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Track: Inquiry

Tools and Materials Journal Assignment

This journal assignment should demonstrate your ability to:
· Analyze tools, materials, and processes used to make art.
· Ask questions about tools, materials, and processes used to make art.
· Identify experts who can help you search for answers about tools, materials, and processes used to make art.

Getting Started
Review your first Inquiry Journal entry to recall basic information about the artwork you selected for study in this program. If you have not already done so, photocopy or print out a copy of the artwork for your journal.

Lesson Two introduces the tools, materials, and processes Luis Jiménez uses to make his painted fiberglass cast sculptures.

Tools (and equipment) are the things artists use to make art that are not used up in the process, such as, hammers, brushes, software, kilns, presses, cameras, etc.

Materials (or supplies) are used up in the art making process and are usually (but not always) part of the final artwork. Examples of art materials are paper, clay, canvas, paint, plaster, glue, wood, film, pencils, etc.

Processes are the steps that artists use to make art. For example steps in the photography process are:

  1. loading film in camera
  2. shooting pictures
  3. rewinding and removing film
  4. developing film
  5. printing photographs

Think of questions that relate each of the three topics (tools, materials, and processes) to the artwork you selected. For example for tools:

  • What tools did the artist use to make the artwork?
  • Does the artwork show any evidence of the use of a specific tool?

Once you have chosen either tools, materials, or processes as you topic, think about who in art has knowledge and experience about this topic. Different art experts understand art in different ways. Click to read descriptions of what various art experts do. You can learn a lot from experts if you ask specific questions about the things they know best.

Different art experts have different knowledge about artists' use of tools, materials, and processes. For example for the first topic, tools, you might ask an artist who works in the same a or similar medium what tools s/he uses. Or you might ask an art historian whether the tools used to make the artwork you selected were new innovations for their times or well-established, traditional tools used for some time in that culture.

Information about some art-making tools, materials, and processes are available online.

Use the alphabet on the left of ArtLex to search for information about specific tools, materials, and processes.

The Getty Museum's site includes videos on the process of bronze casting.

The National Geographic provides diagrams to show how a Native American parfleche case is made from leather.

The Spencer Museum of Art site, The Print Room, includes close-up details of the effects of various printmaking tools and processes. Click on "Image Maps" for details. Click on "Glossary of Terms" for information about many different printmaking processes.

The Hudson Museum includes diagrams for making a birchbark container.

Click to learn about the processes involved in making papier mache

A man in Pennsylvania was inspired to make a 24-foot-high bronze horse, to complete a dream Leonardo Da Vinci had 500 years earlier. Click on "From Clay to Bronze" for step by step description and 20 photographs showing how the huge horse was made. Click on "Sculptor's Statement" to see how Leonardo's sketches were used.

Now think about whether there is someone outside art who has experience or knowledge about the topic you selected. Click to read descriptions of what experts in a variety of disciplines do. The list names only experts used in this program. Of course there are others, including psychologists, mechanics, physicians, lawyers, athletes, musicians, and many more who can bring different perspectives to the topic Again, you can learn a lot from experts if you ask specific questions about the things they know best.

For example for the topic of tools, you might ask a machinist or welder what tools s/he uses to work with metal. You might ask a logger, sawyer, or cabinetmaker how s/he use tools to cut and form wood. Or you might ask a cloth manufacturer to explain how looms work.

Choose either tools, materials, or process as the topic to write about in your journal.

Think of a question related to the topic that you believe an art expert might be able to help you answer.
Think of a question related to the topic that you believe an expert outside art might help you answer.

I included:

  1. Photocopy or printout of the artwork I selected
  2. My topic (tools, materials, or process)
  3. A specific type of art expert who might guide my inquiry
  4. A question related to this topic for an art expert
  5. A type of non-art expert who might guide my inquiry
  6. A question related to the topic for a non-art expert
  7. Any other thoughts I have about how the artist made the artwork I selected.

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