Lesson Plan: Piero Fenci’s “White Crown Turbine”

This lesson plan contains the Texas TEKS for Elementary, Middle, and High School art teachers. Students will learn about abstract art and Piero Fenci’s style of abstraction found in his ceramic work White Crown Turbine. Then, the class will choose a machine found in every-day life and make an abstract non-functional ceramic sculpture based on the selected machine.


If you use or reference this lesson plan, please leave a comment with your feedback. The lesson plan can be downloaded in the link below.


Piero Fenci, White Crown Turbine, 2005, earthenware ceramic sculpture, 24 inches X 12 inches X 12 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

Culture: American

Subject: Fine Art, Art History

Collection: Tyler Museum of Art’s Permanent Collection

Grades: Elementary School, Middle School and High School

Topics: Artistic Practices, Art History, Critical Thinking, Industry and Nature Discussion


Art Vocabulary

Activity Vocabulary:

Piero Fenci:

  • Piero Fenci is a ceramic artist who creates abstract earthenware ceramic sculptures as well as abstract and non-objective two-dimensional artwork. He was born in 1994 in Santa Barbara, California. He studied at three different universities to build his knowledge of ceramics, Latin American culture, and art history. He gained his Bachelors of Arts with a focus on Latin-American Studies from Yale University in 1966. Then, in 1972, he completed his Post Graduate Studies in Studio Art at Tulane University in Louisiana. He received his Masters of Fine Arts at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1975. He is a professor of ceramics at the Stephen F. Austin State University.
  • Fenci’s piece, White Crown Turbine, is part of his Tower Group Series. The series uses the form of an engine turbine to express concepts of defensive machinery. The turbine sections of the ceramic are exposed to the viewer, allowing the individual to see the innerworkings of the machine. Fenci removed the functional aspects of the turbine, causing the piece to be a representation of the real machine. Thus, the sculpture is an non-functional abstract  of a functional machine. Adding a crown-like form to the top of the turbine emphasizes the idea of power, which is connected to the implied function of the turbine.

Abstract Art:

  • An abstract composition uses a variety of shapes, lines, colors, and patterns to create a mood, an expression of a concept, or a unique view of something from nature.

Ceramics:

  • The artistic methods of using clay, glazes, and ceramic firing methods to create a ceramic object. These objects can range in size, shape, and color.

Clay:

  • A material that is developed from wet earth and minerals. When it is drying or heated in a kiln, the clay hardens into a ceramic object. 

Earthenware:

  • Earthenware is a type of ceramic, where the clay object was fired at a lower temperature than standard. This causes a different baking process in the clay, where the clay has a rough texture and is more porous; the process is alternatively called vitrified.

Bone-Dry Clay:

  • As clay dries in an open-air environment, the color of the clay will change from a red-brown color to a light grey. This result of this process is called bone-dry clay. When clay reaches this stage, it is ready to be placed in a kiln and fired.

Kiln:

  • A furnace that heats clay at high temperatures to create a ceramic object. The act of heating clay in a kiln is known as ‘firing’.

Glaze:

  • A thin coating of pigment that is painted or dipped on a ceramic work at the bone-dry stage. Dipping is when bone-dry clay is submerged into the glaze to fully cover the piece. Painting the glaze on the bone-dry clay enables the artist to create intricate designs on the clay.

Throwing:

  • A common process of creating a vessel out of clay. The artist places a section of clay on a throwing-wheel. He or she can control the speed at which the wheel will turn. As the wheel turns, the artist shapes the clay into a bowl, a cup, or a vase shape.

Acrylic Paint:

  • Acrylic paint is a type of water-based paint commonly used by practicing artists. Originally developed in the 1960’s, it dries quickly and can be layered to create opaque compositions and translucent washes.

Artist Statement:

  • An artist statement is designed to explain the artist’s compositional decisions made in the development of the artwork. The statement can range between 250 words to three pages.

Elements of Design:

  • Artists use the elements of design to create the foundation of the artwork. The elements of art include: line, shape, form, space, color, and texture.

Line:

  • An element of design; line is created on a surface with a pointed moving tool. Lines can range in size, width, texture, and presentation. Common types of line are vertical, horizontal, diagonal, zig-zag, and curved.

Shape:

  • An element of design; shape is a two-dimensional enclosed space that represents either an organic shape or a geometric shape. Geometric shapes include squares, circles, rectangles, triangles and other standard geometric shapes. Organic shapes include natural non-geometric shapes that are developed from curvilinear lines.

Form:

  • An element of design; form is a three-dimensional enclosed space that represents organic and geometric shapes in a third space. Geometric forms include cubes, spheres, triangular prisms, rectangular prisms, and cones. Organic shapes include three-dimensional forms observed in nature, such as trees, rivers, and rocks.

Space:

  • An element of design; this term defines the surface area between, before, and behind an object in a composition.

Color:

  • An element of design; this term defines the pigments used in a painting. Color can be organized into categories, such as: hues, values, complements, and intensity.

Texture:

  • An element of design; this term defines an artwork’s surface. The artist’s use of the chosen medium creates either implied or actual texture.

Principles of Design:

  • Artists used principles of design to build upon the foundational elements of design. This includes the following: rhythm, movement, balance, proportion, variety, emphasis, and unity. 

Rhythm/ Pattern:

  • A principle of design; this term defines the repetitive imagery and elements of design found in a composition.

Movement:

  • A principle of design; this term defines the visual movement observed in a painting. This can be identified as kinetic movement or implied movement. Additionally, movement can be defined as how the viewer’s eye moves throughout the composition.

Balance:

  • A principle of design; this term defines the arrangement of the presented imagery with the elements of design. It refers to either asymmetrical compositions or symmetrical compositions.

Proportion:

  • A principle of design; this term defines the comparative size between objects in the composition. It can refer to the imagery within a painting or the size between a sculpture and a real object.

Variety:

  • A principle of design; this term defines the combination of imagery, objects, and ideas in an artwork.

Emphasis:

  • A principle of design; this term defines the most prominent area in a composition. The viewer’s eye is drawn to this point because the artist used a mixture of the elements and principles of design.

Unity:

  • A principle of design; this term defines how the elements and principles of design are combined within a composition.

Bibliography: Resources for Vocabulary and Lesson Plan

“Abstract Art.” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2022. Accessed: April 6, 2022. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/a/abstract-art.

“Art Term: Acrylic Paint.” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2021. Accessed May 7, 2021. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/a/acrylic-paint.

“Clay.” The British Museum. Updated 2021. Accessed April 6, 2022. https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/term/x10590.

Gardiner Museum. “European Earthenware.” Google Arts and Culture. Updated 2021. Accessed April 6, 2022. https://artsandculture.google.com/story/european-earthenware-the-george-r-gardiner-museum-of-ceramic-art/cwVhNpEwgP8aLA?hl=en.

Lewis, David A. “Piero Fenci’s Wall of Vision.” Piero Fenci Official Website. Updated May 5, 2010. Accessed April 7, 2022. http://www.pierofenci.com/essays.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.102: Art, Kindergarten, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=102.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.105: Art, Grade 1, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=105.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.108: Art, Grade 2, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=108.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.111: Art, Grade 3, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=111.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.114: Art, Grade 4, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=114.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.117: Art, Grade 5, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=117.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.202: Art, Middle School 1, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=202.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.203: Art, Middle School 2, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=203.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.204: Art, Middle School 3, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=204.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.302: Art, Level I, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=302.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.303: Art, Level II, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=303.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.304: Art, Level III, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=304.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.305: Art, Level IV, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=305.

“Piero Fenci.” Stephen F. Austin State University: School of Art Faculty Directory. Updated 2021. Accessed April 7, 2022. https://art.sfasu.edu/faculty/81.

Ragan, Rosalins. “Elements of Art.” In Art Talk, 61 – 211. Edited by Bennett and McKnight Division. San Francisco: Glencoe Publishing Company, 1988.

Ragan, Rosalins. “The Principles of Design.” In Art Talk, 211 – 347. Edited by Bennett and McKnight Division. San Francisco: Glencoe Publishing Company, 1988.

Rawson, Philip. “General Considerations.” In Ceramics, 1 – 23. Edited by Philip Rawson. New York: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984. https://www.google.com/books/edition/Ceramics/ZzDhKS1467EC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=ceramics&printsec=frontcover.

“Texas Masters Series: Piero Fenci – Battlement.” Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Updated September 1, 2012. Accessed: April 7, 2022. https://crafthouston.org/exhibition/texas-master-series-piero-fenci-battlement/.


Elementary School Lesson Plans


Goals:

Elementary School Students of all levels will be able to do the following:

  • Identify the principles of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify the elements of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify Abstraction in Piero Fenci’s work White Crown Turbine;
  • Identify and explain why Piero Fenci’s non-functional turbine is abstract;
  • Create an abstract clay sculpture of a machine found in every-day life;
  • Explain why the non-functional sculpture is non-functional;
  • And, explain why the created abstract non-functional clay machine is abstract.

Texas Elementary School TEKS:

Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade, Fourth Grade, and Fifth Grade


Kindergarten:

  • §117.102.b.1.A / B
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • gather information from subjects in the environment using the senses;
      • identify the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, and form, and the principles of design, including repetition/pattern and balance, in the environment.
  • §117.102.b.2. A / C
    • Creative Expression:
      • create artworks using a variety of lines, shapes, colors, textures, and forms;
      • use a variety of materials to develop manipulative skills while engaging in opportunities for exploration through drawing, painting, printmaking, constructing artworks, and sculpting, including modeled forms.
  • §117.102.b.3. A / C
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • identify simple subjects expressed in artworks;
      • identify the uses of art in everyday life;
  • §117.102.b.4.B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • express ideas found in collections such as real or virtual art museums, galleries, portfolios, or exhibitions using original artworks created by artists or peers;

First Grade:

  • §117.105.b.1.A / B
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify similarities, differences, and variations among subjects in the environment using the senses;
      • identify the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, and form, and the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, and balance, in nature and human-made environments.
  • §117.105.b.2. A / B
    • Creative Expression:
      • invent images that combine a variety of lines, shapes, colors, textures, and forms;
      • place components in orderly arrangements to create designs;
  • §117.105.b.3. A / C
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • identify simple ideas expressed in artworks through different media;
      • discuss the use of art in everyday life;
  • §117.105.b.4.A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • explain ideas about personal artworks;
      • identify ideas found in collections such as real or virtual art museums, galleries, portfolios, or exhibitions using original artworks created by artists or peers.

Second Grade:

  • §117.108.b.1.A / B
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • compare and contrast variations in objects and subjects from the environment using the senses;
      • identify the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, and space, and the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, and balance.
  • §117.108.b.2. A / B
    • Creative Expression:
      • express ideas and feelings in personal artworks using a variety of lines, shapes, colors, textures, forms, and space;
      • create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design;
  • §117.108.b.3. A / B / C / D
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      •  interpret stories, content, and meanings in a variety of artworks;
      • examine historical and contemporary artworks created by men and women, making connections to various cultures;
      • analyze how art affects everyday life and is connected to jobs in art and design;
      • relate visual art concepts to other disciplines.
  • §117.108.b.4. A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • support reasons for preferences in personal artworks;
      • compare and contrast ideas found in collections such as real or virtual art museums, galleries, portfolios, or exhibitions using original artworks created by artists or peers;

Third Grade:

  • §117.111.b.1.A / B / C
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • explore ideas from life experiences about self, peers, family, school, or community and from the imagination as sources for original works of art;
      • use appropriate vocabulary when discussing the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, and the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity;
      • discuss the elements of art as building blocks and the principles of design as organizers of works of art.
  • §117.111.b.2. A / B
    • Creative Expression
      • integrate ideas drawn from life experiences to create original works of art;
      • create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design;
  • §117.111.b.3. A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • identify simple main ideas expressed in artworks from various times and places;
      • compare and contrast artworks created by historical and contemporary men and women, making connections to various cultures;
  • §117.111.b.4. A / B / C
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • evaluate the elements of art, principles of design, or expressive qualities in artworks of self, peers, and historical and contemporary artists;
      • use methods such as oral response or artist statements to identify main ideas found in collections of artworks created by self, peers, and major historical or contemporary artists in real or virtual portfolios, galleries, or art museums;
      • compile collections of personal artworks such as physical artworks, electronic images, sketchbooks, or portfolios for purposes of self assessment or exhibition.

Fourth Grade:

  • §117.114.b.1.A / B / C
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • explore and communicate ideas drawn from life experiences about self, peers, family, school, or community and from the imagination as sources for original works of art;
      • use appropriate vocabulary when discussing the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, and the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity;
      • discuss the elements of art as building blocks and the principles of design as organizers of works of art.
  • §117.114.b.2. A / B
    • Creative Expression:
      • integrate ideas drawn from life experiences to create original works of art;
      • create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design; and
  • §117.114.b.3. A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • compare content in artworks for various purposes such as the role art plays in reflecting life, expressing emotions, telling stories, or documenting history and traditions;
      •  compare purpose and content in artworks created by historical and contemporary men and women, making connections to various cultures;
  • §117.114.b.4. A / B / C
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • evaluate the elements of art, principles of design, intent, or expressive qualities in artworks of self, peers, and historical and contemporary artists.
      • use methods such as written or oral response or artist statements to identify emotions found in collections of artworks created by self, peers, and major historical or contemporary artists in real or virtual portfolios, galleries, or art museums;
      • compile collections of personal artworks for purposes of self-assessment or exhibition such as physical artworks, electronic images, sketchbooks, or portfolios.

Fifth Grade:

  • §117.117.b.1.A / B / C
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • develop and communicate ideas drawn from life experiences about self, peers, family, school, or community and from the imagination as sources for original works of art;
      • use appropriate vocabulary when discussing the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, and the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity; and
      • discuss the elements of art as building blocks and the principles of design as organizers of works of art.
  • §117.117.b.2. A / B
    • Creative Expression:
      • integrate ideas drawn from life experiences to create original works of art;
      • create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design;
  • §117.117.b.3. A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • compare the purpose and effectiveness of artworks from various times and places, evaluating the artist’s use of media and techniques, expression of emotions, or use of symbols;
      • compare the purpose and effectiveness of artworks created by historic and contemporary men and women, making connections to various cultures;
  • §117.117.b.4. A / B / C
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • evaluate the elements of art, principles of design, general intent, media and techniques, or expressive qualities in artworks of self, peers, or historical and contemporary artists;
      • use methods such as written or oral response or artist statements to identify themes found in collections of artworks created by self, peers, and major historical or contemporary artists in real or virtual portfolios, galleries, or art museums;
      • compile collections of personal artworks for purposes of self-assessment or exhibition such as physical artworks, electronic images, sketchbooks, or portfolios.

Elementary School Art Activities

Questions for Elementary School Students:

  1. Examine Piero Fenci’s ceramic work White Crown Turbine. Identify where each element of art is located in the artwork.
  2. Examine Piero Fenci’s ceramic work White Crown Turbine. Identify where each principle of art is located in the artwork.
  3. What is abstract art?
  4. What does non-functional mean?
  5. Why would a non-functional artwork be considered abstract?
  6. Name common machines that are used every day.
  7. How would you make your chosen machine non-functional?
  8. How would you make your chosen non-functional machine out of clay?
  9. Discuss how to work with clay.
    • How do you connect two different pieces of clay?
    • How do you fire clay?
    • What is a kiln?
    • What are the safety measures to ensure the students and teacher are safe around the kiln?
  10. Discuss fire safety with the students and the importance of safety around the kiln.

Activity: Elementary School Fine Arts

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Pencil, Drawing Paper, Printed Images of Every-Day Machines or Real Machines, Clay, Kiln, Acrylic Paint.
  • Subject: Ceramics, Sculpture, Abstraction, Non-Functional Art
  • Texas TEKS: Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade, Fourth Grade, and Fifth Grade
  • Duration: Extended Project

Students will study Piero Fenci’s artwork White Crown Turbine. Afterwards, the class will make an abstract clay sculpture of a non-functional machine. First, students will learn about abstraction, non-functional art, and different types of machines that are used every day. Next, the students will select one machine. They can select an image of a machine or a real machine brought to class; this is to be decided by the teacher. Once the students has picked their machine, they will draw a sketch of their abstract non-functional machine. Direct the students to use Fenci’s White Crown Turbine as an example.

When the students have completed their sketch, and the teacher approves of the design, the students will begin to work with clay to make their non-functional machine. After the abstract clay sculpture is made, the piece will be set aside to dry and be prepared to be fired in the kiln. While the clay is being prepared for the kiln, the students will make their artist statements; this is explained in the activity below. After the clay sculptures are fired, the students will paint their ceramics with acrylic paint. They can choose a single color to paint their sculptures, or a multitude of colors; this is for the teacher to decide.


Activity: Elementary School Art History

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Pencil/ Pen on Paper or Word Document
  • Subject: Ceramics, Sculpture, Abstraction, Non-Functional Art, Artist Statement
  • Texas TEKS: Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade, Fourth Grade, and Fifth Grade
  • Duration: Extended Project

While the students are waiting for their artwork to be fired in the kiln, they will write an artist statement to explain and describe their artwork. They will explain which machine they chose, why they selected the machine, and why it is non-functional. For the 3rd – 5th grades, the students will conclude their artist statement by explaining why their artwork is abstract. The artist statement must be 5 to 7 full sentences and use correct art vocabulary. This will be read to the class in a presentation of their artwork to the class.


Middle School Lesson Plans


Goals:

Middle School Students of all Levels will be able to do the following:

  • Identify the principles of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify the elements of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify Abstraction in Piero Fenci’s work White Crown Turbine;
  • Identify and explain why Piero Fenci’s non-functional turbine is abstract;
  • Create an abstract clay sculpture of a machine found in every-day life;
  • Explain why the non-functional sculpture is non-functional;
  • And, explain why the created abstract non-functional clay machine is abstract.

Texas Middle School TEKS:

Art 1, Art 2, Art 3


Art 1:

  • §117.202.c.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify and illustrate concepts from direct observation, original sources, personal experiences, and communities such as family, school, cultural, local, regional, national, and international;
      • understand and apply the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks using art vocabulary appropriately;
      • understand and apply the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artworks using art vocabulary appropriately;
      • discuss the expressive properties of artworks such as appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.202.c.1.A / B
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artworks based on direct observations, original sources, personal experiences, and the community;
      • apply the art-making process to solve problems and generate design solutions;
  • §117.202.c.3.A / B / C
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • identify the influence of historical and political events in artworks;
      • identify examples of art that convey universal themes such as beliefs, cultural narrative, life cycles, the passage of time, identity, conflict, and cooperation;
      • explain the relationships that exist between societies and their art and architecture;
  • §117.202.c.4.A / B / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • create written or oral responses to artwork using appropriate art vocabulary;
      • analyze original artworks using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • investigate and explore original artworks in a variety of venues outside of the classroom such as museums, galleries, or community art;

Art 2:

  • §117.203.b.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify and illustrate ideas from direct observation, original sources, imagination, personal experiences, and communities such as family, school, cultural, local, regional, national, and international;
      • compare and contrast the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
      • compare and contrast the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
      • understand and apply the expressive properties of artworks such as appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.203.b.1.A / B
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artworks that express a variety of ideas based on direct observations, original sources, and personal experiences, including memory, identity, imagination, and the community;
      • apply the art-making process to solve problems and generate design solutions;
  • §117.203.b.3.A / B / C
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • analyze ways that global, cultural, historical, and political issues influence artworks;
      • analyze selected artworks to determine contemporary relevance in relationship to universal themes such as belief, cultural narrative, life cycles, the passage of time, identity, conflict, and cooperation;
      • compare and contrast relationships that exist between a society’s art and its music, literature, and architecture;
  • §117.203.b.4.A / B / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • create written or oral responses about personal or collaborative artworks addressing purpose, technique, organization, judgment, and personal expression;
      • analyze original artworks using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • investigate and explore original artworks in a variety of venues outside of the classroom such as museums, galleries, or community art;

Art 3:

  • §117.203.b.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify and illustrate concepts from direct observation, original sources, imagination, personal experience, and communities such as family, school, cultural, local, regional, national, and international;
      • evaluate the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
      • evaluate the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
      • compare and contrast the expressive properties of artworks, including appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol, using vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.203.b.1.A / B
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artworks expressing themes found through direct observation; original sources; personal experiences, including memory, identity, and imagination; and the community;
      • apply the art-making process to solve problems and generate design solutions;
  • §117.203.b.3.A / B / C
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • analyze ways in which global, contemporary, historical, and political issues have influenced art;
      • analyze cultural ideas expressed in artworks relating to social, political, and environmental themes such as environment/nature, conflict and power, relationships to others, and reality/fantasy;
      • evaluate the relationships that exist among a society’s art, music, theatre, and dance;
  • §117.203.b.4.A / B / C
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • create written and oral responses about personal or collaborative artworks addressing purpose, technique, organization, judgment, and personal expression;
      • analyze original artworks and portfolios using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • investigate and explore original artworks in a variety of venues outside of the classroom such as museums, galleries, or community art;

Middle School Art Activity

Questions for Middle School Students:

  1. Examine Piero Fenci’s ceramic work White Crown Turbine. Identify where each element of art is located in the artwork.
  2. Examine Piero Fenci’s ceramic work White Crown Turbine. Identify where each principle of art is located in the artwork.
  3. What is abstract art?
  4. What does non-functional mean?
  5. Why would a non-functional artwork be considered abstract?
  6. Name common machines that are used every day.
  7. How would you make your chosen machine non-functional?
  8. How would you make your chosen non-functional machine out of clay?
  9. Discuss how to work with clay.
    • How do you connect two different pieces of clay?
    • How do you fire clay?
    • What is a kiln?
    • What are the safety measures to ensure the students and teacher are safe around the kiln?
  10. Discuss fire safety with the students and the importance of safety around the kiln.

Activity: Middle School Fine Arts

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Pencil, Drawing Paper, Printed Images of Every-Day Machines or Real Machines, Clay, Kiln, Acrylic Paint.
  • Subject: Ceramics, Sculpture, Abstraction, Non-Functional Art
  • Texas TEKS: Art 1, Art 2, Art 3
  • Duration: Extended Project

Students will study Piero Fenci’s artwork White Crown Turbine. Afterwards, the class will make an abstract clay sculpture of a non-functional machine. First, students will learn about abstraction, non-functional art, and different types of machines that are used every day. Next, the students will select one machine. They can select an image of a machine or a real machine brought to class; this is to be decided by the teacher. Once the students has picked their machine, they will draw a sketch of their abstract non-functional machine. Direct the students to use Fenci’s White Crown Turbine as an example.

When the students have completed their sketch, and the teacher approves of the design, the students will begin to work with clay to make their non-functional machine. After the abstract clay sculpture is made, the piece will be set aside to dry and be prepared to be fired in the kiln. While the clay is being prepared for the kiln, the students will make their artist statements; this is explained in the activity below. After the clay sculptures are fired, the students will paint their ceramics with acrylic paint. They can choose a single color to paint their sculptures, or a multitude of colors; this is for the teacher to decide.


Activity: Middle School Art History

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Pencil/ Pen on Paper or Word Document
  • Subject: Ceramics, Sculpture, Abstraction, Non-Functional Art, Artist Statement
  • Texas TEKS: Art 1, Art 2, Art 3
  • Duration: Extended Project

While the students are waiting for their artwork to be fired in the kiln, they will write an artist statement to explain and describe their artwork. They will explain which machine they chose, why they selected the machine, and why it is non-functional. The  students will conclude their artist statement by explaining why their artwork is abstract. The artist statement must be 5 to 7 full sentences and use correct vocabulary. This will be read to the class in a presentation of their artwork to the class.


High School Lesson Plans


Goals:

High School Students of all Levels will be able to do the following:

  • Identify the principles of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify the elements of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify Abstraction in Piero Fenci’s work White Crown Turbine;
  • Identify and explain why Piero Fenci’s non-functional turbine is abstract;
  • Create an abstract clay sculpture of a machine found in every-day life;
  • Explain why the non-functional sculpture is non-functional;
  • And, explain why the created abstract non-functional clay machine is abstract.

Texas High School TEKS:

Art Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV


Level I:

  • §117.302.c.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • consider concepts and ideas from direct observation, original sources, experiences, and imagination for original artwork;
      • identify and understand the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artwork;
      • identify and understand the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artwork;
      • make judgments about the expressive properties such as content, meaning, message, and metaphor of artwork using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.302.c.2.A / B / D / F
    • Creative Expression:
      • use visual solutions to create original artwork by problem solving through direct observation, original sources, experiences, narrations, and imagination;
      • communicate a variety of applications for design solutions;
      • create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
      • demonstrate effective use of art media and tools in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber art, design, and digital art and media.
  • §117.302.c.3.A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance
      • compare and contrast historical and contemporary styles while identifying general themes and trends;
      • describe general characteristics in artwork from a variety of cultures, which might also include personal identity and heritage;
  • §117.302.c.4.A / B / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • interpret, evaluate, and justify artistic decisions in artwork by self, peers, and other artists such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork using a verbal or written method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • select and analyze original artwork, portfolios, and exhibitions to form precise conclusions about formal qualities, historical and cultural contexts, intentions, and meanings.

Level II:

  • §117.303.c.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • use visual comparisons to illustrate concepts and ideas from direct observation, original sources, experiences, narration, and imagination for original artworks;
      • identify and apply the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks;
      •  identify and apply the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity in personal artworks;
      • explore suitability of art media and processes to express specific ideas such as content, meaning, message, appropriation, and metaphor relating to visual themes of artworks using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.303.c.2.A / B / D / F
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artwork using multiple solutions from direct observation, original sources, experiences, and imagination in order to expand personal themes that demonstrate artistic intent;
      • apply design skills in creating practical applications, clarifying presentations, and examining consumer choices in order to make successful design decisions;
      •  create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
      • select from a variety of art media and tools to communicate specific ideas in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber art, jewelry, mixed media, photography, and digital art and media.
  • §117.303.c.3.A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • examine selected historical periods or styles of art to identify general themes and trends;
      • analyze specific characteristics in artwork from a variety of cultures;
  • §117.303.c.4.A / B / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • interpret, evaluate, and justify artistic decisions in artwork by self, peers, and other artists such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • construct a physical or electronic portfolio by evaluating and analyzing personal original artworks to provide evidence of learning;

Level III:

  • §117.304.c.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • analyze visual characteristics of sources to illustrate concepts, demonstrate flexibility in solving problems, create multiple solutions, and think imaginatively;
      • compare and contrast the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artwork;
      • compare and contrast the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artwork;
      • explore the suitability of art media and processes and select those appropriate to express specific ideas such as content, meaning, message, and metaphor relating to visual themes to interpret the expressive qualities of artwork.
  • §117.304.c.2.A / B / D / F
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artwork using multiple solutions from direct observation, original sources, experiences, and imagination in order to expand personal themes that demonstrate artistic intent;
      •  solve visual problems and develop multiple solutions for designing ideas, creating practical applications, clarifying presentations, and evaluating consumer choices in order to make successful design decisions;
      • create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
      • select from a variety of art media and tools to express intent in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber art, design, digital art and media, photography, jewelry, and mixed media.
  • §117.304.c.3.A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • research selected historical periods, artists, general themes, trends, and styles of art;
      • distinguish the correlation between specific characteristics and influences of various cultures and contemporary artwork;
  • §117.304.c.4.A / B / D / E / F
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • interpret, evaluate, and justify artistic decisions in artwork such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites based on evaluation of developmental progress, competency in problem solving, and a variety of visual ideas;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • use responses to artwork critiques to make decisions about future directions in personal work;
      • construct a physical or electronic portfolio by evaluating and analyzing personal original artwork to provide evidence of learning; 
      • select and analyze original artwork, portfolios, and exhibitions to demonstrate innovation and provide examples of in-depth exploration of qualities such as aesthetics; formal, historical, and cultural contexts; intentions; and meanings.

Level IV:

  • §117.305.c.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • consider concepts and themes for personal artwork that integrate an extensive range of visual observations, experiences, and imagination;
      • compare and contrast the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artwork;
      • compare and contrast the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artwork;
      • discriminate between art media and processes to express complex visual relationships such as content, meaning, message, and metaphor using extensive art vocabulary.
  • §117.305.c.2.A / B / D / F
    • Creative Expression:
      • produce an original body of artwork that integrates information from a variety of sources, including original sources, and demonstrates sustained self-directed investigations into specific themes such as a series or concentration of works;
      • evaluate and justify design ideas and concepts to create a body of personal artwork;
      • create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
      • create artwork, singularly and in a series, by selecting from a variety of art materials and tools appropriate to course work in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber art, design, digital art and media, photography, jewelry, and mixed media.
  • §117.305.c.3.A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • research and report on selected historical periods, artists, general themes, trends, and styles of art;
      • analyze and evaluate the influence of contemporary cultures on artwork;
  • §117.305.c.4.A / B / C / D / E / F
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • develop evaluative criteria to justify artistic decisions in artwork such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites based on a high level of creativity and expertise in one or more art areas;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • use responses to artwork critiques to make decisions about future directions in personal work;
      • construct a physical or electronic portfolio by evaluating and analyzing personal original artwork to provide evidence of learning;
      • evaluate a wide range of artwork to form conclusions about formal qualities, aesthetics, historical and cultural contexts, intents, and meanings.

High School Art Activity

Questions for High School Students:

  1. Examine Piero Fenci’s ceramic work White Crown Turbine. Identify where each element of art is located in the artwork.
  2. Examine Piero Fenci’s ceramic work White Crown Turbine. Identify where each principle of art is located in the artwork.
  3. What is abstract art?
  4. What does non-functional mean?
  5. Why would a non-functional artwork be considered abstract?
  6. Name common machines that are used every day.
  7. How would you make your chosen machine non-functional?
  8. How would you make your chosen non-functional machine out of clay?
  9. Discuss how to work with clay.
    • How do you connect two different pieces of clay?
    • How do you fire clay?
    • What is a kiln?
    • What are the safety measures to ensure the students and teacher are safe around the kiln?
  10. Discuss fire safety with the students and the importance of safety around the kiln.

Activity: High School Fine Arts

  • Activity Setting: Classroom and/or outdoor location
  • Materials: Pencil, Drawing Paper, Printed Images of Every-Day Machines or Real Machines, Clay, Kiln, Acrylic Paint.
  • Subject: Ceramics, Sculpture, Abstraction, Non-Functional Art
  • Texas TEKS: Art Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV
  • Duration: Extended Project

Students will study Piero Fenci’s artwork White Crown Turbine. Afterwards, the class will make an abstract clay sculpture of a non-functional machine. First, students will learn about abstraction, non-functional art, and different types of machines that are used every day. Next, the students will select one machine. They can select an image of a machine or a real machine brought to class; this is to be decided by the teacher. Once the students has picked their machine, they will draw a sketch of their abstract non-functional machine. Direct the students to use Fenci’s White Crown Turbine as an example.

When the students have completed their sketch, and the teacher approves of the design, the students will begin to work with clay to make their non-functional machine. After the abstract clay sculpture is made, the piece will be set aside to dry and be prepared to be fired in the kiln. While the clay is being prepared for the kiln, the students will make their artist statements; this is explained in the activity below. After the clay sculptures are fired, the students will paint their ceramics with acrylic paint. They can choose a single color to paint their sculptures, or a multitude of colors; this is for the teacher to decide.


Activity: High School Art History

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Pencil/ Pen on Paper or Word Document
  • Subject: Ceramics, Sculpture, Abstraction, Non-Functional Art, Artist Statement
  • Texas TEKS: Art Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV
  • Duration: Extended Project

While the students are waiting for their artwork to be fired in the kiln, they will write an artist statement to explain and describe their artwork. They will explain which machine they chose, why they selected the machine, and why it is non-functional. The  students will conclude their artist statement by explaining why their artwork is abstract. The artist statement must be 5 to 7 full sentences and use correct vocabulary. This will be read to the class in a presentation of their artwork to the class.


You can see this artwork in-person in the Tyler Museum of Art’s exhibition Building a Legacy III: Selections from the Permanent Collection. The exhibit celebrates the museum’s 50th anniversary and displays various art movements, styles, and mediums. The show is currently open and will close on May 1, 2022.

For more educational resources created by the Tyler Museum of Art, visit our YouTube page by clicking on the YouTube button or clicking the link below.

If you use or references this lesson plan, please leave a comment with your feedback.

Thank you for visiting the Tyler Museum of Art’s Education Blog!

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