Developing practical knowledge in art

Learning about visual arts at level 3 of the curriculum allows students to explore some different art-making conventions. We used materials needed to try scratch art, clay modelling, and printmaking, all inspired by our whole-class space inquiry.

Scratch art required a few steps of preparation before the art could be created. The paper was covered in patterns of bright pastel colours. Then a mixture of black paint and dishwashing liquid was applied to the whole page. Once dry, images were then scratched into the black paint to reveal the colours underneath. Wooden skewers were perfect for this job.

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Clay modelling allowed us to create sculptures with a space theme. The clay was difficult to manipulate. We used blunt knives and other tools to shape the clay. After it was dry, we had the option to paint our creations. Many of the models fell apart once dry; perhaps we need to kiln-dry them next time.

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Printmaking was fun and easy with thin foam. Again, we used sharp skewers or pencils to develop our print. We discussed the fact that our image would be reflected when printed on paper, so any words we wanted to include had to be reversed. Basic shapes worked best and we were able to trial different designs and ideas. We learned about the tool called a brayer and used it to print using black paint on white paper. These were effective when displayed with a black border.

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Even though it wasn’t easy, by using different materials and processes, we were able to apply our ideas to our artwork.

Mine is a praying mantis alien because I love praying mantises. It came out backwards. - Jay on his printmaking.

It was weird to paint over the pastel because it was like you were ruining it. - Cameron on his scratch art.

I didn’t know what to make. So I did my name.”- Luca on his clay modelling.

I did butterflies. I love them. They are not from space. - Chelsea on her printmaking.

I made a whole family from the clay but the arms fell off them and they fell apart. - Shaun on his clay modelling.

I did write something but it came out wrong because it was backwards so I did it again. It was actually hard. - Petra on her printmaking.

A variety of key competencies were used. Managing self was important, especially when we got frustrated. Participating and contributing was crucial - it was easy to opt out. We had to stick with it and help each other. We also used different types of language, symbols, and texts to support us in creating our artworks.

-----------------------------------Keywords: Scratch art, clay modelling, printmaking 

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