Monday, 20 January 2014


Type in the word 'texture' into Google images and you'll get the best looking results page you've ever seen. Texture is described by Wiktionary as "the feel or shape of a surface or substance; the smoothness, roughness, softness etc. of something.
This was the subject of exploration for this Month's Material Knowledge. Ideas for activities to engage learners included:
* Extend August 2012's posting 'From Sheet to Form' exercise by seeing how many textures can be created from an A4 sheet of paper. Prep an A3 sheet of paper by marking out squares for the textures to be stuck onto and photocopy as many as the class requires. A large scale piece would also work well for group work and make a great display.
* Try simulating these textures and creating others in 2D.
* Use found textures to create artworks e.g. rubbings or collage/assemblage.
* Weaving - Mark out lines on card and using a craft knife, cut these lines being careful not to go too near the edge. Cut or tear strips of paper or other material and weave rows by alternating the starting point e.g. if the previous piece went under, start by going over on the next. Stick the ends in place to stop them moving around if you want. Very quickly a nice effect is built up. Of course there are many types of weaving and practical and beautiful objects that can be created. Can you see or think of any?
* For young children, making and playing with a 'feely box' is a lot of fun. Simply find a box with a lid, cut a hole large enough for curious hands to fit through and decorate. Put objects, which could be related to current themes, into the box and observe how the children respond and try to guess the object by feel alone.
Humans have many senses, the five standard ones being; hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch. Including as many of these as possible in a learning activity can make for an exciting and memorable experience.
This is particularly the case for babies and very young children. Because they are unable to process information intellectually, they do so in a more sensory way. When you see a small child put something in their mouth, they are actually thinking, they are trying to make sense of the object through how it feels and tastes.
Once again, spending 2hrs exploring a subject has opened up a whole new world of creativity and information. I highly recommend all artists and educators try and take 2hrs each month to play. Gather materials together, choose a medium or a subject and spend that time exploring as many possibilities as possible with no thoughts or concerns about the outcomes or product. Evaluate after if anything new or useful has come out of it or simply allow these ideas to percolate over time...
Julie Rafalski (www.julierafalski.com) did exactly this and after having examples of her 'From Sheet to Form' experiments on her table for a few months, found that turning her 2D work into 3D with some strategic folding complimented her work brilliantly.


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