Nature: Naturally an Inspiration

Nature,  Naturally an Inspiration.pdf

Dublin Core


Nature: Naturally an Inspiration




What is truly man made? Humans use nature for their fundamental needs, desires, communications with one another, as well as their understanding of the world. This multidisciplinary unit explores the enduring idea of nature within art and man-made objects. Learners will use inspiration from nature to create a batik inspired by many cultures from around the world.


Katie Pfrommer


Japanese Print, CMA 1972.16
Charger, Anonymous CMA1965.44
Moonlight, Ralph Alber Blakelock CMA1999.16
Armoire, Louis Majorelle CMA1997.20
Tree Spirit, 1997.7.55
Red House, Leo Twiggs 2011.16.1


Handheld Art


Columbia Museum of Art

Unit Plan Item Type Metadata


12 classes


Visual Arts Standards:
Standard 1: The student will demonstrate competence in the use of ideas, materials, techniques, and processes in the creation of works of visual art.
VAH1-1.2 Describe ways that different materials, techniques, and processes evoke different responses in one who is creating or viewing artworks.
VAH1-1.3 Communicate ideas through the effective use of a variety of materials.

Integrated CCSS:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.3 Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.


• Prior to the introduction of the unit, learners will experiment with wax resist through a motivator activity.
• Leaners will discuss the enduring idea nature and explore how it can be manipulated through materials to create something with purpose and how it used as inspiration for art making.
• Learners will study the art making and historical context of batik within African and Asian cultures.
• Learners will explore the role of nature in art and objects.
• Learners will compare and contrast the selected artworks from the Columbia Museum of Art collection and discuss the influence of nature within each artwork. Learners will discuss which of these is made for art or function or both.
• Learners will research and sketch a variety of compositions inspired by nature.
• Learners will select one composition (or a combination of more depending on the design) to create a fiber arts batik using wax resist and immersion techniques demonstrated.
• Learners will select one of the exemplar artworks from Handheld Art to complete a written Feldman critique.
• Learners will study and apply color theory by working in groups to complete the second motivator activity. Upon completion of this activity, learners may use this poster as a reference for color choices in their batiks.
• Learners will observe the batik demonstration and over the course of several classes, create individual batiks based on the enduring idea nature.
• Learners will write a Feldman critique and reflection after the completion of the artwork.


• Pre-washed muslin cut to size
• Paper cut to the same size
• Fabric scissors
• Sharpies
• Electric skillet (one per four students)
• Brushes for wax in various sizes
• Tjanting tools
• Pitcher or jug to measure water
• Procion Dyes (Jet Black, Bright Golden Yellow, Cobalt Blue, Fire Engine Red)
• Soda Ash
• Table Salt
• Measuring cup and measuring spoons
• Large spoons to stir dye bath
• Large plastic bins with lids for emersion dye bath
• Buckets or bins to transport wet batiks to clothesline
• Tongs
• Outdoor clothesline and clothespins (have rainy day contingency plan)
• Frames and push pins (to raise fabric from sticking when waxing)
• Irons
• Lots of newspaper (non-glossy)
• Hairdryer on a medium or cool setting (optional) to speed drying times. (Careful not to melt wax)
• Paintbrushes and containers of concentrated dye (optional for certain areas where colors cannot be achieved by dipping. For example: a red flower on a green background.)

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