Summer Art Campers Mold Clay and Future Possibilities

By: Amy Beck, marketing and communications manager on July 6th, 2011

Summer art camps are underway at the Woodson Art Museum, and youngsters are converging this week for Art From All Angles. Early Tuesday, children ages 10-11, clustered in the lobby swinging brightly colored lunchboxes before spending the day creating three-dimensional forms and figures with clay, plaster, and wire. They started by screen printing their own graphic t-shirts. Before sculpting, they soaked up inspiration from metalwork in the galleries and sculptures in the garden, where they paused for a picnic lunch by the pond.
Prepping the crew for an afternoon with clay, educator Jayna Hintz pointed out two sculptures that helped show the difference between additive and reductive sculpting processes. To create his ostrich, Bart Walter added clay to fashion the feathers. For her mountain lion, Rosetta scraped clay away to convey the cat’s power through its sleek, angular lines.
Once back in the Museum classroom, students crumpled and fashioned foil into armatures – a sculpture’s framework – that they covered with a thin layer of clay. The impressive array of ideas included a mermaid, turtle, snowball, fairy, and swan. Later, they twisted and coiled wire armatures to support wet strips of plaster-coated gauze that became an igloo, dolphin, teepee, and a couple of tall, abstract forms. These sculptures will harden through oven baking and air drying, and this lucky crew will return on Thursday for another full day of sculpting and painting their creations.
The ratio was excellent Tuesday, with three or four budding artists to every helper – a great way for volunteers to ease into the week. This year, the volunteer crew includes two teenagers who are children of Museum staff – my daughter, Sarah Kate, and Alex, Jayna’s son who’s been a faithful camp volunteer for years.
Sessions for younger children are booked solid, with about twenty 8- and 9-year-olds coming today and a full slate of 5-7-year-olds on Friday. Sarah Kate, who is 15, wants to be a teacher when she grows up, so volunteering for the art camps offers great experience and another opportunity to solidify – or modify – that career choice. Alex, who is 17 and wants to be a paleontologist, says he has a strong artistic interest that he wants to share with the next generation.
The artistic explorations that students embark upon this week certainly will shape and mold their futures, as well, in ways as exciting and intricate as the sculptures they create.

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