My friend, Ian Sands, developed a system called “the 9“. They are packets based around the basics of subjects of art that artists create. It’s not about content, but more about category that art would fall into. The packets include: the object, architecture, nature, landscape, figure, portrait, imagination, non-representational, and conceptual. He introduced them to me some time last school year, and I thought they were wonderful. I’ve been successfully using them with my art 1 students this year. They are a great introduction to art categories, while allowing my TAB students to make lots of meaningful choices.
I tested them out last year with one of my classes, and thought that they would be a great tool for working with my ceramics students as they move along their artistic journey. Sometime last spring, I began planning how to use Ian’s model for my ceramics program. I began researching and decided that for the most part, ceramics artists’ works fall into most of the same categories. But, I discovered that there are 10 categories, instead of 9. They include: nature, animal, architecture, “figure”-ative, functionality, imagination, non-representation, portraiture, the object, and conceptual/installation.
Following Ian’s template, I created consideration questions for each packet, changed up the suggestions and geared the planning around requirements I have for my students. I am very happy with the development of my packets.
Now, here’s where I am dissatisfied with “The 10”. I rolled them out in a way that I find isn’t working the way I hoped. I thought it would make my students more independent, so I introduced it with my intermediate and advanced students. (They meet at the same time.) I think this was my mistake. I should have used it with my beginners after we completed the “have-to” portion of our class. Seeing how my art 1 students are growing using “The 9”, helped me to see this. Currently with my beginners, we do ceramic artistic behavior units right after finishing our “have to” section. We just began our first unit, Ceramic Artists are Inspired by Nature, but I think that after this unit, we will pass out sketchbooks and move onto the next packet. Nature is one of the packets after all. We will continue through the rest of the year going through packets, picking up next fall with where we left off. Then we will dive into deeper meaning with Ceramic Artistic Behavior units.
I will continue with my upper ceramic students in the way we are working. With the exception of one student, they are all seniors, and I’m not too worried about it. They are working and learning and growing.
They say it takes 3 years to really build up a program. Like I previously stated, this is the 5th year of the program. I’ve been playing around with it, trying new things each year to replace things that weren’t working. I feel I finally have a great grasp on the program and the progression it should take to truly have my students behaving and thinking like artists. The timing of “The 10” was the final piece of the puzzle that finally fell into place.