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RE: is arts boring?


Date: Tue Apr 15 2003 - 20:46:22 PDT

Funny thing, but to me, art is an escape. How anyone can find playful
and experiemental creative time to be stressful is beyond me, but I have
to admit, I see some of that in my own students, too.

When I finally find time to do my own artwork, I am in heaven. ALL of
the stress I am carrying just evaporates. I tell the kids how I feel
about that. How when the world gets too stressful, I can lose track of
all time and worry through the creative process. I spent all day
Saturday making jewelry. First day in about a month that I have really
had some quality time with me, myself, and I.
My sixth graders have been
making jewelry now for 6 weeks. and I am so proud of them. They are
doing GREAT with the jeweler's saws. We're piercing metal with a drill
press, making bookmarks and bracelets. They have to make an etched
copper bracelet or bookmark with a sawcut piece dangling from the
bookmark or riveted to it. They have to saw out the shape of an animal
and give it a long neck so that the head of the animal can be turned as
if looking over it's shoulder or back, thus transforming a flat piece of
metal into something more animated. These get etched, as well. Then
they make a foldover bail piece and rivet another shape to it to make a
pendant. Piercing with the drill bit and sawing interior shapes is
encouraged on at least one piece. Now that they are finishing up this
assignment, many want to do some forging .... making forged wire dangle
earrings, forged bracelets. While they complained MIGHTILY about the
sanding and filing for a while, they have now seen enough of a payoff to
make them want to do more and more. In some cases, we as teachers have
to fight the "hard work" aspect of art that some kids complain of, but
if they get some payback, most of them are usually discover themselves
getting lost in their work, which is what it's all about to me. When
you walk in my room now, you HEAR filing and sawing and hammering. Not
a lot of talking, but you can feel the focus. Their designs are
improving significantly, and BIG beaming smiles are happening! IF I had
listened to the griping at the beginning (re: sanding) I would have only
had them make two pieces. As it is now, they are all hooked because
they have persevered and see payoff in the beauty and creativity that is
filling our room! Copper and brass are amazingly CHEAP! I am so
pleased with their work. I can't wait to photograph it and share it
with you guys. I wish I taught high school, as there are some things my
middle school kids can't do without CLOSE supervision from me, but I am
amazed by what they are able to accomplish, and how responsible they
have been regarding safety issues. I'm teaching a two week metals class
this summer to 6th grade and up. I've had two parents and a 6th grader
sign up in the last 2 days. I hope to get 24.