Barnesklubb: Sculpting with Vigeland

Gustav Vigeland is by far, my favorite artist.  I have loved by his work since I first discovered him in May of 2011 during our visit to Oslo.

I shared with you yesterday a post about Gustav Vigeland: Artist and Visionary.  Today, I invite you to join my Barnesklubb kids as we use his work as inspiration for our own.

Parental Advisory :: Vigeland’s work is predominately nudes.

sculptingvigeland

I opened the lesson by showing the video, The Vigeland Park and Museum.  The kids were then directed to the tables where I had distributed a number of photographs of Vigeland’s work. I took a few minutes to read a short biography and to share a few of the details of my favorite pieces.  I put emphasis on the emotions expressed in their faces.

Method #1 ~ Air Dry Clay

I then distributed the materials (air dry clay) and encouraged the kids to create a sculpture of their own. They were not limited to human figures but most chose to sculpt something simpler – an airplane, a bird nest with eggs, Mjölnir (Thor’s hammer), and even a little spouting whale.

I was most impressed with the youngest artist in our group – a super sweet little girl, just 3 years old. She took pieces of the clay, rolled it into little balls, squished each ball to make something of a pancake shape, and then layered these. She pointed to her finished work and told me, “Pile.”  She then pointed to the photograph I had on display of Vigeland’s A Pile of Babies.

Working with the air dry clay turned out to be more troublesome than I had anticipated.  It became a little crumbly rather quick and cracks appeared on the surface of their work.  The kids all expressed frustration with the medium.  Some chose not to finish the project.

vigelandMethod #2 ~ Plaster Gauze

I thereby gave it another go with my own children at home, using a tutorial I found at Art Rocks. This format worked a lot better and we were much more pleased with our work.  Rather than use the tuna cans, as she described however, we used pill bottle lids.  The only wire we had on hand was 24 gauge so it was very thin.  Our sculptures were very small and thereby a little tricky for the kids to wrap with the plaster gauze.

In the end, we had a lovely collection of miniature statues – Buddy says his is a basketball player and Sweetie was aiming for a runner.  She wasn’t happy with her end result until I told her it resembled Vigeland’s Sinnataggen running through the park.

I would certainly use this method again.  However, I would use tuna or cat food sized cans and larger gauge wire.

Nature Journaling in the Classroom

Many homeschool families engage in regular nature studies.  A nature journal is your ticket to a deep exploration of the world around you, providing a place to record your encounters with the natural world — from the everyday to the sublime. Field sketches, regardless of the degree of artistic talent with which they are rendered, force us to look closely and observe nature as it really is. Simply put, nature journaling is the regular recording of observations, perceptions, and feelings about the natural world around you.

nature journaling

The past couple of years, I have been teaching an online course, Nature Journaling in the Classroom.  It is designed to help teachers and informal educators integrate nature journaling into their K-12 art and science curriculum.  The course is offered through the Heritage Institute and optional, university credit is available.

J.L. Fottrell, a geologist who teaches drawing classes at Land Between the Lakes National recreation area in Tennessee/Kentucky and at Bowie Park in Fairview, Tennessee, recently selected my course because he had never made a systematic, concerted effort to study nature journaling.

MrB

Fottrell had this to say about his expectations at the conclusion of the course, “I expected to learn some techniques and methods for teaching the subject in a more organized, school setting.  What I learned   was what I expected to learn plus a lot more.  The reading assignments were full of good ideas and much of it was thought provoking and insightful.  I feel that I got a lot more out of the books than I expected.  The other exercises … pushed me beyond where I was, in my understanding of the subject.  I believe that I’m much better educated about nature than I would have been, had I not taken the course.”

H. Lent, a teacher in Oregon, recently took my course along with another I teach, Alien Invaders.  She spends her day between the High School, where she teaches algebra and the Middle School where she teaches 8th grade math, MAN (Math, Art, & Nature), and two art classes.  I love how she morphed the two courses together and devised a year-long study of invasive species, integrating math, science and art.

Upon completing the coursework, Lent shared with me, “I did not realize that nature journaling was such a powerful tool in life and can be integrated into any curriculum and any grade level. The sooner the better obviously to train kids and make it a life-long endeavor.  I learned the important items to include in the journal daily: how to label; to include date, place, weather, colors, feelings. Drawings and/or writing are each valuable and students can develop their own style to document their observations.”

 

Entomology Week #1 – Insects in Art

The Introductory Entomology Course is well underway. Tomorrow, the newsletter for Week #3 will be emailed to all of you who have subscribed and indicated your interest in the course.  There are many families taking part and I would love to see the participants artwork and hear what the children have enjoyed most.   A few examples from Week #1 – Insect Symmetry & Insects in Art – are shown here.

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A few families have signed up to share their work with one another on our Flickr group and I encourage those who have not yet done so hop over there.  I know the kids would love to read the comments the others leave for their Insects in Art work and I know you’ll come away feeling inspired.

insectsIn addition to the lessons I outline each week, some students are working on independent research projects according to their interests. Some students are focusing on specific insects and are creating a poster to share what they have learned. Other students are exploring insect anatomy and adaptations more closely.  Another student is investigating the hobby of apiculture or beekeeping. Regardless of the chosen topic, I want to encourage everyone to share with us what you have learned. You can do so by emailing a link to your blog or YouTube video, uploading your work to our Flickr group, or sending me an email attachment.  Whatever works best for you.

bugsRemember, the course is self-directed.  Participants work through the material at their own pace, completing the projects and lessons when it bests suits their schedule.  There is no obligation and you may join in at any time simply by subscribing to the newsletter and indicating your interest in the Introductory Entomology Course.

We are fascinated by insects and love art – please share your favorite art that features insects by leaving a link in the comment section.  🙂