Feb 15, 2015: Art

Third grade students have finished their Blue Willow inspired Plates that relates to our “Art from Many Cultures” Unity of Inquiry. The kids found it very interesting to learn about the story traditionally shown in Blue Willow Porcelain and then create their own stories using the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. They also really enjoyed watching video demonstrations by an artist who has been trained in the traditional artistic style of Chinese brush painting and pottery. We watched her go through the process to create a replica of a piece of Blue Willow pottery from the 17th century from start to finish.

The pottery wheel portion of the process we watched was especially intriguing to them. I would highly encourage you to check online and think about enrolling your child in clay classes at a local art studio. We are able to do handbuilding and but are not set-up to offer kids the opportunity to practice “throwing” pottery on the wheel.  I’ve printed packets with info about some classes offered around town and will be giving them to students who are interested in the next few days.

 Here is a list of some Art Studios in the area that offer classes/camps this Spring Break and Spring Term:




We have moved on to the next project that highlights Japan in our Art from Many Cultures unit. We have learned about the Art of Bonsai cultivation and have designed and sculpted our own clay containers for their very own “always living” Bonsai tree. Students learned about the differences between deciduous and evergreen trees, the common types of bonsai trees, the long history of Bonsai along with how a bonsai stays so small.

Soon, you get to have a Bonsai Tree in your home that will never need water. J The students are currently sculpting the tree using pipe cleaners and many shades of tissue paper. Earlier, we reviewed the concept of three-dimensional space before making our clay bonsai containers. They learned about how to draw ellipses to make three-dimensional drawings while brainstorming how they wanted their container to be shaped. By practicing in their sketchbooks and looking at many examples of a variety of bonsai containers, they were able to design some awesome containers that will house their tree. We reviewed the clay technique of creating a “pinch” pot and learned a new technique of making a “slab” pot. We also practiced the skill of scoring and slipping to successfully connect clay pieces. Ask your student about their plans for painting their bonsai container. They have drawn plans in their sketchbooks labeling which amazing new glazes they plan to use to paint their pottery.  

 The Blue Willow plates will be on display in Stearns Hall by early next week. Please come see their beautiful plates! Our next unit will further explore the art elements of Texture and Space through a Landscape Painting.

Please let me know if you’re interested in earning your volunteer hours by helping display student artwork!

Thank you for reading and for talking to your child about what they are doing in Art!

Sarah Harpole
2nd-5th Grade Art Specialist