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History Inspires Sixth Grade Artists

This article appears in the summer 2022 issue of The Light, our Brooklyn Friends School magazine. 

There were so many stunning pieces of art at the BFS All-School Art Show this past spring that it is virtually impossible to single out any specific media. Having said that, there was one specific project that was undertaken by the sixth graders as part of their Medieval Studies Unit, that we are highlighting.

The students were inspired by the rose windows of the great cathedrals of medieval Europe as well as sacred circles from Tibetan Buddhist mandalas, Hindu chakras, interlocking Islamic designs, African textiles and symbols from the Kabbalah. The class watched a computer translation of Earth’s vibrations (as recorded by NASA’s Challenger) into corresponding, undulating and reflecting the same symmetrical, concentric circle substructure.

“We discussed how often this form appears in nature, the universe and even atomic particles. The students created their own concentric, circular designs in pencil, learning how to use two kinds of compasses, triangles and rulers as well as learning to divide a circle into equal sections,” Middle School and Upper School Visual Arts Teacher Tina Piccolo said. “The students created original patterns and interlocking shapes within the circles. The linear drawings were placed under plexi-glas sheets and traced over with acrylic, liquid leading. The final step was filling in the patterned designs with liquid glass paints that dried into clear, gem-like colors.”

Ultimately, each student completed a 2’x2′ stained glass windows which wowed everyone who viewed them

Learn More About the Arts at BFS.