Student Work

 

Studio Arts Teacher, Monadnock Waldorf High-School, Keene, NH – 9th through 12th Grade.

 

 

Courses Descriptions currently teaching include:

116web9th Grade Black and White Drawing

The basis for all forms is the straight and curved lines with their infinite possibilities of connecting, interpenetrating and blending into each other. The phenomenon of light and darkness reveals the physical world to our senses. Students will draw in black and white through guided studies to advance the artistic process by creating forms anew through exact observation. Understanding simple and complex form, and the intricacy of proportion, through the drawing and modeling of solid mass, is a basis for our work in clay, wood and stone.

9th Grade Hand-building the Ceramic Vessel 1

Focused on learning the basic techniques of hand-building with clay – wedging, kneading, pinch pottery, coils and slabs – plus a handful of tricks of the trade. Although most students have worked in clay before, when confronted with the need to design and create a functional and well-formed hand-built vessel, the challenge and fun is on. We start by studying the very essence of form – simple and complex – and exploring these concepts through the 3 dimensional structure of the vessel in clay. We concentrate on clay as the medium, and the vessel as the object, but we address both the medium and the object from the point of view of Form as the basis of all good design. Form, character, function and expression became the underlying elements to define every vessel’s design.

“The outcome of everything you do in clay will naturally be what you do or put into it….When you begin your work, nothing exists.  When it is finished it looks as if it just happened, spontaneously, effortlessly, convincingly.  It looks as though it had been there all along” Eva Zeisel 1906-2011

9th – 10th Grade  Hand-building the Ceramic Vessel 2

In this advanced ceramics block, we continue hand-building the ceramic vessel focusing on the following mantra:

“A big part of making vessels is the FORM of the vessel. A big part of making the form of the vessel is TECHNIQUE”

We build upon the underlying elements of a vessel’s design learned before—form, character, function and expression—starting off by creating 15-second gestural drawings of words that described these elements. Contemplating the vessel and its relationship to the human body, both containers steeped in history and ancient tradition, we draw further designs.  We then taking some of these drawings and build coiled and slabbed vessels from them. This allows us to ‘think outside of the box’ and create designs we might not otherwise have thought of.  From this work we embark on the main project, either making a collection of vessels or challenging our technical skills with increased scale—and in some cases both.  We always focus on good technique and exploration of a cohesive series.

091web10th Grade Gesture Drawing

By definition, Gesture is an expression of an idea or meaning, an action performed to convey one’s feelings or intentions. Gesture drawing develops in the student an individual approach to problem solving through instinctive reactions to ever changing parameters, it is a concentration on process rather than outcome.

For this gesture drawing class students work on mastering 15 second to 15-minute drawing studies with their feelings, their senses and the landscape as the primary subjects.  Every class starts out with 15-30 second blind drawing studies, one-line studies, and one-minute composition studies.  We then build up to one or two 10-15 minute studies. The bulk of the work is in charcoals, graphite, ink, and pastel, mostly in black and white. We explore the use of tools and their unique characteristics – differing types and edges of charcoals and conte crayons; carrots, sticks and feathers with ink; working charcoal wet on wet paper; fingers and hands.  Students draw close-up studies of flowers and rocks, landscape studies of trees, clouds and our surroundings; they draw the wind, the sun and how it feels; they draw their experiences and emotions; and from guided studies and bodily movements. Students work hard to allow their hands to speak, and to get composition, layout and gesture on the page before becoming concerned with detail and deliberation. The goal is to realize a way of seeing and a manner of drawing that forces freedom from thought while maintaining control of action.

10th & 11th Grade Tile/Mural Making and Thermodynamics

A community mural is identified, planned, designed, made and installed.  Glazes and finishes are developed. The thermodynamics of kiln firings and kiln making are explored.

114web11th Grade Sculpting the Human Form

Starting with free shaping of form and moving into the modeling of sitting and standing figures in clay, we practice observing and experiencing proportions. The process of becoming in a form is clearly visible in discovery of the transitions of the curves and contractions found in the human body and its rhythmical balance. Figures are first modeled to an exact likeness of the model using classic techniques.  Expression is then imparted upon another where students can exaggerate emotion and form.  Finally exercises in figurative and organic abstraction are engaged to draw the student out of reality and into the imagination. The work of abstract figurative sculptors are explored and sculpted figures are distorted in some creative manner. A 15-20lb block of clay is given and from this any clay taken off must be added back on to shape an abstract and organic sculptural piece, where the student may even be blind-folded to truly create an abstracted form!

“The human figure is the particular form in which beauty is most clearly manifested.”   Michelangelo

 

11th & 12th Grade Environmental Sculpture

Exploring and researching the works of artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash and Axel Edelman we take to the outdoors in all weather.  Engaging in a process of planning, design, team work, manual labour, creative frustration, implementation, building and recording – the students form their own environmental sculptures – temporary and permanent designs are both created – forcing communication and conversation with the community at large.

068web12th Grade Stone Carving

Stone Carving is a will-based activity; the stone is bigger and harder than the student and at some point each student must courageously battle with this reality. It is slow and strenuous work, reductive in process, unlike clay which is additive.  It is like taking a wonderful and difficult journey as you search for beauty hidden deep within the stone. Presence of mind and clear consciousness are asked for. At some point every student hits what we call the “eye of the needle”.  This is when they look at what they are doing and recognize it doesn’t look like what they had imagined it should, and they become frustrated. Some want to quit. Some may have had a major part of their stone break off. But this is when they are gently encouraged to become inwardly quiet.  All details they had conjured up as to how their stone should look has to be put aside; this preconceived, imposed idea is no longer of use. Through this introspection a new path forward is determined. If they can do this, they pass through the “eye of the needle” and experience a new creative impulse.

We use organically shaped marble, limestone or alabaster for this class, hopefully donated from a local quarry! Each student approaches his or her stone with caution and a certain reverence. The main project is to carve an animal or human form depicting a life gesture. First drawings are conceptualized, then a rock picked out, then a transference of the drawn idea to the three-dimensional rock takes place.  It is the clear three-dimensional mental picture of the design as it sits within the confines of the chosen stone that determines the final shape of the desired piece, an actuality that must be accepted. As carving starts each student begins to realize how every hammer blow relates to what has happened before, as well as to the planned end product. A continual back and forth process between sketchbook and stone is necessary as the medium presents its challenges and frustrations. Students learn how to use chisels, hammers, angle grinders, bench sanders, polishing tools and all safety measures associated with the stone carving process.

12th Grade Papermaking, Printing & Book-binding

12th Grade Papermaking, Printmaking & Book Arts

The objective of this course is to create a completely unique expression of each student’s individuality through the fabrication of a visual manifesto in book form. Standing on a threshold, we pause for a moment and look back on the path we have traveled and look forward to a new life of independence. A manifesto is a clear statement of intentions: telling people publicly who you are, what you are all about or what you value. Students are making paper, writing a visual manifesto, printing their manifesto on the paper using collograph, block, dry point and monoprint techniques, then hand binding their pages into a creatively bound book of their own design.

080webFigure Drawing – all grades

An intensive drawing course focusing on the human form and proportion.  We use charcoal as our medium and work on large paper. Our emphasis is on creating depth, proportion, and composition on the page.  We draw from live models and moving from gesture drawing to longer studies each day through 5 seconds to 20 or 30 minute increments.

 

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Symonds Elementary School, K-5th Grade, Keene, NH – Artist in Residency

 

 

 

 

Community & Residency Projects

Residency work with community organizations and schools in mosaic and tile murals.