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Snowmen, pumpkins and blue swirls

Some questions for going deeper

"Show us something we haven't done before"

During Holidays and celebrations, my instagram feed blows up with pictures of wall displays of pumpkins, bats, ghosts, snowflakes, snowmen, christmas trees, eggs, bunnies, and the rest. There are so many amazing ideas out there using paper construction, paint, sculpture, ceramics and mixed media, and yet, with all of this creativity, we fall flat when it comes to variety and expression. The kids artwork all looks like the example, and in some cases, they get graded on how similar it is.

I recently started Inspired Arts, as an art school that would value creativity and process at its core. I am also invited to speak at schools and events regularly, training teachers and art specialists in processes and classroom practice. The big request I'm given every time is "SHOW US SOMETHING WE HAVEN'T DONE BEFORE". Here's the big secret. There really isn't anything new. Drawing will always be drawing, painting will always be painting, and printmaking will always be... you get the idea.

What is new however, is how I connect the process to a theme and how my vision underpins how it is taught.

Following on for my last post on 'having a vision' I want to encourage you to try this process.

Look though Instagram or Pinterest and look for all the projects that you think teach a good process... (Ceramic slab construction, or perspective drawing, or mono print etc)

Now look at your theme and do the same search... Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Deepavali, Holi, Ramadan etc

The most important step is to now articulate your vision, and how it will impact on how you teach those themes. Here are some example values that I have as an art teacher (From the last post)...

"I want my students voice to always be present in their work"

"I want my students to use colour to express meaning rather than look pretty"

"I want to see the experiences and cultures that my students represent, expressed through all of their work"

"I want experimentation and engagement to have more value than accuracy"

"I want my students to feel that they have no limits in what they can create"

So, connecting the process, to the theme to the vision... how can you change something that inspired you to outwork your vision? below is an example of how a ceramic Christmas tree unit I found online was adapted to fit my air-dry clay unit and my personal vision...

I really liked the coil construction trees, but the uniformity of the designs did not fit my personal vision, so after teaching the process, gave the students as much choice as possible. Thickness of coil, size, materials to use for decoration, colours, all of this was in their hands. If Christmas feels like a rainbow to them... great. If their tree has legs and arms... fun. If the wire in my jewellery making zone would work well to wrap the tree... perfect. Some of the trees did not work. The coils were too small, the joining to brittle. This didn't matter. They just made a new one, or stood over me with specific instructions, while I hot-glued pieces back in place. I am more than happy for students to bring home work that might not be perfect, and I let the parents know this. They are learning, they are growing and their confidence and understanding of process is more important than having their hand held at every step.

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