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Best of the Week 2019-2020: Teaching to the Future


Students in Mrs. Molly King's art classes have come up with an innovative way to continue creating works of art, pottery and sculptures at home. By creating salt dough completely from scratch, students have created a new solution to creating pottery at home and have made tiles based on adages or proverbs, hollow animal sculptures by carefully using armatures to mold their dough to hold its shape, and masks based on historically traditional cultural masks or an animal of their choosing. "Salt dough has been very challenging for all of us to create from scratch, but it has certainly taught my students some amazing skills of perseverance, problem-solving and keeping a sense of humor," says Fine Arts teacher Mrs. King. "I think this experience has strengthened the students' appreciation for the studio space and supplies given to them at St. Ed's to help them achieve their vision, but shows that they've mastered ways to independently create art completely on their own."

To continue learning new ceramic techniques in a more engaged way, students in Mrs. King's Beginning Pottery and Sculpture classes have been watching The Great Pottery Throw Down, a reality television series based in the United Kingdom where ten home potters compete to become top potter. Additionally, students have watched videos of sculptor Philippe Faraut sculpting animal heads and are currently learning Michelangelo's techniques on reductive sculpture. Their final project will be creating a series of reductive sculptures using soap as their medium. "This process is very different from salt dough or clay and mimics how sculptors carve marble," says Mrs. King.

Students in Mrs. King's Advanced Pottery, Advanced Sculpture and Ceramics classes, who've been equipped with recycled clay scraps, have reinvented them into flasks using the slab method and chess sets sculpted with their own, unique designs from marine life themes to LEGO figures. Charles Vogelgesang '21 got innovative with his chess set creation, using forks, serrated knives, barbecue skewers, cookie cutters, and gardening wire to create his piece. "I really enjoyed having the independence to change my chess set as I worked and improvise along the way," says Charles. "I loved finding new ways to use the tools I had to add different designs to my pieces. Working alone at home helped me to focus on my own creation rather than get distracted by the work of my fellow peers. I really enjoyed the process and what I ended up creating and I'm glad I still have the chance to create art at home." After researching advanced sculpting techniques by Korean clay masters and alternative firing methods, students have translated those techniques into their at-home creations.

"My students have done a lot of problem-solving and project management on their own and have produced some amazing pieces," says Mrs. King. "No art is created in a vacuum and ideas breed new ideas, so I created an Instagram page to display my students' artwork so they can see their creations as well as what their peers have created. This platform helps showcase their hard work, natural talent and abilities to achieve new knowledge as independent artists. I'm so proud of my students!" Follow @sehs_artapart to see more creations by Mrs. King's students.

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