Rococo Redux.For an engaging art history project for junior high students, take a worthless discard, and give it glamourous new life as an objet d'art. When the object in question is the student's own shoe, the project becomes even more meaningful.
When we first learned about the Rococo period of the eighteenth century the young teenagers in my class did not relate immediately to the elegant, extravagant costumes of that time. The reproductions of paintings by Fragonard and Watteau showing the elaborate fashions in satin, silk, and lace were definitely of another time and place. We discussed the atmosphere of frivolity Frivolity
the gaffe-prone, frivolous wife of Dagwood Bumstead. [Comics: Horn, 118]
charming young lady who unconcernedly dazzles Oxford undergraduates. [Br. Lit. which prevailed at the time and compared it to present day popular culture. We talked of our blue jean and sport shoe ads. Then we spoke of creating our own ornate Rococo shoes.
Fabulous Flashy Footwear
Each student would need an old shoe (or a pair). I displayed a finished example, a red shoe that had been encrusted en·crust also in·crust
tr.v. en·crust·ed, en·crust·ing, en·crusts
1. To cover or coat with or as if with a crust: with red buttons and beads, fake fur, "gold" trim and more. The flashy, festive footwear was inspirational.
I acquiesced on the use of glue-guns (so much easier for this project than white glue would have been). However, I cautioned severely, regarding hot glue, and wished I'd had a few more low-temp glue-guns to use.
Schemes and Themes
I suggested that the students keep two things in mind as they worked: a particular color scheme, and a theme or motif for the piece. Soon we were ready to begin embellishing our cast-off cast·off
1. One that has been discarded.
2. Printing A calculation of the amount of space a manuscript will occupy when set into type.
adj. also cast-off
Discarded; rejected. shoes. Some students chose to paint over their shoes' original colors first, using acrylics. When that was dry, they began the decorating in earnest. We used sequins, feathers, ribbon, rickrack rick·rack
A flat narrow braid woven in zigzag form, used as a trimming for clothing or curtains.
[Reduplication of rack1. , braid, glitter, lace, pompons and more. It wasn't required that the shoes be wearable afterward, so I encouraged the kids to put "stuff" inside the shoes too, if they wanted.
The students became deeply involved in the ornamentation process. Some kids went "over the top" with their project--how Rococo of them! My evaluation was based on craftsmanship, color scheme, and the presence of a theme and/or motif.
Create your own fancy footwear. Beautify a boot, pretty up a pump, glamorize glam·or·ize also glam·our·ize
tr.v. glam·or·ized, glam·or·iz·ing, glam·or·iz·es
1. To make glamorous: tried to glamorize the bathroom with expensive fixtures.
2. a ghillie ghil·lie
Variant of gillie.
same as gillie
Noun 1. ! Then have a really big shoe--er, show.
Paula Guhin is an art teacher in the Aberdeen Public Schools in Aberdeen, South Dakota Aberdeen, a city and the county seat of Brown County, South Dakota, USA, about 125 mi (200 km) N.E. of Pierre. Settled in 1880, it was incorporated in 1882. The population was 24,658 at the 2000 census. The American News is the local newspaper. .