Monday, March 30, 2009

"Hand Art"

When I was in college, I was told not to teach children "symbols" or more specifically "one way" to draw, write, or create something. They will draw, write or create this same something the same way for the rest of their lives.

SOoooooOOooooOooooo..... (years later) I was in a short workshop with some colleagues, and we were working on a sorting and graphing example to share with the whole group. The topic happened to relate to birds. I drew a rather detailed bald eagle, and a buddy teacher drew
(She traced her hand and made it look like a turkey.)
(These same teachers have tried to do other hand animals as well.)
Of course I enthusiastically explained why this HAND TURKEY was a problem, but my frantics only encouraged them...

Presently, one of these teachers and I are good buddies and enjoy having fun with her class. We keep a "running" joke with her class from surprises to funny quotes, etc. I decided to take this joke over the top, revive the hand turkey discussion, and write up a "decree:"

"Hear ye, hear ye. This decree goes out through all the land. Anyone caught making or possessing such named hand art will be banished from the kingdom. Signed, The Queen."

Even though this decree was presented at the end of the day and the end of this teacher's art class time, the decree was ignored. (Typical!) On planning day, my buddy teacher and a colleague drew a hand turkey on my classroom door window.

Now, I suppose I need to find a way to banish them!


Beth said...

Oh, but hand turkeys are a favorite childhood memory! :)

Maybe I'm just more stubborn than most people (leaving myself way open on that one, aren't I?) but if I wanted to draw a turkey now I would not draw a hand turkey. I think even as kids we were aware that the hand turkey was a stylized image of a turkey...just a neat trick to approximate a symbolic turkey.

I remember making "m birds" in the sky, too. I think my mom taught me that one, but she also taught me how to place the horizon and bring the land up to meet the sky. Oh, she also showed me how to use diagonals to create the sides of house...I had a fixation with drawing houses when I was very young. :)

Or maybe the turkey thing was merely symbolic to my peers and me because we lived in the agrarian Midwest?? I don't remember seeing real turkeys as a child, though, although there were pheasants in the woods.

Hmmm...who knew I even had an opinion about hand turkeys??

mandolinartist aka amanda said...

Wow! Yeah, who knew?

Thanks for the thoughts, Beth. I definitely don't agree with all the "psychology" surrounding how children learn, but I suppose a few of these theories are based on evidence. Sometimes people use drawing "tricks" to save time, but I suppose it would depend on how the artist thinks. Some people would draw a hand turkey for the rest of their lives if taught to do so but others would be more creative. Then of course a person could draw a hand turkey and change it in a way to still be creative.

As far as "hand art," I have used a hand collage in which students draw overlapping hands to show how colors create new colors when they are mixed. I have seen hand wreathes and hand rainbows. This is different because these images are hands being hands and nothing else.

Either way, this has been a fun joke with my colleagues!

By the way, is your mom an artist?

Do you draw houses now?

Always a Southern Girl said...

I love the hand turkey. It reminds me of my childhood. But I see your point. Ha! I guess our drawings should evolve as we grow older. Glad I stopped by. Have a great day.

mandolinartist aka amanda said...

I am also glad you stopped by, Southern Girl.

You all make me want to do a study or something to see who "still" draws hand turkeys as adults! :)
It sounds like people never forget hand turkeys either way.

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Abby said...

Hand turkeys are so much fun to draw!!! hehe