INSPIRED BY JOE FAFARD – Canadian Artist, Air-Dry Clay

Students research Saskatchewan artist Joe Fafard and make connections to his way of working and their own experiences, then they use Crayola air-dry clay to create a personal artwork inspired by what they have learned about the artist.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 7 to Grade 9

Subject

Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

Materials

Crayola Air-Dry Clay - White Crayola Sketchbooks - 1 per student Crayola Acrylic Paint - 6 Count Crayola Paintbrushes - 5 Count Slip Water Containers Rolling Pins or Piece of Dowel Plastic Placemats - 1 per student Pencils Paper Clips Masking Tape Paper Towels

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Steps

INSPIRED BY JOE FAFARD – Canadian Artist, Air-Dry Clay - Step One

Step One

  1. Spend some time researching Joe Fafard and viewing images of his work.
    - What do you find interesting about how he works?
    - What artworks speak to you? Why?
    - Where does he get his ideas?
    - How could you make his ideas your own?
    - Why do you think people are drawn to his work?
    - How has his life in Saskatchewan influenced his work?
    - What stories about Saskatchewan does his work tell?
INSPIRED BY JOE FAFARD – Canadian Artist, Air-Dry Clay - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Think about how the information you learned about Joe Fafard connects with how you like to make art.
  2. What have you learned from him?
  3. Plan your own clay project inspired by what you have learned.
INSPIRED BY JOE FAFARD – Canadian Artist, Air-Dry Clay - Step Three

Step Three

EXAMPLE - How can I use Fafard's ideas to tell my own story?

  1. Make a clay sculpture of a racing car.
    - Car represents the power and excitement I feel watching a Formula One Race.
    - The idea connects with Joe Fafard's Running Horses style and also his interest in making things related to everyday life that ordinary people like.
    - I imagine a lifesize version of  7 cars made out of steel lined in a race.

PROCESS - Clay Techniques

  1. Make a paper pattern of the car adding details that will make it look like it is moving similar to the way Fafard added flowing tails and manes on the horses.
  2. Roll a slab of clay big enough to fit the pattern.

 

INSPIRED BY JOE FAFARD – Canadian Artist, Air-Dry Clay - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Create a pin tool with a paper clip and a pencil.
  2. Cut out the shape,
INSPIRED BY JOE FAFARD – Canadian Artist, Air-Dry Clay - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Remember to use the score and slip technique to join pieces of clay.
INSPIRED BY JOE FAFARD – Canadian Artist, Air-Dry Clay - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Allow the clay to dry for 4 - 5 days.
    - Support it so the piece dries flat.
INSPIRED BY JOE FAFARD – Canadian Artist, Air-Dry Clay - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. When it is completely dry paint the sculpture with acrylic paint.
  2. View the work with fresh eyes.
    - How has Joe Fafard influenced your own ideas?
    - How is the sculpture uniquely your own?
    - What story does your sculpture tell?
    - What other ideas might you explore based on what you have learned about Joe Fafard?
    - What do you like best about your work? 

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • identify characteristics of Joe Fafard's artwork and process;
  • create an air-dry clay project based on their own ideas and influenced by Joe Fafard; 
  • explain how their own work connects with what they learned about Joe Fafard;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

Extensions

Have students:

  • create a single page outline of a specific artwork that inspired them that includes a brief description about why they chose that artwork;
  • compile the single pages into one digital booklet;
  • create a display of their clay artworks;
  • invite others to see if they can match the student-made clay artworks with the Fafard artworks that inspired them;
  • compare results;
  • share what they learned.

Prepare

  1. Download images of artworks by Joe Fafard from the Interent, e.g.,
    Running Horses - Video
    Joe Fafard
    Fafard Field Project
    Fafard Stamp
    Running Horses
  2. Prior to this lesson teach and have students practice how to ask good inquiry questions.
    The question should be:
    - engaging
    - open-ended 
    - clearly focussed
    - deep and relevant

     

Introduction

  1. Display an image of the full installation of Running Horses by Joe Fafard at the National Gallery of Canada.
  2. Ask students to look at the work closely for 1 minute without speaking.
  3. Invite students to share their first impressions of the sculpture, and make a list of the things students say, for example,
    - It's so big.
    - It looks like the horses are really running through the city.
    - I wonder where he got the idea?
    - The holes in the horses make them shimmer.
    - Those holes in the horses make fast patterns.
    - It's wicked.
    - It makes me feel like I can hear the horses running.
    - It's a herd of wild horses.
    - The tails and manes look like they are flying in the wind.
  4. Ask students to write down any questions they have on sticky notes and place them on a 'Wonder Wall', e.g., 
    - I wonder where he got the idea to do this?
    - Why is it so big?
    - Why is it right in the middle of the city?
    - How much did it cost?
    - What is it made out of?
    - Why did he cut out those shapes in the horses?
    - How long did it take to make it?
    - How did they get it to Ottawa?
    - Why did he make horses and not some other animal?
    - What is it about?
  5. Discuss the questions students have posed and work together to tweak them into more open-ended, bigger questions about art and art making in general, e.g.,
    - Where do artists get their ideas?
    - Why do people make art?
    - What is the purpose of public art?
    - Why do cultures value artistic expression?
    - What makes an artist 'great'?
    - How do artists influence each other?
    - What can we learn about ourselves through art?
  6. View and discuss the video Running Horses - Video.
  7. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Research Joe Fafard and identify key characteristics of his artwork and process.
  2. Create an air-dry clay project based on your own ideas and influenced by Joe Fafard. 
  3. Present your work to the class and respond to feedback supporting your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.
  4. Explain how your work and process connects with what you learned about Joe Fafard.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when my artwork represents my own ideas and is influenced by Joe Fafard, for example:
    - subject represents something special to me
    - my idea came from my everyday experiences
    - the design is similar to Fafard's Running Horses
    - the design connects to traditions
    - the design could be used as public art

    - the artwork is sturdy and well constructed  
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to present their artwork and respond to feedback supporting their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.
    - What's your first reaction to the sculpture?
    - What do you see that makes you say that?
    - What connections to Joe Fafard do you see?
    - What do you like best about the sculpture? Why?

     

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their sculptures – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the artwork, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Fafard_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students respond to guiding questions in their sketchbooks, e.g.,
    - How has Joe Fafard influenced your own ideas?
    - How is your sculpture uniquely your own?
    - What story does your sculpture tell?
    - What other ideas might you explore based on what you have learned about Joe Fafard?
    - What do you like best about your work? 
    - What did you learn about yourself by doing this project?