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My first teaching experience 2/2 (Contemporary artists and meaningful art activities)

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Written by   51
1 month ago

Welcome back! ❤️ Please, if you haven't, read the first part of this article... This way it will make more sense to you. 😃

Two artists of my choice

As I already said, I don´t feel like teaching anyone anything (especially not kids), but I somewhat know what needs to be done and shown to make people do something in class. Haha...this sounds really strange and manipulative 🤣 but the university taught me that. That´s what teachers and professors do - they make you remember something or do something by all kinds of methods etc. - that´s pedagogy practice.

So...To make the next art activity easier for the class I choose 2 artists that work with yarn but they also work with space.

The first artist´s name is Gabriel Dawe - he creates art installations in which he is making light visible to us using colourful yarn. He is stretching the yarn across the gallery spaces creating an almost ethereal experience. With this art practice, he is expanding the way we see yarn - yarn is most often used in making clothing items (small scale) but Dawe is using it on a large (architectural) scale.

Presentation slide made by me. Artworks by Gabriel Dawe.

This helped my classmates to realize that they can create big and fascinating things with yarn, that they don´t need to work in 2D but also in 3D and even work with a whole room.

The second artist I chose is the Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota. She creates environmental installations with themes like "memory, absence, identity, grief" and other themes. I´d describe her artworks as "labyrinths or spider-webs of red or black yarn" covering whole rooms and the objects in the rooms. The labyrinths and spider-webs make us feel something when walking around or through it. In this case, the yarn symbolizes and evoke certain emotions.

Presentation slide made by me. Artworks by Chiharu Shiota.

These artworks were supposed to demonstrate that you can use something as simple as yarn or thread as an extension of your mind - you can use it to pass on a certain feeling, state of mind, memory or anything you wish if you use it the right way.

My classmates were now familiar with these 2 artists, their art, their techniques and their intentions and they could be inspired by them in the next two art activities.

Art activity 1

The first art activity was this: "Take any printed-out photography that you can associate with any memory of ours (your past, your family, a favourite trip...) and add something to it with classic embroidery to emphasize the memory."

Our classmates liked this activity and immediately got to work on it. I was happy with how enthusiastic they were. 😊

Here are some photos from the process:

My classmates working on their photography+embroidery "atrworks".

And also some results:

Photography+embroidery, created by my classmates.

As you can see some students chose to add text, some added silhouettes of their family members, some decorated the photography. I really like their works.

You may ask what was the point of this art activity?

I will tell you haha. It was supposed to make them think about their memory intensely, to think about all kinds of aspects which bind them to the memory, to the specific moment in time captured on the photography.

You may still find it stupid but at my university, we were taught that this is what art classes need to be like. They need to work with your life, to help you reflect on it, learn something from it or to make you think differently. Art classes shouldn't be just "here you go, here is paper, scissors and pencil and create a dog from it". Art classes need to be something more otherwise it´s pointless to teach them.

I´m still getting distracted, sorry. 😂 Back to the activity. You can imagine this activity as a "bridge" to the last art activity. It was designed like that by me. 😅

Final art activity

The final art activity was inspired by Gabriel Dawe and Chiharu Shiota. In this activity, the embroidery material (yarn) was elevated by using it in space (instead of on the fabric).

It was presented like this: "Try to materialize the memory from your photo in space using yarn."

This was not as simple as the first art activity (because it was not traditional), so it took my classmates some time. It was a challenge, you can say.

Some progress photos from the final activity.

Some students asked for our help and as good lecturers, we tried to come up with something together. Helping was fun.

I personally helped this one girl. She had a photo of an old chocolate factory her family used to own, but after the war, some officers took it away from them so they no longer own it. It is a very important memory for her and her family.

She didn´t know how to bring the memory to life, so I told her some aspects which I see in her memory: "the factory was taken away from you, it´s really far away, unreachable" - this is what I said, just some simple analogy and it helped her so much! I was so happy haha. 😂😍 She was glad that I helped her and she immediately ran away to work on her installation.

She created this:

Yarn installation of one of my classmates. Name: "Chocolate line".

I think it´s really clever and yet so simple. She placed her photography in one spot and made a long line with yarn to another spot really far away. It symbolizes the distance, the unavailability of the factory for her and her family. Nice metaphor and it makes perfect sense. Don´t you think?

She also named it "Chocolate line" in relation to the chocolate that was made there. Brilliant. I´d rate this installation A+.

Final words

I´m so glad for this experience! It was really useful for me and it was a huge success because our professor had nothing to complain about and she liked the presentation and the art activities a lot. I never thought I´d teach my classmates like this while our true teacher would be just watching. 😂

I still don´t see myself as a teacher but now I know that I can pull it off if necessary.

And in case I´d decide to become a teacher after all... I´d probably go to teach on a high school. Older kids are easier to work with because you don´t need to explain too much and they usually know what they should do when given a task. I would not be confident enough to take responsibility for younger kids.


So... this is how my experience went and what I learned from it.

What do you think? Did you liked the article and our approach to the art class? Were the art activities interesting?

What did you do in primary school/ high school art classes?

I remember that we always did snowflakes, paper collages and strange watercolour paintings but nothing like this ever. We never worked with space and we never worked with our personal things or experiences. - We (the maybe future teachers) are trying to change this! and I think it's really cool and important.

Take care. 💖

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Comments

Teaching the things you love are actually one of the best moments. I am always amazed with the artists that can use and express their selves in different form of arts other than pencils and brushes. 😍 I can feel that you had a great time on your presentation! Congrats. ❤

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1 month ago

You can't really measure arts by the eyes only. The origin, the length of the activity, the effort, and the happiness after its made was truly facinating. Good luck to you to your future proffesion.

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1 month ago

Thank you :) everything you sad is true. Art is mainly about the experience and art teachers should have it in mind.

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1 month ago

Yeah! That's right.

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1 month ago

Actually they can be sold as NFTs. Some people take a picture of their physical art and then destroy it. It will be then digitalized.

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1 month ago

Yeah! Banksy did it and it was one of the first NFTs like this :)

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1 month ago