The second week of our Five Senses session focused on taste. I intentionally avoid edible projects in the studio because I don’t want to give a mixed message to students that it’s okay to put materials in their mouth one day and not the next. For one day only I decided to venture into unknown territory and break my own rule. What better way to bridge the topic of taste than to eat art?!
We started each class with making fruit sculptures. I asked each child to wash their hands before coming to the table knowing there would be a lot of eating going on. Each child was dished up a several pieces of fruit. My center platter included: sliced bananas, apples, canned pineapple and grapes. Students connected different fruit pieces with toothpicks or used the fruit as a base for their toothpick sculpture. This was an open-ended, unguided project with no expectation or set outcome besides using fine motor skills to connect fruit, applying creativity, and tasting the art when they were finished building.
Some of my older kids (4-8) built very impressive sculptures which included multi tiered, 3-D construction, and hanging parts.
I’ve really enjoyed including story time with my lessons. Books are a valuable tool for communicating difficult and abstract concepts. After students were finished building their sculptures I invited them to begin tasting their art while I began the book.
One page of the book introduced taste buds. At that point I paused on the story telling, passed out mirrors, and had students study their own tongue so they could identify where their taste buds. We discussed the different types of taste: sour, bitter, sweet and salty. We talked about how the fruit was very sweet. At the end of the book I asked students to go around the table and say their favorite food and together we identified which type of taste was associated with their food choice. It’s powerful to give students public speaking opportunities in fun and comfortable environments like art class!
In honor of taste and food art I decided to do fruit and veggie prints. I’ve been dying to do this project and even though we didn’t get to taste this part of the art it was fun to run with the food and art theme. Below are two lists segregated into two groups.
Very successful: lemon, celery, collard green, bell pepper, mushroom, and broccoli
Not so great: brussel sprout, apples, and carrot
I include printmaking projects regularly in my curriculum but before letting the students embark on their art-making I exampled three different approaches to printing with the veggies and fruit as a reminder to old students and as a review for continuing students.
1. I showed how you could dip the object directly into paint and press or pat in on the paper, similar to how you would do with a stamp. This worked particularly well with the broccoli which creates a mottled look.
2. I offered paintbrushes so children could paint directly onto the object and then press it on the paper. Paint brushes usually coat heavier than a roller so I exampled and encouraged stamping/pressing multiple times on the paper before reapplying paint.
3. Lastly I did a review on how to use the foam rollers. Foam rollers hold a lot of paint. This is the most traditional way to get a clean and crisp print. It might look like you need more paint on the object but usually there is more than the eye can see and just the right enough.
The foam rollers are a coveted tool by all ages. It’s an art tool that isn’t often offered in traditional classroom setting. The best rollers I’ve found so far were at the Dollar Tree in the tool section. I’m not strict about the outcome of the art so when students took the roller straight to the paper I let them run with it. The most important thing is that they are having a good time, exploring and being creative.
Here are some of our finished fruit and veggie prints.