Some updates and photos from the performances of Little Shop of Horrors, which took place last week. I was so pleased with the results of this project, especially as I haven't built a big set like this in a few years. The puppetry worked out well, too and the students involved were wowed by it all!
A few photos here of the puppets I've been making for Little Shop of Horrors, which is now only a few weeks away... Wondering what I have let myself in for and why oh why I decided to make the largest Audrey quite so ... large.
One of the extra-curricular activities I'm running right now is Senior Sculpture and I've been trying to introduce the students to a range of materials and processes not familiar from the GCSE course (we use the Painting and Related media endorsement).
They've been getting on really well with some plaster carving over the past couple of sessions. I wasn't sure initially, as it is quite a tough and physically demanding material to use, but, fingers crossed, all is going well so far and the students don't seem too bothered about the slow, gradual process involved!
We have already completed a lot of work around the theme of Natural Forms: drawing, wire sculpture, card construction, clay, paper mache etc, so for this piece they are simply playing and exploring the geometric forms I've given them.
We started by spending a lesson just knocking the corners and square edges off. Following this, we are now carving more aggressively, creating holes, voids and major indentations through the forms. I've been trying to encourage them to have lines, shapes and details flowing across the surface, corners and edges, linking different parts of the sculpture together visually. They have also been asked to consider the base of the piece - how it meets the floor to create a sense of weight or lightness.
One practical tip which has helped is dipping the sculptures briefly in water at the start of each lesson, before beginning to carve. This seems to be helping to soften the surface and is making progress much MUCH easier!
Year 9 students are focusing on an open-ended theme this term, which will hopefully lead into some varied and personal final pieces. So far, we haven't finished much, but we have looked at the work of street artist ROA.
In this drawing, Emily has chosen an image with an urban, run-down feel and has developed a biro pen drawing based on ROA's work, trying to look at the way his artworks fit into the spaces they occupy. I do think she could have done a little more to combine the image sympathetically with its environment, but what I really like about this one is the depth of tone and the layering of marks she has achieved.
work by Emily Tang
I've been trying to think of different ways to explore drawing, line and basic skills with my Y12 class. Several of them have a tendency to work quite 'tightly' and need to be encouraged to give up a bit of control here and there in their work.
As they are beginning their AS exam projects right now, we are still in the recording and experimentation stages, where just getting moving and covering paper with pretty much anything is potentially interesting and exciting, so I'm free to do a few workshops with them.
Today, we started work on some very simple drawings, just using a white oil pastel and 6B pencil on brown paper. What I love about this is the fact that the oil pastel can be used to create a slightly greasy, slippery, tactile surface which the graphite of the pencil grips in a completely different way. The pastel can also be used as an eraser - admittedly a poor eraser! A later of pastel can knock marks and lines back, creating a nice sense of depth and history in the drawing, as well as prepping a fresh surface for further layers of line and tone on top. The slightly blue tone of the greys created makes a good contrast with the warm beige of the paper, too.
A few examples below - these images are all based on the students' own photos and we've spent one lesson on them so far.
It's the start of exams season and my Year 11s have started mindmapping, exploring ideas and collecting resources around their chosen exam topic.
The first homework set was a tonal study in any medium or style and I was really pleased to collect strong work from everyone in the group. This piece uses white acrylic on a watercolour ground. For a student who is usually an ultra-careful perfectionist, Irene has loosened up her approach considerably here. I particularly like the use of streaks, splatters and dribbles combined with the accuracy and control shown in the sails and masts.
work by Irene Kim
I've finally come up with a way to use up all those irritating little stubs of oil pastel that are invariably left at the bottom of the box. We have hundreds of the things hanging around, all about a centimetre long, all grubby and unloved, and the students never want to touch them.
Anyway, I decided to try forcing my Year 10s into using them and the results were great, as well as being really quick and pacey.
We started by making a very quick outline copy of an artwork - just 5 minutes or so to get the main proportions in place. Then, we used the oil pastels only on their sides, pushing and building up planes and tones quickly by pressing harder and softer.
I didn't allow them to hold the pastel like a pencil at all or to use the point of the pastel, so details and outlines were out of the question in the early stages.
The students found they were able to blend different colours and textures really easily and the results were instant, so really motivated the slower, more careful members of the group as well as the less confident students.
A few results below! These took about 3 lessons to complete.