Cooperative efforts help students’ creativity

There are a great many gifts these days, being made in the Clovis Christian High School art and wood arts departments, especially involving joint use of the two classes, which are located across the hall from one another. The focus in this column is on handmade gifts, for those whom one loves, especially those made by high school students.

The senior girl came in with an old — indeed an antique — table, and the desire to refinish it as a gift for a family member. In her opinion, and certainly part of the learning, was the realization that doing so was much easier with access to two separate learning zones.

Though the student is technically enrolled in the art class, she was able to avail herself of the tools (power sanders, drills , saws, etc) and the knowledge provided by the wood shop (course name: Innovations) teacher, to not only refinish, but also replace broken or missing parts on the furniture piece. In short, access to a multidisciplinary setting meant that the only limits she would have to face were her own standards. For this particular student, her own standards are quite high, so she was able to do an excellent job.

Art teacher Patsy Delk sees the cross-discipline work being done as one advantageous to both classes. Art students have access to materials and tools for their work — example, sanding and repainting of chairs — and Innovations students have a venue for the painting or staining of their wood projects, such as the numerous silhouette nativity sets which have been created.

Some of the cooperative effort has involved creation of auction items for the Advent Gala and fundraising banquet/auction which CCS hosted on Dec. 2. A great example of this is the yard size nativity silhouette, which both classes collaborated on, with a four-foot high Joseph, a scaled to that height Mary and manger, and a backdrop representing the city of Bethlehem. This was cut, sanded and mounted by the Innovations class, then painted by the art students.

None of this means that individual projects have halted. The art students have provided the newly renovated campus with some serious decoupage murals, and the wood arts students have produced a 40-pound decorative bird house for the auction, as well as refinishing some very nice art deco style tables bought for a bargain at auction by our superintendent. In addition, as mentioned above, some valued parents, siblings or dates will be receiving handmade Christmas presents.

This writer knows of school districts where manual arts classes have been seriously curtailed, and art classes as well, due to funding or, often, inability to trust the students around resources. It is a joy to teach in a situation where creativity and cooperation are allowed room to grow.