Friday, November 17, 2017

exploring shape with mr. smith

My 3rds have been experimenting with collage and geometric and natural shapes over the past couple weeks. They first created robot collages that focused on symmetry, geometric shapes, 3d shapes, and color value.

The next week they looked at the work of Tom Abbiss Smith as inspiration for a second round of collage work. Tom is a UK based artist who creates digital collages that smartly play with the juxtaposition of natural and geometric and positive and negative shapes. We noticed geometric shapes similar to those we used in the robot designs and also noticed how much he uses a variety of plant shapes in his work. Looking at his art allowed students to contrast between cut and torn edges as well- we talked about how the torn edges can give shapes a more natural feel. We also saw how he used a cut out shape AND the leftover (digital:) paper elsewhere in certain designs.

After viewing and talking about Tom's work, students were ready to play and create their own compositions. I emphasized play here because working with collage lets you move pieces around to different spots before gluing, so that you can see the possibilities that different arrangements may hold.

Students selected a background color and each one started with a large sheet of black and white paper to create natural shapes from. I left a few of Tom's images on my big screen so kids that were stumped to start could borrow from his shape vocabulary. As they started drawing and cutting, I passed out 3 more sheets of colored paper. When doing this, I guided color selection a bit, responding to the color of the background color each student chose.

After about 25 minutes, students could start to lock down compositional elements with glue sticks.

Most students did not finish in one hour, so they saved any paper they might need when they came back. This week has been parent conference week and my schedule has some flexibility in it, so I was able to bring each class back for a 30 minute session to finish and reflect on the 2 shape projects. It was interesting to see how much or how little students added to their designs with this extra time. Some that I thought were near done, continued to add and add, while others had a more minimal aesthetic.

They wrapped up the process by completing an exit slip that had them comparing and contrasting the 2 projects and describing which piece they liked more and why.

I absolutely love the variety in these pieces. There was a really intriguing range of style from figurative landscapes, to figurative abstractions, to more nonobjective pieces.