Submitted by: Bunki Kramer, Los Cerros Middle School, California
Grade Level: Middle School
X-acto Knives (blades should be sharp)
Rulers (for pencil drawing, NOT cutting)
Boards for cutting (I use matboards you can get free from any art gallery/art store. What's left over after they cut mat pictures for customers!)
Grids on card stock paper
I make a ditto (copy) sheet of a grid 8 ½ by 8 ½ in. (21.5 x 21.5 cm) with 8 squares across and 8 down. Each square is ¾" (2 cm. sq.) with ¼ in. (6.4 mm) between each and approx. ½" (1.3 cm) around the outside. I run this ditto off using colored card stock paper the same size (8 ½" x 11" / 21.5 x 28 cm paper) and cut them off into 8 ½ x 8 ½ " (21.5 x 21.5 cm) squares.
Paper is not just a flat surface. Think of many possibilities as you bend, fold, score, cut, rip, weave and curl. By cutting and folding, a student can create textural surfaces based on radial designs. RADIAL BALANCE as a design principle means a design in which parts radiate outward from a central point. TEXTURE is created by "relief"... the raised parts of a surface that are often noticeable by the feeling and seeing of texture.
To begin, use the prepared duplicated basic grid of squares with ¼" (6.4 mm) in between which you have run off on a copy machine. (Most machines will take card stock paper which works better for this lesson than regular ditto paper.) Since RADIAL DESIGN means the design begins at the center and develops evenly out to the edges with the patterns, start at a center point and build the design outward with a pencil and ruler. Draw only the lines that are to be cut. Being very careful, and not cutting too far or cutting hands, cut your design. Cut just inside your pencil line. Since the squares are small, the student can "free-hand cut" without the need of a ruler. Erase pencil marks if they will show and fold your cuts to make reliefs. A sample is very handy in this lesson and/or pictures of finished designs.
Glue a backing onto the back of your relief. Contrasting dark with light colors shows off your design to its best advantage.
I used this lesson with 7th-8th graders. For older students, you might present the project as a "problem to solve". They must design a grid on 12" x 18" (30.5 x 46 cm) colored Construction Paper making it 12" x 12" (30.5 x 30.5 cm) using 9 squares across and find their own measurement between and around edges. Good lesson in logic and measurement.
NOTE: This lesson was submitted in the early days of IAD when teachers had no scanners or digital cameras to take pictures of student work.