Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#9 Out Of The Box

Learning Areas: The Arts- creating and making, exploring and responding, Thinking- inquiry, creativity, Science- patterns, order and organisation, Communication- listening, viewing and responding
Materials:  refrigerator box (or similar), boxed assemblage art (if you have access to it. I am lucky to have some good pieces by an artist friend at my home) 

Welcome back!  This term we are continuing our big project called Because of me. One of the most exciting things about this project is that we are creating it together – we don’t really know what the final result is going to be like.
What do we know?
It is about you, the things you are interested in and the things that are important to you; the person you are now and all the possible things you could be in the future.
What else do we know?
We know that we are going to be connecting a few different artistic elements – can anyone remember some of the elements? Colour, texture, line…
Also we might use different forms and techniques like sculpture, painting, drawing, collage, installation and assemblage. Have any of you heard of assemblage?

Putting things in boxes

Assemblage is really just a fancy way of saying  "putting things together". It comes from the word assemble. 
*At this point one of the children calls out "it's like school assembly!" 
Maybe you and your family have bought something from a shop and had to build it yourself at home- that is assembling.
Artists assemble in lots of different ways. Some artists draw, paint or cut out pictures for their assemblages. Some artists gather objects.

I’d like to show you three special assemblages by an artist called Tim Klein.
Image Copyright Heather Marsh, 2013 Artwork by Tim Klein 

The artworks are sitting side-by-side on a table at just below face height for the children. They form a line and on by one they approach the art and spend some time looking at it. I have asked them to be super-observant. 
"Notice as many things as you can" I tell them. 
"You get bonus points for noticing relationships between the objects - by that I mean if you can find a connection of some kind between one object and another"
We talk about the things we saw and speculated about why the artist might have chosen those objects. One of the boys, Johnny, told me he noticed a nest, two cocoons and a cow with wings. He thought there might be a connection between them. We talked about change and metamorphosis. It was a great conversation. 
More Assemblage
Over here are some other pictures of assemblage work artists have done. I like this work by Rosalie Gascoigne. She only started exhibiting her art when she was already 57 years old. Can you see what she has used to make this work? 
Metropolis, 1999  Image copyright of the Art Gallery of New South Wales
One of the most famous assemblage artists was Joseph Cornell. A lot of people liked his assemblages in boxes so much they copied them.
Untitled (The Hotel Eden), 1945 National Gallery of Canada

A Story – My Cat Likes to Hide In Boxes

Here is a story by Eve Sutton and Illustrated by Lynley Dodd. You might already know the work of Lynley Dodd who wrote and illustrated the Hairy McLary books.
Book cover copyright Puffin Books, 1978 

Putting things in boxes

We are going to have a go next time we work together at making a small assemblage in a box.Today, though we are going to play with the idea of boxes and what can be done with them. We are going to keep working on our artistic concept.
A fridge box is a world of potential.. Image copyright Heather Marsh, 2013

Playing with a box

Here’s a box. We can see what it is, but what could it be?
Let’s play by taking turns around the circle and using our artists imaginations to transform this box.
What is it for?
What does it do?
Should we change the way the box sits- change it’s orientation?
We want to see how many ideas we can generate.
Working together to launch the magic boat Image Copyright Heather Marsh, 2013
I am definitely doing this activity again with kids. It is so much fun. They turned the box into a couch, swimming pool, running track, rocket, upside down sailing ship, lost dogs home, babies' playground... 
Afterwards we recorded our ideas in visual diaries so that we can build on them when we start making our large fridge box constructions. 
An observer for one of the kids with additional needs was in the class and thanked me afterwards saying it was one of the best classroom experiences she had ever witnessed. 

New Vocabulary Assemblage, orientation, relationships

1 comment:

  1. I first came across Cornell boxes in a sci fi book, possibly William Gibson...I think a robot with AI was making them! They are fascinating little conundrums. Our kids do a lot of box play at home but I had not considered the two together...interesting.


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