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The Art Lesson

The process of creating the 2018 Guidecraft catalog cover An interview with fine artist and art teacher, Patipat "Tae" Chaiwitesh

"IO Blocks and the Art Lesson are both centered around building and connecting."

GC: Tell us a little about yourself:

Hi, my name is Patipat “Tae” Chaiwitesh and I work in sculpture and fine arts. I graduated from École supérieure des Beaux-Arts in France. I spend most of my time focusing on designing, textiles and fine art installations using objects I find here and there. The reason I use found objects in my art is because they generally carry a story with them. When I pick and rearrange these objects in my work, I combine them to create something new –  a new story. I like to use objects that people understand and can relate to. When people are familiar with these pieces, they can gather a new viewpoint from the items when rearranged in my artwork.

 

GC: Can you tell us a little more about your work with patterning?

Patterning is doing the same thing again and again, so it’s actually repetition. When we design patterns, we start with designing one unit first. Then, we repeat that unit again and again. For example, when you design a square it has four sides. A good pattern should have every side connect to each other the same way. This is why patterning can be so challenging. When you give that pattern to someone, that person should be able to make and repeat it with ease, no matter what. It’s all about repetition.

 

GC: What will children learn from weaving?

Weaving is a form of patterning which is good practice to improve focus or concentration in children. You can also use weaving as art therapy. Since weaving involves doing the same thing again and again, the rhythmic process helps people focus on what they are working on. It doesn’t matter if the design is hard or easy because you must do it in a pattern. You’re either weaving it from right to left or left to right. It’s as simple as that. With weaving, kids can build their patterning skills through the repetition of process. After, encourage them to try deeper techniques to show the visual differences between their work.

 

"With weaving, kids can build their patterning skills through the repetition of process."

GC: What is your plan for the activity and art lesson today?

Today we will start with a warm up exercise. I will read a book to the children so that they can discuss and share their thoughts. This is a great way to let the kids get more comfortable with each other, for a more natural and fluid experience. Then we’ll move to IO Blocks. I will let the kids explore and see what IO Blocks can do. That way, the children can learn the building language and basic functions of the toy so that they can come up with their own creations. Then, I’ll ask them to create their own patterns from IO Blocks to lead into the lesson. In this activity I will teach about negative space, positive space, how shapes connect to each other, and how to repeat units. After this, we will move into the Art Lesson.

 

The Lesson is sort of like Thai weaving, which is normally done with materials found in nature. However, for this lesson I set up material stations using various shapes and forms of felt and paper. Children can select the pieces that they want to use to make their art themselves, so that their work is more natural and sincere. When kids work with different shapes, they will combine them and create new shapes and forms. For example, when you put a triangle next to a circle, you create a new form. Kids will be able to use their imagination and problem-solving skills to bring their ideas to life and put it on paper.

 

GC: How is your work and building with IO Blocks similar?

IO Blocks are similar to the unit block, and have similar forms and functions that are the same. The shared forms that IO Blocks have naturally invite patterning. IO Blocks are  also objects that were created to be combined to build a new form. However, not every piece can connect together 100 percent. There are some parts that cannot connect. I think this is where IO Blocks and my work are similar, because I believe that not everything is for everything. Every object has its own perfection.

 

GC: Do you have any observations after teaching the Art Lesson?

Children have their own imagination. In their mind, they know what they like and what they don’t like, so we can’t direct them too much. It’s impossible. We need to let them do what they want first and then guide them. Show them a way to do it. Then kids can run the rest of the show by themselves using their own imagination. IO Blocks and the Art Lesson are both centered around building and connecting. Where they differ, is that IO Blocks are objects specifically created for building and in the Art Lesson, we used objects that aren’t normally used for that purpose. Now you have to figure out a way to connect them as well. We chose weaving them into place as the connection. Working with either one is about finding a solution. It’s all about problem solving.

 

GC: What was your favorite toy when you were a child?

When I was a kid, I liked robots that could transform and reform. For example, you could change the legs to make it into a car, or change the head to make a plane. I liked to play with mechanichal stuff, especially race cars. Do these toys and my experiences with them influence my process? Yes. Those toys always had mechanics, and when I design products, I always think of those mechanics.