This morning, I had the pleasure of attending all three art classes offered at Conserve School: Drawn to Nature, Earth Art, and Ceramics. The first class of the day, Drawn to Nature, was forced to adapt to the weather in a good way. Art Teacher Nancy Schwartz asked her students to put their other drawings on hold to take advantage of the peaking fall foliage the Conserve School campus is experiencing this week. The class sat along the shore of Little Donahue Lake, just outside the Lowenstein Academic Building, and spent the class period painting the opposite shoreline. Despite the presence of vibrant autumn leaves, only black and white acrylic paints were available for use. Today, the students did a black and while value study to focus on the darkness and lightness of the view. Today’s products will be of use tomorrow, when the students will be returning to the same site to paint a full-color version of the same spectacular shoreline.
Next was Earth Art, also taught by Nancy Schwartz. Today, the students were working on a printing project using gelatin plates, printing ink, and flat natural materials, such as leaves and grasses. The printing process involved putting ink on a rolling plate, spreading it onto a brayer, and transferring it to a gelatin plate. After the plate was coated in ink, natural materials were placed on the plate and it was pressed with paper to transfer the image over. The process was repeated to create multiple layers of color and depth. Over the course of the hour, the students got creative with color combinations and natural material arrangement, designing interesting and unique prints. The students will have more opportunities to print over the next few class periods.
The final class of the morning was Ceramics, taught by Robert Eady. The students are currently working on many different clay projects, from pleated pots to cylindrical forms to place settings with a common theme. Before today’s individual work began, however, Robert called the students’ attention to the soil they have been drying since they arrived at Conserve School in August. Now that their soil is sufficiently dry, the students need to break up large pieces using a mortar and pestle and then shake the soil through a sieve to separate it by grain size. The sieved soil will be used to make a glaze that will cover future clay creations. My visit to Conserve School’s art wing this morning proved once again what artistic, creative, hard-working, and talented students we have here this semester.
– Graduate Fellow Maria Kopecky