“I’m so excited to see her shadows that she made!” (part 1)

Not too long ago, we stumbled upon thinking about shadows as we explored our Overhead Projector.  Taking this wondering we asked the children to tell us

What do you know about shadows?

“They just appear!”

“Shadows are invisible.”

“It’s just yourself of a shadow.”
                  -Charlie S.

Are shadows only people?

“Of all the people in the world.” -Travers

“Of monsters!”                  -All the children

“When it’s only light out.” -Case


“The shadows gonna come if the sun is overhead.” -Charlie N.

“Shadows will come if you’re next to the road.” -Tait

“In Summer is when they show up.” -Caroline

“Not in Winter.” -Miles

“They don’t show up in the snow.” -Caroline

Sheila Pepe’s Hot Mess Formalism currently on exhibit in the museum includes another layer to her vibrant colors of laces, rope, chains and crocheted yarn


How would exploring her work inform our thinking and knowing of shadows?  How would messing about with this artists’ material help us also see her hidden intentions in her work?

Taking some small groups to view her work and explore like materials she uses, we noticed.

“But yours is taller.” -Julia noting Sarah’s shadow

“But mine is almost as tall.” -Travers noting how his shadow grows to be Sarah’s size

Entering Sheila Pepe’s work from the 4th floor, our first group lies down to appreciate not only her criss-crossing webbing of ropes and yarn but also how these pieces create another world to view via shadows.

“I see brown and blue.” -Travers
“Me too!” -Julia
“I see black.” -Wes

“Spiders.” -Travers
“Spider webs.” -Wes

“Spider shadows.” -Travers




Bringing materials evoking those used by Sheila Pepe, our first group “played” with her work. 

“I’m trying to make a match”                                                  -Wes

“I made mine as scrambled as the other ones.” -Travers

“Now I’m making a mountain sculpture.”  -Wes

“We need to make them all together” -Travers (attaching his work to Julia’s)

“Like a big piece of art!” -Wes

“I made the other eyeball.”
“Now me and Wes made 2!” -Travers (finishing attaching all their pieces together)

Viewing a final piece of Sheila Pepe’s work, the children were introduced to the idea some parts of her work was meant to evoke an idea of an image.

“I’ve seen this before!  A ferry boat.  This is, I think a boat.”      -Travers

"Look! I made it! I made the bow. It needs to go upwards." -Travers draws to keep his memory of Sheila's work

As we prepared to take another small group to Sheila Pepe’s work we wondered,

How will introducing the materials provoke this second group’s way of seeing Sheila Pepe’s work?

How will the group discover her shadows?