Magazine article School Arts

Hardly Hardware

Magazine article School Arts

Hardly Hardware

Article excerpt

In a never-ending search for new and inspirational still-life objects, I discovered that home improvement retailers make great resources for art teachers. Hardware and building materials are inexpensive and have interesting and variable shapes. I especially liked the dryer-vent coils and the electrical conduit. These items can be expanded, twisted, and manipulated to create transitions and movement. Massive chains, large oversized hooks, and giant screws were interesting objects to hang in an ordinary cardboard box.

The Art Problem

I set up two different still lifes for my high school portfolio class. Students could choose to zoom in on an open form still life or use a boxed still life to create their composition.

Students used viewfinders to create a perfect composition and were encouraged to use exaggerated scale and stylized approaches. All drawings would be full format and extend off the page, have overlapping objects, a center of interest, and an illusion of depth.

Materials and Process

Students used cool gray pencils to create form. Some students chose a personalized style while others preferred the trompe l'oeil method. To complete our hardware value study, the background was completed in Conte crayon. Students chose colors that enhanced their drawings without overpowering them. In the boxed value study, students created depth and shadows with shades of brown Conte crayon to replicate cardboard box colors. The projects were sprayed with fixative to prevent smearing. …

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