Building Skills In The Arts: Tunnel Books (Afterschool)

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Well, if you first see a tunnel book
and it’s like this, you think it’s just a picture.
But if you spread it out like this, it looks more of, like, a tunnel.
>>TEACHER: Take some time to look again. We’ve seen these before,
but we’ve been away from them for a while.>>TEACHER: My name is Ann Kresge, and I’m
an artist educator.>>KRESGE: So we’ll take a few minutes to walk
around, do some looking, trade places.
The tunnel books were one of three book forms that the kids worked with me to create
over this session that ran from September through December.
>>GIRL: Your caterpillar, it doesn’t just show it and stuff,
but it actually has, it has fur. Most people wouldn’t draw a caterpillar with
fur.>>KRESGE: The tunnel book itself is very physical
and it is a wonderful teaching tool to give kids a sense of some formal issues
like foreground, middle ground and background.
>>GIRL: It looks like the sun is shining on the hill,
because you use crayon with this and it’s a lighter color than the watercolor
that you used. And it’s really cool.
>>KRESGE: My learning goals for this project were for them to personify insects
and think about being in the insects’ shoes and see the world from that vantage point.
>>KRESGE: I would like you guys to do some looking at this book.
>>GIRL: Sometimes I just imagine what it’d be like
in a bug’s-eye view, like, how I’d be. The grass would be so tall if you’re in the
grass. Making these books,
it really helped me to understand a lot about bugs and their habitats.
Now, when we were doing those backgrounds, we were looking at an artist,
and I want you to use your open eyes to look around
and find an image or painting by that artist and tell us who that is.
Gabby?>>GABBY: Henri Rose…
>>KRESGE: You got it– Henri Rousseau, right. Would somebody like to come up here and show
me the different parts of that painting
that have something to do with what we’re doing?
Why did we look at this artist, Amy?>>AMY: Because how they layer, like, how this
leaf goes across. That’s basically called layering.
>>KRESGE: Can you point out what you would consider
the foreground of this painting?>>AMY: I would do from there,
and then all below would be the foreground.>>KRESGE: Okay, what would you find in the
middle ground here?>>AMY: Well, probably about there kind of
and here, where the tree branches are.
>>KRESGE: Excellent. Jerikka, what would you consider the background
here?>>JERIKKA: Um, the background I would consider,
um, the faraway places and the sky.
>>KRESGE: Mm-hmm, even the weather here, right? The way that the artist has made it look
like it’s sort of Oregon weather, a little rainy there.
>>KRESGE: That gave us a place to anchor, and I think it gives the kids an immediate
way of visualizing these layers we’re discussing,
and that an artist compresses them into a two-dimensional space,
and I wanted them to make that cognitive leap.>>KRESGE: What kind of environment or habitat
was Henri Rousseau painting? He was painting a jungle.
>>KRESGE: Right. And the funny story about him, I don’t know
if you remember, but he’d never even been to the jungle.
He lived in France, but he imagined the jungle, and that’s what’s great about all of this
art-making. We can imagine we’re a bug and what we’re
seeing. Today we are going to do the middle ground.
Who can tell me what media or type of technique we’re using
to create that? Printmaking?
>>KRESGE: Excellent. We’re going to be printmakers.
>>JERIKKA: Well, today we were making our middle ground
in our tunnel books, and what we did was trace our picture
onto a Styrofoam plate, and then we would print it with black ink
onto a piece of paper.>>KRESGE: The kids had created drawings to
print on the press. They are at a point now where they are drawing
with several formal issues in mind in terms of their approach to space
and overlapping and detail and texture.>>JERIKKA: Did you trace your hand to do that?
>>GIRL: Yeah.>>JERIKKA: I think it’s really cool.
Instead of just drawing it, you traced your real hand.
>>GIRL: It wouldn’t look as good if I just drew it.
>>KRESGE: Who’s this character?>>BOY: This is a squirrel, and I put his tail
back here.>>KRESGE: Behind the tree trunk?
>>BOY: Mm-hmm.>>KRESGE: And then who left this?
>>BOY: This?>>KRESGE: Uh-huh.
>>BOY: Is a bear paw print. And these scratches means to another bear,
“I was here.”>>KRESGE: Oh, so it’s like a bear signature.
At first I thought art was just about drawing and making sculptures and stuff, but when
it came for this class, I found out that it was not just about that.
It’s about detail and emotion.>>KRESGE: Part of my strategy with this tunnel
book was to give them discrete media experiences
as well, and I’m a printmaker
and so printmaking had to be part of that.>>GIRL: I think the most interesting thing
that we did today was the printing process, where you spread ink onto a plate of Styrofoam
and you put it through a printing press and it comes out on another piece of paper.
CECILIEE: I would probably want to show somebody, if I could teach them anything about my tunnel
book, I would probably want to show them how to
do the middle ground in the printing press.
>>KRESGE: Wow. Can you hold that up for everyone to see, please?
CECILIEE: I think that it would be really fun
to teach other people how to do the printing process
and I think they would probably really like it if they tried it.
>>KRESGE: Fantastic. I love the shape of the layer.
I think we’re up to our last two prints, so I’d like a couple students
to help me to lay out the finished prints on this table,
and when we’ve got that all laid out, I’m going to have us gather
to do some looking and talking about these.>>KRESGE: After the kids had finished printing,
we put their pieces on a table and I call that “gallery,”
which is really about learning to see and then articulate verbally what you’re seeing
and the impact of the work on you as the viewer.>>KRESGE: Who would like to tell me something
that they observed in looking at the work we made today?
Jerikka?>>JERIKKA: I really enjoyed Rachel’s because
it…>>KRESGE: Can you show us which one that is?
>>JERIKKA: By the leaves blowing, it might… may be telling us
maybe that it’s in the fall. I really like Jerikka’s.
It’s that one. Because the soccer ball is buried in the grass,
and by the dewdrops, you can tell it was morning. And I like how the bugs are crawling up the
leaves, um, up the grass.
>>KRESGE: Mm-hmm, there’s a lot of movement in that one.
>>KRESGE: So they’re beginning to see the details
that would suggest more than just breaking it down
into the components of the picture, but what’s the reason behind this
or how does it make me feel, the emotional impact.
>>AMY: I like how Morgan did the big sunset in, like, a bug’s-eye view.
And I like the mountains behind it.>>KRESGE: Yeah, she really has all the layers
of landscape within the one piece.
Okay, folks, give yourselves a big round of applause
for a job well done. What is something you learned by making this
project? Hannah?
>>HANNAH: Um, I learned that the whole world isn’t just my point of
view. It’s a lot of other people’s points of view,
like animals and bugs. It’s not just my point of view.
>>KRESGE: The world has lots of different ways
of looking at it, doesn’t it?>>AMY: When I first started drawing,
I didn’t really know how to draw and I drew kind of bad.
But, um, I don’t know how it happened, but, um, when I started going to Ann’s class,
I just suddenly could draw a lot better.>>KRESGE: Devin?
>>DEVIN: I learned about crayon resist. It was just hidden from me.
I never knew art could be this fun.>>KRESGE: Mm-hmm.
Doing art made a change in me. Opened something that I never knew was there
and just changed me. Jerikka?
>>JERIKKA: Um, I learned a lot about Henri Rousseau
and a lot of other art techniques and layers and about all the books we made.
>>KRESGE: Well, thank you so much. I’ve just loved getting to know all of you
and you’re all wonderful artists and I know, because I know you,
that you will continue to make art and more books
and I look forward to seeing that. My teacher, Ann, I wrote a letter to her
on how she has helped me, and it says, “Dear Ann, Before I came to your class,
“I was just like a caterpillar, and step by step,
you helped me make my cocoon,” and the cocoon represents the books.
“And now I am a wonderful butterfly. Thank you, Ann, for helping me become a butterfly.”
And the butterfly represents an artist.

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