Thursday, March 9, 2017

murals with maya.

So, I was planning on having my 2nds experiment with shape and cut paper collage this week... and then I went to a makerspace session at naea17 in nyc last week and changed my mind.

I watched how a morphi representative took a 3d solid she designed in that app and dropped it into a image from google earth to serve as a virtual sculpture. Boom! I loved that idea. Now, I am not fluent enough in morphi to teach it to my kids yet, but I immediately realized I could do something similar with the assembly app with my students.

Last year I had a number of grade levels experiment with the assembly app and found that there was a lot of student success and high engagement while working.

So, this week, my 2nds have been looking at the work of artist Maya Hayuk for shape and mural concept inspiration and then working with a partner to play and explore the app while they create a virtual mural for our school community. When looking at Maya's work I have emphasized her use of layered, overlapped geometric shapes. I don't expect the kids to copy her work, but I do want them to focus on geometric shapes and layering. We also have noticed that some of her murals have a strong sense of symmetry while others do not. I want students to be able to recognize this principle in their designs as well.

I have created a short video how-to for the app that I share with the students as we prepare for using the app in class and we view this in a couple chunks after looking at Maya's work. (i'll post that soon:)

I really encourage play with this project. Since it's a digital collage, they can erase shapes and delete parts they aren't digging with the touch of the screen. Assembly is a very user friendly app- it's quite easy to add shapes, flip and rotate them, change sizes and colors.

I went around on Monday with a bunch of ipads and took photos of several blank walls on campus. Students select one of these to serve as the background of their assembly creation. Then, the teams of two start to experiment. Once they have a satisfying composition, they save it and continue to play. They can choose a different wall and go, or simply clear the shapes and work with the same wall.

I have been transferring the images to my mac and then emailing them to the classroom teachers, so they can look at them on their smart boards back in class. I will be printing a bunch of the images out to include in our annual student exhibit that will take place in a couple of months.

There are many choices for students to make with this project. I do have a few rules- no natural shapes, include overlapping shapes, and all of the design must be on the wall. This last one is key because a muralist can not paint on the sky in real life.

My students connect with murals because our campus is covered with them and because we had a local muralist create one on campus earlier this year and they got to see the whole process. I think this project is a great way for them to think about designing with a purpose. In this case it was making something that would turn their playground environment into something more beautiful and enjoyable.

I was only intending these designs to remain digital, but after seeing some of the results, I do believe I need to find the time to make at least a couple of these actually happen on our campus!