Friday, September 6, 2013

Inspired By Nature, Art and Poetry

“The worship of convention will never lead to astonishment.” Tama J. Kieves

I Am A Leaf Bridge

I am a leaf bridge
I wonder if more leaves will fall on me?
I hear the water run
I see birds chirping
I am a leaf bridge

I pretend to be solid
I feel the leaves on my back
I worry about tornadoes
I cry when I crack
I am a leaf bridge

I understand that sometimes people will want to use another bridge
I say that’s okay
I dream about walking away
I try to lift myself up
I hope I will always be useful
I am a leaf bridge

2nd Grade Ms. Narsette’s Class
Visual Arts

Transdisciplinary Theme: How We Express Ourselves
Central Idea: Art is a way to explore our ideas and feelings about nature.
An inquiry into:

  • nature in art from the past and present
  • ways in which artists observe and record their own ideas about nature
  • illustrators- nature in storybooks
  • details in natural objects
  • how artists can use lines and colors to suggest mood and/or movement

2nd grade collaboration
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I love the way the kids responded to this project.  Let me back up a bit...last week I introduced our central idea (see above). We looked at and discussed images of nature in art from the past and present. We looked at leaves through loupes (10x magnification) in pairs and discussed discoveries relating to the art elements; colors, lines, shapes, textures, etc. and  of course along with anything else that came to mind!  We then used watercolor paper and either invented a new leaf design or did an observational drawing (their choice).
Now, here's the best part...this week when they arrived we reviewed a bit and then I introduced the work of Andy Goldsworthy.  They were fascinated by his process and work, especially this one...

Screens Series, Lake District England, 1998
I asked the class
" Could we create one class project  to go with our central idea?"
A lot of different ideas came shooting out.  I was just there to facilitate. At this point, I had no idea what the outcome would be, but I was okay with that, because I knew only great things come out of such excitement.  One student had the idea to make a bridge with the leaves, they all loved it, should it be flat or raised, thick or thin, how do we get it to stay up?  They worked everything out together and they were sooo excited.  Just one problem...
who takes it home?!

*side note- Using the same process as Mr. Goldsworthy (he works with existing materials in nature) was not one of the goals of this lesson, nevertheless, his work itself was a wonderful inspiration.

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