Celebrating the Arts

Emily Magnus
Take a tour through the Carpenter Arts Center and the classes one will encounter are varied and challenging. From ceramics to music, studio practices to graphic design, students can choose from a variety of mediums and levels. Holderness visual art teachers Franz Nicolay and Alli Plourde challenge students to build their skills and push their intellectual boundaries. Here’s just a few of the projects student tackled this fall.
In Beginning Ceramics, students were given an introduction to the traditional forming methods of hand-building and wheel-thrown work in clay, as well as an introduction to design elements and principles regarding form, surface textural embellishment, and glaze application. One of the most elemental and expressive materials known to humans, clay is at the core of any art curriculum and expressive, exploratory practice.


Advanced Photography students began the year with a project based on Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. Chapter by chapter this book presents for consideration what life would be like in a different imagined construct of time. Students selected one idea from the book which resonated with them and responded to it with a parallel visual image and a quote from that chapter. They also created a written addendum to that chapter based at Holderness School.


The most recent assignment in Advanced Photography was to integrate two diverse disciplines in their life to which they are drawn, and find their points of intersection. All chose photography as one discipline; Lily Lin ’19 chose x-country running (discipline and perseverance), and Tanner Ensign ’19 chose hockey (frozen imagery). Ben Booker ’19 chose instead to contrast a love and a hate (photography and expression with rote memorization and testing).


In Studio Practices, the student artists began with basic drawing techniques, learning about proportion and how to obtain proper measurements when looking for realism and detail. They started with graphite and colored pencils and then moved on to charcoal and acrylic paints. The colored pencil still life was an arrangement of five meaningful objects with the goal of a unique composition considering balance, emphasis, and movement.


Studio Practices students were also asked to find a photograph of a person they admire and used the gridding technique to scale and transfer the image onto paper. They used white and black charcoal to get a wide range of value in order to achieve a close-to-photorealistic drawing.


Their last project for the semester was to create an acrylic painting of a place which brought back happy memories. Students started with a photograph and experimented with filters in Adobe Photoshop to visualize what their photo could look like as a painting. Taking all of that information, and techniques from previous lessons, they painted their memory on large canvas panels. They had to consider a focal point which would be a section of the painting that displayed more contrast and detail.


The 3D Design students started with modular sculptures, designing and building sculptures out of multiples of a common module. For example, Seth Grey collected all of the old, abused paint brushes from the art room—those were his modules—and he developed a way to display them "in the round," so to have interesting viewpoints from each angle.


The arch was a lesson on the catenary arch. A catenary arch is a type of architectural pointed arch that follows an inverted catenary curve. It is common in cathedrals and in arches in Gothic architecture. The students worked on this as a collaborative group.

The students abstract figurative sculptures were done as (1) a subtractive method of sculpting, and (2) an additive method of sculpting or molding. The subtractive method was done from a foam block away from which students carved to achieve the figure that was planned. The additive method involved an armature and plaster strips that were carefully laid over the armature.


In their final lesson, the assemblage sculpture was inspired by a sculptor featured in the Galletly Gallery at New Hampton School that the students visited earlier in the school year. Students were given old cigar boxes and asked to transform the space into an artwork based on important people in their lives. The students gathered many iconic and specific objects to assemble in and on a box.

Holderness School
33 Chapel Lane, Holderness NH, 03245
mail P.O Box 1879 Plymouth, NH 03264-1879
phone (603) 536-1257