Monday, October 1, 2012

Lesson Idea: Form of the formless - Subtractive sculpting | 3D Design

This lesson idea included some of the following learning objectives:

  • Create original works of art using minimalistic style and non-objective forms
  • Visually communicate an emotion, idea, thought, suggestion, or experience from a Christian worldview in 3D form that is can be mounted on a pedestal and then be free-standing in presentation
  • Learn the creative process required to design and create a non-objective sculpture from start to finish
  • Understand and experience the challenges of unique sculpting material (in this case, a large very porous block of foam)
  • Successfully utilize techniques such as subtractive sculpting and painting to intentionally create and communicate a specific message

This was only the second project for the 3D Design class and it was very challenging for them. Thankfully, they really rose to the challenge and (I feel) really invested themselves in order to create works of art that are original in nature, thought provoking and compelling, and carefully crafted.

This project was supposed to take a little more than two weeks and it ended up taking nearly a little more than three weeks. The thing that pushed it over the two week limit was the thought processing itself because for at least half of the class, I had to help steer their ideas so that they wouldn't be so obvious when they were fully created. To help them, I modeled (via me talking aloud and then illustrating things on the board in front of the class) a creative thought process I might go through that takes something concrete and turns it into something abstract. Some of the students understood what I was going for after that but plenty others were still lost.

Each of the students had to draft (3) different views of their sculpture idea and they had to tell me their inspiration and thought processes behind their idea. If what they presented to me was too obvious and I could figure it out (based on what I saw) because it was contrived or cliched, I would push them back to the "drawing board" and rework their idea. Some students had to go through this as many as half a dozen times. When the deadlines drew closer for the different stages of the whole project, I would talk with each student 1:1 and attempt to help them cultivate and develop their inspiration into something that would satisfy the requirements of the stage they were in. Here is a posting I did some time ago of the students working on this project.

The students were allowed to paint their pieces any one color they wanted but (for differentiated instruction and learning) if they wanted to use two colors (two was the limit) then those colors needed to be painted and blended in a gradual and seamless fashion to show an almost ombre effect. The pedestals (bases and posts) of the pieces could only be of a neutral color that included black, white, brown, or gray.

I (personally) feel like they did a really outstanding job with this project despite the fact that I really put them through the paces to design and create works of art that took them a week longer than the projected due date to create. Here are some of the completed pieces that the students worked so diligently to create.

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