Programme of Study
WEEK ONE - CAVE ART
We will look at the tools of early art – mud/earth, hands, blow painting (we will use a plant squiffer), charcoal, rocks. I will bring in some local clay and different coloured earth, along with grinding implements and if possible could we dig up a small amount of South Brent Primary school earth to hopefully make our very own pigment. We will look at early artifacts and use our materials to draw them and make up our own.
Educational input/discussion – Philosophy: why art was and is made, i.e hope for better health, religious or superstitious beliefs, for beauty’s sake? Alchemy: looking at basic materials, feeling them, mixing them, heating them learning how to transfer them, what are the difficulties to overcome? Problem solving: transfer of design to hard surface from your mind. Using your own hand to make a stencil, which leads on to other types of stenciling etc
WEEK TWO – CAVE ART CONTINUED
Looking at pictures of cave art animals we will use charcoal to create our own. We will look at what is special about their designs – the simplicity of line and we will draw a complicated animal design followed by a simple one where we have to be economical with our lines and marks.
Educational input/discussion – Using different drawing techniques i.e. charcoal on the end of a stick or using the opposite hand to normal, or even with eyes closed, helps our hand become more able and less engaged with our minds. We are looking for hand/eye coordination, an extremely valuable exercise for the mind. Also healthy disengagement helps to achieve matching idea to intention.
WEEK THREE – MOVING ON TO CELTIC ART
We will look at Celtic art, and discuss the changing reasons for their art, the style and how styles change through history. To the Celts every thing that was used was highly
decorated, beyond need. Why? Why don’t we do this today? Money? We will look at the different materials used – metals. We will talk about the use of precious metals and stones. During all this talk we will be making shapes, based on animals, Celtic knot work and exploring the use of patterns. We will use our earth pigments to colour them in.
Educational input/discussion – History: Styles and historical changes/reasons. We will look at the limitations of working with very hard materials; metals, at expensive highly prized materials; gold and silver, gemstones. What is the role of the Celt as artist, and what about our roles today.
WEEK FOUR – CELTS AND SAXONS
We will look at the Sutton Hoo Burial ship and the artefacts found aboard it. Comparing these two styles we will select the one we like best and we will use very thin brass sheet and make our own punch work masks (about 6cm round)
Educational input/discussion – Manual dexterity. Learning how to use a hammer and a punch is good practice for hand/eye coordination and the brass will be thin so it won’t need much pressure to dent it and hopefully therefore no bruised fingers! We will tape the edges of the brass whilst working on it so no one cuts themselves. If this is too challenging for Health and Safety we could use tin foil but results would be markedly reduced. Using metal in this way helps to investigate and combine the visual and tactile qualities of materials, and an understanding of what the material can be used for ensues.
WEEK FIVE – EXPLORING DESIGN
Half way and I would like to look at the subjects we have covered and look at design again and suggest that everyone designs a small figure, animal or human, giving it one thing about it that is important to oneself, so if it was a lion for instance and its roar was the most intriguing part of it – how could we show that.? I would like the children to make their figures over the next four sessions, whilst we go on to look at the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. These new styles may or may not influence their statue.
Educational input/discussion – Looking at intention in design. Talk about each others ideas, and start to think about more vibrant colour. Discuss how to bring feeling into a sculpture or drawing. Using their recent art experience the children will be encouraged to tell a story, real or imagined and to make something to illustrate it with.
WEEK SIX - EGYPTIANS
Here we take a leap and look at the extraordinary designs of the Egyptians, the massive scales they worked to and their highly individual way of looking at the world around them. I would like to bring a small piece of soft stone, partially worked and ask each child to have a go with a small mallet and stone chisel to feel what it is like to carve stone. We will ware safety goggles and gloves, although the chisels are not sharp.
Educational input/discussion – Hand/eye coordination, historical input and chat, design awareness. Whilst some stone carve, others will make a low relief plaque which we will make a plaster mould of and then cast into a plaster relief which can be painted. New materials, new understanding, new possibilities.
WEEK SEVEN – THE GREEKS
Another leap into a towering civilization when it comes to art and design. Here we look at classical art, as it is seen today. The Greeks were into the representation of perfection and achieved the mastery of all the high arts. In such an enormous subject I am going to narrow it down to looking at the Athenian style and mainly their frieze patterns which we will compare and contrast with Celtic patterns.
Educational input/discussion – Here we will learn to have a critical eye, and be able to distinguish between styles. I would like to touch on perspective and relate the Greek outlook to the Egyptian outlook on this. Sculpture is also very mathematical and problem solving. If I have time I would like to bring this into the class. I am sure it will arise, as there is a need to consider weight, measures, pivot points etc…in many applications.
WEEK EIGHT – THE ROMANS
Leaping again, we will look at wall decoration, Mosaic and Tempera. One is the use of tiny coloured tiles to form a picture and Tempera is the use of egg yolk as a mordant to adhere pigment to walls.
Educational input/discussion – Bearing these new forms of decoration in mind we will consider our sculptures and decide what decoration they need. I will offer my service as a gilder to the children and they can all have a little gold leaf added to their sculpture where ever they please (at my expense) This is the cookery and chemistry element to art which is so fascinating and pleasing.
WEEK NINE AND TEN – RE-EVALUATION
Here we look at everything we have done so far. Tidy up loose ends and complete our sculptures. Any one who is particularly quick can move on to careful observational drawing and transfer it by scratching into a plaster ground, and colouring using one or lots of our techniques already talked about.
Educational input/discussion – Whatever arises……..