Ceramics & Sculpture Level I Curriculum & Art Lesson Descriptions


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This Contemporary Art high school Ceramics & Sculpture curriculum is driven by the artistic behaviors of artists from the past and from the 21st century. The curriculum is divided into 4 parts, labeled as "sequences" which could conveniently each be a focus for a 4-term school year.

Ceramics & Sculpture Level I Curriculum & Art Lesson Descriptions

  1. 1.     SEQUENCE  ONE     COMPOSITION  IN  2D  –  MAGAZINE  COLLAGE  TRIPTYCH       PLANAR  STUDIES:  ORGANIC  FORMS  w/  GEOMETRIC  EDGES       HIGH  RELIEF  STUDY:  OBSESSIVE  TEXTURES  IN  CLAY         2D  BLACK  AND  WHITE  SHARPIE  DESIGN       SGRAFFITO  BOWL  –  USING  UNDERGLAZE  &  MOLDS  (CERAMICS)       ARTMAKING  VERBS  –  INVESTIGATING  THE  POTENTIAL  OF  A  MEDIUM  (WOOD)     Students  will  create  3  collages  using  pages  from  magazines  that  ask  them  to  investigate  2D  visual   concepts  in  composition  and  arrangement:  A)  same  shape  w/  alternating  pattern,  B)  creating   unexpected  &  unusual  visuals,  C)  fragmented  pieces  &  the  important  of  negative  space  between…     Students  will  create  an  original  organic  form  using  geometric  or  flat,  angular,  planar   shapes.  No  surface  treatments  are  allowed.  Students  may  use  any  kind  of  tape  as  a  detail,   as  long  as  it  is  only  used  on  planar  edges.  Student  must  also  explore  how  to  incorporate   negative  space  –OR-­‐  interior  space  somewhere  in  the  sculpture.     Students  will  explore  ways  to  make  various  textures  using  the  additive  method  to  a  clay  tile  that  comes  across  as   “obsessive”  in  order  to  practice  hand-­‐sculpting  skills  as  well  as  slipping  and  scoring.  Students  are  reminded  that  this   will  be  hung  on  a  wall,  and  not  lay  flat  on  a  table.  Basic  foundations  of  “clay-­‐care”  will  also  be  taught  (putting  away   clay,  maintaining  clay  projects  over  long  periods  of  time,  greenware,  bisqueware,  kiln  firing,  etc)   Students  will  create  a  design,  exploring  how  using  variation  in  sizes  and  shapes  creates  VISUAL  INTEREST  &   FREQUENCY.  Students  will  start  with  3  original  shapes  and  then  transition  them/make  variations  of  them  across   white  drawing  paper.  Their  3  shapes  need  to  change  or  be  altered  at  least  in  3  different  ways  (total  of  9  shapes).   Their  composition  should  fill  up  the  entire  paper  and  activate  the  edges.   Students  will  learn  how  to  use  clear  plastic  wrap,  a  slab  roller,  hair  dryer,  and  a  bowl  mold  in  order  to  create  a   perfect  bowl  by  hand.  The  bottom  feet  and  lip  of  the  bowl  will  be  a  big  focus  during  this  stage.  Then,  students  will   learn  the  sgraffito  glaze  application  technique  and  will  paint  the  outside  of  their  bowl  with  black  underglaze.  The   inside  of  the  bowl  will  be  painted  a  contrasting  color.  They  will  use  inspiration  from  their  2D  design  to  scrape  away   an  interesting  surface  pattern  on  the  outside  of  their  bowl.  Finally,  students  will  coat  the  whole  bowl  with   transparent  gloss  glaze.     As  a  class,  we  will  come  up  with  a  list  of  artmaking  verbs  and  a  list  of  various  ideas  and  concepts  in   creating  dynamic  composition.  Students  will  choose  3  artmaking  verbs  and  3  compositional  ideas  and   apply  them  to  a  sculpture  using  various  types  of  wood.  
  2. 2.     SEQUENCE  TWO     INTUITIVE  PAINTING  (COLOR  WORKSHOP)       BAS  RELIEF  STUDY:  ESTABLISHING  SPATIAL  RELATIONSHIPS       CREATING  IMAGERY  –  CLAY  EMBOSSING  TILE       POWERFUL  ABSTRACTIONS  –  PAPIER  MACHE  MEDIA  EXPLORATION       DEVELOPING  VISUAL  CONCEPTS:  FROM  ORDINARY  TO  EXTRAORDINARY  (CLAY  COIL  POTS)       100  OBJECTS  CHALLENGE  –  FOUND  OBJECT  ASSEMBLAGE     Students  must  bring  in  100  objects.  These  objects  must  be  every-­‐day,  non-­‐traditional  objects  that  are  not   usually  associated  with  artmaking.  (For  example,  tissue  paper  and  pom-­‐poms  may  not  be  used,  but  zip  ties   or  pennies  are  fine.)  Students  are  not  allowed  to  use  any  adhesive  material  (only  cutting  materials).  If  the   student’s  original  object  does  not  allow  connections  or  adhesion  in  any  way  whatsoever,  the  student  may   add  multiples  of  a  second  object  that  will  allow  connectivity  such  as  pushpins  or  rubber  bands.     Students  will  learn  the  basic  technique  of  how  to  build  a  coil  pot  in  clay.  Then,  instead  of  looking  at  “great”  pictures  of   coil  pots,  students  will  observe  images  of  this  familiar,  “typical”  high  school  ceramics  project  done  all  across  the   country.  Students  will  brainstorm  how  to  elaborate  on  the  concept  of  a  coil  pot  and  take  this  assignment  from   “ordinary”  to  “extraordinary”.  This  project  also  includes  a  discussion  of  the  ideas  of  “originality”,  “creativity”,  and  if   ideas  are  truly  “new/fresh”.     Students  will  learn  the  purpose  of/how  to  build  skeletal  armatures  out  of  cardboard  and  wire.  Students  will  then  create   various  forms  and  arrange  them  into  a  composition  that  explores  the  concept  of  POWER.  Discussions  on  “non-­‐literal   interpretations”  and  “getting  beyond  surface  level/the  obvious”,  as  well  as  a  running  list  of  word  associations  of   “POWER”  will  supplement  the  project.  Students  will  be  encouraged  to  explore  an  idea  about  POWER  that  interests   them/that  they  are  curious  about  rather  than  indicating  what  they  already  know.       Students  will  study  and  learn  how  artists  have  juxtaposed,  combined,  and  arranged  images  together   throughout  art  history  and  how  these  techniques  create  a  mood,  metaphor,  symbolism,  an  idea,  a   narrative,  etc.  Students  will  create  their  own  arrangement  of  images  and  reproduce  them  like  a   printmaking  plate  with  chipboard,  matboard,  as  well  as  “drawing”  with  a  hot  glue  gun.  Afterwards,  the   plates  will  be  coated  in  medium  and  then  printed/stamped  using  clay  and  a  slab  roller.     In  similar  fashion  to  the  previous  assignment,  students  will  receive  a  list  of  50  “things”  to  make  (ie  a  perfect  trapezoid,  a   “sad”  trapezoid,  a  diamond  with  3  holes  cut  out  of  it,  an  awkward  shape  in  2  different  colors,  etc)  They  must  choose  10   from  the  list  to  make.  Once  they  are  done  making,  they  need  to  re-­‐edit  and  combine  their  10  pieces  together  into  a   composition  that  focuses  on  spatial  relationships.  (They  do  not  have  to  use  all  ten.)  Various  spatial   relationships/concepts  will  be  discussed  and  analyzed  beforehand  so  students  can  consider  their  options.     Students  will  learn  traditional  techniques  about  the  color  wheel,  how  to  mix  paints,  and     how  to  achieve  certain  colors.  Then,  students  will  have  to  complete  a  list  of  10  prompts  –  but  will  only  know  one   prompt  at  a  time.  Once  they  have  completed  a  prompt,  they  will  ask  the  teacher  for  the  next  prompt.  This  method  will   allow  students  to  focus  on  the  process  and  not  the  outcome  –  also,  it  will  force  them  to  make  certain  choices  about  the   piece,  exercising  “on-­‐the-­‐spot”  intuition  and  decision  making.    
  3. 3.     SEQUENCE  THREE     ARCHITECTURAL  PROPOSAL       THE  MISSING  CHARACTER  -­‐  CLAY       CARDBOARD  TROMPE  L’OEIL       TROMPE  L’OEIL  HYBRID  -­‐    CLAY  &  FOUND  OBJECT       FRAMED:  SELF  PORTRAIT  RELIEF  –  MIXED  MEDIA     Students  will  learn  various  techniques  and  strategies  in  portrait  photography.  Then,  students  will  learn  various  ways  of   manipulating  images  using  simple  programs  on  the  computer  and  apps  on  their  phone.  Students  must  create  a  relief  self-­‐ portrait  using  at  least  2  of  their  photo-­‐manipulations  as  well  as  a  symbolic  or  abstract  visual  idea  using  sculptural   materials.     Students  will  bring  in  a  found  object  and  think  about  how  they  could  combine  the   object  with  an  animal  or  insect/  replace  a  part  of  that  animal/insect  using  the   found  object.  The  goal  is  to  sculpt  the  animal/insect  as  realistic  as  possible  (tromp   l’oeil  fashion)  so  that  the  found  object  can  create  a  sense  of  humor,  cleverness,  etc   as  a  visual  idea.     Students  will  choose  an  object  that  has  several  parts  or  pieces  to  it.  The  goal  is  to  make  the  object     exclusively  out  of  cardboard  materials  and  to  explore  different  ways  of  using  cardboard  to  create  a  sculpture   that  is  accurate  as  possible  to  a  realistic  depiction  of  the  object.  The  only  rule  is  that  the  student  must  have   the  actual  object  in  class  (no  photographs)  and  the  object  cannot  be  in  need  to  “drawing”  aspects/be  too   simple  in  form  (ie  iPhone).     Students  will  study  the  physical  similarities  and  differences  between  characters  in  various  movies,  shows,  and   cartoons.  The  idea  of  UNITY  and  VARIATIONS  will  be  discussed.  Students  will  also  practice  various  parts  of  human   anatomy.  Ideas  of  proportions  will  be  discussed.  As  a  final  project  of  this  unit,  the  students  will  then  design  and  build   the  prototype  of  a  “new/original”  character  that  could  have  possibly  existed  within  the  aesthetic  of  a  movie,  show,  or   cartoon.  For  example,  a  student  may  come  up  with  a  “new”  monster  for  “Where  the  Wild  Things  Are”.       After  studying  various  structures  &  shapes  of  buildings,  students  will  choose  a  specific  space  and  spot  on   Google  Maps  to  plan  an  architectural  building  of  their  own  design.  Purpose  and  function  will  be  discussed  and   should  be  considered  going  into  the  model-­‐building  phase.  Craftsmanship,  accuracy,  and  believability  will  be  a   focus  of  this  assignment.    
  4. 4.     SEQUENCE  FOUR       FRESH  FORM  –  FUNCTIONAL  CLAY  CUP       REVIVAL  CHALLENGE         SLAB  VESSEL  NARRATIVE:  MISHIMA  TECHNIQUE  (CLAY)       PERSONAL  SYMBOL  (FINAL  EXAM)       Students  will  become  familiar  with  the  forms  and  functions  of  an  “average”  cup.   The  students  are  then  encouraged  to  change  the  familiar  shapes/silhouettes  of  a   cup,  but  must  also  keep  the  cup  functional  and  usable.       Students  will  be  asked  to  bring  in  3  different  found  objects  from  a  given  list,   “scavenger  hunt”  style.  One  goal  is  to  create  an  abstract  sculpture  based  on  lines   from  DADA  writing.  A  second  goal  is  to  disguise  the  material  so  that  it  is   completely  unrecognizable  –OR-­‐  so  that  it  elevates  the  expectations  of  the   material,  ie  using  a  water  bottle  and  making  the  plastic  look  expensive  or  like  it  is   a  more  expensive,  sophisticated  material  other  than  plastic.     Students  will  learn  the  basic  techniques  of  how  to  create  a  simple  slab  box.  Then   students  will  choose  various  images  to  apply  to  each  side  using  the  MISHIMA   technique.  Students  will  be  given  a  list  of  prompts  to  helps  them  decide  how  to   choose  images  and  relate  them  thematically  so  that  they  make  sense.  The  ideas  of   “narrative”  and  “symbols”  will  be  discussed.       Students  will  create  a  sculptural  symbol  that  expresses  an  aspect  of  themselves.