Thursday, February 28, 2013

Creating Believers

One of the biggest challenges I face in my Art II classes is getting my students to believe me.  To believe me when I say that sighting works but they must lock their elbow.  To believe me when I tell them to squint at their work to evaluate their values..  To believe me when I say, "walk across the room and look at it from a distance and you can see what's wrong."  To believe me when I say that real artists really do think about composition, movement, repetition, a color palette, a focal point.  To believe me when I tell them that the greatest art comes from passion, from feeling strongly about something.

I want them to 'get' art and to understand that art-making is not the end goal; communication is.  Exploration of an idea.  Sharing an opinion in a creative way.  As Shea Hembrey says, it has the 3 H's - Head (ideas), Heart (emotion), and Hands (technical skill).

Shea Hembrey decided that contemporary art had become too esoteric so he decided to create his own Biennale - a body of work created in two years by 100 artists.  These artists were created by Hembrey, as well as their bios, backgrounds, ideas, and working methods.  He created the artists, then he created their works.  There are several examples of "this artist is interested in exploring the idea of _____," along with the resulting artwork.  If someone came across the exhibit, there would be nothing to indicate the works were made by one person.

Check it out; it's pretty cool.  And I think I'm going to show it to my Art II. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Alabama Clay Conference

This past weekend was the Alabama Clay Conference. If you've never been and are into clay, I highly recommend going. I have seen some superstars of ceramics at these over the past 10 years.

I went with a friend who is a retired high school teacher. She now has a ceramics studio downtown here in Decatur. We started the trip with a trip to the Birmingham Museum of Art. A piece by Maria Martinez:

Our Presenters were Gerit Grimm, Kurt Weiner, and Dirk Staschke. Here is one of Dirk's pieces from the BMA:

Thursday night was the Clay Market where artists sell their work. I have been eyeing the work of Larry Allen for a few years now, and I finally bought a piece. It is small, but I love it.

Right before we left, I realized that our school kiln wasn't firing correctly. The kiln-sitter was so far out of whack it would shut off the kiln without the cone even bending. Luckily, the nice guy at the Skutt booth gave me a gauge to calibrate the kiln sitter:

After walking through the vendors, it was time to watch the presenters. Here, Dick Staschke demonstrates how he uses a routed board and a custom-cut rib to make a fancy base for one of his pieces:

Gerit (pronounced "Garrett;" she's German but lives in the US) makes small to life-sized figurative sculpture and she throws all of the pieces. At least, she threw all for the demonstration except for the hands and feet. The heads are made of a couple of egg shapes put together. She does the torso the same way. She likes to keep the throwing lines visible. You can see them in the figures' legs:

I bought a trial kit of Artistic Line Resist with classroom money. I can't wait to show it to my students. You can draw, brush, trail, or screenprint with it and it acts as a glaze resist. You can kind of see from their sample board:

Dirk Staschke's finished sample piece:

Kurt Weiner's sample piece. This is China painting like no little old lady has ever done. One side:

Here is the other side:

Gerit Grimm's piece:

After the conference, we had a teacher workshop using clay and underglazes. I think this is the third year for this. Larry Percy at Troy State started the tradition the year Lana Wilson was one of the presenters.

All in all, I had a great time and it has recharged my batteries enough that I have come home and started cleaning and rearranging / organizing my ceramic studio.

So Little Time

I have so much that I want to blog about, just very little time in which to do it.  I originally planned to post things as the year progressed, but that obviously hasn't worked.  So in this post, I want to create a list of things I want to post about.  These are mostly things that have happened in the past year.  I may update this post periodically to add new things.  If there is something here that you would like to hear about sooner, let me know in the comments (if anyone is out there reading this!) and I will post on it sooner.  If you want me to post on something that I didn't list, you can ask for that as well.

Future blog post topics:

The Shoe Project
The Peeps Project
The Crane Sroject
AP Art History
National Art Honor Society (NAHS)
Field Trips
Student Art Show
Alabama Clay Conference
What do you do when you have a sub?
Portfolio Day
Tapestry Weaving
Value Scale Pattern Portraits
The Leader in Me Symposium
Common Core / College & Career Readiness

Hopefully, I will be able to start this soon.  I am currently working on a new logo for our art department.  I need to take a graphic design class!