The semester is over - and the summer session has begun. Spring semester's mandala project was a huge success! Despite the entire class blanching when I announced it, every single student pronounced it the best project of their semester - not just of this course, but of all the courses they had that semester. And they created some truly lovely, inspired work (which I will show you, below).
So I decided that it was time to try it out in my online sections this summer. We'll see what happens. It means that students will need to use either a digital camera or a scanner, but since last term several students scanned things for me, and since they have plenty of lead-time in which to locate the equipment, I am not concerned about it.
So let's get to the mandalas. The students voted; here's the one that won first place:
(Ignore the dates on these; I am still fighting with my camera about this.) Surrounding the mandala is twisted stereo wire, representing Christ's crown of thorns. Danielle used fabric, fabric paint and tissue paper to make this large mandala, and it was indeed beautiful.
Second place went to this one.
I particularly like this one. It is a stepping stone for a garden, embedded with bits of colored glass and then painted. Knowing Erin, it is very much an expression straight from her heart. What a great medium! Can't you just picture it in her garden?
Third place went to Laridys, a very quiet student with quite a talent for drawing:
I was thrilled for her to win a prize, since she is so shy and self-effacing.
One of my very favorite mandalas was done by Luan. I greatly admire his ability to draw hands - having seen C&Z work on hands, I know how difficult they are to master.
He explained that he comes from a Buddhist background, but has left most religion for Secular Humanism, which he finds far more compatible, after studying many other religions in our course. I like the way he depicted "letting go" of religions.
Another very interesting drawing was done by one of the two honors students in the class:
Unfortunately, although I remember that his artist's statement explained the image and made a lot of sense, I can't remember even the gist of it. Still, it's a cool image.
This one didn't come out very well digitally, but it was very nice IRL. My Wiccan student depicted the Lady Gaia, using beads to color each of the jewels above her head. Very pretty. N, who came in with me that day, admired it so much that Katie gave it to her to bring home. Made N very happy, and it's now hanging in her room.
This was one of my very favorites. Alex barely got to class before N&I left, and most of the other students had already gone. As you can see, it's a "Jesus fish," and she's even colored the rim to look metallic - that alone took her a couple of hours with grey markers of three shades. The scales are individually cut and glued circles, each with a different religious symbol - if you click on the image itself, it will open in a different window and allow you to view it up close. You should really do that, it's worth the examination. WOW. I continue to be impressed by this one, and by what it represents.
This one was interesting because each side opened into a two-page booklet. I wasn't crazy about the content; for one thing, the books had an awful lot of text, and for another, I'm not into bloody nails. Nevertheless, it was quite a creative concept, turning the poster into a double book.
Scott, who is a musician, took photos from the insert of his cd, and turned them into a tower.
I didn't get the whole thing in, but I was able to get a picture of his artist's statement, which you can read if you click on it:
He's an interesting fellow, a good musician, and a good person. And a creative one, too - this is the first vertical piece I've received!
Last, my favorite piece from this class - favorite because it is interactive. It did not receive any votes at all; it's not flashy, and I think perhaps some of the students found it hard to understand. It may not have looked as showy as some of the others - but the thought that went into it was profound. I wish I had asked the students to give me copies of their artist's statements, because hers was very good. (So next time I will know to do that!) She is a Taoist and a free-thinker, so it makes sense to me that her mandala was created on a mirror:
Nada used tissue paper and ink on top of the mirror; when you look into it, you can still see a colored, shadowy image of part of your face through the tissue paper, which is a very interesting effect indeed.
So there you have the most intriguing of my students' work from last semester.