Japanese Summer Art Program
The Language of Art
This summer, I was given the opportunity to teach a group of students who traveled to Concordia University from the Lutheran Hamamatsu Uminohoshi High School in Japan. The goal of this three day course was to introduce the medium of collage to my Japanese students and to have them create individual designs using colored and textured paper, string, magazine articles and other material suitable for design. My students and I were in a position where language could have been a barrier: their English was limited and my Japanese restricted to three phrases. We relied on the international language of art to allow our self-expression to be revealed and it was, I think, quite successful.
We proceeded by first selecting our base boards and materials. There was a wide variety of material to choose from: paper of every color, silky and textured string, photos from magazine articles, and cut-outs. Next, we carefully manipulated these objects to reflect our individual touch. The studio was often quiet as we worked to extract our designs from our imaginations. My students were diligent and resourceful and I watched with immense fascination and pride as their artworks began to take shape. Art is a most flexible and
enjoyable means of communication.
By the second and third days, the designs were revealed. How extraordinary to see the beauty and diversity of my students' art. We carefully treated the final works with Mod Podge to seal and protect the designs. These ambassadors of creativity and their creations would travel home to Japan and reveal their colorful messages to their parents, friends and teachers. United as artists, and happy, we parted. I will always cherish the memories of these remarkable students, their joy and their generous parting gifts to me.
Prof. Michael Redfield
Adjunct Professor of Art History
Shoko Kawai with her final collage project from the class.
Tomoka Ayabe enjoying the collage class.
Summer 2010 collage class with students and Prof. Mike Redfield.