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UWCSEA Gr6 Art - Unit 2

Page history last edited by Frank Curkovic 9 years, 8 months ago


"I express myself in sculpture since I am not a poet."

-Aristide Maillol


“Art-making is not about telling the truth but making the truth felt” 
Christian Boltanski


Enduring Understanding: Art can illustrate, generate discussion & raise awareness.


Guiding Questions:

  • How can we consider the value of materials in art?
  • Where do good ideas come from?
  • How can we create art that will raise awareness?
  • How can we communicate our ideas effectively?
  • How can we collaborate to produce installation art?

Skills (by the end of this unit, students will be able to):  

  • build an understanding about environmental issues & conservation
  • to develop an understanding of how and why artists communicate through their work
  • plan & construct a 3D ceramic work of art using a slab with additive & subtractive techniques and methods of construction
  • design and create surface decoration with texture variation as a decorative element
  • apply glaze (& oxides) with a limited palette


Key terms: additive, bisque, ceramics, clay, fire, form, glaze, relief, sculpture, shape, slab, subtractive, texture


Teacher Resources:



*note: lessons below are subject to change at the discretion of the teacher.


Lesson 1 

Lesson focus: How can we consider the value of materials in art?


Pre-assessment Textural Clay Tile (40mins)

You work for IKEA. IKEA is looking to create a new range of ornamental clay products focusing on texture.

They require you to create a flat slab tile, or a more 3D piece in cube or rectangular format.

You should think like a designer by consider additive/subtractive clay, texture to create a decorative piece.

You can create a pattern or an illustrative picture through clay.

Allow 10 mins for clean up. 


When complete, look at the example of possible textures below & then self-evaluate your creation using the pie graph as pictured below.

Answer the following questions in your sketchbook as well:

  1. How do you feel about your work?
  2. How could you improve upon this piece?
  3. Are there any elements, research or skills/techniques you can use to further develop your work?
  4. What action will you take? What goals can you make?


Task 2: Outline of unit




Complete the self-evaluation questions. 


Lesson 2

Arrange seating for students: Sit alphabetically

Lesson Focus: How can we create art that will raise awareness? Where do good ideas come from? 


Warm-up: Pixar Story Pitch (10mins)

Look at the following ceramic plate and create a story using the following sentences:

1. Once upon a time there was …
2. Every day …
3. One day …
4. Because of that …
5. Because of that …
6. Until finally …

Look at the piece again.

Now think about what decorative techniques were used on it.


Project Task:

Global Concern groups need your help. They are calling on artists to help raise awareness to their cause.

They desire subtle yet profound work, and wish to avoid cliche. You have been selected to participate in this event.

You will create a slab plate.

Your "sculpture" must communicate a message, a statement or a story, relating to a global concern.

How will you successfully do this? This can be in narrative form, or slightly more conceptual. What do you wish to convey?

You must incorporate design elements and surface decoration.

This can include texture, additive/subtractive clay, glaze (colour) and possibly form.

You must brainstorm, develop your ideas, plan and sketch your piece, experimenting with at least three possible final designs. This will form part of your assessment.

You will pitch these ideas to your peers, recording their feedback be it positive or negative. You will then make your final decision.

You may wish to cater your approach to your possible strengths and weaknesses.

For example, if you enjoy illustration, how can you incorporate this into your work?

You are not encouraged to include text into your work. How will you communicate your message clearly and coherently?

Note: You may have only 1 lesson to form your work. You will then also have 1 lesson to glaze it.


View rubric criteria.


At your tables, discuss the following questions (10 minutes):

What is the project task asking you to do?

What are the requirements to succeed on the task?

What evidence do we need to show?

Document this in your sketchbooks.


Game: divide class in half to brainstorm global concern groups at UWC. (10 minutes) 

Select a global concern and then create a brainstorm for it.

A good brainstorm should include some factual information, as well ideas for imagery, connections to senses, emotions, patterns, colours etc.


Homework: Be prepared to share your brainstorm for the next lesson.


Lesson 3


View the following ad for the documentary film Girl Rising.

What do you see?

What do you think about it?

What does it mean? How has imagery been used effectively?


Review brainstorms from previous lesson.

Where do good ideas come from? (10min)

Sitting there and waiting for enlightenment will not help you.

You need to start getting ideas flowing.

What strategies can we use to develop ideas?


Begin creating some thumbnail sketches for your work. Thumbnail sketches are fast and are used to simply test out ideas and layout etc.

Generate as many as you can in 10mins.

The goal is to be quick and experiment.

This is part of your assessment.


Further strategies to elaborate your ideas:

  • Can you empathise or sympathise with your idea? Can you put yourself in its shoes? How can you relate emotionally?
  • How can your design change if you simplify it? Remove certain parts or elements.
  • What would happen to your design if you repeated a shape, a colour or an idea?
  • What would happen to your design if you made it bigger? smaller? changed proportion or dimensions?
  • What would happen to your design if you separated it or used only a part of it? What can you take away to focus on? Can you make your work minimal?
  • What would happen to your design if you twisted your subject out of its true shape, proportion or meaning? Can you make it wider, longer, fatter, narrower? Can you play with scale?
  • How can your subject have symbolic qualities?
  • Can you make it more expressive?
  • How will you incorporate colour?
  • Think back to your pre-assessment task. What was difficult to achieve? What was easy or effective? Were there any limitations that might impact the construction of your current designs? 

If you are still struggling for ideas, think about what you wish to convey about the Global Concern.

Write a short story about it. Select a scene to depict. Can you emphasise an aspect? [This could be like the warm-up Pixar Story Pitch task, but reversed]

Also have a look at the slideshow to assist in generating ideas.

Jot ideas down that you like and/or create thumbnails.



Continue developing thumbnails for your design.

Select your best 3 to further develop into a more coherent piece of work.

This can be sketchy, but more refined than a thumbnail.

At this stage, they do not have to be "perfect." You will pitch these 3 ideas to the class. 

You may need to write notes as to how the clay will be utilised.

For example, if it will be additive or carved out.



Lesson 4

Arrange seating for students: Sit by oldest to youngest

Lesson Focus:  How can we communicate our ideas effectively? 


Pitch planning ideas to class. (20mins)

  • Divide students into groups of 4.
  • Students will have 3minutes to pitch 3 design concepts to their group.
  • Groups member will then have 2 minutes to provide feedback.
  • Document any feedback you receive, be it positive or negative.
  • For the remainder of the class, finalise your choice of design.
  • Include colour and notes on how you will use texture etc.
  • If you gave your design/plan to someone in another class, would they be able to understand it and create the piece?
  • If not, your plan should be improved.


Homework: Have final design ready for next class.

Watch the following 12min video to also get an idea of how to form a slab plate.




Lesson 5

Today we will begin creating our plate.

Watch the following video below to get an idea of the process.

Some steps will differ from the video (example: We do not have chamois leather to smoothen the edges AND, instead of using a card to smoothen the plate, we will use the white spatula cake spreaders.)


Steps to remember:

Materials: clay, 2 pieces of wood, spatula spreader, newspaper, clay slip, tools to create texture

1. Form the clay into a ball to get the air bubbles out.

2. Flatten the clay slightly, but don't press down too hard, or it will stick to the table.

3. Use 2 pieces of wood and roll out the clay so the thickness is consistent.

4. Roll, flip and repeat so it doesn't stick to the table.

5. Place it on newspaper & smoothen both sides using the white spatula spreader.

6. Cut the shape of your plate.

7. Smoothen out the edges.

8. Add your textures/designs. Don't forget to score and use clay slip when adding clay.

9. Roll up the edges and place support around it to hold it up (if you wish).

10. Place your finished piece on the grey wooden boards. You may simply write your full name on a small piece of newspaper and leave it on top.




Lesson 6 **At discretion of teacher, unit 3 may start at this point to utilise time more effectively. Glazing will have to occur after the holiday.

Lesson focus: How can we collaborate to produce installation art?

What is installation art?

Top 10 Most Stunning Art Installations in 2013 (via My Modern Met)


Option 1: Tape sculptures




Option 2: Ai Wei Wei Sunflower seeds

Sunflower Seeds is made up of millions of small works, each apparently identical, but actually unique. However realistic they may seem, these life-sized sunflower seed husks are in fact intricately hand-crafted in porcelain. 

Each seed has been individually sculpted and painted by specialists working in small-scale workshops in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen. Far from being industrially produced, they are the effort of hundreds of skilled hands. Poured into the interior of the Turbine Hall’s vast industrial space, the 100 million seeds form a seemingly infinite landscape.

Porcelain is almost synonymous with China and, to make this work, Ai Weiwei has manipulated traditional methods of crafting what has historically been one of China’s most prized exports. Sunflower Seeds invites us to look more closely at the ‘Made in China’ phenomenon and the geo-politics of cultural and economic exchange today.




Clay pieces to be fired at this point.



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