In their latest art project, Fifth Graders at EES have combined the ancient art of repoussé metal work with the relatively new approach to doodling called Zentangle.
Students began by looking at examples of ancient Roman armor made by the technique of forming the metal outwards with a hammer, raising images out of the flat material. This technique is called repoussé. This metalworking tradition has origins all across the world, including not only Roman armor but also ancient Mexican and Aztec cultures, among others.
Students used a thick-gauge aluminum and wooden tools. The metal is pushed into a soft surface, then worked from the reverse to push negative spaces back down. This flipping between the sides continues until the image is raised.
The images that students created began with a series of thumbnail sketches in their sketchbook. Thumbnail sketches are small, simplified versions of a bigger visual idea. Each student created 4-6 ideas from which they chose a favorite.
After the students finished working the metal, they added color to the whole piece, pushing it into the recesses, and wiping away the high points to enhance the design.
The finished, dry metal pieces were mounted onto backgrounds. These young artists used a variety of Sharpies and paint pens to extend the designs outward from the metal.
Artists really enjoyed creating the Zentangle designs, which they found relaxing, meditative, and which gave them plenty of creative space.
Many artists chose to add highlights of color to their pieces in selected areas, to enhance, but not overwhelm, the patterns they chose.
They did a great job of considering elements and principles of design, such as balancing their lights and darks, and varying line width. Look for them on display soon!