Posted by on Dec 20, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on African Animals – Lions and Rhinos and Apes, Oh My!


AIS lions resized for blog

In addition to a particularly busy fall and holiday season, I had an artist-in-the-schools residency in Raleigh in mid-December.  It went great!  The art teacher fully prepared her students for my visit. This makes a huge difference and I have been very lucky in that regard with most of my artist-in-the-schools workshops and residencies.

The theme was Animals of the African Biomes and it coordinated well with classroom studies and the previous art project, silhouettes of African animals in their biomes.  So students were pretty familiar with the shapes of these animals.  We discussed considerations when working with clay (gravity is a big one), and 2-D vs. 3-D work. Also, now students could provide the viewer with more information about their animals (compared to the silhouettes) by using surface texture during the sculpturing process.  Later they will paint their pieces and can add even more details.

I took a ba-jillion photos–here are a few.

AIS African animals clay aritst-in-the-schools resized for blog

I Coulda Had a V-8!


AIS elephant rezied for blog

There were lots of elephants and rhinos


Sleeping giraffe AIS resized for blog

A very sweet sleeping giraffe


The school kiln was not working reliably, so I brought all sculptures (about 125) home to my studio to dry and fire. This meant they had fit in my van and survive intact the hour-plus drive home.  So we planned to keep the work to a certain size and could not include the biome, as I would have liked.  I figured I could fit half of the work in my van at a time so we scheduled two 2-hour classes each day.  Since these were 5th graders, that worked well–they were able to complete their animals in that time. As it turned out, the pieces were bigger than I imagined so we filled up the van each time.


AIS majestic lion resized for blog

Another lion, very majestic


For 3 weeks I had two 8 foot tables full of African animals.  Although several biomes were represented it looked like the Serengeti Desert to me, if the Serengeti was that organized.

Imagine 16 feet of this!

AIS African Animals artist-in-the-schools Serengeti Biles resized for blog


Two very full kiln loads and many boxes of little masterpieces to return to the school.