Saturday, March 16, 2013
Art Journals and boxes
When considering the route of projects for the the craft club, I thought that it might be a better idea to teach techniques rather than “copy and paste” projects that we have handled in the past. I feel that it would be better to allow the students to direct control of their creative expression and that the clubs projects should just provide the rudimentary hints into realising their own creative innovation.
This year in an attempt to create a documented record of the all the cool stuff happening at the Craft Club – I have decided that we all need Art Journals! In addition to being just wonderful to create, art journals would serve the purpose of the students keeping a physical copy of techniques, tips and tricks that we come up with in the club and a means for them to practise writing about something in a second language about an activity that is personally meaningful to them. In the future –whenever the students attempt a project in the Craft Club – they will be required to document it in their art journal.
I showed the students some pictures of Art Journals shared by Art journalists online at Pinterest, to give them a hint of art journaling inspiration. There was a reverent silence in the classroom as the students looked on in awe at the creative genius of some of the talented artists featured on one of the art journal pinboards.
For the first meeting – the students were required to find an A5 notebook, aluminium foil, different bits of textured materials, and either black paint or black shoe polish. This was in addition to the regular “kit” of glue, scissors and rulers, pens and pencils. As it was the first meeting the turn out was a little less than we had hoped it would be, but we did have a host of new members joining, and later on that day – we had apologies from old members who didn’t receive the message that the club was meeting.
As you are aware – the club at this point is not funded – all the materials, are sourced by the facilitator and the students efforts. One of our better moments of the day was when Prof LJ Michell, of the Philosophy department, upon hearing on what the first project was going to be generously donated - a roll of Aluminium Foil and some white craft glue. This was the first time that we have received a donation outside of the club itself. It was a great gesture on his part and the students were really moved by his kindness. Thank you Prof LJ Michell for your continual commitment to the students. You certainly have a place in the craft club history as the first benefactor.
For the first project of the club in 2013 - we were able to learn a fun technique that turns ordinary pages, with the help of aluminium foil, into a faux pewter effect. The students got a jumpstart into creating the first page of their Art journal. Some students got so excited by rubbing the textures under the foil, and the cool effect it was producing that I had to remind them to make sure that they were leaving enough texture pieces for everyone to share the activity.
We also made little gift boxes from a pattern that students had chosen after browsing through a collection of “IDEAS” magazines. In terms of craft inspiration for projects, the IDEAS magazine has slowly begun to become our go-to source as the projects published in it can often be completed with a minimum amount of specialised craft tools, accessories and materials.
For the boxes we downloaded the PDF gift box pattern contained in the March 2013 digital issue and scanned some wrapping paper. The Department of Philosophy allowed us to print the pattern paper and gift-box template on their department printer and paper. We would like to thank them for their generosity and support as well.
Students were encouraged to try and create their own box patterns. The day after the craft club – one of the students –Nobuhle Maphumulo (see left) brought in her notebook and gift box (see right) and I was able to photograph the start of her art journal book. I hope that we will be able to continually document students work on this blog.
One of the greatest satisfactions I personally derive from facilitating the club is witnessing how the students take on a tutorial role with other students. There is an unparalleled spirit of camaraderie. The imaginative ways that the students themselves develop in elucidating a concept or technique, always has me pleasantly thrilled at the novelty of their approach, the creativity of their analogies and innovative teaching style.
The comfortable interaction created by this environment has also contributed to students in the club creating their own academic tutorial groups for the academic subjects that the students are undertaking. This was more than I could have hoped for in terms of the club cultivating an educational camaraderie.
My aim for the club has always been sneakily educational in nature. As part of my research on the role of creativity in the learning process – I have become fully convicted that creativity fosters a multi-pronged gain in terms of fine tuning academic capability and process.
One of the problems that I have identified in the enterprise of mainstream learning is that there is a disconnect between writing with intention of communicating a personally convicted thought, idea, or process (which by nature is an activity that forces the student to be as clear, logical and relevant in the relaying of the message), and trying to get the student to transfer those skills to write logically, clearly and relevantly about something that is not meaningful to the student – such as the volumes of information they are required to repeat by mainstream standards of what constitutes an “educated” student.
It is my belief that ALL students do have latent, inherent ability to make sense, be logical, and be relevant if the work is meaningful enough to them and that ability is as good as the greatest students in our time. I believe that once this latent ability is fine-tuned through the process of meaningful writing, that they will be able to superimpose the mechanics of such writing onto material that is not as personally meaningful to them. I am convinced by the fact that the action of independent creativity indeed stimulates all parts of intellectual venture and that through expressing one’s creativity in a blend of both written and artistic endeavour – a workable “medium” could be found.