Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chihuly-Palooza at Percy Priest Elementary

Over the last nine weeks the students at Percy Priest Elementary School have been immersed in the artwork and artistic process of glass artist Dale Chihuly and his team. Under the instruction of art teachers Tina Atkinson and Denise Benton, the third and fourth grade students started their school year by learning about the artist, his personal history and what lead him to create artwork with a team. They experienced Chihuly’s unique drawing style by broadly rolling on background colors and adding quick structural lines to create shapes by squeezing paint from bottles and keeping the images of objects from nature, loose and abstract, fluid, like glass. The third grade drawings were on display in the community at Davis Kidd Booksellers in Green Hills for the month of October while the fourth grade drawings illuminated the halls of our school!

After the drawings, these students designed their own installation to be completed by their homeroom class and installed somewhere on the school grounds. They democratically made design decisions about location, color, structure, and scale and worked in smaller teams to complete each part of the sculpture using plastic bottles, cellophane/gel, clear tape, plastic cups, tissue paper, glue, tin foil, plastic wrap, sculpture wire, cardboard rolls and wooden dowels.  The finished installations were amazing and our school and community have enjoyed having them in and around our school!

2nd grade

The second grade students worked on the idea of installation on a smaller scale. After studying the work of Dale Chihuly and exploring how he and  his team selected the locations and created sculptures to fit, they took their landscape paintings and did the same. They created small organic sculptures out of model magic clay that fit the scale of their landscape and then 'installed' them with white glue. The finished pieces show how beautifully art and nature blend to create beautiful images. These pieces will be on display at Maggie Moo’s in Green Hills for the month of November.

Kindergarten and first grade work

1st grade
In first grade we explored the brightly pattered Persians. After discovering that the Persian shapes started geometric and evolved into an organic shape and that the nature of glass blowing creates a radial design, the students modeled that evolution in their own work. They created a center point on a square piece of white paper and glued tissue paper strips radiating out of their chosen center point (which did not have the be in the middle of their paper) to create a radial geometric design. Once the design was finished they cut the edges to create a softer, more rounded organic shape and then folded it at the center point to give the shape dimension. The results had a simple elegance that seemed to glow just like their glass counterparts.



The kindergarten students were amazed to find that so many artists were, and still are, inspired by nature. First they looked at the art work of Georgia O’Keefe, who painted larger-than-life flowers that inspired her. They students painted large flowers using circles, triangles and diamond shapes to fill up their whole picture. They even painted the negative shapes that were left over! Then they looked at the marvelous Macchia, the word means spotted in Italian, create by Dale Chihuly and his team. They could tell that he was inspired by nature too, especially things that come from the sea. Using oil pastels, the students added patterns and spots to the shapes of their flowers to create their own Macchia flower paintings, inspired by nature.

3rd grade

4th grade installation
3rd grade installation


  1. I just discovered your blog.
    Beautiful art based on Chihuly's work.
    He is one of my favorite artists.
    I am gathering ideas for the moment and your post helped a lot.

    Thanks for sharing

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