Michael Bell and David Modler presented a hands on workshop at the NAEA convention in Chicago that was the highlight of my convention experience.
The workshop began with each participant in a group of 4, there were 7 groups…this would work perfectly for any classroom. Each group received a laminated card with one of the seven deadly sins. We were asked to keep the word a secret from the other groups, as we would be guessing at the end who had which word.
To begin we were asked to brainstorm anything that came to mind when we thought of this word…this would help us start to feel the word which made it easier to visually represent the word. The group I was in had the word Greed.
Once we had finished brainstorming, each of the group members took turns making marks while being blindfolded for 3 minutes. The first two people used vine charcoal and only made geometric shapes, while the third person was able to choose any material they wanted while making lines, and the fourth person created texture with any material of their choice.
After we each blindly made marks to express our word, we discussed what we wanted to do with what we had to make it feel and look more like greed. We started brainstorming the symbolism of our lines shapes and colors, and began adding more definition to our design. Each group member had a minute without being blindfolded to add to the work what they felt showed our word. We then began to work together to finalize our piece…
The results of each group were truly unique and individual but each group really captured the energy of their word. I knew quickly this was something I had to try with my students!
When I returned to school on Monday, I had revised the activity to be age appropriate for middle school students and instead of using the 7 deadly sins, we represented the emotions Love, Happiness, Peace, Excitement, Anger, Hate, and Loneliness.
My students did an AMAZING job visually representing each word, and they all enjoyed themselves. A few students in each class asked if we could do it again! Not only were they able to show each emotion using only colors, lines and shapes…they were also able to talk about how it represented their word!
This would be a fun activity to do with teachers as well, perhaps for a professional development activity. Teachers could use the 21st century learning skills as their prompt.
Collaborating to create one piece of art could sometimes be seen as a challenge, one person might have a hard time letting go of their concepts and ideas. Blindfolding each group member worked to help everyone let go of their expectations and to be in the moment, while taking turns created a space for change. Spontaneity helps a person to let go and be present in the now. This was a perfect example of a theme directed intuitive art making process.
<3 Thank you Michael and David!