Vol. 7 No. 2 (2011)
Volume 7 Issue 2
Cover Date: July 2011
Glen Coutts, University of Lapland
Page Start: 107
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Beyond craft and art: A pedagogical model for craft as self-expression
Sinikka Hannele Pollanen
Page Start: 111
Craft as a school subject faces new challenges as the array of learning objectives widens and the traditional distinctions between craft and art begins to blur. In an effort to redefine the subject of craft, teachers can strengthen the relevance and meaningfulness of craft education by contextualizing craft with different kinds of pedagogical models. This article focuses on a pedagogical model that combines craft and art education. This kind of approach includes not only the production of crafted items, but also the demonstration of one's skills, knowledge, thoughts, experiences, perceptions and emotions - tasks traditionally reserved for artistic expression. At the core of the learning task is the personal and active processing of a mental image or association. Craft as a form of self-expression can be a way of learning sensitivity towards different cultural or ecological phenomena, reflecting on culture and society, and better understanding cultural differences. In this model, the relationship with tradition is future oriented and renewable.
It doesn't help to call a professor if your washing machine is leaking: The Norwegian Minister of Knowledge, December 2009
Page Start: 127
The purpose of this study is to create a holistic understanding of society's need for developing and safeguarding children's knowledge and skills regarding handicrafts. An investigation of a fourth grade class shows that over half of the students had not learned to tie their shoes. The Norwegian educational guidelines from 2006 divide each course into five basic skills to be developed. The five skills are reading, writing, arithmetic, verbal expression and use of digital tools. Arts and handicrafts is a practical-aesthetical discipline that makes use of several tools to help develop students' basic skills. As arts and handicrafts teachers at the college level, we have seen an increasing trend towards the hand's fine motor skills being underdeveloped in favour of the computer keyboard. The study concludes that children have underdeveloped fine motor skills in handicraft techniques and are not getting enough training in this area; therefore, the hand's formative abilities appear to be forgotten.
A university course in mindful viewing: Understanding art and self through contemplative experience
Sally Armstrong Gradle
Page Start: 137
This enquiry has two goals. First, it explores the benefits of a university art education course designed to develop mindfulness and initiate student appreciation of other world-views through art. Students at the undergraduate and graduate level were encouraged to create and use daily insight practices that would enable appreciation of unfamiliar artists, as well as visual works of other cultures. Through contemplative viewing, journal writing, discussion and art making, students developed what Dustin and Ziegler refer to as a 'practical recovery of intuitive vision', which can be explained as an everyday activity connected to either viewing or creating something that one values. The second goal of this writing is to suggest the necessity of developing a viewing practice built upon mindfulness as a creative act in order to explore art deeply. Mindful viewing and the reflection on one's practice expands to an appreciation of others' experiences in creating and living with their art. Contemplative viewing also gifts the viewer with the suspension of judgement about unfamiliar art long enough to appreciate what cannot always be understood in an initial viewing encounter.
The U-curve going Dutch: Cultural differences in judgements of artwork from different age and expertise groups
Folkert Haanstra, Marjo van Hoorn and Marie-Louise Damen
Page Start: 153
The U-curve model of graphic development posits a decline in aesthetic production in middle childhood. This theoretical model has been criticized for having an underlying western and modernist bias, and a number of empirical studies have tried to confirm or disprove its assumptions. This study is a partial replication of previous research that was done to challenge U-curve findings, in order to show that the model reflects culture-specific aesthetic judgements, rather than universal trends. To demonstrate this, artists and art educators from different cultural backgrounds judged a cross-cultural collection of drawings by children from different age groups (5, 8, 11 and 14 year olds), adult non-artists and artists. The results indicate that differences in the cultural background of the judges generated different developmental patterns in aesthetic production.
Judging a book by its cover: Preschool children's aesthetic preferences for picture books
Katherina Danko-McGhee and Ruslan Slutsky
Page Start: 171
This article discusses the results of a research investigation into the aesthetic preferences of young children, aged 2-5, with regard to their choice of picture book covers. The objective was to assess the nature of children's aesthetic preferences by observing which picture book covers they like as they peruse a selection of them (abstract, representational, colourful, and black and white illustrations). The results of the research indicate that 2-, 3- and 4-year-old children gravitate towards book covers that are representational and colourful and that have images that they are familiar with. Five-year-old children preferred colourful and black and white images. However, the difference, when compared to younger children, is that they liked illustrations that are scary and mysterious. Literacy learning should be child-led with the teacher serving as facilitator during the process. This includes allowing children to have access to a variety of books with covers that are aesthetically pleasing to them, not to adults.
Cultural identity in the murals of Sirigu women and their role in art education and social sustainability
Eric Appau Asante and Nana Afia Opoku-Asare
Page Start: 187
Although mural art, unlike pottery, is not widely practised by African women, the predominantly female art known as 'Bambolse' in the indigenous language of Sirigu, in the Upper East Region of Ghana, performs a number of important social functions, from adornment and communication to the assertion of cultural identity and the preservation of traditional values. The murals employ traditional motifs and symbols, and are either representational, geometric or a combination of the two. Despite Bambolse's significance in the local culture, however, there has been very little formal chronicling of its aesthetics and iconography, and it is the aim of this study to address that shortfall. In examining the cultural, symbolic and aesthetic aspects of this unique art form, we will demonstrate, using findings based on a qualitative research approach, how it not only empowers its practitioners as artists but also plays an influential role in the region's socio-economic development.
Anabela Moura, John Mathews and Kay Lawrence
Page Start: 203