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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Locks of Love inspired by Tacoma artist Diane Hansen

I had recently participated in an online art education conference through the AOE site and was really inspired by one of the presenters, Don Masse of Shine Brite Zamorano. His presentation centered around teaching students about the art of living artists. I admit, I use a TON of art history in my classroom because not only do I have an art history degree but I was trained to include it in my curriculum. However, Don's message was clear. If I included living artists in my curriculum, the students could have a real connection with that person whether it is seeing their work in person,  have a correspondence, or actually meet them. I knew I had to do it.

I had been rolling out a unit on Love at the beginning of February and chose a single 3rd grade class that I see twice a week. They are so lucky to get art twice because I go into the lessons more deeply and tend to design more labor intensive projects that take time since their schedule allows for it.

I began by introducing them to the artist Diane Hansen of Tacoma, Washington. Tacoma is just 18 miles North of our school and a lot of my students have been there. I showed them her public artwork "Lock on Tacoma". She created an installation beneath a pedestrian bridge of large metal heart shaped locks with accompanying keys.  I explained that Diane's inspiration for this work seemed to have come from the Paris 'Love Locks' movement and the natural affinity Tacomans have for their city.  Beneath her heart locks are pillars that hold the piece up. These pillars are wrapped with metal fencing that is meant to have padlocks attached to it. The public is invited to interact and add to her installation.

The students looked closely at her art as well as the Pont des Arts bridge (since been dismantled) and discussed it's meaning as well as reasons why someone would attach a lock in order to remember a time and/or place.
Pont des Arts, Paris, France

After this discussion we designed our heart shape forms out of tagboard and tape. I had pre-cut the strips used for folding a heart shape but encouraged them to solve the problem of producing the top and bottom heart pieces. They discovered that you had to carefully trace the outline of their heart shape strip and to cut and tape it.


The next day they used art paste and paper mached their forms. The following class they applied tempera paints and I hot glued a chenille stick that had been bent to form the shackle.

The result is wonderful! They are fun, colorful, and the kids loved the process of creating them. If I had the means to purchase a lot of silver puffy paint I believe it would have made these locks look more similar to Diane's. I would have asked them to apply the puffy paint in the decorative manner seen in the Tacoma Lock. Maybe next time!






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