materials. These art - works required deep thinking about how to bring the concept through a developed narrative using a multi - plicity of materials in a self-directed way throughout the unit. Persistence Students loved the altered book project, and they were engaged and motivated through all the phases of the creative process. The depth of the conceptual ideas and the multiplicity of the materials required to develop their narra - tives drove their interest in creat- ing completely unique artworks, and they routinely referred to the creative stage they were in with self-knowledge and confidence. They all agreed that immersion was the most lengthy stage for this unit; by the nature of their complexity, developing the visual narratives for these book artworks required lots of experimentation and a great deal of flexibility in direction before coming to fruition. The Journey Beginning with high expectations for their own creative work, students became peer collaborators in support of their own inquiry. Developing their understanding of the creative process, charting its progression through the multiple projects, and discovering variations in stages depending on the specific project at hand, students sustained a high level of engagement across the entire term. Ultimately, the classroom spirit embodied the cre- ative process at its very best: artists starting out on the creative journey that we all share. Hannah Salia is an interdisciplinary sub- ject leader/art specialist at St. Thomas School in Medina, Washington. hannah. salia@ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Creating: Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work. W E B L I N K S PI1E& GOs& SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 25

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