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San Rafael, California 94901
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Oak Hill, Weeks 1-4

I have recently started working with two classes at Oak Hill School in San Anselmo, a wonderful program for children with autism and other developmental differences.

The first project with the Buckeye Class of middle-school boys was a sculptural project we called a Sun Column. We used fine motor skills create a vibrant, wild layered assemblage of paper and found materials that had been painted with texture rollers and stamps dipped in gold ink. It was then adorned with texture rubbings and drawings, fringe-cut paper, cut and glued ribbons, and twisted gold pipe cleaners. This project helped me assess each artist’s needs and abilities, but most of all, it was fun.

We are now sculpting figures.The first step was making an armature out of pipe cleaners, and covering that with a foil skin. The next step will be paper mache.

The first project with Oak Hill Prep was a collaborative group project to exhibit at their school art show. I gessoed a wood puzzle and gave each student several random puzzle pieces. After discussing and looking at line art patterns, we each drew our own patterns on these pieces. Next, we traded pieces back and both adding our own touches so that most pieces became the creation of multiple artists. We also stamped (and one artist even added his fingerprints) to the pieces. Finally, the artists reassembled the puzzle, and we were able to see our collaborative drawing for the first time, with surprising results. I then glued the puzzle permanently together.

We have now begun looking at the work of M.C. Esher. We discussed how his tessellation images fit together like puzzle pieces, and we colored some of his tessellation designs using complementary colors schemes. Very soon we will be making our very own tessellation designs!

Figure sculptures in aluminum foil over a pipe cleaner armature.

Figure sculptures in aluminum foil over a pipe cleaner armature.


What Can We Learn From One Another?….

Why Make Art?

” Making art is the desire to express the self, to record the reactions of our personalities to the world we live in.”

~Amy Lowell

On November 17th Bayside 2nd grade artists and Bayside 5th grade artists came together to look, talk, learn, and collaborate.

Ms Brooke has been working with these two classes for the past 6 weeks, and as artists they have created portfolios filled with mappings, explorations, self-discoveries, and pieces of work that are recordings of this moment in their lives.

The 5th graders first visited the 2nd graders classroom.

Partnerships were established, and the group talked about ways to begin a conversation while looking at the portfolios.

The room was layered with questions and observations and the sharing of ideas.

While looking and learning, students recognized that there are many different materials and approaches to consider when making a work of art. Through exploration, one realizes what feels right for them as an artist.

The 2nd graders then visited the 5th graders classroom, and had to opportunity to see their portfolios.

“Why did you make that?”

“How did you make that?”

“Tell me about this part of the picture.”

“I notice you used a lot of colors.”

Conversations were being generated, and students were communicating ideas.

Using the primary colors, the partnerships then embarked on making a work of art together.

The magic of color mixing was revealed.