Students review the paintings and architecture of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. They then use the school grounds and the architecture around to create paintings inspired by Hundertwasser.
A lesson called Interiors introduced design principles to first graders. The week before we started, we talked about exploring different kinds of lines on paper, arranging lines to make a pattern, exploring different shapes on paper and using color repetition in a pattern with shapes or lines.
I ask the students where they might see patterns. Although fascinated with patterns on each others’ clothing, someone always mentions wallpaper. At this point, I tell them what an interior designer is and that we will be designing our own rooms.
Starting with a horizontal line about a third of the way up on 9″x12″(23×30 cm) paper, students add windows, pictures on the walls, rugs, etc. I demonstrate a pattern on my wall using thin markers. With first graders, it’s best to keep the pattern simple, to encourage them to leave space between elements and to add lots of detail. I suggest ways to do the floor: carpet (oil pastels), checkerboard linoleum (wide markers), braided rug (thin markers), etc.
Designers must also decide how to finish the room with curtains and furniture and usually work with a color scheme, which means students should repeat colors in the wallpaper in their furniture and curtains. Most students choose a living room or bedroom.
I demonstrate how to cut simple curtains out of fabric. We discuss kinds of furniture and I demonstrate ways of drawing couches, chairs and beds.
Students add details like fuzzy squares for pillows and foil paper for mirrors and some students decided to add people and animals. Even though our worktables were cluttered with materials, it didn’t seem to bother the children. The quality of their work went way beyond my expectations.
There had been a great deal of home building near our school, and I wondered what my students thought about the exterior and interior designs of these homes. Thus, I instructed my students to visualize and plan a one-story rambler or ranch home. The students had to decide whether the model would suit the purpose of a family or a single person. They had to create an atmosphere within each room: whether the room should “feel” cozy, dramatic, simple or complex. They used crayons, magic markers, tempera paint and cloth material. The exterior of the house was made from 18″ x 24″ (46 cm x 61 cm) sheet of oak tag, cut in two.
There were many discussions on the practical aspects of building a home. We discussed the practical reasons why, in the eastern zones, the gable roof rather than the flat roof has with stood the test of time. Many of the construction and design selections being considered by the students were placed on charts in front of the room.
Design, texture and Frank Lloyd Wright were all part of this grade five architectural unit. After an informative discussion, the students used photocopied study booklets I had prepared from real estate and home magazines. Each student chose a building to draw on 9×12″ (23 x 31 cm) newsprint.
I gave each student a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil and folded it in half with the shiny side facing out. Working on a magazine (for cushion and smoothness), the students traced over their newsprint drawing with a dull pencil into the foil.
Concentrating on depth by angling the pencil and completely rubbing in the windows produced amazing pictures. The students added brick marks, stone marks and other textures.
After achieving a variety of depths and textures, the students brushed a layer of India ink over the foil and placed their pieces on newspaper to dry. During the next class, the students completed their work. Using a small piece of fine steel wool, each student buffed the foil, gently removing the top areas of ink. Ink remained in the lower areas and created an antiqued effect. Care was taken so as not to remove too much ink. Then, the students cut around their buildings and glued the piece to 9 x 12″ (23 x 31 cm) construction paper.
It was exciting to see how rich and impressive each piece turned out to be.
The problem the students had to solve was to create an example of architecture by using pieces of yarn, reed, toothpicks, straws, etc., and outline their original sketch on a piece of cardboard. The architecture could be a detail of an existing architectural style from Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Gothic time periods. or they could mix various innovations to come up with their own personal style. Often the students had to tape the reed in place to bend the lines into a dome or tower. They would glue the reed down then remove the tape when the glue dried.
At this stage the students would take a piece of aluminum foil and cover the entire piece of cardboard. It is not necessary to glue the foil down but students should take the time to press around their relief buildings carefully to avoid ripping the foil.
Students can finish by painting their constructions.