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In the freshman year, the students work with artistic methods that help express moods of great contrast: pencil, black crayon, scratchboard and relief printing. The illusion of space and form in a drawing requires a vocabulary of tone description. The white of the paper is affected by a multitude of marks and textures as the students attempt to find the nuances of grays between the contrasts of black and white. Scratchboard technique demands a pace slow enough to reveal the image desired and yet dramatic enough to capitalize on the limitations of the medium. The presence of gray is illusionary, formed as the black coating is removed to reveal the white beneath. The creation of linoleum block prints builds on these expressive qualities of high contrast.

An exploration of relief carving in wood later in the year develops an understanding of the role light plays in sculpture medium and introduces a process also subtractive in nature but one which demands different skills and attention from the students.

History through Art

The Ninth Grade studies history through the art of the Stone Age, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, the early Christians, the Renaissance in northern and southern Europe, the Baroque and the 19th and 20th Centuries. Students learn to see artworks of each culture as symbolic of the consciousness of the people in a particular place at a given time.

Clay Sculpture

This course introduces the tools, techniques and processes used to create basic clay sculptures, primarily vessels. Students utilize additive and subtractive methods including pinch, coil, hollowing, and slab construction. Form, texture and the fundamentals of glazing are explored. The history of clay sculpture and pottery is covered as well as vocabulary and the works of prominent artists in the field.


The students learn to knit or refresh their knitting skills by making a small stuffed toy made of commercial yarn. Students prepare raw sheep’s wool for spinning, a process that includes washing, carding and color blending various kinds of wool. Next, they create order out of chaos by learning to spin the cleaned and combed wool into yarn on a drop spindle. When they have mastered that tool, they move to spinning on a spinning wheel and learning to ply two threads together. As a final project, each student knits or crochets something from their handspun wool.


Students reinforce and expand upon the woodworking skills previously established by creating a personal box, with attention to certain mechanical and aesthetic requiremnts. Students learn to use the plough plane and coping saws, as well as other tools to help them create tightly fitting joints and carvings. They also practice the art of sanding and applying finish.


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