Tag Archives: art

Quick Chat: Rachel Silverman moves on to Mohawk

RACHEL SILVERMAN assists Flow staffer Ainsley Bogel on a feature then in the works for our coverage of the spring Art Show. Ms. Silverman left the elementary schools this fall for Mohawk. Our art shows will continue under new BSE art teacher Rebecca Cummings.
RACHEL SILVERMAN assists Flow staffer Ainsley Bogel on a feature then in the works for our coverage of the spring Art Show. Ms. Silverman left the elementary schools this fall for Mohawk. Our art shows will continue under new BSE art teacher Rebecca Cummings.

Rachel Silverman logo

Dear BSE families,

JUST AFTER SCHOOL ended back in June I was offered a full-time position as art teacher at Mohawk, and I accepted.

While I am excited about the change and the challenges ahead, I am certainly feeling the bittersweetness of it as I say goodbye to BSE.
For five years I have been lucky enough to work in a fabulous school community with an awesome group of creative young people in a beautiful art studio. We have made lots of spectacular art happen and I have enjoyed every art show immensely as I see the pride of the faces of students and parents alike.

I have grown as an educator here and learned so much from my colleagues and students. Leaving is not easy. Hopefully it’ll only be a matter of time before I get to teach my BSE gang again at Mohawk. Until then, I thank you all for your support of the arts — and of me over the years. I will always be grateful for that.

— Fondly, Rachel Silverman


Asked a bit later
how she was settling in at Mohawk,
Mrs. Silverman told the Flow…

I’m trying a lot of new things and learning a ton about gearing art education toward middle- and high-school students. I miss my elementary school kids a lot, but I’m enjoying the new challenge of creating a rich and meaningful art program at the older level.

I realize that my experiences at BSE and Heath have taught me so much about what is important and developmentally sound in art education and I am really just building on that and taking my practice beyond the sixth-grade year into what comes next.

I’m also piloting a new course next semester and looking forward to launching more in the future.

I feel excited and grateful to be in this community. The kids aren’t as small but they are still pretty sweet, up for trying new things and exploring different ways art can be a part of our lives.


Hence the Quick Chat…

Our staffers wondered what some of their fellow students might have to say on the occasion of Mrs. Silverman taking her new job. We enjoyed taking these photos, and getting the quotes into and out of our reporters’ notebooks…

 

Shaping worlds

Jamey says
Jamey says…

JOSH SIMPSON and Cady Coleman’s son Jamey, 14, helps make glass planets, and even creates his own glass art. Like his parents, he’s an airplane pilot.

He told the Flow that he enjoys playing squash, Ultimate Frisbee, baseball, tennis, and video games.

The Flow asked Jamey what he might like to do for a living, given that his parents have such interesting careers. He said it might be cool to float around in space as an astronaut (like his mom), blow glass (like his dad), or even have a regular desk job.

The important thing, he said, is that he love it:

“My dad tells me, ‘Just do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’”


This is a sidebar to Katie Martin’s excellent coverage of Josh Simpson’s glassblowing work, Each fragile planet a labor of love.

Josh Simpson: Each fragile planet a labor of love

Josh Simpson
Glassblower Josh Simpson in the Planet Room with Flow reporter Katie Martin. Simpson shows how cane, crushed, colored, glass, and other materials help create unique worlds suggesting what he calls plant and animal life forms and geographic and geologic formations.

Katie logoSHELBURNE—Josh Simpson, glassblower, designs and creates many pieces in his studio in Shelburne. He works with glass to create masterpieces. Among his masterpieces, which you can see at Salmon Falls Artisans Showroom and all around the world, are his glass planets.

He also makes vases, bowls, and other glass pieces.

He gave The BSE Flow a tour of his studio, which is in a red barn, in early December. It was cold outside, with snow on the ground, but inside the studio it was warm, with three furnaces glowing orange with incredibly hot glass. The handles of the furnaces were shaped like metal dragons.

Molten glass
Spinning and shaping a primordial world in motion…

In his “Planet Room,” Simpson works very hard making cane: colorful glass rods. Then he cuts these up into circles and melts them and gold foil and other crushed, colored glass into the planets so they look kind of like barnacles.

When Simpson is almost done with a globe he breaks it off of the rod that it’s on and uses a blowtorch to shape the planet into a sphere.

Blowing glass
Josh’s son Jamey blows into a long metal rod to help puff out the planet.

When it’s cool enough he sands off the bottom — because where the glass was connected to the rod it is razor-sharp.

Simpson says it takes longer to sand and polish the bottom of the globe than to make the whole thing. He uses a spinning disk that’s coated in diamond dust to do this part.

Then he etches his name into the bottom of the globe with a drill that makes a high-pitched sound like a dentist’s drill. Each one has to be perfect before he will sign it.

Katie reacts to the sudden loud whir of an etching device Josh will use to sign off on a planet for sale.
Katie reacts to the sudden loud whir of an etching device Josh will use to sign off on a planet for sale.

It takes many steps to smooth out what was once so sharp it could cut your finger into something as smooth as a pebble.

When asked what he would say to a kid who wants to become a glass artist, he said, “Take classes. Go to school. Get practice.”

Meeting Jamey's mom, NASA astronaut Catherine “Cady” Coleman, who says we’re on our way to sending explorers to Mars. “I won’t get there, but someone your age might. You might,” she tells Katie.
Meeting Jamey’s mom, NASA astronaut Catherine “Cady” Coleman, who says we’re on our way to sending explorers to Mars. “I won’t get there, but someone your age might. You might,” she tells Katie.

You have to be able to do many things at once. You have to work the molten glass in the furnace and keep it on the stick so it doesn’t fall off onto the ground, and all the while you have to shape it and watch out that you don’t burn yourself.

Glass becomes hard to work with if it is left out even though it takes so long to cool down, so it’s a pretty difficult job.

It’s no coincidence that Simpson makes glass planets and likes space. His wife, Catherine “Cady” Coleman, is an astronaut. She’s been to space several times and was on the International Space Station.

[Sidebar: Shaping Worlds, featuring Jamey Simpson]

Kara Bohonowicz photo
Kara Bohonowicz photo

With additional reporting by  Kara Bohonowicz. For more information, including videos, articles, exhibitions, and details of Josh Simpson’s globe-spanning Infinity Project, visit Josh Simpson Contemporary Glass at www.megaplanet.com.

 

Sixth-graders land remembrance award at Keene State

First-place win for reflections to Holocaust novel in art, poetry

LEFT, Jane Yolen’s ‘The Devil’s Arithmetic’ (1988) is annual reading at BSE. Half of Jacqui Goodman’s class turned their reading of the novel into an artistic statement, “Remember,” that won this year’s Charles A. Hildebrandt Holocaust and Genocide Studies Award at Keene State College. At right is Dr. Henry Knight, Keene State’s Holocaust and genocide studies director.
LEFT, Jane Yolen’s ‘The Devil’s Arithmetic’ (1988) is annual reading at BSE. Half of Jacqui Goodman’s class turned their reading of the novel into an artistic statement, “Remember,” that won this year’s Charles A. Hildebrandt Holocaust and Genocide Studies Award at Keene State College. At right is Dr. Henry Knight, Keene State’s Holocaust and genocide studies director.

SHELBURNE—Sixth-grade students at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School have just won the 2014 Charles A. Hildebrandt Holocaust and Genocide Studies Award for Middle School Students, held annually at Keene State College.

Seventeen students participating in teacher Jacqui Goodman’s spring unit on the Holocaust and genocide had submitted a class project, “Remember,” which consisted of their reflections of a class reading of area author Jane Yolen’s historical fiction novel “The Devil’s Arithmetic.”

The award honors Charles Hildebrandt, Keene State College’s professor emeritus in sociology, and founder, in 1983, of its Holocaust Resource Center. The award is given in recognition of excellence in Holo-caust or genocide studies.

An award ceremony was scheduled Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m. The center invited winners and their guests to a reception at 5 p.m.

Presentations are given by the award-winning participants, and monetary and book awards are granted. BSE’s cash award is $100, which will be mailed to the school.

Entries, judged by committee, were evaluated on their depth of vision, insight, creativity, originality, and technical ability. BSE entered in the category for grades 5-8.

Reached in Seattle, where she was visiting one of her daughters on April break, Ms. Goodman told The BSE Flow, “What I’ve known about BSE sixth graders is that they’re creative thinkers who love learning about places beyond Shelburne Falls and human experiences beyond their own.”

She said her students, having read “The Devil’s Arithmetic,” “seemed deeply affected by the story and then wanted to do something about what they’d learned.

“I’m thrilled that they moved beyond a school assignment (reading the book) to wanting to share something with the larger community (recognizing Holocaust Remembrance Day was completely student-generated). Their activism bodes well for our future,” she said.

She described the project as a large display, backed by burlap, of students’ “reflections” in art and poetry to pages of Yolen’s award-winning novel.

The class also planned to hand out brochures they’ve made to passersby in Shelburne Falls on the occasion of the Holocaust Day of Remembrance, on Monday, April 28, the day students returned from their spring vacation.

Students also have prepared a 12-foot banner reading, “Remember” that Ms. Goodman was working on displaying downtown. She said she hoped to find a business owner who will donate wall space.

As described by its publisher, Puffin Modern Classics, “The Devil’s Arithmetic” follows Hannah, a Jewish girl living in New Rochelle, N.Y.:

“During a Passover Seder, Hannah is transported back in time to 1942 Poland, during World War II, where she is sent to a death camp thought to be Auschwitz and learns the importance of knowing about the past,” promotional copy reads.

The Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of Passover, which commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.

Passover began this year on the evening of April 14, and ended the evening of April 22.

“The Devil’s Arithmetic” was nominated for the Nebula Award for best novella in 1988 and won the National Jewish Book Award for children’s literature in 1989.

Art flowed from art

Days before learning her class had won the award, Ms. Goodman told The BSE Flow that her predecessor, Larry Wells, routinely assigned “The Devil’s Arithmetic” for sixth-grade reading and discussion on the strength of its clarity and accessibility for the age group. “When he retired and I moved into his place I thought I’d give it a shot, and it’s been incredible,” she said.

As for the resulting project that landed her students the Hildebrandt Award, Ms. Goodman said she’d discovered the “reflections” technique in an exhibit at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. She said she thought her students might try their hand at it.

The class project was shepherded to Keene State College by Maggid David Arfa, father of one of Ms. Goodman’s students, and a storyteller and environmental educator. Mr. Arfa’s storytelling performance, “The Jar of Tears: A Memorial for the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto,” won the 2009 Hildebrandt Award in honor of its artistic excellence, depth of vision, and technical mastery.