My students are used to me recycling 'stuff' into 'art'. I think one gift we
give our students is for them to know in their "art heart of hearts" that
one can make art out of anything..or as I like to say "fancy tennis clothes
do not make a tennis player" In our society of consumerism/brand names, our
students need to see that with a piece of twine, old file folders, or egg
cartons one can make strong statements of art. Mixed media is always a
surprise to my high school students who are locked into the notion that
easels, paint, and curly hair (Bob Ross)=artist. Not that we don't accept
money for 'real' art supplies, but with budgets what they are (and believe
me, mine is ULTRA generous), we need to teach our students that artists are
NOT limited by 'lack' of conventional supplies...afterall Van Gogh made
whatever paint his brother Theo could get for him, "do".Calder's circus is
an example of junque made wonderful.
When I had a room (I roam between rooms now, as Teacher Leader)my room was a
disaster. It look like it exploded. That said, I managed to finagle extra
school lockers outside my room for my advanced students to 'store' their
work and supplies in, so every student knew where THEIR stuff/projects were.
Or in the case of larger classes, I had specific safe places for their
work..and even now with using another teacher's room, my advanced students
have a separate outside locked closed for work and supplies. I wanted those
students who would feel uneasy in the 'explosion' to have a safe, organized,
My room in all of it's messy glory was a sanctuary for most kids who felt
stiffled sitting in rows in uncomfortable seats all day. Music, excitement,
conversation, laughter and comraderie were and still are part of the
equation. That and piles of 'stuff'.
I will be spending my retirement years (coming soon) sifting through the
piles of stuff at home, probably wondering what the heck it all is, and how
it all got there!