Gita Ghei | Visual Arts
Gita Ghei | Visual Arts
Gita Ghei has a degree in Classics and is a metal sculptor specializing in public art. She teaches an ancient recycled method of casting in her studio foundry. Her passion is to inspire curiosity into materials and values of sustainability. She takes a holistic approach and is eager to collaborate across disciplines with teachers outside of the art department to support science or history learning.
Learn to respect each other, the earth, and share and celebrate our diversity while discovering the chemistry that is shared by all matter (including our bodies) in the universe and is forever recycled. How do art materials exhibit their energy and structure, where do they come from? Why should we be responsible stewards of earth? How can we communicate our values and ourselves through art?
Students take home hands - on experience with a variety of tools and metals, as well as confidence, curiosity and communication skills with art. Gita follows a guide of sustainability, using recycled or recyclable materials.
Learn more about Gita in her May 2014 Artist Spotlight interview.
Sample Programs: Customizable To Site’s Needs
All residencies are a minimum of 3 sessions. All ages and abilities can be accommodated.
Metal Energy and American Values
Begin with a read of “Lady Liberty” by Lynn Curlee and the poem by Emma Lazarus inscribed on the statue which reads “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore”. What values can we consider as Americans welcoming all people onto the land that once was inhabited by the indigenous people of North America? How did Lady Liberty come to America and how was she made? Why is she green? Who paid for her and decided where to put her? Why did Emma write the poem? This class explores the making of a message and a public art piece. Learn about metal - why does copper turn green outside and last “forever”, when the iron structure inside the statue falls apart and needed replacing in 1976? We will make decorated name plates in copper, and add a word to describe ourselves, and finish with a sharing session -where does your name come from and what is a concept you hold of value? Students learn how to use snips, files, hammers, pliers, metal stamps and vinegar to color their piece and make a chemical change on the surface of the metal. The students will be inspired in material science and consider the values associated with an American Icon in the port of New York.
Minimum 2 classes. Art standards: sculpture, historical context, tools and materials, texture, shape, pattern, exhibit work, health and safety with art materials. Additional learning opportunities:
- Discussion of copper a natural resource found and used by indigenous Americans in the upper Midwest, and controversial current mining.
- Grades 7-12 explore oxides and chemical changes with bases and acids.
- Take a field trip of local public art to learn first hand about installation, maintenance and conservation.
Wind Energy & Whirligigs
Start with a reading of “The boy who harnessed the wind” by William Kamkwamba. Students are introduced to the idea that in many parts of the world, electricity is a non-existent luxury. What does it mean to use a “harness” on a natural force, like a horse? Students will look at the mechanics of wind turbines and blade design. Using simple hardware, a hair dryer and a small voltmeter, we can measure the output of a variety of arty designs. How far can wacky creative looks go when it comes to making an energy producing source? The group looks at blade variables and individual designs are tested. For artistic effect, the blades are colored and optical illusions added to create spinning daydreams. Take home notions of “how much electricity do I need and how much does it take to make it?” This class has a minimum of 5 sessions and a second week allows for a group piece for temporary or permanent outdoor display at school. For grades 7-12, the class can look at some of the self-taught fabricators of the mid-west like Dr. Evermore of Sauk City. And, time permitting, together they can design a recycled kinetic scrap metal creation.
Sun Energy: Earth & Time
Learn how the ancient Egyptians 3000 years ago worshiped the sun above all their other gods, look at scarabs, eye of Horus and other magic symbols and then make your own magic energy shape out of aluminum or copper foil after drawing and cutting out a paper pattern. Copper and Aluminum exhibit very different sensory properties. What do “embossing” and “chasing” mean? Feel energy flow from your hand to your soft metal, feel your hand get tired and the metal grow more rigid or “work hardened”. How does energy flow? Be amazed! What do the 2 distinct elements exhibit about their atomic structure? Use water based permanent inks to color your shape; or use vinager, a weak acid, to change the copper surface. Use your symbols as magic time wands, tape them to sticks, and tell time outside when facing north and holding them into the sunlight. Older students can learn about the position of the sun and earth, and how seasons affect the shadows we make. This residency has a minimum of 2 sessions, and can be developed into a showcase for individual pieces if more sessions are available. Using new recycled sheet metal gives an important talk point of being mindful of waste when cutting patterns, that the elements are finite and recycled in the universe.
Sun Energy: Fire
Heat is a form of energy, how do things burn and transfer their energy into light and heat? Be amazed! Use tools like pliers, snips, hole punch, and a pattern to make a copper lantern with a special image or word that will shine through when a small candle is added. Imagine and share what we think cave people thought when the sun rose and set day after day, but they had no knowledge of it like we do? Learn where copper comes from and how was it used by Native people in North America, especially the Midwest. Students are inspired into material science with questions and sensory input.
Elemental Energy: Calder Mobiles
An artist is an engineer is an inventor. Learn about an exceptional inventor and artist, Alexander Calder and his wire circus, with video and PowerPoint. Play with two elements from the periodic table, copper and aluminum; look at their atomic structure and discover with our senses what are their elemental properties? Play with engineering and design. How did Calder design his mobiles so they float? And what is the formula for weight and distance? Prepare to play with shapes! Older students can learn about physical vs chemical change in matter by oxidizing the copper with vinegar. Depending on age, a variety of thickness of metals are available, so that scissors or snips, pliers or hands, files, pop rivets or eyelets, hammers or wooden styluses can be used to manipulate the shapes. The artist will provide stations where students can practice balance. Text and textures may be added for additional level of thinking around a theme such as human rights.
Note: This class is a minimum one week residency, additional days allow for more collaboration and creation of a group mobile.
Ephemeral castings * casting chemistry. The artist has worked with a chemistry teacher to design benchmark points for art lab chemistry with the recyclable materials of wax for candles, soap for soap and sugar for candy. Answer questions of how and why with these fun take home projects. Melting points, chemical changes, ephemeral castings, aromatherapy, draftable mold making - are among the many stepping stones. This class requires kitchen or outdoor space where the artist will provide a small propane or electric burner. For a 1 session pop-up workshop, artist provides molds and students learn chemistry, color theory, aromatherapy, and edible or therapeutic plant uses with one of the above materials. This is a social workshop with a lot of time for discussing our favorite colors, flavors and scents, how they feel, what value is there in making our own products and candy using our own local ingredients. A week residency allows for making of a clay original, a plaster mold for soap, candle and sugar cube carved candy casting. In the week residency, there is a final sharing session where students are able to practice self-reflection in an entry to read in front of the group about the physical process and the significance of their original clay sculpture.
Note: Best for ages 8 and up, K-3 do well with free form lollipops with some science learning.