SchoolArts Magazine

OCT 2010

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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Page 45 of 67

Middle School Studio Lesson ClAy BEllS edo inspiration Tom Wagner C eremonial copper and iron bells at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art helped me to create an interdisciplinary unit with a focus on the contributions various cultures make toward the richness of a community. In addition to art, craft, design, and music, we focused on nar- 44 October 2010 SchoolArts rative stories in literature about bells. We read aloud the infamous Edgar Allen Poe four-part work, The Bells. In much the same way that Poe's poem equates four characteristic bells with four life-changing moments, our sculptural bell represents four aspects of student experiences. The inspirational Edo bell from eighteenth- century Benin Kingdom in Nigeria, which I saw at the National Museum of African Art, consists of four flat sides dense with inscription and relief. These bells prompted me to design a ceramic project incorporating slabbuilding techniques. I challenged students to identify and set realistic short- or long-term positive, produc-

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