Grade 4 artists create their personal Ainu garments

The Grade 4 students began the year discussing and creating patterns, noting that patterns are things (shapes, pictures, lines, motifs) that repeat in a regular manner. These activities were a warm-up toward creating the art project of their first unit: a study of Ainu culture. The unit’s central idea is that people continue to migrate for many reasons. The students have been studying the Ainu’s clothing design as a method of developing designs of their own to use to create wearable garments during their presentation for their parents. Our concept focus in art class is ‘change’: how the study of another culture’s artwork can affect and alter one’s own ideas and art.

The students designs are inspired by the actual garments worn by the Ainu people of northern Japan. Students have been looking at patterns — both those of their own creation and also that of M.C. Escher, a Dutch artist who was inspired in his cross-European travels to Southern (Moorish) Spain — and they are basing their designs on the various motifs used in Ainu culture and are also adding an original motif of each student’s own design. The students noted similarities in all the Ainu clothing: patterns which are symmetrical and abstract, and which always occur at the openings of the garments (ask your favorite Grade 4 student to explain why!!).

The children are using their sketchbooks to plan their ideas and are now beginning to construct the garments. They have been working hard on turning their plans for individual, Ainu-inspired garments into reality. Based on their sketchbook designs, the students have been using paper stencils to make colored cloth motifs, which are then glued onto variously-colored muslin cloth (white, brown, black, grey, or dark blue) to bring their own designs to life. It has not been easy to translate small, colored pencil designs on paper to large, cloth patterns, but the students have persevered and hope to have their garments ready for their November 12th presentation — during which they will wear their garments during a performance celebrating the learning about the Ainu they have been doing thus far this year.

Typhoon 18 & Art

Hi boys & girls,

Because of the typhoon, some of you (1S, KB, 3L, 5B, 4N, plus the Young Artists Group ESA students) will be missing your art class today. I’m certainly sorry about that!

If you’re interested in doing some art today, check the Online Art Resources up at the top of this page — let me know which ones you like or don’t like.

Stay inside and safe today, but don’t forget to look out the window too and see how the environment around you — the sky, trees, land, plants — looks different during a big storm such as this. And listen to the sounds! Did you ever try to draw a sound? An artist named Arthur Dove tried to paint sounds! Look at his painting below and try to guess what sound this is (you can write a comment below if you have an answer):

This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

See you soon,

Mr. Reed

First week of Art Class in 2013-14

The beginning week of school is behind us, and most of the ES students have come to the art studio for the first time. Kindergarten and Grade 1 will have their first class starting in Week 2, although some of the kindergarten students were kind enough to come upstairs to meet Mr. Reed and to see their new art studio.

Grades 2 – 5 enjoyed the incredible picture book ‘Chalk’ (see it in the YIS Library!) and then each had a warm-up art activity to get their brains and eyes and hands ready for the upcoming Unit 1 projects. Grade 2 worked with plasticine (playdough) in anticipation of their ‘Where We Are In Place And Time’ clay portrait project. Grade 3 were challenged to create paper sculptures as they prepare for their ‘Who We Are’ 3-D sculptural project. Grade 4 played with abstract designs in creating patterns as they look forward to their ‘Where We Are In Place And Time’ wearable fabric project. And Grade 5 drew two self-portraits (one with a mirror and one without) in preparation for their ‘Sharing The Planet’ project on conflict resolution.

You can see some of the children at work here over the past several days:

Getting ready for ART CLASS in 2013-14!

Hello students and parents,

It’s Mr. Reed here, getting ready to begin learning and working and playing with the K-5 students in Art Class!

I wish you a warm welcome back to school for those of you who are returning, and for those of you new to Y.I.S. and/or to Japan, I hope you are finding your way around well (please don’t hesitate to ask questions).

We’re soon to begin our ES art classes, to reacquaint ourselves with one another, to welcome our new classmates, and to dive right into our first art projects. As you know, the ES art classes follow the Primary Years Program (PYP) and are well-integrated into the work the children are doing across their various classes and subjects. It’s an exciting place to learn and grow and push new boundaries.

I look forward to meeting you at the upcoming Back To School Night on Wednesday, September 11.  Please do feel free to drop into my classroom — room E-203, upper floor, K-1 building — at anytime to ask questions or simply to say ‘hello’.

Best to you all in 2013-14,

Aaron Reed

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Summertime art opportunity in Yokohama

Hello parent & students,

If you are looking for some outside-the-home art activities, you might look into SmartStart in the Motomachi area. It was formerly run by a YIS parent and then sold to another owner.

They offer 4 different classes:

  • Arts & Crafts for children 3-6 years old;
  • Science Arts for children 3-6 ;
  • Arts & Crafts for 6 and older;
  • Art Classics for 8 and older.

Their summer school runs from July 16 – August 23, 2013, and they offer other classes and services.

PLEASE CONTACT ‘SMARTSTART’ FOR DETAILS AND INFORMATION ABOUT SCHEDULES AND PRICES.

*NOTE: I have brochures in my classroom. Please feel free come pick one up!

  • Their website is here:  www.smartstart.co.jp
  • You can email Aki Naito at  info@smartstart.co.jp, and the phone number is 045-680-0506 (Mon-Sat 9:00-17:00).
  • The address is: 6F Motomachi SKY Bldg., 5-203 Motomachi Naka-ku, Yokohama Kanagawa 231-0861

If your children do SMARTSTART this summer, please let me know what you think of it. You can email me your feedback at: reed@yis.ac.jp.

 

Drawing during vacation?!?!

I know that some students love drawing. Some of you love drawing after school, over the weekends, and on vacations. If you plan to do some drawing during the summer and want to practice your observational drawing (meaning that you want to learn to draw real things more realistically), then watch the following two videos.

This short instructional video reviews the basic steps to drawing realistically from observation (this mean: by looking closely at the thing you’re trying to draw):
1. FIRST, DRAW THE SIMPLE SHAPES AND LINES
2. THEN, REFINE YOUR SHAPES AND LINES
3. FINALLY, ADD DETAILS LAST
*And always draw very LIGHTLY at first, so you can erase those lines easily later on.

The second video is a bit longer, reviews the same ideas, but goes into a bit more depth:

The key thing is to look closely at the different types of lines and shapes you see on the thing you’re drawing.
Remember: lines can be STRAIGHT, CURVED, BENT, ZIG-ZAG, CURLY, WAVY, THIN, THICK, SHORT, LONG, DOTTED, DASHED, and more.
Remember: shapes can be CIRCLES, OVALS, SQUARES, RECTANGLES, TRIANGLES, OBLONG, THIN, WIDE, ORGANIC, GEOMETRIC, DIAMONDS, PENTAGONS, HEXAGONS, OCTAGONS, STARS, and more.

Don’t forget to have your eraser by your side. Erasing is important! It means that you’ve noticed something about your drawing that you can do better! So just erase your first effort and try again.

“If you are not making mistakes, you’re not taking enough risks.” – Debbie Millman, artist & designer

 

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4th Graders realize that Math + Imagination = Art

The fourth graders have been combining some new art skills (sketching, planning, cutting, gluing, building, constructing) with some new math skills (geometry, three-dimensional forms) — then adding a bit of their own imaginations — to create some very original sculptures.

After being challenged to create five basic 3-D forms (cube, pyramid, cone, cylinder, and sphere) using only paper, scissors, pencil, tape, and glue (from a hot glue gun) during the first day of this unit, the students then were asked to think of what new sculpture — what object, person, animal, fictional character, etc — they would love to make for themselves.  After brainstorming, sketching ideas, drawing their proposed sculpture, and making a detailed plan of how to go about constructing it (complete with each type of three-dimensional form labeled), each student began building with paper, cardboard, found materials, and some random things found around the art studio.  The requirements for the students were to use a minimum of three different types of forms in one’s sculpture and that the sculpture could be a maximum of 30 centimeters in any direction.  Once the “skeleton” was constructed, students covered it with a “skin” of paper macho, and then finally painted the finished artwork to their satisfaction.

See the student artists busy at work below!

4th Graders complete their fictional campaign posters

The 4th graders have completed their fictional campaign posters — using assumed identities of a favorite character or animal or creature — focused on the centail idea that “the media can influence thinking and behavior.”

Focusing on a favorite movie, book, or comic character or on a real person or a pet, each student assumed a new identity and determined: What would I campaign for at this school — what would I want to change — to make my experience better at Y.I.S.? Having created sketches and plans for campaign posters (using images and text) to communicate their ideas to others and following a basic approach to design known as C.U.B. (Contrast, Unity, Balance), the students developed their projects. The visual arts aim is to have the students understand and know how to employ these three design principles so as to help to make for the effective visual presentation of their ideas.

Here are the results, the campaign posters created by these young graphic designers:

4th Graders progress with their fictional campaign posters

The 4th graders continue to create fictional campaign posters — using assumed identities of a favorite character or animal or creature — focused on the centail idea that “the media can influence thinking and behavior.”

Each student is assuming their new identity (who is also a student at Y.I.S.) and determining: What would I campaign for at this school — what would I want to change — to make my experience better at Y.I.S.? Having created sketches and plans for campaign posters (using images and text) to communicate their ideas to others and following a basic approach to design known as C.U.B. (Contrast, Unity, Balance), the students are now well into the creation of their final projects.  The visual arts aim is to have the students understand and know how to employ these three design principles so as to help to make for the effective visual presentation of their ideas.

Here are the young graphic designers at work, including samples of some of their concepts:

4th Graders begin a fictional campaign poster

The 4th graders created campaigns in their homeroom classes. The central idea was: “The media can influence thinking and behavior.” Now, in art class, each student is assuming a fictional identity (someone other than their actual selves; could be a real person, a book or movie character, a cartoon character, or a creature or animal) as the starting point of their new project.

Then each student attempts to see what it would be like to be a student at Y.I.S. as this fictional character and to determine: What would I campaign for at this school — what would I want to change — to make my experience better at Y.I.S.? Next, the students are challenged to create campaign posters to communicate their ideas to others, via images and text (pictures and words). The example presented by Mr. Reed is Bugs Bunny: if Bugs Bunny were a student at YIS, Mr. Reed thought, he would certainly want there to be more carrots in the cafeteria. And so Mr. Reed’s development of his campaign poster follows suit.

Students are being guided through a basic approach to design known as C.U.B. (Contrast, Unity, Balance) — focused on three design principles which help to make for the effective visual presentation of an idea.

See the students at work on the current stage of their projects here: