Tonawanda Students Inspired by Chihuly

Today’s post is from Mr. Daniel Lynch, Art Teacher at Tonawanda Middle/High School in Tonawanda, NY.
Chihuly-inspired sculpture by Tonawanda Middle School studentsEvery year, eighth grade art students at Tonawanda Middle School work hard fundraising and planning for their trip to The Corning Museum of Glass. This year’s group was very excited and was quite inspired from their visit. For weeks prior to the trip, students began studying glass artist Dale Chihuly. They were able to view his artwork, watch video interviews, and learned how and why he creates the work he does. Students were amazed by his work at the Museum and began planning to make their own Chihuly-inspired piece. The two classes of 29 eighth grade students worked together to design and construct one beautiful, and very large, chandelier.

While visiting The Corning Museum of Glass, students learned that Dale Chihuly’s team recently visited the gallery and reassembled the Fern Green Tower that is prominently displayed at the front entrance. By viewing the images posted on the CMOG website, students were able to see how it was taken apart and how pieces were added to make it bigger. Just like Chihuly did, students created each individual piece for their sculpture and then carefully assembled it to create an aesthetically pleasing work of art. They even attempted to mimic the size and vibrancy of many of Chihuly’s pieces.

Sculpture by Tonawanda Middle School students inspired by the glass art of Dale Chihuly

Sculpture by Tonawanda Middle School students inspired by the glass art of Dale Chihuly

Students started by collecting recycled water bottles and removing the label. After discussing color and design, they began adding color to the bottles. By mixing acrylic paint and a little bit of water inside the bottle, students were able to realistically create the transparency of glass. Once dry, students cut each bottle in a spiral pattern and attached them to the chicken wire body that was created. To make the sculpture shine, colored Christmas lights were installed in the center body of the piece. Students learned that their hard work really paid off! The chandelier will be showcased in the upcoming Tonawanda City School District Art Show in early June for all students and parents to enjoy.

Student Artists: Gabrielle A., Bryan B., Ashley B., Melissa C., James C., Tyler C., Nicholas G., Nazariel G., Thomas G., Adam H., Ashton H., Matthew J., Jordan K., Carah K., Rachel L., Carter L., Lauren M., Connor M., Charles M., Julia N., Bryanica O., Bryan P., Dakota R., Casey R., Katelynn S., Ethan S., Keirsten S., Timothy T., Venessa V.

Teacher: Mr. Daniel Lynch

13 comments » Write a comment

  1. This is a wonderful piece of sculpture, an inspiring piece of teaching, a fantastic piece of group work and a great compliment to Dale Chihuly. I’m hugely impressed.

  2. Impressive and truly beautiful! Congratulations to Mr. Lynch and all of the 8th grade artists from Tonawanda Middle School!

  3. A fabulous display of artwork. Something the participating students and teacher should truly be proud of. Great work Tonawanda.

  4. Thank you Mr. Lynch for all of the creative opportunities you offer for our Tonawanda artists! The kids have enjoyed such inspiring experiences with you this year. They’ve learned new ways of expression through art and they are eager for more! We look forward to you working with them over the next few years as they continue with their work!

  5. Great idea!  I would like to try this with my 6th graders. Can you tell me how you used the chicken wire, and what you meant by chicken wire body?  Do you keep the caps on? Does the wire go through the caps?

  6. Hi cathsar2,
    You’ll want to get ahold of Daniel Lynch, he was the teacher that led this project. His email is dlynch@tona.wnyric.org. Best of luck with your students! Please share with us what you create!

  7. this is fabulous! I’d love to do this with my middle school students in San Jose, CA! (and I’m from Hamburg!)

  8. Wow! I would love to try this with my students! It is absolutely beautiful! How did you make the chicken wire frame and how did you get the lights in there? Did you put the lights in before installing art onto it? Thank you so much!

  9. would you please send me more detailed instructions on how to make this stunning chandelier? It is absolutely amazing. Thanks.

    • Hi Whitney – The last paragraph of this post, just before the names of the students are listed, includes basic instructions. If you are looking for more detailed instructions, you’d have to contact the author of the post, a teacher at Tonawanda Middle/High School, as this was a project he did with his students.

  10. Mr. Lynch, would you please post detailed instructions here for those of us that would like to try this project.? It is so beautiful but I have many questions I would like answered before I undertake the project. Thank you for any help you can provide.

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