Monday, September 17, 2012

Andy Goldsworthy-Inspired Outdoor Sculpture

Andy Goldsworthy: a great lesson for those perfect Autumn days when colorful leaves are strewn across the playground. If you are lucky enough to have a nearby forest or natural area, even better. And here is the part where I feel like the luckiest Art teacher around: our district runs its own School Forest on the shores of Lake Michigan, equipped with woodland trails, classrooms, and a large bunkhouse. Our wonderful School Forest Coordinator leads visiting classes in a range of Environmental Education & Recreation activities.

A major highlight and milestone in the life of a Manitowoc 6th grader is the three-day 6th Grade Camp. Each of our six elementary schools takes a turn during the fall months for this educational team-building experience. During classroom hours, students participate in a rotation of classes that includes ART!

Even if you don't have a beach, this is still a fun project to make on the playground, or even indoors using natural materials.

Students will create a work of art using found materials from nature.
Students will view the work of environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy.
Students will identify and demonstrate abstract/non-objective design.
Students will discuss the idea of process vs. product.

Andy Goldsworthy
Abstract/ non-objective
Environmental Art

Part 1: Discussion
Share images of Goldsworthy's work.
Discussion points you can hit on:
·       Abstract/non-objective: no smiley faces, hearts, or words. What shapes do you see instead?
·       Andy uses a limited variety of materials, creating a unified design. It will help your design to limit yourself to 2 or 3 different colors or materials only, so the work isn’t too confusing.
·       Usually, when we spend a long time making artwork, we want to keep it forever. How long do you think Andy Goldsworthy’s art lasts? Why do you think he spends so much time making art that might be destroyed within minutes?

Part 2: Construction
Students gather materials and begin to build. They typically have about 30 minutes to create their design.

Part 3: Documentation
Since the art we have created is temporary, we keep a record of each student's work by photographing it. I print these out later for students to frame and keep.

Part 4: Reflection
After students have finished their work, we walk from sculpture to sculpture and share our ideas and processes.

After photos are printed out, it is fun to complete the composition by creating frames. Sometimes we use tag board and paint embellished with natural materials, and some years we have gone ceramic. The frame reinforces and unifies the design.