In a ceramics class, a collection of vases rose a foot above the tables. On a visit to SCAD, the printmaking class worked with toxic chemicals. In a painting class, students painted humans with animal faces. These are just a few of the many incredible and challenging projects Lovett’s art students and teachers tackled at the end of last semester.
The ceramics semester was a wild one with substitute Katy McDougal taking the reins for Mr. Z. Ms. McDougal said she “absolutely loved” the class as well as the “great combination of people and personalities,” and she made the most of her fleeting time with the students. For their final project, each artist created their own 18-inch vases along with miniature 6-inch mock-ups.
The size and scale were larger than ever before, presenting a new and exciting challenge. “Students had previously not been asked to [create] anything larger than 8 inches,” said Ms. McDougal. The seven-hour project was completed over two weeks and allowed the students to embrace their mistakes, with each piece showcasing the students’ individual style.
Quinn Buczek, a ceramics student this past semester, embodied a, well, carefree style. “I don't really like following instructions, especially when it comes to art of all things, so I just threw two unique looking pieces together without thinking about it,” he admits.
Ms. McDougal, or Ms. Mack, encouraged students to make and embrace mistakes during their semester together, and to work for the process rather than the product. Especially in a project this challenging, some mistakes were bound to happen, yet as Quinn explained, sometimes these lead to important new discoveries.
“Ms. Mack got us some cool new glazes with crystals to go on our pots,” he said. “Because of an error, our class found out that if you mixed clear glaze with the new crystal glaze, it created a really pretty effect.”
One of the most exciting field trips in the fall semester was when print-making students took a trip to SCAD, or Savannah College of Art and Design, one of the most esteemed arts colleges in the United States.
The students ventured to the nearby college campus a few weeks before the semester’s end to etch copper plates in chemical baths, view selections from the SCAD-ACA library’s artist book collection, and meet students who are working toward a career of their own in the arts.
The professional-level printmaking facilities at SCAD were used to etch the copper plates with ferric chloride, a metal-salt rather than a typical acid. Afterwards, the students were able to practice printing with them. This highly-technical process is one that few high school students are allowed to work with or even witness, as the chemical fumes are nothing short of toxic.
Once they were done, students were treated to lunch and allowed to view selections from the library’s unique artist’s book collection. The books are a collection that, according to the ACA library’s description, “encompass a wide range of processes and materials and can be hard to define.” As fine art themselves, the artist's books are all visions and creations of an artist, yet they are interactive and intended to be handled by an individual instead of simply regarded from afar.
Also, they got the opportunity to chat with current college students about what it’s like to pursue a career in art and work in a field that they are passionate about. This was vitally important, as it showed the students how many options are readily and realistically available to them in order to turn dreams of working in such a field to reality.
In painting, the artists recently worked with Lovett graduate Alea Hurst. Alea’s work, previously featured in the Lovett gallery from April through September, features human bodies with elaborate masks and animal heads, parts of which blend and interact with complex patterned backgrounds.
The painting students worked with the artist to put their own spin on her creative style and the products were featured in the upper school hallway. The opportunity to collaborate with such a capable artist, especially one that graduated Lovett herself, gave the students an opportunity like no other to gain insight into what they can accomplish and pursue in their own futures.
Clearly, there is no shortage of excitement in the art department, and they leave us all in anticipation of the projects to come as the spring semester begins.