LOVE – Seven Grandfather Teachings, Haida Artist Bill Reid

Students create a relief sculpture using air dry clay and acrylic paints. They reflect on the meaning of love, animals that represent love, and how they understand the Grandfather teaching of love in their own life.

Required Time

150 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 8

Subject

Language Arts
Visual Arts
First Nations, Metis, Inuit

Vocabulary

background clay tile contrast emphasize form line primary colours relief sculpture secondary colours slip and score texture value

Materials

Various clay tools Water Containers Markers Air Dry Clay Acrylic Paint Paint Brushes Drawing Paper

Steps

LOVE – Seven Grandfather Teachings, Haida Artist Bill Reid - Step One

Step One

  1. Make a mind map. Begin with the word love, one of the 7 Grandfathers' teachings, in the centre of your mind map. 
  2. Brainstorm words and images connected to the Grandfather teaching of love.
  3. Reflect on personal life experiences that are connected to and exemplify the Grandfather teaching of love.
  4. Close your eyes and think about the word love, how would you best express love through colour, pictures, and words? 
LOVE – Seven Grandfather Teachings, Haida Artist Bill Reid - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Choose words connected to images that best exemplify the word love for you.
  2. What animal represents the Grandfather teaching love? You will be sculpting the images and carving the words into your clay tile.
LOVE – Seven Grandfather Teachings, Haida Artist Bill Reid - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Use air dry clay to make your tile.
  2. Take a handful of clay and flatten it by rolling the clay, pressing it with your hands, and lightly lifting it off a flat table and dropping it on the surface.
  3. Create a smooth, flat surface on the clay.
  4. Make sure your clay tile is about 1 cm (.25") thick.
LOVE – Seven Grandfather Teachings, Haida Artist Bill Reid - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use a flat edged clay tool or ruler to cut a rectangular tile out of the clay.
LOVE – Seven Grandfather Teachings, Haida Artist Bill Reid - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Use a pointed clay tool or pencil to carve the words you chose that describe how you understand love.
  2. Make sure you do not cut through your clay tile.
  3. Carve the words into the surface of the clay.
LOVE – Seven Grandfather Teachings, Haida Artist Bill Reid - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Make 2 small holes on the top corners of the clay tile to allow you to hang your tile when it is complete.
  2. Create a relief sculpture by cutting images that best express the Grandfather teaching love from your left over clay.
  3. To attach the images to the flattened tile, score the surface of the tile where the carved shape will attach, then score the back of the shape you will be attaching.
LOVE – Seven Grandfather Teachings, Haida Artist Bill Reid - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Paint each surface with slip, which is a mixture of water and clay.
  2. Slip acts like a glue that will hold 2 pieces of clay together. Paint the back of the shape you want to attach with slip, and the area of the tile you want to attach it to.
  3. Press the clay pieces together.
LOVE – Seven Grandfather Teachings, Haida Artist Bill Reid - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Use your clay tools (pencils, rulers, etc.) to add detail to your relief sculpture.
  2. Make sure the words and images are clear.
  3. Allow your clay tile to dry for several days.
LOVE – Seven Grandfather Teachings, Haida Artist Bill Reid - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Use black acrylic paint, a fine tipped paint brush, and water to paint the words. Adding black to the words will emphasize them, contrasting them with the background of the clay tile.
LOVE – Seven Grandfather Teachings, Haida Artist Bill Reid - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Use a paint tray or plate to mix colours.
  2. Remember the primary colours are red, yellow, and blue. 
  3. Secondary colours are made by mixing 2 primary colours together, for example, yellow + blue = green, red + yellow = orange, blue + red = purple.
  4. Begin by mixing the colours you would like to use, then paint the sculptural forms made on the clay tile.
LOVE – Seven Grandfather Teachings, Haida Artist Bill Reid - Step Eleven

Step Eleven

  1. Choose a colour for your background.
  2. Add white to the colour if you need to contrast the background colour with the colour of your sculpted forms.
LOVE – Seven Grandfather Teachings, Haida Artist Bill Reid - Step Twelve

Step Twelve

  1. When you have completed your painting allow it to dry.
  2. Write about your personal meaning of the Grandfather teaching, love.
  3. Share your relief sculpture with the other people in your class.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create a relief sculpture tile using air dry clay and acrylic paints;
  2. Use words and images to communicate the meaning of love, one of the 7 Grandfathers' teachings, including the animal that represents love;
  3. Use a variety of colours to emphasize the words and images chosen, contrasting them against the background;  and
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

Extensions

Have students:

  1. Create a relief sculpture about different Grandfather teachings (courage/bravery, respect, humility, wisdom, truth, honesty);
  2. Connect the 7 Grandfathers' teachings to an inquiry project (e.g., How have the plants that we have been learning about taught you respect?); and/or
  3. Write a story about their life experience with one of the 7 Grandfathers' teachings.

Prepare

  1. Prior to this lesson download images from the internet, or find images in books or magazines of animals connected to the Grandfather teaching, love. For example,
    Eagle 
  2. Download images from the Internet, or find images in books or magazines of Bill Reid's sculptures. The following link has information about Bill Reid (an artist of Haida, German, and Scottish ancestry)
    Bill Reid
    Spirit of the Haida Gwaii
    Raven
    Orca
    Plaster Gwaii
  3. Download the Traditional Teachings Handbook in pdf form, from the Native Women's Centre. This booklet provides background information for the teacher on the 7 Grandfathers' Teachings from the perspective of the authors. It is available at the following link, 
    Handbook . 
  4. Download the following pdf and read about the Seven Sacred Teachings, Niizhwaaswi gagiikwewin, by David Bouchard & Dr. Joseph Martin, paintings by Kristy Cameron, 
    Seven Sacred Teachings
    or watch the video, 
    Video-Teachings
    This pdf and/or video will give you background knowledge about the 7 Grandfather teachings from the perspective of the writers. The paintings and writings about the Seven Sacred Teachings can be shared with the students. Make sure students understand who wrote the teachings and where they are from. First Nations Peoples from different communities will have different understandings and perspectives on the 7 Grandfathers' teachings.
  5. Download The Seven Grandfather Teachings, by Rabbit and Bear Paws. The teachings by Rabbit and Bear Paws can be shared and reflected on daily (one teaching each day) with your students.
    Rabbit and Bear Paws

Introduction

  1. Introduce students to the artist, Bill Reid (an artist of Haida, German, and Scottish ancestry). View and discuss a variety of Bill Reid's artworks, focusing on his use of relief carving to add detail to his sculptures. Explore his use of texture, form, and line.
  2. Introduce the 7 Grandfathers' teachings and the meaning of each human quality.
  3. Have a class discussion about the Grandfather teaching, love, and how it is connected to life experiences. Ask students to share an example from their own life in which they have made connections to the Grandfather teaching, love.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Create a relief sculpture tile using air dry clay and acrylic paints.
  2. Use words and images to communicate the meaning of love, one of the 7 Grandfathers' teachings, including the animal that represents love.
  3. Use a variety of colours to emphasize the words and images chosen, contrasting them against the background.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example;
    - words communicate the meaning of love
    - images communicate the meaning of love
    - contrasting colour adds emphasis
    - clay tile is carefully constructed
    - clay relief shapes are firmly attached to the tile
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson.
  4. Observe students as they work.
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.
  6. When students have completed their relief sculptures, ask them to reflect on the words and images they have chosen to represent the Grandfather teaching, love.
  7. Ask students to write about their personal meanings of the Grandfather teaching, love.

Sharing

  1. Once all the artworks and reflections are complete ask students to bring their artworks into a large circle. Invite each student to share his/her relief sculpture.
  2. During the circle discussion include references to colours, contrast, emphasis, texture, and form.
  3. Share personal connections to the Grandfather teaching, love.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – exploring, experimenting, adding detail, thoughtful focus.
  2. Listen to and observe students as they discuss the artworks – attentive listening, insightful contributions.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Love_ tracking.pdf).
  4. Have students reflect on their own artworks in their sketchbooks. Ask students:                                                                                                           - What worked well in you artwork? Why?                                                                                                                                                             
    - What would you change or do differently next time?                                                                                                                          
    - What does the Grandfather teaching, love, mean to you?