A little while back I made the trek down to Sydney and visited the newly renovated MCA. It was a great day out and I felt inspired to take some of what I was seeing back to the classroom. One of the pieces that really appealed to me was Rosalie Gascoigne's Tiger Tiger. It's an arresting collage of recycled yellow roadwork signs.
I regaled this 5/6 class with the tale of my big adventure to the city and the art gallery before showing them Tiger Tiger on the smartboard. Our main point of discussion was whether or not Rosalie deliberately ordered and orientated the squares and why. We also briefly discussed the fact that it's great to see art that uses recycled materials. And that was more than enough discussion; it was time to get hands-on!
I gave the students small squares of thick card that I had pre-cut. Their task was to flick through magazines tracing their square onto desired images, letters, colours etc. These squares were then cut out of the magazines until the students had enough to make their own matrix (these ones were 7 by 7 squares). They were encouraged to choose a theme or muse for their collage. We ended up with a variety including colours, people, pets, facial features, sport, food, fabric, furniture, footwear, typography and logos.
The students then glued their squares together, many making deliberate choices about which square went where. The class really took to this process. It was time consuming though, which can be a good thing of course — it's nice for the students to experience something that isn't instantaneous once in a while! The initial lesson went for a full hour and it was a little over a full week before all the students had completed their collages using in-between and finishing time in class — after which some students immediately embarked upon a second one.