SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2007

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 24 of 75

Marta Labecki. Michael Brock. Lauren Cronk. art and shared information about the drying and cleaning process. I demonstrated the materials and processes that were available and gave students a chance to practice some techniques. Students could decoupage the outside of the gourd with a glue sealer and torn paper (tissue or other type) or stain the surface by rubbing shoe polish or oil paint onto the surface with a small scrap rag. (All chose the latter technique.) Stenciling shapes cut from manila tag board was also demonstrated. Raffia could be woven into or around the gourd, with beads, feathers, and other adornments added later for decoration. Students also had the opportunity to use wood-burning tools. After demonstrating their use and reviewing safety tips provided on the package, students practiced burning simple lines and shapes into scrap wood. Use of the tools was limited to two students seated at desks in front of the room close to adult supervision. (I also warned the custodians of the smell of burning wood should they become concerned.) All students who used this tool did so responsibly. The session ended with students choosing a gourd and lightly sanding it to remove any remaining rough surfaces. The following four weeks progressed with students working independently and diligently on their gourds and volunteers helping where necessary: glue guns, cordless drills, and wood-burning tools were carefully supervised, encouragement was given, work areas cleaned up, and refreshments were provided for that after-school pick-me-up. Our gourd-eous gourds reflected the beauty of the season, the efforts of our students, and the wonderful support of our parent volunteers. My volunteer who owns the farm has already promised us a supply of gourds for next year. What's next? Giant papiermâché. Thank goodness my volunteers want to hang around a little longer! Mary Coy teaches art at Spry Middle School in Webster, NY, and is a contributing editor for SchoolArts. Materials • driedgourds • sandpaper • acrylic,oilpaints,orshoe polish • assortedbeadsandfeathers • wire • raffia • glueguns • drill • wood-burningtools NatioNal StaNdard Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas. Web liNkS of gourds) SchoolArts May/June 2007 23

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