Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Anna Puts the 'A' in STEAM

Ever since she got her hands on glue Anna has worked in layers. She would start with a piece of paper and smear glue all over it before placing another piece of paper on top, followed by more glue and another piece of paper, then more glue and yet another piece of paper. She would build larger and larger multi-layered sandwiches. (Sandwich is my own description of her work.)

At first it made me uncomfortable. This work of hers could be considered a big waste of materials. There was no real finished product that I would want to hang on the wall or display on a shelf. I struggled to understand the preschool STEM of it. There didn't seem to be a lot of obvious geometry and math that is evident when she plays with Magna-tiles. There wasn't much engineering going on because it wasn't solving a structural problem or creating new tools. I couldn't really see the value of any of it.

But then...

The older she got the more variation there was in her work...although you wouldn't necessarily know it. She would color pictures on the papers before gluing them all together in a sandwich - hiding all those toddler drawings from anyone seeing them ever again. Then scissors were used to cut the paper before gluing, thus making smaller, denser sandwiches.

A "small" set of layers.

Glitter paint was used instead of glue.

Puffballs were glued between puffy stickers.

Experiments in layers.
Layers are wrapped around each other.
Wrapping Layers

At best, I would classify all this work as preschool materials engineering. I want to show you, my readers, the value of this work because I'm convinced that there must be. After all, she has been doing this work for more than a third of her life! However, today, when I looked at Anna's sculptures I am still perplexed by it. That her work leaves me with a burning question, a feeling of bewilderment, and the discomfort of not being able to fit it into my understanding of the world... Well, that might be the most valuable thing my budding artist can offer me.

No comments:

Post a Comment