Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students explore the concept of upcycling as a sustainable art form. Upcycling involves taking recycled or usually discarded items and recontextualising them into a work of art! Students will examine the work of New York artist Gwyneth Leech, who uses recycled coffee cups as her ‘canvas’. Students will analyse how the artist uses specific materials and techniques, then will plan and create their own upcycled artwork.

 

Faber-Castell has long understood the importance of creativity to all people, especially to young people. It is also continuously searching for environmentally friendly processes and high-quality materials to enhance children’s creative experience throughout every development phase. For more information about Faber-Castell, click here.

 

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand the term ‘upcycling’ and investigate ways that it can benefit the environment.
  • Students understand how the use of carefully selected materials can enhance the audience’s understanding of the artist’s intention behind the work.
  • Students learn how to work collaboratively to create an art installation.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions

Year 7 & 8 Visual Arts:

  • Develop ways to enhance their intentions as artists through exploration of how artists use materials, techniques, technologies and processes (ACAVAM119)
  • Develop planning skills for art-making by exploring techniques and processes used by different artists (ACAVAM120)
  • Practise techniques and processes to enhance representation of ideas in their art-making (ACAVAM121)
  • Analyse how artists use visual conventions in artworks (ACAVAR123)

Syllabus outcomes: VAS4.5, VAS4.6.

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 7 & 8 Visual Arts achievement standards: Students identify and analyse how other artists use visual conventions and viewpoints to communicate ideas and apply this knowledge in their art making. They explain how an artwork is displayed to enhance its meaning. Students plan their art making in response to exploration of techniques and processes used in their own and others’ artworks.

Topic: Sustainability

Unit of work: Creative Sustainability – Year 7 & 8 – Visual Arts.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – facilitate class discussion, analysis of artist’s practice, and direct outdoor activity prior to art making.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student, device capable of presenting a video to the class. Pitt Pen Techniques Handout, one per student. Student sketchbooks OR A4 paper, recycled paper cups (these can be collected from the school community in the days/weeks prior to the lesson, sourced from local businesses) OR  paper cup template, PITT Artist Brush Pens (Calligraphy Brush Pens are an alternative to this tool). 

Keywords: Upcycle, recycle, art, sustainability, installation.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand the term ‘upcycling’ and investigate ways that it can benefit the environment.
  • Students understand how the use of carefully selected materials can enhance the audience’s understanding of the artist’s intention behind the work.
  • Students learn how to work collaboratively to create an art installation.

Success criteria:

  • Students articulate the meaning of upcycling and how it relates to sustainability
  • Students analyse the work of a professional artist and how they use specific materials and art conventions, then apply this knowledge in their own artmaking
  • Students take direct inspiration from their environment and document lines, shapes and colours in drawing from observation.

Teacher content information: Sustainability describes the ability to keep going at the same rate and in the same (or better) condition as before. In order for our world to be able to sustain us, as well as the generations to come, we

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What is upcycling?

1. Discuss your understanding of what ‘ upcycling’ is with a partner, then write down your definition:



2. After watching the video as a class, answer the following questions:

  • Where does she find ideas and inspiration for her artworks?
  • What subject matter does Gwyneth Leech base her works on? (What objects or scenes does she draw?)
  • Why do you think she uses paper cups as her ‘canvas’?
  • What artists’ tools did you see Gwyneth use? What reasons did she give for using those tools?

3. Using PITT Artist Brush Pens or Calligraphy Brush Pens, complete the following exercises to work on your techniques:

4. Use this space to trial your PITT Artist Brush Pens (or other artists tools):

Reflection:

Complete this after you have finished your paper cup artwork.

  • What subject matter did you choose to include in your paper cup artwork and why?
  • Explain why you chose to use certain shapes, colours and patterns.
  • How do you feel about you
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