The only instruction that the Grades Four and Five students of Assiniboia Elementary School received was to bring a non-sentimental toy from yesteryear that was no bigger than a lunch paper bag to the Shurniak Gallery on Thursday, September 25, for a Mixed Media Sculpture Workshop.
When they arrived at the Gallery they were then introduced to my art practice as well as the world of Mixed Media Sculpture. After watching a slide show on mixed media sculptures that included toys they were then asked to emulate what they had just seen, but using the toys they had brought.
I had collected buckets of old mechanical tidbits (bolts, screws, washers, and more) from a couple of local farmers. I had gathered what amounted to a box of miscut keys from the two Co-Ops. I had gone to the bank and got a few rolls of pennies (which is more challenging than I expected, now that they are out of circulation). Plus, I had gone to the Dollar Store and bought marbles, puff bawls, and bags of buttons.
I put all this material in dishes on the table and told the students they could use as much as they wanted, just so long as their sculpture included their toy.
Wow. What an incredible job they did. Super heroes with penny surfboards and button shields. Dinosaurs with penny armour. Dolls emerging from a marble hill. And so on, and so on.
After the workshop I gave the students a tour of the Shurniak Gallery, and explained my work (which is the current exhibition). But, we also had some interesting discussions about Post Modern Art when we viewed paintings in other parts of the Gallery.