Here are selected student art work for the diverse subjects in the CLIP Art program:
Pottery of Ancient Greece - As early as 6,000 B.C., people in ancient Greece began making pottery. Some 100,000+ pieces of vases, wine vessels, and prize cups for athletic games winners, etc. have been recorded from the classical era. The potteries were used for both ornamental and practical purposes. Large amphoras would be used to hold olives, olive oil, honey, and wine. A Panathenaic Games (a version of the Olympic Games) winner would be awarded an amphora filled with 10 gallons of the best olive oil. The winner of the chariot race received as a prize one-hundred and forty "Panathenaic Amphorae" full of olive oil, a great honor indeed! Students learned about the four main periods in ancient Greek pottery: 1) the Minoan/Mycenaean period, 2) the geometric period, 3) the orientalizing period and 4) the Archaic period in which the black and red figure painting were most popular. They then created a an ancient Greek themed artwork on scratch paper simulating the black and red figure pottery.
Glove puppetry - a type of Chinese opera using cloth puppets, is believed to have first taken the stage in China in the early 1300s. Performed during festivities mostly in front of temples where large crowds would gather to watch, classical glove puppetry was considered the “poor man’s Chinese opera” or “Chinese opera in miniature.” The themes, characters and costumes were taken directly from the big stage. Intricate martial-arts acrobatics became a central feature, requiring incredible puppetry skills. To welcome Chinese New Year, the CLIP middle schoolers created these colorful Chinese glove puppets using ceramics and cloth. Their characters, many of them imaginary, consist of awesome swordsmen, heroes, villains, beauty, beasts, and many other magical mythological characters. (Sorry about the color issues with the pictures)
Bamboo of the Four Seasons - The 8th grade students painted bamboo and learned the meanings behind this venerable plant. They used the traditional technique which emphasizes the strength of the stroke and the lightness and darkness of the ink to paint the body of the bamboo and the leaves, then they went wild with the splash ink technique in creating the background and the mood for the season of their choosing.
Japanese Screen, Architecture and Block Printing - This art lesson is designed to coincide with the 7th grade social studies curriculum on medieval Japanese history. The Temple Horyu-ji (法隆寺) in Nara, Japan, is the oldest wooden architecture in the world and it is now a UNESCO world heritage site. The temple was originally commissioned by Prince Shotoko in 607, who was an ardent Buddhist and a great admirer of the Chinese way of government. We can see influences from China, Korea as well as India from this temple complex. The influence of Japan's native Shinto religion is also apparent in its use of and respect for natural materials such as wood and stones, in the beautifully proportioned buildings as well as a couple of structures raised on stilts. The famous five-storied pagoda is literally fit together like five boxes one on top on another through a massive central pillar (built of wood believed to have been felled in 594), so that each story move independent of another in an earthquake. Students learned to appreciate the Temple Horyu-ji from different angles by making a rubber stamp carving of it, and they learned to appreciate each other's artwork by assembling different students' prints into a screen.
Medieval Images - The 1,000+ years between 300CE and 1,400 saw the rise and fall of Medieval kingdoms, the movement of capitals, periods of stagnation and advancement in technologies and architecture, changes in religious and philosophical thinking, and much of these were revealed and documented in the arts of the period. In this lesson, students were introduced to the most important art pieces of the time chronologically. They also learned to recognize the changes in the iconography during these1,000 years. Then, we used a silk hoop to simulate a famous feature - the rose window - in Gothic (late-Medieval) architecture to create a Medieval image.
Egyptian Carving - Students learned how ancient Egyptian thinking were influenced by the land they lived in, from the annual birth and the rebirth of the River Nile to the harsh conditions of the desert. All these were later documented colorfully in the mythologies that were written down by the Greeks. These mythologies that were originally passed down orally for thousands of years taught the Egyptians how to live, and served as an important guide to the deceased. The 6th graders used ancient Egyptian symbols, geography, hieroglyphs, images of mythological figures and pharaohs to simulate an Egyptian tomb carving.
Clay Tablets - Students learned about the thousands of clay tablets that archeologists found in ancient Mesopotamia. These clay tablets provided detailed documentation of life from some 5,000 years ago. The use of the clay tablet is not that much different from the way we use our iPads or iPods or iPhones nowadays, they were used as calendars, to play games, to record music as well as to communicate. The students did note that one major difference is that there were no cell or wifi network 5,000 years ago. On their clay tablets, the 6th graders created important Mesopotamian symbols such as the sun, the tree of life, the eagle and the lion in bas relief, then they made cuneiform imprint using a bamboo stylus. Their cuneiform writing says their name and the date they created this tablet, some even wrote short sentences.
Iconography - The 8th Grade students learned about the iconography ("image-writing") of Native American art of the Pacific Northwest. We examined totems from China as well as the Pacific Northwest, and we also examined the use of specific U-shapes, double-U shapes, ovoids, form lines as well as the need to fill an entire space in the Northwest coast art and compared it to the images on ancient Chinese bronzes. Ms. Tseng also brought in a couple of native American art pieces from a Bay Area collector to show the students. This kind of cross-cultural comparison raised the question of whether similar iconography in art could have arisen spontaneously from two different regions, or whether people from these different regions had similar experiences in the past. These questions have been posed by archeologists and art historians, and now our 8th grade students had a chance to ruminate on it while they created beautiful paintings in this style (the first two are real Native American Art and ancient Chinese bronze):
Scrimshaw - a Dutch word that literally means "to pass time" is the earliest distinct form of American art created by sailors who sometimes had to spend months or years on sailboats. Materials that were readily available to them were bones from sea animals and sail needles. If they had captured a whale, the captain would save all the blubber which was deemed more valuable, and gave away the whale teeth or bones to the sailors who would like to make something out of them "to pass time". Little did they know that their carving would now worth hundreds and thousands of dollars especially since the Marine Mammal Protection Act banned commercial imports of scrimshaw in 1973. The 8th graders simulated scrimshaw carving with images of sailboats used by the early explorers as well as the early American settlers. They studied 10 important boats, noting the country they were from, the year they set sail, and their adventures on the high seas.
Islamic Arts -Working on the premise that art should be anionic - without images of human or animals - Islamic artists and architects have developed some of the most amazing and creative patterns using geometric shapes, vegetal shapes, and calligraphy. These patterns help them express the ideal of diversity within unity. Since math and geometric shapes are also universal languages which possess the ability to express the mysteries of the universe, it is also viewed as a language of the divine as well as a language to pay respect to the divine. In part 1 of this lesson, students learned how circles can be transformed into a multitude of regular polygons and star shapes. In part two, students transformed a single 2" x 2" block of an abstract pattern that they created into 4 distinct patterns by arranging them in radial symmetry. At the end of the lesson, each of the student created a print of their pattern to put on a 'mihrab' - the most important feature in any Islamic building, a semicircular niche in a wall that indicates the qibla, i.e. the direction of Mecca.
Scrimshaw - Early American sailors created this one of a kind art using the simple tools available on a boat - bones of teeth from sea animals, a sail needle, and some coal ash from their cooking or cigarette ash mixed with a bit of whale oil to mix a black paste. They would take a piece of whale bone or tooth, sanding it smooth with shark skin, then carve on it with a sail needle. In the end, they would rub the black paste on to make their pictures came alive. The themes were mostly nautical, including boats, maps, mermaids, sea animals and sometimes, people whom they missed. In this CLIP Art lesson, the 8th graders saw history through the romance and adventures of some of the most famous sail boats from the 16th-18th centuries. They then simulated the carving of scrimshaw on a candle, rubbing some black acrylic into the carved lines in the end to make their pictures came to life!