I walked into our newly expanded ceramics studio today and noticed that the shelves were lined with a flower pot that looks like a penguin, a mug etched with a floral design, vases, bowls, and so much more. Our Grade 8 students are about to complete their ceramics unit on functional art, where they explore hand-building techniques to create art you can use.
Their work was truly impressive–much of it looked like it belonged in a store! But the process behind it goes much deeper than making objects of beauty.
Our art program consistently gets rave reviews for the way it combines the study of important artists, cultures, and movements with the acquisition of technical skills in drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, sculpture, and ceramics. But there is also so much learning happening outside of these core skills.
Ms. Yirenkyi recently gave a presentation to our newly accepted families about how Grade 8 has been exploring art as a personal journey while refining a range of skills, including observation, proportion, shading, composition, and balance. They began the year by creating a realistic drawing of their own eyes, surrounded by a collage of maps and magazines representing their families and personal interests. Next, they advanced to realistic drawings of their shoes working in the graphite medium. However, there was an extra challenge to incorporate a word, phrase, or symbol of something someone would learn about them if they walked a mile in their shoes. Our Grade 8 Dragons have continued their personal reflections during their current ceramics unit, carefully selecting which piece of functional art they would like to create.
As part of our commitment to help each individual child thrive, we look for projects that have a low floor and a high ceiling, meaning we meet each student where they are and challenge them to progress as far as they can into the work. Our art program exemplifies this beautifully, as our faculty teach our students that progress is a result of process, encourage them to bring their best effort to the work, and provide a medium for our Dragons to reflect deeply on their identities and how they view the world around them.
As always, I am grateful for our incredible teachers and am constantly learning new things from their commitment to their craft.
Head of School