On March 5 and 6, closing out their Medieval unit, Ross eighth graders took on the role of apprentice, training under “Master” artisans for their Guild Projects. For two full days, the students worked with professional East End artists in stained glass, ceramics, gilding, and mosaics.
The Masters were Sue Lichtenstein, who focused on stained glass; Mary Jaffe, who mentored students in ceramics; Haley MacKeil, who taught gilding, or gold leafing; and David Slater, who specializes in mosaics.
The stained glass group cut and combined colored glass to create abstract pieces, family crests, and borders for mirrors. “We’re going back to medieval times,” explained Jack Boyland, a stained glass apprentice. “This is like a quick, fun version of what they did.”
In ceramics, the students created gargoyles out of clay. Some took a creative twist, creating a dragon gargoyle or one sporting a mohawk. Rory Gallaher combined the features of several animals—including a lion, frog, bear, bird, and hippo—to make her sculpture. “I like this project,” she said. “It gives me an idea what they did and how they used gargoyles to scare off evil spirits.”
Meanwhile, the apprentices in gold leafing painted landscapes and animals inspired by medieval times, such as a majestic lion with wings. After staining a piece of wood with sienna and sanding it down, the students painted images on the wood and then pasted down thin sheets of gold to complete their masterpieces. “The guild projects have given me a sense of accomplishment,” said Lucia Robinson. “It’s been nice to spend two days on something and know that I will finish it.”
Lastly, the mosaic apprentices fashioned elaborate designs, including logos of national brands and sports teams, using stones, marbles, buttons, doorknobs, ceramic pieces, and, of course, tiles.
A Medieval Exposition featuring all of the projects as well as performances related to the Guild Projects will be held on Thursday, March 21, from 4:30 to 5:30pm outside the Ross Café.