Term: 2 Year: 2009
ICA Casey College is currently in its third year of operation and offers Visual Arts to students from Prep to
Year Nine. Positioned in a growth area in Melbourne’s south region, the College will continue to expand,
eventually catering for students in Year 12 by 2012.
The 3D Studies unit of work was undertaken by the Year Seven students and integrated effectively with their Humanities
topic of Deserts. Doubling as their Humanities teacher, I was able to link certain terminology appropriate
to both units, especially as they were studied concurrently during the term.
The students, having come from a variety of schools within the region had limited Visual Art experience so a
unit enabling beginning skills with the clay medium was devised. We began by observing and discussing the
artwork of Thancoupie – an Australian Aboriginal ceramic artist – the elements of design within her work
and the cultural context. A DVD on clay play was shown, enabling students to comprehend the three methods
of creating forms (pinch, slab and mould) followed by practical demonstrations of the pinch technique, slideshows
and actual examples of past students’ work. Additional theory, discussions and ceramic terminology
also accompanied the lessons as well as focus on safety with materials and techniques.
Then came the designing/planning of the marks made as surface decoration on the eggs. The students were asked
to draw a rectangle in their Visual Diaries of 15 x 20 cm. Within this space, an S bend contour was lightly
drawn in pencil in a diagonal fashion, as a starting point. This encouraged an organic design and limited
the students making symmetrical compositions. From there they extended the design and explored the space
using rhythmical lines, creating shapes and patterns, keeping in mind an organic, flowing outcome as it was
to be eventually transferred to a 3D organic shape.
Two halves of the egg were created using the pinch method, followed by joining, using the slip and score method
and smoothing of the ‘equator’ line. The students were instructed to ‘wrap’ their
designs around the egg by following their plans carefully and incising the lines into the surface using a
sharp graphite pencil. I have found these to be the best and cheapest tools for the job and also excellent
for making stipple marks. Additional loop and ribbon tools were employed to subtract and carve lower areas.
Additional clay was used to create areas in relief. Other successful marks were created by found tools such
as the inner plastic tubing of a pen, objects found from home etc. Whilst manipulating the clay, the students
realised the link between their studies on Deserts and their 3D forms – they commented that mesas,
gullies, longitudinal dunes etc. were being created within their designs on the clay surface.
Once dried and bisque fired, the students selected an oxide colour, applied it with a “daggy”, ruined
brush (due to the stabbing method employed to enable the oxide to penetrate the stippled and incised areas)
and wiped the oxide from the raised surface with a sponge. This was time consuming as it required repetitive
action to really get the surface clean to reveal a contrast with the dark oxide in the incised areas.
A further firing occurred to ‘cure’ the oxide on to the clay and once the eggs were returned to their owners,
there were some very surprised, delighted and proud students. In addition to the egg, the students created
a base or stand that echoed the designs on the surface of the clay.
Students evaluated their experiences, outcomes and success at the end of the unit before submitting their final
3D folio and Visual Diary. The Serpent evolved as a means of displaying the students’ works collectively,
under the stairwell in the College foyer and since we’d studied flora and fauna of the deserts, it
seemed apt to display their eggs in such a manner. The contrast of textures between the sand and clay delighted
all who entered the building and it became one of those superb tactile experiences/visions that elicited
many favourable comments indeed from visitors, students, parents and staff alike.
Creating and Making objectives for Level 5
Decision making skills which allowed effective methods of implementation of students’ own ideas.
Application of knowledge and understanding when designing, creating and producing artworks, influenced by the
style of a particular artist.
Demonstration of technical competence in the use of the clay medium – skills, techniques and processes.
Maintaining a visual journal complete with documentation and recording of ideas, planning and the making and creation of
Exploring and Responding:
Observe, research and critically discuss examples of art works of others (relative to the project undertaken)
and of their own.
The compiling and use of appropriate artistic vocabulary when referring to specific examples of art work.
Describing, analyzing, interpreting and making judgements when looking at the technical, expressive and aesthetic features
of artwork created by artists and the cultural context.
ICA Casey College