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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SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 37 I assured students that I wasn't going to hang their practice draw- ings or show them to anyone, and that they would gain skill through experience. By the end of the period, the paper-covered tables were filled with a moving, jumping swarm of energetically drawn silhouettes. Now that students were comfortable draw- ing people, they were ready to tackle sculpture. Creating Figure Sculptures I asked each student to create a pair of figures that interacted with each other to tell a story. Each miniature person was created using three pipe cleaners wrapped in tin foil. One pipe cleaner was bent to create the legs, a second pipe cleaner was wrapped around to form the body, and a third was snaked through the shoulders to create the arms. Finally, a piece of tin foil was wrapped around the neck to form the head and all the joints were wrapped with masking tape for reinforcement. I cut pieces of canvas board on my paper cutter to create the bases and students secured the figures in place using low-temperature hot-glue guns. Students cut and dipped plaster- coated bandages in water before using them to wrap their sculptures. Smaller pieces of bandage were moistened, crumpled, sculpted, and smoothed to create details. Pasting and Painting Once the sculptures were finished, students painted them with multiple coats of modeling paste. We found that modeling paste worked bet- ter than gesso to fill in the holes in the plaster bandages and to create a smooth painting surface. Students finished by painting their figures with acrylic. Reflection During the final critique, I showed students the art of Alberto Giacom- etti, George Segal, Keith Haring, and Mark Kostabi. We discussed the ways that students' work was similar to and different from the works of these famous artists. Each student wrote an artist statement to accompany his or her work. Middle-school student Eliana Beauchamps wrote, "George Segal's work reminds me of my sculpture because he sculpts realistic people moving but his [art] is life-sized. I like how I made the girl in the air. I would love to try to make the bodies more proportional." Rachel Wintemberg is an art teacher at Samuel E. Shull School in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. rachelhw1966 @ 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 thehelpfulartteacher.blogspot. com/2016/01/figure-sculptures-in- paris-craft.html?m=1 After completing a unit on figure and movement, it seemed onl atural to ask m tudents to translate those skills into sculpture. Top: Jonathan, grade eight. Bottom: Natalia, grade eight. Top: Leslie, grade eight. Bottom: Ashley, grade eight.

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