Alongside academics, both practical and fine arts are a fundamental piece of the Waldorf curriculum. There is always an eye towards stimulating the Will of the student to produce a beautiful, well-made piece of work, presenting goals that the student must strongly reach for to achieve. Some might assume from this that Waldorf schools graduates would largely become “artists” or “musicians”, which is not the case. The arts curriculum actually serves to illuminate the academic subjects in a way that enhances and brings more relevance to their truth and lawfulness. The artistic capabilities developed in the students build their confidence, aid them in all their life endeavors, and provide them with a connection to beauty and craftsmanship.
Printing - Linoleum, black & white
This class can be understood as an introduction to any printmaking process. It is an exploration of polarities (see 9th grade curriculum), learning to objectify and plan. The student learns to develop a design idea, including sketching and drawing out of imagination and perception, leading into generating an image and a composition, including the three basic types of imprint: the positive, the negative, and the line.
The focus is on tonality, exploring the phenomena of light and shadow. The students divide into small groups, observing an illuminated still life of geometric shapes. They are exploring various techniques of shading, using charcoal and solid graphite. This is then followed by the copying of a masterpiece from the 17th century, depicting either the Melancholia or St. Jerome by Albrecht Durer. Working with the expressiveness of black and white, the students are discovering the inner nature of light in the meditative female figure, as well as the outer light which illuminates the object. Finally, an exploration of the Seurat Technique eradicates the lines completely.
This course introduces the processes and techniques of hot working iron by using a coal-fired forge. Students learn how to maintain the forge fire at an even and constant temperature, in order to be able to transform an ordinary round steel rod into a well designed and balanced fire tool by using controlled strength and technique. This class meets the developmental needs for balance between the polarities of the Ninth Grader in a direct and uncompromising way.
This course is an introduction into hand-building pottery by the coil method. Students are required to build a large (26" tall) vase that has an even wall thickness throughout, is symmetrical and well balanced, and is free of any marks other than those intended by the maker. This class addresses the Ninth Graders' swing between inner polarities through their work with an endlessly yielding material, which requires the development of a new sensibility.
This class introduces the color wheel, using the three primary colors, creating twelve tones in pastel. In addition, using black and white, each color is transformed into pastel or to the color black. This exercise is followed by a drawing from still life in which each student has to create two different sketches, one in warm and one in cold tones. After that exercise, each student chooses an image from a given selection of three interpretations: one a newspaper collage, one a white drawing on black paper, and one reintroducing the three primary colors, plus black and white. These exercises are preparing the students to actually "see" the colors and their tonality. The final piece is a Greek head from a selection, related to the Odysseus block, using the above-described colors on black paper.
Printing - Linoleum, multi-color
This class can be understood as an introduction to printing or as an advanced-level class, continued from Ninth Grade printing. The student learns the development of concept, generating an image within three different layers, exploring color, texture design and composition. It offers the opportunity to study problem-solving on different levels. Part of the process is to carve out three different blocks with a minimum of one color per block, in a way that the three blocks printed together evolve into one complete and clean image.
This class is an introduction to veil painting or a deepening for the student who has had prior experience in this technique. The student has the opportunity to develop the will and a strong sense for problem-solving (see printing). We are using watercolor, layering transparent surfaces of color on paper. We are basing this class on Geothe's Color Theory, working into the objective laws of the three "luster colors" and demonstrating a way of seeing our work "out of color". Because we need to wait for every layer to dry before we can continue, we add different "wet on wet" exercises which are compliment the out-of-color experience.
This course is an introduction to the use of the potter's wheel. Students will learn how to prepare the clay and throw it (perform a specific series of actions on the centered clay).
Objectives are to design and weave fabrics that are both beautiful and functional, to explore weaving with patterns and color, and to understand the basic technology of the loom. Each student designs and weaves a scarf on the floor loom and creates a tablet-woven band to be used as a belt, guitar strap or other. Through their study of ancient civilizations (where many of the cultures have a rich and enduring tradition of weaving) and their understanding of mathematical progressions, the students' abilities and connection to weaving are enhanced. They learn that the creative design process is as important as the end result and that craftsmanship requires effort and careful attention to detail.
This class focuses on the introduction of acrylics as a new medium with its very own different qualities as compared to watercolor painting. We are still working out of color but now include the basic elements of patterns, texture, and shading within painting themes such as "masterpieces", landscapes, and still life.
This class studies the proportions of the human being as developing from birth to adulthood. A quick sketching is done in pastel or charcoal on brown or black paper, capturing, in a short time, a pose or movement. We work on easels with large boards, often outdoors, with each student in the class developing his or her own stroke, highlighted by the use of various colors. As the skill progresses, the grey wash technique is introduced. A quick sketching of young children on the playground in constant movement will train the students in their powers of observation.
Here we introduce the printing of paper, using either the wheat paste or marbling technique. For their first project, a clipboard, students use their own papers, exploring the grain line, precision in cutting, measurement, and the handling of bookbinding glue and special cardboard. A simple Japanese booklet is next, allowing the students to use bookbinding linen and their corners, as well as hinges. A far more complex project is a portfolio with various flaps, spine and clasp. The students are also introduced to the history of paper printing and bookbinding and are trained in their fine motor skills, as well as 3-dimensional thinking.
This course is an introduction to the manual fabrication of jewelry using sheet and wire. Students learn how to design, cut, decorate, form, and hard solder a number of projects of their own choosing. With a new sense of self and an increasing interest in the world around them, the technical and detailed work of jewelry is very appealing and satisfying, and the quality of that what they can make in class is such that they recognize themselves as becoming part of the adult world.
This class is introduced to the proportions of the human face, its light and shadow and its tonality. We use simple sketching techniques while portraying one's own face frontal, sideways, and distorted, while looking up or downwards. We work on easels, with each student looking into a mirror placed on a drawing board, to explore bone structure and tonality. Lastly, we are introduced to oil painting in its versatility, luster and vibrance. On the final canvas, a quick sketching helps with placement and proportion, and the journey of "Who am I?" and "How do I see myself?" in oil painting begins. This is the final painting experience of a senior in a Waldorf school.