SchoolArts Magazine

December 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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Page 34 of 54

Gaudí-esque I t was an art teacher's dream...dur- ing the summer, I spent ten days in Spain. I was excited to visit three of the world's best museums, all in Madrid: the Museo del Prado, Museo Reina Sofía, and Museo Thyssen- Bornemisza. But what took me by surprise was what awaited me in the port city of Barcelona. I found there the incredible and surreal architec- tural masterpieces of artistic genius Antoni Gaudí. While on a tour of Gaudí's Barce- lona, I was astounded by the many captivating buildings—the famous Sagrada Família Basílica, the Casa Batlló, the Park Güell, and many of Gaudí's other enchanting architec- tural masterpieces. I knew that I had to share Gaudí's inspiring work with my students. Sharing the Sights Upon returning to school, I showed my students images of the spectacular Sagrada Família Basílica, a mystical cathedral; the Surreal Casa Batlló, with its enchanting rooms and a roof like the tail of a dragon; and the magical Park Güell, with its overlooking ter - races, long, winding benches, amazing tile work, and numerous sculptures. Nature Abounds Gaudí's architecture abounds with inspiration from nature. His struc- tures include winding staircases evoking the spiral of a garden snail, columns suggestive of plant life, gates designed with organic patterns from a honeycomb, waves of a leaf or water, lines found in vines, and orna- mentals designed from fruit. Fa ades on the buildings include tile work and stylized mosaics. The fa ade on the balconies of the Casa Batlló evokes images of skulls and bones. Students observed the images with great inter- est and picked up the same enthusi- asm I felt when first viewing them. Multicolored Sculptures Next, I shared with students that they would each create a sculptural tower that incorporated inspiration from nature similar to the way it is seen in Gaudí's works. The sculptures would be created from cylindrical armatures made from recycled materials. The finish of the sculptures would be cre- ated with construction paper torn to appear like the mosaics often seen on Gaudi's constructions, then sealed with a clear acrylic finish. Requirements for the completed sculpture were that it must: stand upright between 12 and 18" in height, include at least two refer- ences to nature, and be multicolored with a mosaic-like finish. Papier-Mâché Towers Students each chose two aspects of nature (and fantasy), such as trees, animals, plants, fruit, dragons, and insects, to incorporate into their tow- ers. They drew fully colored studies before starting their sculptures. Stu- dents used newspaper, cardboard, TOWERS 30 DECEMBER 2016 SchoolArts M I D D L E S C H O O L Michele Kessler I knew that I had to share Gaudí's inspiring work with m students.

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