Term: 2 Year: 2009
Students were inspired by Byron Bay artist John Dahlsen’s series of totems. He collects objects found on our
beaches and turns these materials into art.
Dahlsen has made a series of totems out of rubber thongs, plastic soda bottles, buoys, foam, and driftwood.
Year 5 students discussed and observed a range of totems created by Dahlsen. They discussed observations such as cool and
warm colours being used and graduation of tones.
Before the creating process began, students were introduced to a rubric with assessment guidelines. With this in
mind they then used either warm or cool colours with black or white plastic bottle tops. Using a plastic ring as
a base, student’s hot glued bottle tops on, thinking about their design as they progressed upwards. Students
created a totem that was free standing and stable as well as the base being thicker than the top. There was no height
restriction and the boys particularly loved this!
When totems were completed students assessed their art work from the rubric and then turned their totem into 2D by
drawing it with detail.
Canterbury Primary School