Just finished a week of working with the seventh grade art classes at Batesville Middle School. Art teacher Sharon Mulvaney is a gem and really champions her students in their creative pursuits. We are introducing the classes to twined basketry and papermaking/pulp casting this school year.
I’m not sure which the kids liked the best – basketry or papermaking. It took a bit longer than I expected to finish their baskets, but they did a marvelous job – some great shapes and some good twining. Papermaking, playing in wet pulp, is always a fun thing and the kids seemed to thoroughly enjoy making sheets. Even the ‘pressing dance’ was tolerated by most of them – although at age 13 there are those individuals who do NOT want anyone to see them do anything that might remotely be considered odd or funny!
It’s probably a safe bet to say that the pulp casting was not a favorite. They worked with wire to form a figure first – that was an interesting exercise in itself! The class periods were pretty short – 45 minutes – which didn’t allow for extended delicate work required by some of the wire forms and more than one student opted to cast into an empty dish instead. Once they dry, though, I think they will like what they did.
One third of the seventh grade class takes art at any one time, so I’ll be there two more weeks – one week during each upcoming 12-week period. More fun to happen!