Three-Dimensional Canvas Piece
Whenever I took an art class in school (anywhere from elementary to college) I was always given assignments. Each had specific rules or criteria and no matter what age I was, it always frustrated me. Obviously, children like freedom and being told to stay within the margins of a few rules in a creative setting makes them feel limited. I had the expectation that this would be the case and but what I learned out of the experience is how imaginative children can be when you give them limitations. The two- part assignment had two main rules: use string and buttons to create an abstract design and leave no white space when the canvas blocks are painted. The students struggled with both aspects and their personalities became apparent to me in a very visual way. I noticed which students still had the ability to let the criteria of the assignment overtake their assumptions of how their work would turn out. I could also see some students who didn’t let the chaos of the assignment interrupt their neat and organized tendencies. Both ends of this spectrum and everything in between created something so indicative of their personalities in a very small piece that I didn’t even have to write their names on the work- I could tell you exactly who each piece belonged to. I’ve spent many hours with these students and assumed I knew them pretty well. This activity helped me see –in a very in your face, obvious, and visual way- how as early as five children are already turning into who they’ll be at sixteen, or perhaps even forty. In her book, Quiet, Susan Cain mentions that people are like rubber bands- that we can change who we are, but only to a certain extent (I wholly agree with that statement) so this post is a 'thank you' for the little rebels who tried-even a little bit- to reach out of their comfort zone today but couldn't completely give in to the assignment.