Winters, Laurel, Arts & Activities
This month's topics are art history and multicultural art. This column has a special "Internet resources" focus, as many Web-based resources and interactive web programs are included to assist you in your classrooms.
USE FOAM TO FRAME This tip comes from Julie Fisher, who teaches for Tri-County Educational Service in Ohio. Her art history tip is to use colored foam sheets to "frame" examples of artwork for artists she is introducing to her class. She says, "These are so much better than colored paper! They do not fade, and the corners do not get bent. Also, they will last for along time. I call this a 'gallery' and have the students file past the work so they actually see examples of quality work, which they can then think about and expand upon for their own creations. The foam sheets measure 12" x 18", and rolled-up tape holds them just fine and comes off easily so the foam is not torn. I enjoy all the bright colors in a pack, and both sides can be used."
MAKING INTERACTIVE MUD CLOTH Amanda Arway of Glenwood Middle School in Ohio sent in a tip about the Smithsonian's interactive Web site about African mud cloth. "This is a great Web site!" Amanda said. "I love using it to teach multicultural art. It is sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute and features a traditional African Senufo Mud Cloth painter, a designer and an artist. You can read descriptions about the process of making the mud cloth, as well as design your own fabric in an interactive program."
Amanda said her students are very enthusiastic about "making" their own mud cloth designs online, after which they can print them out and take them home. She uses this Web site "in conjunction with a traditional painting unit. Students learn about the designs specific to the culture, and make their own fabric painting on muslin."
ADINKRA ON THE WEB Another African textile I have referenced in my classroom is Adinkra cloth, and the symbols used in creating those designs. I have given students lists of symbols and their meanings and had them choose symbols they found significant. A useful source for these symbols and their meanings can be found at www.adinkra.org.
In searching for the Web site I had used in the past for Adinkra cloth, I came across a site from Cornell devoted to the writing systems of different areas of Africa. …