Friday, February 5, 2010

The Art of Shadows

A shadow can show the shape of an object, but it doesn't show colors or intricate details. In our new exhibit, Shadow Playground, we have added colored lights to an exhibit component, Shadow Scapes, which enhance the use of creativity with shadows.

In Shadow Scapes children fit together curved and straight slotted pieces to build sculptures and observe shadow with colored light. When children notice the colored lights on their sculptures, they might take away or add pieces to change the look of the sculpture with the light. Not only do we hear children mentioning the colors they see, but both children and adults are also often observed looking for the colored lights, as if to say, "What's causing that shadow to have multiple colors?"

Artists have used silhouettes as an artistic medium since the 18th century. During one of our weekly Drop-in programs children used shadows of objects or themselves to create silhouettes. The children arranged or piled up an assortment of fun and oddly shaped objects and then traced the shadows on a chalkboard. Of course, the most popular activity was tracing their own images .

Shadow puppetry is an art form that has existed for thousands of years. Both through a drop-in weekly program at the Museum and through a DCM partnership with Aurora Public Library, visitors created shadow puppets. Both children and adults discovered that no matter how much color or decoration was put on a puppet, their puppet's shadow was still dark. What happens when you put some hole punches in your puppet?

You can make these puppets at home using paper, craft sticks, tape or glue and hole punchers. Shine a flashlight through your puppet or take it with you on a walk. What do you see?

You might also want to explore the art and science of shadows through books. Here are a few of our favorite books about shadow and light:

What Makes a Shadow by Clyde Robert Bulla
Guess Whose Shadow by Stephen R. Swinburne
Nothing Sticks Like a Shadow by Lynn Munsinger
All about Light by Lisa Tumbaer
My Shadow by Robert Lewis Stevenson and Glenna Lang

You will find these and other books in our Creativity Connections Neighborhood. If you wish to purchase one of the suggested books, click here to participate in our Shop and Grow program.

No comments:

Post a Comment