Block Printing in Progress

Fifth grade artists are creating block prints!  With enthusiasm, creativity, joy, and care, our students are designing and transferring images, carving a block, and creating an edition of prints.  Project goals include creating a bold design that incorporates a variety of line widths and directions, learning how to properly roll and apply ink, understanding the elements of a successful print, and practicing a professional artist signature for a limited edition of fine art prints.  Ask your fifth grader to describe their design, and see the photos below for a peek into the artistic process.


Artists brainstormed design ideas, then sketched their final ideas on paper.


Once the sketch is complete, artists use graphite paper to transfer the image to the block.


With great care and focus, artists trace over their design with a sharp pencil to transfer the image.


Once the image is transferred onto the block, artists go over the lines with Sharpie for clarity.


This is also a great time to add details or make creative changes to the design, before the carving begins.


Once artists are satisfied with the image, they can begin carving!


Artists are encouraged to consider the direction of each line that they carve.


Artists exclaimed, “This is so satisfying!” and “I love this!” as they began to carve.


Artists also consider both the positive and negative space of their designs, asking themselves, “which parts do I want to be the color of the paper, and which parts do I want to be the color of the ink?”


Each line will become part of the final print, but the outcome is still a mystery during the carving process.


The room was quiet as each artist worked with focus and intention.


Each print will tell a story, capture a moment, or express a passion of its artist.


Next week, artists will begin the inking and printing process!

Hear Our Voice: Social Justice Art Field Trip

Today 7th grade artists adventured to Pioneer Square to the Center on Contemporary Art, where we explored the powerful and transformative exhibit “Hear Our Voice: Visual Art Selections Featured in the Women’s March on Washington and in Seattle.” We learned about the collection from Executive Director Nichole DeMent, who gifted each of us with a beautiful poster at the end of our visit.  This experience helped connect us with important social justice movements happening right now, as well as got us thinking about how artists can use images, text, and layout choices to invoke strong emotions and inspire viewers to take action.  Soon enough, each 7th grader will be creating their own piece of social justice art!  Ask your 7th grader to describe some of the posters that stood out to them today, and see the sequence of photos below to get a sense of the experience.

Listening to Nichole 1

First, we gathered together to listen and learn from Artist, Photographer, and Executive Director Nichole DeMent, who told us the story of this collection and described the unique journey of this non-profit art gallery.

Looking at ArtStudents explored the gallery and reflected in writing and sketching on these questions:

What issue does this piece address?

How do the colors, lettering style, image, and layout help to communicate the message?

Pretend you are an art critic. What strengths would you highlight about this piece?

How does this piece inspire to take action?

Writing PostcardsStudents had the opportunity to write to Congresspeople on postcards provided by the gallery, sharing their thoughts on our current political atmosphere and how they hope our elected officials will direct their work.

    Looking at Art 2

The posters sparked thoughtful conversations, insightful observations, and excellent questions, deepening our understanding of how visual art can contribute to and transform culture.

7th Grade at CoCA

Get ready world, these young artists are ready to inspire the world to take action!

7th Grade at CoCA 2Special thank you to Ms. Lulu and Kyle for joining us on this very special field trip!

See below for a selection of our students’ favorite pieces (Thank you Mia for the photos!).  Artist names will be added ASAP.

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Creating Characters: Puppets

In partnership with Ms. Lulu in Performance Studies, 5th grade artists have been exploring the art of the puppet.  After viewing examples and discussing the ways puppets have contributed to cultural and social movements, students began to make their own handcrafted paper mâché hand puppets that represent their unique “Super(s)*hero” characters.

The process began by creating base forms of newspaper held together with masking tape, with paper tubes for the puppets’ necks.  At this point, it was difficult to envision how these could transform into beautiful, expressive characters!  Our artists pushed through, using tagboard and newspaper to build up their forms into dynamic sculptural creations with noses, snouts, foreheads, horns, ears, cheeks, mouths, and more!  The next step was applying multiple layers of paper mâché, working to create a smooth, even and durable surface.  Artists then painted their puppets, showing expression, personality, and mood through the eyes, eyebrows, and mouths of their characters.   Moving forward, artists will sew “outfits” for the puppets using salvaged fabric scraps and then attach the two pieces to create a finished puppet.  Come see the completed puppets in our mini culmination on Friday, February 17th!

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Encaustic Painting

7th grade artists have been working hard, using beeswax, collage, graphite transfer paper, and oil paint as they learn the ancient art form of encaustic  painting.  It has been an honor to witness their joy, creativity, and flexibility as they practice challenging techniques and work to get results with which they are satisfied!

Soon, 7th graders will apply their skills to create mixed-media encaustic paintings on wood panels that represent their inside and outside worlds.  Their “inside worlds” include qualities that represent who they truly are on the inside: hopes, fears, memories, feelings, identities, ideas, and other truths.  Their “outside worlds” include others’ perceptions, influences from friends, family, school, and media, likes and dislikes, stereotypes, and assumptions that affect them.  Artists will intentionally choose colors, materials, and collage elements that symbolized specific concepts meaningful to them personally.  In addition, they will apply at least one principle of design to their piece in order to create a strong composition.

See below for photos and the final painting assignment handout.

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Adaptations: Welcome 2016-2017 5th Grade Artists!

5th grade artists jumped right in with materials on their first day of school, as they worked with partners to create expressive, symbolic plaster cast masks.  After recovering from the initial shock of having vaseline and plaster applied to their faces, each artist used paint, collage, folded paper, feathers, and beads to bring their masks to life.  They designed features that represented their own unique strengths they bring to SGS as well as the qualities they hope to develop moving forward.  Finally, we all celebrated their perseverance, courage, and creativity with a mini-showcase for families at the end of the project.    Congratulations, 5th grade!

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