SchoolArts Magazine

May-June 2015

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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schoolartsonline.com 21 edges for hanging. I give students most of this class period to perfect and fin- ish their samplers. The Clay Loom Students are now ready to create clay weaving looms. I begin by showing them a sample and photos of weav - ings completed by past students. We look at a cardboard loom and discuss how a loom works. I explain that, although most looms are not part of the finished weaving, their looms will be made of clay and will remain an integral part of their projects. Day 2: Additives We explore additive techniques with clay knives, slip, and some small, previously rolled slabs of clay. After a demonstration on slipping, scoring, cutting, sponging, and smoothing, I get out the previous day's supplies and clay samplers, along with some cookie cutters and stamps. Each stu - dent gets a small piece of clay that he or she can cut from to create additives. Day 3: Details Students learn how to impress tools and found objects on the edges of their clay to create artis- tic interest. They also learn how to use straws to make holes in the top Blocking and Shaping Students set up their work spaces and wedge new pieces of clay. They block in only one direction until their clay is about 20" (51 cm) or more. Next, they bend the clay into an oval or rect- angular shape. Students can smooth the clay with a sponge if they need to add moisture. They slip and score the overlapping edges, hand-flatten the clay, and then use rolling pins and leveling sticks. The clay is stored in plastic until the next class. Carving Out the Weft Students begin the next class by impressing textures into the clay while I walk around and cut out the inside of the clay pieces in a square or rectangle. Students can change the outside shape of the clay loom, make any additions they like, and use a straw to cut two lines of evenly spaced holes for the warp strings. They fin- ish by drying, firing, and glazing their looms with watercolor ceramic glazes, then refiring. The Weaving Process Each student sets up a tray with a thick layer of newspaper under the weaving loom. Their first task is to tightly warp their looms back and forth from the holes with strong yarn. Next, they learn how to weave in and out of the weft. I give them crite- ria for their weavings on a worksheet. Students must: • learn and apply at least four differ- ent stitches (rhythm). • repeat all stitches in at least two areas (balance). • repeat the same yarn colors in at least two different areas (color har- mony, unity). • include mountain areas and weav - ing slits throughout (contrast). • create an area that stands out through the use of beads, special knots, and stitches (emphasis). Throughout this process, students are constantly engaged and excited about all the new things they are learning. Dianne Blickle is an art teacher at Paxon Hollow Middle School in Broomall, Penn- sylvania. dblickle @ comcast.net Allowing students time each day for creative "play" is my answer for achieving success.

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