This unit supports the interdisciplinary 3rd grade unit of study on space and the universe which students are working on in science, history, music and writing as well as art. In art class students will construct alien creatures out of repurposed objects, and design planets in oil pastels for the backdrop in their music show. This post will focus on the found-object aliens.
Students will explore the concept of symbolism in art, and how they can use symbols—images—to represent aspects of themselves. Using magazines, books and other random two-dimensional found objects (such as playing cards or ticket stubs), students will carefully arrange symbolic imagery into a collage within a silhouette of their own profile.
Students will develop their fine motor skills while exploring ways to get creative with the ancient art of paper quilling.
Activity statement –
Quilling is the art of manipulating and arranging small strips of paper into detailed designs. Depending on the desired shape and appearance, it can be rolled, looped, twisted, and curled. Glue is used to secure the paper strips into place. Like many forms of craft, paper quilling can trace its origins back hundreds of years to at least the 15th century (maybe earlier). It is believed to have been created by French and Italian nuns to decorate religious objects.
Students will first practice a variety of line drawing, or mark-making, techniques, and then use those techniques to render a landscape or still life in pen.
Activity statement –
Using photographs as a starting point, the objective of this lesson was for students to express changes in perspective, texture and value (light and dark) in a realistic drawing using a variety of lines, such as stippling, hatching, and cross-hatching, as well as varying the lines’ density. In this way they can transform a pen drawing into a realistic representation of a scene in nature. To help in this objective, students first created a mark-making chart expressing different types of lines, and discussed how the different types of lines could be used to represent texture, perspective and value.
Observing the distorted gestural figure sculptures of Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), as well as the elongated, rhythmic figure paintings by Ernie Barnes (1938-2009) that both emphasize and exaggerate long limbs, students will create similarly distorted, gestural sculptures primarily out of wire.
Students will learn about the Huichol tradition of weaving an “Ojo de Dios” and practice weaving one of their own, attempting more complicated patterns and techniques as they progress.
Activity statement –
Upon the birth of a baby, Huichol (an indigenous Mexican group) parents weave a beautifully colored and elaborate “Ojo de Dios”, signifying health and protection throughout the child’s life. The child adds to this very Ojo de Dios with each new birthday starting at about age 5. Beginning with a simplified Huichol weaving style, students will create an Ojo de Dios, which will develop their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. With each new Ojo de Dios a student attempts, he/she will practice more complicated weaving techniques, create more elaborate color and shape designs, and improve their overall finished product.
I have a short video on making an Ojo de Dios here:
Students practiced aspects of traditional figure study, learning to draw facial features, hands and feet. Students then built on their experience to explore the Cubist approach to the figure, and used what they learned about Cubism to create a cubist-inspired portrait or figure collage their earlier drawings.
Students explored the work of contemporary New York artist Keith Haring. A crafty, resourceful and thoughtful artist, Haring created artwork with powerful messages using deceptively simple, cartoon-like designs in a variety of spaces, both private and public. His work was accessible to a diverse public in ways few artists had achieved.
Students observed and discussed his use of bold, primary and secondary colors, but more importantly they focused on Haring’s use of straightforward line to suggest movement, gesture and feeling. Students attempted their own designs inspired by the characteristics of Haring’s work. The first lesson had students create designs in 2-D, the second in 3-D.