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The Busy Art Studio

The Busy Art Studio
Abbey Day

All grade levels have been busy creating artworks that sharpen both their technical and problem-solving creative skills. While some class inquiries have led to art explorations, others are starting to take shape and will result in culminating art projects after spring break.

1st/2nd Grades

The 1st and 2nd-grade team has been grappling with the ideas of “perspective” and “sight.” Each class has approached these rich ideas differently, taking them up from an artistic lens and the children’s natural curiosity.

At the beginning of the semester, we took the idea of “look” quite literally. We explored how the human body uses the eyes and brain to see, delving into the mechanisms at play. After reviewing the parts of the eye, the children had the opportunity to experience the magic of a camera obscura (in Italian a “darkened room”), replicating the way an eye works. This is a predecessor to photography and serves as an artistic tracing tool. The excitement was palpable as they saw our play court displayed upside down, just like the eye!

While some classes questioned the trustworthiness of “look” and “sight,” it naturally led into discussions on optical illusions and visual perspectives (horizon, vanishing points) that trick the eye. The students enjoyed creating a variety of artworks that play with the viewer's perception.

After spring break, we will delve into more abstract concepts of perspective—exploring how we can look at the same thing and see completely different ideas.

3rd/4th Grades

We have been hard at work learning about balance, clay techniques, and expressing our personality through clay bobble heads. Each bobble head is a reflection of the student’s creativity, interests, and how they navigate the learning process. Though the project may appear simple, it took many weeks of sustained focus and effort to conceive an idea, sculpt the head, shape the body, and finally paint. It’s a testament to the students’ ability to have an artistic vision and bring it to life over time.

After the break, we will tap into the students’ classroom inquiry around the māla (garden) to produce kapa (Hawaiian cloth). They have been busy learning about all the different elements that need to be in balance to successfully grow and create. Building on the idea of balance, we have begun exploring the artist Alexander Calder and his nature-inspired, giant mobiles. Each student will create a mobile with clay, wire, and paper of their choice, contributing to finding balance in kapa-making. This will result in a collaborative, larger mobile for their class. Stay tuned!

5th Grade

The 5th Grade has been busy creating special culminating projects. They studied the existing legacy portrait tiles outside their classrooms and embarked on the multi-week challenge of creating their own. Each student had to roll their own clay, cut it to precise size, incise their portrait, and add elements for visual depth. Throughout the process, there were moments of audible joy, frustration, encouragement, and advice given amongst themselves for each step. It created a vibrant learning atmosphere. The pieces are currently glazed (color to be revealed later!) and ready to hang before their Leavetaking week.

The students are also excited about contributing to our ‘Apapane Gallery. Each year, the 5th grade creates a digital artwork of their choice, ranging from collages to their favorite characters. Finished pieces are printed, with one for the student to take home and one for the ‘Apapane Gallery in the Art Cottage. Additionally, the artworks will be displayed on the digital bulletin board in the office, in front of Ms. Jayme’s desk.

After the break, the students will paint their 3-D-printed busts and develop their logo for their capstone project. Amidst these milestone projects, the students have enjoyed open studio time and shown keen interest in moviemaking, with quite a few polished music videos already!

All Grade Levels

Sometimes, we engage in projects that benefit all grade levels. This was the case in February, during Black History Month, when we learned about the artist Alma Thomas and “tried on” her beautiful, mosaic-like painting style that helped influence our approach to this year’s memory book cover. The students are busy working on a surprise, collaborative element that we’ll see in May!

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