SchoolArts Magazine

December 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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18 DECEMBER 2015 SchoolArts Among the information and project sheets I have accumulated are a group of lesson plan ideas that seem to offer new possibilities for my artroom. I was particularly intrigued by a project involving "deconstructed," or altered books. I was immediately attracted to the sculptural possibilities of this project. Finding Books The first hurdle was getting my hands on a supply of hardcover books for student use. Initially, I explored local thrift stores, but for the number of books I was looking for, this proved to be too expensive. A short time later, a faculty email regarding the disposal of out-of-date textbooks gave me the motivation I needed. I quickly sent out an email to the entire faculty asking for unwanted books to be sent my way for a student project. The response was overwhelm- ingā€”bags of books in all sizes and types found their way to me. I had a great supply to start with. Altering Books My after-school art class was the first to take part in this challenge. I encouraged students to tear, roll, cut, punch out, carve, paint, and do anything they could imagine to the books. The beauty of a project such as this is that if a page doesn't work out as expected, it can be torn out and redone, minimizing creative anxiety. The results were outstanding. One student used two books, and another added paper to construct a butterfly sculpture. This involved a bit of engi- neering to make the creation stand alone, but it was worth the effort. Many of the books were hot-glued to a base of cardboard or foam board to make for easy handling and display, either on a table or the wall. Reflections This project stretched students' imagi- nations in new ways. They had to con- tend with both 2D and 3D elements at the same time. Students also collabo - rated with each other throughout the process, making suggestions and try - ing out ideas to see what would work. Every book had a unique outcome. Finished projects were displayed in the school's library media center. Here, faculty and students could see the results of the book donations. I look forward to this year's recycled book project and plan to encourage stu - dents to incorporate found objects and other interesting ephemera into their work. This latest idea was inspired by an online class I took with the Museum of Modern Art called "Experi - menting with Collage." One of the col- lages involved an altered book, which inspired me to continue to develop this 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 idea with students, as well as introduce them to contemporary artists working in this medium. Carla Valentino is an art teacher at Red Bank Catholic High School in Red Bank, New Jersey. valentinoc @ redbankcatholic. com I encouraged students to tear, roll, cut, punch out, carve, paint and do an thing the could imagine to the books.

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