Spectrum of Art Part 1: Making Art

The Spectrum of Art DVD showcases the diversity of media, genres, materials, processes, ideas, and purposes found within the visual arts, showing students how artists develop their ideas and decide on specific media and techniques. In Part 1, “Making Art,” artist-instructors demonstrate how to make a variety of art objects.

Warm and Cool Colors/Cut-Paper Collage

Catherine Rubin explains warm and cool colors, demonstrates the effects colors have on one another, and shows artworks using warm and cool colors. In the second part of the excerpt, she demonstrates a cut-paper collage activity based on the warm and cool colors lesson. This segment can be used in its entirety, or each part can be used separately. The “Making Art” section of the binder includes instructions for making a cut-paper collage.

Suggested Uses:
Use to demonstrate how to make a cut-paper collage that focuses on the use of warm and cool colors.
Use in conjunction with a discussion of the purposes of art (e.g., color effects).
Pair with an artist profile, such as stained-glass artist Dan Barnes’ segment, to explore how an artist uses the skills demonstrated in this activity. (Barnes uses combinations of color to express different moods through his illuminated pieces, in much the same way the cut-paper collage project demonstrates the effects of warm and cool colors.)

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Accordion-Fold Books

Thomas Freese shows different examples of accordion-fold books. Then he demonstrates the process and provides calligraphy tips for students.

Suggested Uses:
Use to demonstrate how to make an illustrated story for an accordion-fold book, practicing the art of calligraphy to write the text. (The “Making Art” section of the binder includes instructions for making accordion-fold books.)
Use in conjunction with a discussion of the purposes of art (e.g., bookmaking, illustrating, etc.).
Pair with an artist profile, such as artist and bookmaker Carolyn Whitesel’s segment (“Fine Books/Cut Paper” on Through Artists’ Eyes), to explore how an artist uses the skills demonstrated in this activity.

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Ancestor Masks

Maude Alexander shows how to make an ancestor mask, using her collection of African ancestor masks as examples. She outlines the materials needed and the basic process, giving suggestions about how to personalize the mask. She also discusses the various characteristics of African masks from different parts of the continent.

Suggested Uses:
Use to demonstrate how to make a personalized ancestor mask, using the techniques and suggestions from the video. (The “Making Art” section of the binder includes instructions for making ancestor masks.)
Use in conjunction with a discussion of the purposes of art (e.g., keeping a visual record of family history).
Pair with the “African Masks” segment from Visual Arts and Culture, which features a tour of Kente International, an African art boutique in Louisville that specializes in masks from many African countries.

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An Introduction to Tessellations

In these two excerpts, artist-instructor Thomas Freese introduces the tessellation method of creating a pattern. He shows how to make a tessellating stamp and use it to create an interlocking set of designs. In the introductory segment, “What Is a Tessellation?” (6:52), he gives a general description of tessellation, defines the term, and shows examples. In “Tessellating Stamps” (12:37), he demonstrates how to assemble a foam and Plexiglas stamp to help make a tessellation pattern. These segments can be used together or separately.

Suggested Uses:
Use in a mathematics or art class to demonstrate how to make a tessellation, using the techniques and suggestions from the video. The tessellation process combines geometry, measurement, repetition, and patterning to create unusual, appealing designs.
Use in conjunction with a discussion of the purposes of art (e.g., designing a pattern).
Pair with an artist profile, such as the “Mehendi-Maker” segment from the “Folk and Traditional Arts” section of Spectrum of Art, to explore how an artist uses the skills of pattern design demonstrated in this activity.

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Outdoor Installation

Contemporary Ho-Chunk/Winnebago artist Truman Lowe guides students as they learn about the Wickliffe Mounds historic site and create a collaborative work of art using natural materials. Lowe lives and teaches in Wisconsin, creating compositions that utilize materials from nature and traditional Native American themes and iconography. He visited the Wickliffe Mounds, a sacred Native American site in Western Kentucky, to gain inspiration for a new series of works that he exhibited at Murray State University.

Suggested Uses:
Use to spark a discussion about artists’ methods and intentions and the creative process in general. Have students create art based on the video and your discussion.
Use to demonstrate the collaborative process, using techniques and suggestions from the video.
Use in conjunction with a discussion of the purposes of art (e.g., creating an outdoor installation/sculpture).
Use as part of a “careers in the arts” unit or as an introductory activity before an artist-in-residence visits your classroom.
Pair with the profiles of Lowe—the “Contemporary Native American Artist” and “At Wickliffe Mounds” segments from Visual Arts and Culture—to explore how an artist uses the skills of observation, material design, and collaboration demonstrated in this activity. Discuss misconceptions students may have about Native American arts.

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