by Theresa Nguyen
To start the school year, I like to create a collaborative piece that embodies what a safe space looks or feels like. At the least, it should be filled with a diversity of personalities, cultures, and perspectives.
A collaborative mosaic is a great project to make with any class or community because it starts conversations and sets the tone for expectations, such as being able to work with others, accepting others for who they are, etc. More specifically, in my Advanced Placement High School Art class, we have to achieve a level of comfortability with each other to discuss topics that are sensitive to most.
Starting or ending the school year with a collaborative mosaic reminds the participating artists that their uniqueness fits and flows with others while making themselves stand out.
I love working with Sculpey clays because there is such a range to work with. My mosaic this year will feature a picture of my class in the middle. Therefore, my class must build the mosaic around the frame.
With these processes in mind, I like to use their airdry clay. However, if you plan to build the frame with the mosaic pieces or want to make a mural like mosaic then I personally prefer the Sculpey III® 30 Color Sampler because it has a variety of colors that my students can work with without the pressure of painting and a big mess. It also won’t dry out until you bake it!
Remember that this process should be fun and conversational. The students may end up talking more than working and that’s the point! This project is made to stimulate conversation and ease within the tension the walls of a classroom could create.
Have fun and more importantly, make sure your kids are having fun.
- Getting started: set up tools and Sculpey oven bake clay with a specific/significant color scheme in mind.
- Place pieces together and remember to have a visual flow that highlights the similarities and differences within the mosaic
- Attach all the pieces together from all the participating artists
- Stamp or texturize the surfaces to add visual unity
- Bake according to the clay package directions
- Tools used for this project: Sculpey Bake Shop® Multi-pack 13 pc (Your Choice), Sculpey Tools™ 8-Inch Acrylic Clay Roller, Sculpey Tools™ Oven-Safe Work Mat, Sculpey Bake Shop Magic Clay Mega Activity Set