The Craft Curriculum – Landscape shapes Mindscape – Mindscape shapes Landscape
By rekindling a student’s relationship with the Earth, by working with the materials that it provides; they can gain a clearer sense of self. They discover that by working to transform these materials they transform themselves also.
In Sculpture classes the students transform the sphere in several different directions. Into Putangitangi (Maori musical instruments), models of their hands, Festival dragons for the lower school and start the rudimentary investigations into the human form. This work completed in clay is balanced by their first experience of stone carving to create interlocking geometrical forms.
In Sculpture students continue their descent into matter with a larger stone carving experience such as an African mask, vases and goblets. The Art History Main Lesson can provide a wealth of items for recreation and investigation. The Venus of Willendorf or Egyptian sarcophagus echoes the burgeoning self of the class 9 student.
At the end of class 9 the elementary stages of pottery are completed with coil and slab pots fired in pit kilns. This sculptural form is not held in the standing figure or the central armature. Now the form of the pot is held in the periphery echoing the need for self-sustaining support rather than the crux that childhood brings. All years have the experience of digging, preparing, recycling and reconstituting clay in the sculpture studio.
In Metalwork copper beating is conducted where students heat, quench and beat their copper sheet into original ornamental bowls.
Bone carving is started this year with students completing a traditional bone carving tool that is then used the following year.
During this year the students are invited to participate in the laying of a Hangi for the Mid-Winter Festival. This includes the digging of the pit, gathering of wood, preparation of food for cooking, preparing the dining area, serving the food and cleaning up. It also includes a great deal of eating kai as well.
In Sculpture students create a large St Michael and the Dragon for the Michaelmas Festival which is displayed in the lower school for their fertile imaginations. The year is ended with a Threshold sculpture placed within the landscape of the school marking and ennobling a significant location in their school biography.
In Metal work forging is conducted over a pit forge with charcoal that the students have made. The students are required to make a knife and handle echoing the class 9 experiences of their Bone Carving tool.
(In Development) In Metalwork forging is continued and refined to include casting of metals such as aluminium.
In Sculpture, the individual undertakes a self-directed project comprising of investigation of materials, artists, craft process and ultimately an artistic exhibition. This class calls for a focused and self-directed approach to this art form. Students have followed such varied sculptural threads of self-portraiture, metamorphoses of form and connection to their Class 12 Project.
In the future
Raphael House wishes to implement a Rough Science programme with an interwoven Horticulture and Cooking experience for the students. Green wood turning, fence making and basket making are all planned in the coming years. This connection to the land and its materials is finding its way into the camp process as well. As the camp curriculum develops over time this will be a new factor for consideration.