Playful Plants

Teaching Art

The Playful Plants lesson was a magical mystery tour through a Dr. Seuss forest wrapped in a rainbow. Who wouldn’t want to come along for the ride!? The objective, students created a fictional plant that had to have plant like elements but could have special properties and thrive anywhere on the planet or universe. The other objective was to have students practice using a two dimensional design and translate it into a three dimensional clay sculpture. The results were nothing short of an acid trip.

We began by gaining inspiration from the work of Adam Frezza and Terry Chiao who are American artists creating whimsical paper plant structures. From there, students sketched some designs in their sketchbook before creating a paper collage of their plant. Next, the clay structures were built and straws and sticks were added for thorns, branches, spikes and appendages. Acrylic paint came next and then lastly tissue paper to represent flowers and foliage.

These plants are a great example of the sheer imagination of children and that it is possible to strike a balance between the process and the product. I explained to the students that they should take care of their plant and, like real plants, flowers will fall off and branches will break and eventually their plant will die. However, for now, I encouraged them to enjoy the plants that they grew and save the seeds sewed from their imagination to grow another one in the future.

See! I told you it was trippy!

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