Daily Archives: January 30, 2014




I set aside my class plan for After-School Art yesterday.

We’ve been working our way through the History of Art. A pretty large subject for K ~ 6, after school, but they are up for the challenge!

We started with Paleolithic era cave paintings, worked our way through ancient Sumerian temple figures, Egyptian pyramids and wall art. They each made a clay cartouche with their name – in hieroglyphics – etched in it. This week, if I’d held to the plan, we were going to cover pinch pots – made the day we were talking about the Sumerians – with a dark slip, and cut designs through it, in the manner of ancient Greek black-figure ware.

We didn’t stick to the plan.

The pinch pots are not quite “leather-hard” so a bit fragile, yet, to be handled.

The snow and cold have me feeling a little dreary.

For warmth and color and something out of the ordinary, we visited Australia yesterday and tried out aboriginal dot painting.

These children loved using their hand print as their “signature” on their large, butcher paper cave paintings.

They really enjoyed picking out personal elements (“curly hair,” Sophie insisted) for their temple-figure self portraits in clay.

Having the hieroglyphic alphabet key to figure out their names, and the names of their family members (“Mom” is spelled with three birds, in hieroglyphics!), was the most exciting part of that segment.

Yesterday, I gave them each a print-out of some signs and symbols used to tell a story. We talked about each, and about how the patterns of dots were used to partially hide the story, so that only certain people would understand what it said. They each wrote their own message using the symbols provided, then used Q-tips and palettes of bright tempera paints to turn their images into an all-over pattern.

Our second piece was a simple tracing of their hand. The pattern of dots went around and around, inside and outside.

It was nice work for a winter afternoon!