SchoolArts Magazine

February 2016

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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The Nazca Lines are an enigma. They are the ultimate "whodunit," with plenty of suspects but no final solution. No one has proof who built them or why. Since their discovery, the Nazca Lines have inspired fantastic explanations ranging from ancient gods to landing strips for returning aliens. Due to the isolation of the high plateau where they are found, the lines, for the most part, have been preserved. Peruvian-Inspired Designs After a discussion about the claywork of Pablo Seminario and the Nazca Lines, my students were eager to start designing ceramic tiles. First, they traced 5" (13 cm) square cardboard templates onto sketch paper and used these as tile patterns during sketch - ing. Some students preferred to sketch a single image, while others created triptychs. Photocopied images of the geoglyphs were an excellent resource for this process. Working with Clay We used red earthenware clay to create the tiles. Students used flat Much of Seminario's work features folkloric elements, animals in strik- ing colors, and geometric shapes. His tiles are made of red earthenware clay and colored engobes (slips), which are used for decoration when the tiles have become leather-hard. As the work dries, it is burnished to create the finished surface, and then fired at a low temperature. I knew that I wanted to share what I had learned with my ceramics students. The Nazca Lines What better starting reference could I have had for introducing a decora- tive unit on clay to my students than the Nazca Lines of Peru? The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient designs located in southern Peru. These shal- low lines, or geoglyphs, were made by removing the reddish pebbles on top of the ground, in the process uncov- ering the whitish ground beneath. Hundreds are viewed as simple lines or geometric shapes, while others are stylized in the form of animals, plants, birds, fish, spiders, trees, and monkeys. wooden guides with rolling pins to ensure that the slabs were even in thickness. The cardboard templates utilized during the sketching process were now used as patterns to cut the tiles to size with pin tools. After the tiles were cut out, their edges were smoothed with dampened sponges. We left the tiles to dry in place to pre- vent misshaping. 28 FEBRUARY 2016 SchoolArts

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