Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Catching Up, week 2

Last night was the second episode of "Making It", and arts and crafts themed reality competition show that sometimes seems to be based on the 3D Design course I have taught at a few local colleges.  Didn't have a chance to write about it last night, so here are some thoughts today.

The standard format seems to be a short first craft and a related longer craft.  The overall theme last night was "home".  Their first assignment was to create a terrarium that included a figure, a structure, and something else, based on where they were from.  The glass containers varied widely, from fishbowl, to rectilinear aquarium tanks, to domes, to complex polyhedrons- I don't know where they came from or if they go to choose the shapes.  I was impressed that what was made was done in only three hours- there's a lot of detail in most of them.  I guess their professional experience gives them some speed to go along with their skills.  Again, materials varied from artist to artist, often relating to their particular specialty.

I've never had students make a terrarium, but the above assignment seems to be closest to what they had to do last night.  This was actually a two-part assignment, the figure coming from a short exercise in canons of proportion (a second figure in the same pose had very exaggerated parts, in the way that some canons of proportion required specific relative sizes for body parts- the one above is the original  size figure).  This longer assignment was to take that figure and place them in a structure based on our class room, including a proportional sized work table, stool, and something else from the room, all made from foam core and bristol board.  Rules varied from semester to semester, but you get the idea.
Last night's winner of the first part used paper and felt and probably other stuff to make a very detailed scene of the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco.

The big project last night was to create a kid's fort and related play thing.  Children love building forts- as a kid I made many.  Snow forts, club houses from wood, etc.  The artists last night could use any materials they wanted. The only rules were that it had to be large enough for a person to get in and out of it, and there had to be a toy with a related theme.  No time was given, but it seemed they had two days to work on it.  The winning piece was a colorful play house in the form of a taco truck, smaller than a real one, but large enough for kids to play in.  The toys were large fake tacos.

What it made me think of was an example of my short exercise involving planes- exterior surfaces.  The assignment called for students to use good old foam core and bristol board to build a replica of a vehicle of their choice, something they like because they think it looks cool.  How?  The official motto of this tv show is "make it!"  My class didn't have an official motto, but my unofficial one probably would have been "figure it out".  The specific assignment was to make all the pieces of the vehicle from foam core or bristol, only requiring pieces that would be visible from the outside.  However, after each piece was made for the vehicle, they were required to make an identical piece and set it aside.  Once the vehicle was complete, use the second set of parts to make an abstract sculpture.  The idea was that if the parts looked good in car form, we would probably like them in something else, and this generally worked out.  In the above example, Angelica made a nice little ice cream truck, and sitting behind it is her abstract sculpture.  Just an in class one day assignment, but she did a fine job and her classmates admired it.  Asked about her plans for this truck, she told me that there were some kids she watched after school and she was going to let them play with it.  The following week she told me that the children fought over the truck and in the process, destroyed it, not unusual for kids.  I told her not to worry- first, it was already graded, second, we had photos of the finished truck, and third, having figured out how to make one, she could probably do it again, maybe even better, plus now she knew to keep it away from children.

Of course, in a classroom that we had to share with 4 other art classes, we had no room to build forts, so small scale stuff was our limit.   The forts that were built last night would allow an adult inside, but kids would fit better.  Among other things were a structure built from large butterfly wings, a space capsule/landing craft, a circus tent, a small geodesic dome style structure (pentagons instead of triangles- the favored shape of Bucky Fuller, who later became the most famous Saluki 3D teacher), a sort of a tent made from arcing pool noodles making sort of a rainbow (by the way I had a student in my Intro class use pool noodles for her 3D project a few years ago- so not a completely original idea), plus the taco truck.  I don't know if any of these things were great art, but all would have been fun to play in or on when I was young, which seemed to be the point of the show anyway.


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