Sculpture has begun. 2 classes down and many more to go. We will be using a variety of materials throughout the classes, exploring how to sculpt 3-D forms out of salt dough, wire, paper mache, ect. The overarching theme is based on the question, “What are we made of?” and so as we explore sculpture we will also discuss and uncover what characteristics, values, good and bad qualities is mixed all up together inside of each one of us. During the first class I was trying to think of a way to talk to the kids about what is good and bad within each one of us by linking that concept with the ingredients of the salt dough clay. So I passed around 2 cups and told the kids just to feel each, one had salt and the other, flour. We brainstormed on the feeling of each: salt is hard and rough, flour is soft and smooth. And because I wanted to tie this to good verses bad things in ourselves I had to made salt the “bad guy” even though normally salt is talked about as enhancing flavor because I couldn’t think of how to make flour the bad part. I pointed out that, similar to our salt clay mixture, there is both salt and flour-good and bad, rough and smooth, hard and soft- all mixed up together inside of each one of us. For each class following I will open up the class by asking each student to share their salt and their flour from the previous week, ie one good thing that happened in their week and one bad thing. They seem much more at ease talking about themselves in the indirect way of telling a story rather than sharing openly about their good and bad qualities.
Each week so far we have mixed up the salt dough as a group, each child taking turns to measure, mix, add color, and knead the dough into big brightly-colored balls. The first week was name plaque week since my strategy is to begin with relatively easy and flat sculptures and then to build on top of that to explore more difficult projects. Each child rolled out their background color of dough, then picked another color to roll into a coil and shape the coil into the first letter of their name. I explained how they should attach the pieces of clay together by blending the edges together with a skewer stick and also demonstrated how the stick could be used to make imprints for decorating the plaque.
Next class was a bit exciting and I hope their second sculpture will actually be able to be used once it dries. Class number 2 was Pen People Sculptures! Yes, that’s right, you take a pen and mush clay around the body of the pen, then roll a ball for a head and attach the head, adding eyes, mouth, hair, ect and then decorating the body with colored clay and designs. After the flour and salt sharing time I challenged the kids to pick one of the stories they shared and to sculpt the pen face that would reflect that feeling. The kids got really into this project and as I see their creativity increase my excitement increases! One boy used what he has learned about primary and secondary colors to mix blue and yellow together to make green. Another girl rolled tiny coils to make locks of hair while others formed hats. So kids did a marbling effect for their clay and others pressed into the clay to make patterns and designs. Each was unique.
Each sculpture class is continuing similar to last yr’s classes in that there are two every saturday, one at 9am (ages 6 and up) and one at 11 am (ages 8 and up). In both classes we learn the same thing, however because there are more older children I decided that the older ones could opt to come in the early morning class, just to even out the numbers a bit more. I have 2 “junior leaders” that come to each class and whom are such dedicated and diligent helpers in whatever way I need help, which has been wonderful. Before and after each class we recite the BuidlaBridge Motto in Swahili, coupling it with some fun hand motions. We also go over a list of rules before beginning class- the hardest one being to listen when others talk. I am enjoying the discovery of art, creativity, teaching, and the fascinating personality of each child in my class.