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Was response to wedging clay, but evolved to boys' war art fetish


Date: Sun Jun 06 2004 - 07:07:34 PDT

Haha! If I used wedging clay as a punishment, a few kids would probably
purposefully wedge air INTO the clay! I'm amazed how every year a few
kids are obviously dying to add an air pocket to their clay stuff just
to see what happens when it explodes in the kiln. Inquiring minds want
to know, haha. I can see it in their eyes as soon as I tell them what
will happen if they don't open the closed hollow forms that we create to
start our hollow form animals project. Not a LOT of kids, but every
year, SOME kids you can just tell, are itching to create a "bomb" inside
the kiln. I tell them in my strictest voice that if they do, they could
damage the walls and elements of the kiln, what a kiln costs, and also
mention that their "bomb" could also damage the work of other students
in the kiln. Granted, not many explosions are going to be that
significant, but I have seen one or two in my life that took a chink out
of a piece of firebrick. Remember, I teach elementary kids. Some of
these boys are still in their "gotta do all of my art with something
military in it" phase. Yuck. I just hate that. Most kids who do this
move on pretty quickly to find other interests, but it always amazes me
how many boys really LOVE and revert back to drawing that war stuff when
they have free time. And they come up with all sorts of clever 3D paper
stuff that they say is not a weapon, but you could have fooled me!!! I
know it's a form of play for them, but it makes me sad. I let them do a
little bit of the drawing stuff and I am always amazed by the detail
that they put into them...treads on vehicles, all sorts of mechanical
stuff that they are clearly fascinated by. It's just when they get
gorey and seem to like it that I wretch and want to "convert" them and
see them draw things from nature, etc. It is somehow DEEPLY ingrained
in them, isn't it?

Linda Woods

Visit our student's web art gallery at St.John's School
 click on "Stories of SJS," click on "Arts Stories," click on Linda
Woods' name. View artwork by Lower, and Middle School students as well
as our art archives.