One day the halls of SM East were devoid of sculpture. The next, cloth wrapped shapes began to appear around the school. First, a piece resembling a geode hanging from the stairway, then a stack of white squares seeming to peter out into infinity. The students in Jodie Schnakenberg’s fibers class watched from a distance as their fellow students pointed, compared and enjoyed each new sculpture that arrived. With an increase in the number of students enrolled in fibers this semester, Ms. Schnakenberg decided to try out a new approach to artistic design.
“The project was to create a large soft sculpture using one specific element of design combined with a different principle of design,” Schnakenberg said. “It’s the first year that I’ve tried it. I usually don’t do group projects and I thought it would be a good year to give it a shot since I have lots of kids enrolled in fibers this year. I thought it would be interesting to put some art work up throughout the school.”
After being introduced to the project at the beginning of the semester, the students had about four weeks to prepare their pieces. They were put into groups and given the challenge of designing a piece and then building it up to a larger than life scale.
“It was interesting to work and make a soft sculpture, rather than a traditional ceramic or a heavier type of sculpture,” senior Lucy Lehoczky said. “We had to not only design it, but also work with multiple mediums to accomplish the desired product.”
Once the sculptures were complete, each group was sent out to find the perfect place to display their work. They had to find locations that would catch the eye, as well as be protected from would be vandals.
“I had all the groups go scout locations for where they thought they would want to put it and then had them compile those to see if there were any groups that wanted the same spot,” Schnakenberg said. “For the most part everyone chose a spot that would either be specific for their sculpture or was simply the best space.”
For Schnakenberg, it was interesting to see how her students used creative problem solving to create sculptures on a large scale.
“I think it was good for the students to see just how much time it takes to make something large like that and how many steps it takes to make something look nice when it’s big,” she said. “It’s a lot to learn when you haven’t done it before.”