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I haven’t posted in a while, I have been suffering from adjunct burnout. But I am glad to be back and feeling re-invigorated.

I have a great 3D design class this semester and a few weeks ago we had a wonderful opportunity to work with a visiting artist, Mark Gagnon. The chance to work with Mark arose as part of a fabulous and colourful exhibit, The Warhol Effect, at the Weeks Gallery on the campus where I work.

To prepare for his classroom visit we viewed part of the excellent documentary series made by Grayson Perry and Channel 4, All In The Best Possible Taste, as a precursor to a discussion about the identifiers of the students “tribe”. Because Warhol’s work addresses issues of pop culture the students opted to choose icons of contemporary pop culture to use in the project.

I don’t want to give away all of Mark’s secrets, but the process uses cheap, easy to access materials and the students really enjoyed the project. Today was our critique, not all of the projects pictured are completely finished, but I hope you will agree that the students have captured something of the spirit of the time.

pop culture images from my 3D design class

pop culture images from my 3D design class


The students produced some really strong work for the final critique. I think I should assign this earlier in the semester next year. If I get to teach any studios at all. Here’s the pictures!

Yes! Finally the closing weeks of Spring term and it is Andy Goldsworthy time! Today was a balmy 80 and the sun was shining, so my sculpture class headed out into the wild for the morning. After some initial sketching and pondering here’s what they came up with so far

Getting students to listen to their materials, instead of struggling to enforce their own will before they understand the material’s capabilities is the biggest challenge of teaching 3D design & materials. (Well listening and which glue to use!) This week’s assignment was to take 100 of any everyday object and using the inspiration of artists like Tara Donovan, Tom Friedman, Jennifer Maestre, Joana¬†Vasconcelos, and Zachary Abel.

Here’s what we came up with!

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Our last exploration in the first unit was to work in wire like Calder – hoping to inspire the students to loosen up and experiment. It always amazes me that college students seem to have forgotten how to play! First we developed some continuous line drawings from multiple perspectives and in a variety of mediums, and then tried to translate those images into wire with varying degrees of success. I tried to encourage the students to use a single continuous piece of wire, rather than fuss with joining separate pieces together, but it wasn’t forbidden (playing remember!). The results were quite varied in their success. I apologize for the terrible pictures, but hopefully you get the idea


For our second project we watched between the folds – (if you haven’t seen it I just want to recommend this video – it is mesmerizing!) to get some inspiration and then we embarked on some paper folding of our own. I was a little disappointed, the students didn’t take many risks or experiment with the paper, instead most opted to make a model from an existing pattern – a lesson learned for the instructor! Here’s what they came up with

The more times I assign this project, the more amazed I am at how much can be dome with a single sheet of paper

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I think it’s going to be a productive semester.

Yes! It is finally that time again, time to get outside and make nature inspired installations after the amazing Andy Goldsworthy… here’s some images from this years crop so far

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Thank heavens that out spring break has finally arrived, even amidst a sudden flurry of snow, I am as burnt out as my students and ready to unravel a little for the next few days before I settle in to marking drawings.

As a reward for actually attending class today I watched DVD’s in both my classes. In 3D we watched an excellent documentary about the work of Andy Goldsworthy, whose work absolutely makes my heart sing with joy, and whose work my students will be trying to emulate for the last three weeks of the semester! Hopefully spring will have really arrived by then!!

In drawing I settled for a part of a BBC documentary “how art made the world”, operating on the premise that art is a defining characteristic of humanity it takes sweeping looks across time at facets of art and representation. We watched an episode “more human than human” about representation of the figure, as we are currently working on self portraits.

And now it is time for a well earned break!! Relax and enjoy everyone and come back refreshed!

my 3D class decided to participate in Seth’s disintegration project. I was so brain dead on Tuesday i couldn’t remember the names of any of the artists I wanted to reference with regards to this kind of work… fortunately so many of you are participating that we were able to look at your works and get inspired. So a big thank you to Seth for organizing this project and letting us join in, and to all the other artists whose amazing work got our creativity flowing. I asked each of the students to write their own statement (because we all know you need to practice that evil statement writing thing!!), so you can read those below with their project pictures. Enjoy and feel free to leave comments for them! I played along to, you can see my project at my blog here!

allison-kota This project is the work of Allison Kota, here is her statement: The main focus for this project is to see how the different materials I used will disintegrate. I used some materials that I think will decompose quickly and some that might not at all. I am curious to see what happens to the colors also. I would like to see the colors bleed and mix into the materials.

amber This project is the work of Amber Lussier, here is her statement:This project is an experiment to see what kind of effect the weather will have on our objects. Using ribbed tank tops, acrylic paint, India ink and postal servic elyrics, I have suspended a message and offered it up to nature.

claire This Project is the work of Claire Brauchier, statement forthcoming….

dana This project is the work of Dana¬† Wright, here is his statement:Written on notebook paper is a prayer to the “powers that be”, bound in brown paper, felt and wire. What effects will the elements have on felt and wire? Will the elements reach the prayer and allow it to be released to the universe? Will the prayer be answered?

dave-ryan this is actually two projects, those of Ryan DeCinque and David Grice. David will be posting a statement shortly. Here is Ryan’s statement: There are two stages. My first stage involves three self portraits in different mediums crinkled and hung. After an appropriate time of decay they will be placed face down on mylar paper outside. All four papers will then be presented side by side with the mylar film last. (I would just like to add that this project is killing Ryan, he doesn’t like handing over control of the work at all!!)

katie This project is the work of Katie Chriscaden: My project is simple yet meaningful. It is made up of wires, tape and various papers. I call it the wishing package because my wish is stored away covered in tissue paper, hoping it will eventually be revealed and realized.

mark This project is teh work of Mark Wendaur: The inside of the bundle contains a mixed media drawing of a lone tree. The various medias are expected to have different results when effected by the weather, which will result in a blending of colors and lines and create a new environment on the page.

tim This is Timothy LaSalle’s project: When the project was explained I knew it had to involve plants, and my old VHS tapes that I had a box of lying around. Instantly a vision of making a plant pot came into mind as if to combine obsolete technology and nature to show how they can be reused/recycled to fit a new purpose.