When Art and Math Collide: Op Art IcosahedronsPosted by Krissy Ponden
Bridget Riley was one of the most influential artists of the Op Art movement of the 1960’s. She painted large scale optical illusions, first using only black and white, to create complex images that tricked the eye. Soon the bold and vibrant designs caught on and became a part of the mod aesthetic of the era, and Op Art was seen everywhere from fashion to advertising. The seventh graders looked at examples of Riley’s art and then learned how to create their own illusions. We then combined this idea with a geometry concept by drawing our illusions on a three dimensional shape called an icosahedron, a polyhedron composed of 20 equilateral triangular faces. The students created a template from a single sheet of paper and then decorated it in black and white optical art designs. Look for them hanging from the art room ceiling soon!
A Lesson in Medieval Heraldry and Coats of ArmsPosted by Krissy Ponden
This year for our annual Winterfest project students in seventh grade created detailed Coats of Arms to represent either their own ancestry, or an imagined family history. They researched their names and also learned about the rules of heraldry, the way by which people identified their birth order and status in Medieval times. The students designed a crest, or coat of arms, with symbols and images that represented them or appealed to them and painted their designs in bold colors. They also added a banner at the bottom with either a family name or a phrase. Some students even chose to use a foreign language to signify their heritage. The richly ornamented finished projects were displayed around the castle walls during the Winterfest production.
The Art of Our Early AncestorsPosted by Krissy Ponden
It’s hard to imagine, but thousands of years ago man had the same inexplicable desire to create that artists do today. Prehistoric art is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of our early ancestors, who painted with surprising detail and artistic talent. The oldest known murals and carvings are found in the Lascaux caves in France and date back to 17,000 years ago.
The fifth graders learned about Lascaux and viewed some of the rare and inaccessible images inside the cave. We then worked on a project replicating the painting (pictographs) and carving (petroglyphs) techniques. The students etched images telling a story of their imagined ancestors including where they lived, what they ate, and how they dressed. We learned about simple ways to express forms and shapes. Students then carved a rubber stamp and printed a repeating symbol around the outside of their “rock wall,” which was dirtied up with chalk to give the impression of age.
Building Birds’ NestsPosted by Carlene Gordon
While investigating the needs of animals in science, our third grade students were presented with a task…think like a bird and create shelter for yourself and your young. In an on-going effort to create problem-solvers, students were given little more instruction than that. We walked through the woods and picked materials that may be useful and then headed into the makerspace to design, build, problem-solve, redesign and rebuild. Students soon realized that building a strong nest is no easy task. Next week we’ll put our nests to the test, where we will put our designs into trees and see how many <em>eggs</em> they may hold…
Beauty in the EphemeralPosted by Krissy Ponden
Andy Goldsworthy is an artist who works with the most ubiquitous of materials to create incredible sculptures of ephemeral wonder. Using twigs, stones, icicles and even natural pigments he grinds himself, Goldsworthy creates intricate manipulations of the natural world which highlight the subtle beauty and elegance inherent in everything around us. He frequently tempts the inevitable tides of rivers by placing his fragile sculptures in the path of the water’s flow. Goldsworthy explains that it is what happens after he does his part that is the true art–the changes and evolution spurred on by the environment. The sixth graders watched Rivers and Tides, a documentary on Goldsworthy’s art and process, and marveled as carefully constructed stone towers became submerged and stick sculptures were swept into the ocean. We discussed the purpose of environmental art and Goldsworthy’s reasons for creating such short-lived masterpieces. The students then went out into Unquowa’s fields and forest and worked in small groups to create their own environmental works of art.
When OpArt Meets GeometryPosted by Krissy Ponden
Seventh grade has been playing tricks on their eyes…and soon yours too! We began the year studying OpArt, the artistic movement that arose in the 1960s that utilizes line, color, pattern and repetition to create stunning works of optical illusion. Bridget Riley, a painter and printmaker, was one of the early artists to play with patterns in a way that would eventually become a trademark of 60s fashion and design. To make our own works of OpArt even more dynamic, we used a three-dimensional geometric form called an icosahedron as our canvas. Consisting of 20 equilateral triangles, icosahedrons provide the perfect structure to showcase these mind bending designs!