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What are "we" doing wrong - Plus homework suggestion for middle school

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  • Judy Decker
    Greetings Art Educators, I am doing two posts in one. An Art Education list member needs homework suggestions for middle school (homework at the bottom of this
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 22, 2011
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      Greetings Art Educators,

      I am doing two posts in one. An Art Education list member needs
      homework suggestions for middle school (homework at the bottom of this

      I was just writing to a list member lamenting how "ordinary"
      everything is now at Pier 1 and even Ten Thousand Villages items are
      becoming more and more "ordinary" looking. Why doesn't extraordinary
      sell anymore? What are art teachers across our country not doing? Why
      aren't people flocking to the stores to BUY beautiful things made by
      others? Not all students will grow up to be great artists - but they
      can certainly appreciate beautiful art. I use to volunteer at a Ten
      Thousand Villages near by and was thrilled when former students of
      mine would come in to BUY art - looking for something interesting and

      My home is filled with beautiful things made by people around the
      world and as many of you know, a lot from Africa. I always took my
      cultural treasures in to enhance my art lessons. No, we didn't copy
      the art of others, but used it for inspiration. Much of my own
      personal art has African influence....and now so does much of my
      jewelry. Oh the stories they could tell..... I am using beads from
      Africa Direct (also Tibetan beads and pendants from Africa Direct).
      Some day, I will get server space on Princeton Online again so I can
      share them with you.

      I am not a great artist - never have been - but I certainly do
      appreciate art and the beautiful things others make. Each year, my
      husband and I go to Ann Arbor Art Fair to BUY art. Last year, it was
      one of Valerie Bunnell's ceramic dolls - this year it was a Retablo
      from an artist we both admired for years- Nicario Jimenez - from Peru
      - now living in Florida.

      Do you share with your students the beautiful things you buy? Do you
      model art appreciation? Do you model passion for art?

      Now for the homework assignments..... Have students look for beautiful
      hand made items in their environment. Art IS a part of our daily
      lives. Have them find something hand made and write about it. If they
      can not find anything handmade in their home, how about a local museum
      (like an antique embroidery or hair wreath -- something displayed that
      is hand made). It may be hard to find something handmade in local
      stores (as I said, even Pier 1 is pretty ordinary now - more mass
      produced like Hobby Lobby). Art is a part of all things we use.
      Someone designed it. Have them write about something that they use and
      the way it was designed. Look at what their parents have chosen to put
      on the walls of their home - Interview their mother/father and find
      out why they selected that piece (even if mass produced print from
      Home Interiors and the like). Have them look for beauty in the
      buildings around them.... have them look for beauty in the fabrics of
      their clothing....etc etc. This was ALL part of DBAE when it started.
      Where have art teachers gone a stray? Their "homework" can literally
      be about their HOME (smile). Not all homework has to be drawing
      something. I could never have my students create sketchbooks as I
      don't even keep up my own sketchbook (I do have sketchbooks - filled
      with many blank pages and only a few drawings). Yes, I always made my
      students sketch a pot or sculpture to plan before they made it - but
      even that is something I never did. I worked from an idea in my head.
      With my jewelry now, sketching first would be of little value to me. I
      need to see it all put together - then tweak - and re-tweak if needed.


      Judy Decker

      P.S. As always, Getty members remember to remove email addresses of
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      Your efforts will reduce the amount of Spam members get -- and will
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