In mid-October, students enrolled in Sculpture I from Charlotte Country Day School (CCDS) had the opportunity to work with Susannah Mira, a current artist-in-residence. Mira relies on massive quantities of discarded industrial items such as fabric, foam, paper, and plastic to create contemporary pieces that give form to notions of progress. She worked with CCDS Upper School students to share her viewpoint and techniques. Together, they created a sculpture that combines the students' hands in various positions that progress from closed fists to open palms. The sculpture currently hangs in the Hance Gallery at CCDS.
The first step was for students to visit Mira's studio at McColl Center for Visual Art and then brainstorm their ideas for creating a sculpture. On October 18th and 19th, Mira worked with students in the CCDS Ceramics studio to bring their vision to life. First each student created a mold of his or her hand. Once that dried, they poured quick set plastic into the mold, which hardened to replicate their hands. The hands were then removed from the mold and assembled on wood to create a sequential progression.
Along the way, students learned tips on using materials with as little waste as possible. For instance, once their mold dried, they filled it with water. They then poured the water into a plastic cup and marked the water line. This step enabled them to measure exactly enough plastic to fill their mold.
"Giving students the opportunity to learn from working artists who have national and, even international recognition, helps to expand their artistic view," says Lynn Casto, visual arts teacher and Fine Arts Department chair. "We're very excited about this partnership with McColl Center for Visual Art, and we look forward to introducing students to a different Artist-in-Residence each year."
This project was made possible by a grant award from the Target Foundation.