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Visual arts students support community
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A collaboration between students in the University of North Georgia’s (UNG) Department of Visual Arts and the local community provided a learning experience and functional art.
Students in Alex Kraft’s advanced wheel-throwing fall 2022 classes were tasked with creating an object that would be beneficial to the community. The concept was the brainchild of Jennifer Graff, UNG Visual Arts department head and professor of art which Kraft adapted into her curriculum.
“Our students worked with Jethro’s and with Little Village Montessori. In a previous semester they worked with Giggle Monkey Toys, Spirits and Foothills Grill,” Kraft said.
More recently, Kraft’s spring 2022 systems and surfaces course has a similar collaborative project using recycled clay and glaze.
Adam Chambers, a December 2022 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in studio art, created garden pavers for Buford Senior Academy, formerly Buford Middle School, which Chambers attended.
“When we were asked to select a place to partner with to create the pavers, I began thinking about what places I have a connection to who might want them,” Chambers, who is from Flowery Branch, Georgia, said. “The Buford Senior Academy was a school I went to and a place where my dad was teaching, so I asked him if any of the teachers would like something for their classrooms or the hall as a decoration.”
Stu Chambers, Adam’s father, suggested pavers for a soon-to-be-created garden at the school, named “Mrs. Pulley’s BSA Garden.”
The younger Chambers submitted several designs to the school’s principal, Kaleen Pulley, for approval. He also needed to fulfill course requirements.
“The design needed to be a tessellation (a pattern made with polygons that completely fills a space with no caps, spaces or overlaps), and I also worked with Professor Kraft to make sure the designs fit the project,” Adam Chambers said. “In the end, the design featured the name of the garden, the school logo, various vegetables and flowers that would be grown in the garden, and some bees.”
The name and logo were designed to look like they were on a small garden sign.
“I was totally surprised and very appreciative of Adam’s amazing pottery paver plaques for the garden,” Pulley said. “His special touch of including my name on them made it so personalized and thoughtful. The garden paver plaques are a constant reminder of his skill as a pottery craftsman and such a generous gift of his time, talent, and treasure for our school.”
Chambers said the hardest part was making the template paver for the mold, as some of the raised design elements were a little too thick and could have gotten stuck when trying to remove the final paver.
“Thankfully, Professor Kraft was able to help and we were able to get the pavers out with little issue,” he said.