Saturday, May 14, 2011

Clarion-Limestone Elementary Residency through Arts Path at IUP

To end my school year I am conducting a residency that has energized me and allows me to realize what it is like to work at a great school with great faculty and staff and terrific kids. Often at this time of the year I can feel a little burned out and tired from trying to remember names, places and people. However, this time I an rejuvinated by the enthusiasm and terrific amount of support offered by this small elementary school. The greatest asset so far has been working with the art teacher Liz Huwar who has such a positive rapport with the entire school and it is so obvious she loves her job. Her enthusiasm spills over to everyone around her.

My core group this time is first grade students. The entire school is working in clay and the other classes are making pieces from clay beads with symbols of themselves while the sixth grade classes are making wall clay pockets. Back to the first graders who I get to see every day for over an hour. We have used gray and red clay and work in teams to create sculptures of things you might find in a garden. These pieces after being fired will be incorporated this coming week into a wall mosaic that exists in the school hallway. Liz had conducted a mosaic project with tiles to create two awesome trees. We also have tile leaves with insects and nature pieces from a former class to incorporate as well.

This next week will be a busy one with unloading the current kiln which has about 300 pieces in it currently. We will then fire the remaining works, conduct two after school workshops/collaborations and start putting our mosaic works together. We are using recycled glass from Youghigheny glass, broken tiles, glass beads and of course the wonderful work of our first graders. On one delightful day we even had a fifth grade class join the first graders to help them finish their work and glaze it too.

I can't begin to express how much joy this project has brought for me personally. I feel like an artist and teacher with boundless energy! It is wonderful to feel this way and I hope the students feel the same.

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