Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My apology

(this is a painting I photographed at MoMA, NYC)
I've been a bad girl, and I apologize.

So - a few days back I posted two Egyptian projects, and then more recently I posted about giving credit for ideas you post, and then I realized that I was GUILTY of the crime myself. Somehow I neglected to mention the inspiration for these 2 projects!! So here's the best I can do:

The mummy case idea was in School Arts Magazine a LONG time ago, probably at least 10, maybe 20 years. So I doubt I could still locate it.

The idea of carving Sheetrock
(drywall) came from 2 places - a "Friday After-Dark" hands-on workshop at my state conference also MANY years ago, at least 10 but probably more. Turned out the woman who presented the workshop also wrote about it in, again, School Arts. Somewhere in the bowels of my file cabinet it still exists. The article in the magazine was about carving geometric abstract designs. In the workshop we were at liberty to select our subject.

I have used the Sheetrock with my 6th graders for other lessons besides the cartouche one, but I have never done the abstract design lesson from the magazine. It just didn't interest me. This is just the 2nd time I've done the cartouche theme, and we don't carve sheet rock every year. (Last year between time spent making unique altered books and those fabulous "people in motion" sculptures, as well as a bunch of other stuff, we just didn't have the time for Sheetrock OR even for Egypt. OOPS.) Other years, I just didn't want to scrounge for Sheetrock. I don't like spending money when I can get someone's scraps for free!

Anyhoo - One year we carved lovely relief landscapes, and each was painted in a monochromatic scheme of the student's choice, with just one item in the landscape the complementary color. So, for example, after carving, the mountains, sky, everything might have been painted orange, and one tree might have been blue. They looked really cool. I don't have photos.

Another year, we carved African mask designs, with fabulous results. I love the strong symmetrical designs, the exaggeration, and stylization of African masks, as well as the patterning. They were a good theme for the Sheetrock. I don't have photos of these either.

As I said before, this was just the second time I used the cartouche as the carving theme. I think it suits the material well. I should mention though, if you are interested in trying this, IT IS MESSY. Carving the gypsum is easy; but you have to be very clear regarding cleanup expectations, just like if you are using plaster or plaster bandage.

When we have done the mummy cases (many many times), we take over the whole hallway, and our class sizes in my rural school are relatively small (I need to be honest about this). The kids work in pairs, some on my tables, some on my floor, and then I usually let maybe 3 groups go out in the hall to work. The hallway is a privilege they earn and that can easily be taken away. The kids love this project but it does take a long time. They tend to get into really intricate hieroglyphics (for example Chloe and Hannah might have their writing say "Here lies Queen Chlo-ah" the powerful, lover of cats, born 1999") As often as I say remind them to SIMPLIFY they just get carried away!

So please accept my apologies for leaving out the 'credit' for these lesson inspirations. Boy is my face red!!! Thanks for reading!

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