Introducing China…

Most of my classes are in the middle of a big unit on Chinese brush art. We are taking our time, focusing on not only craftsmanship, but also trying to get the hang of all-new tools and techniques. Third through sixth grades have been learning a few of the most basic calligraphy strokes, and have used them to create a bamboo background. The next step will be adding calligraphy characters for a fruit of the spirit to this background. I am considering letting them put it on clear paper and choosing a “best” to overlay on their background. Some bamboo examples:


I have been very pleased with how the students are catching on to the use of the new techniques and handhold for the bamboo brushes, with the watercolor, to achieve changes in value in their bamboo.


This student seems to have a natural feel for Asian art! Perhaps it is her name: Asia!

First and second grades started at the end, with their chops. I decided to use non-drying modeling clay for students to carve out their chops. I knew this would be a bit of a challenge for the younger students, since it requires envisioning the negative space and removing that, leaving a positive image. It was even harder than I expected. Most of my students have a chop now, though! I wish I could have afforded Sculpley clay, though, because it would be nice to be able to bake the finished product into something a little more durable. Enough use of the softly modeled chop wears it down in the less gentle printers. Some first and second grade chops:

This student managed the backward image to get a positive letter after a couple of tries!

Simple is often best!

Some letters don't have to be reversed, of course.

a die! Great, simple idea!

I really look forward to seeing how all the students projects turn out!


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