Drawing Archeological Artefacts
Drawing archaeological artefacts offered the opportunity to practice archaeological drawing, while learning about tools and different conventions which have been used over history in archaeological illustration.
Drawing Spaces, Fábrica de Braço de Prata, Lisbon, Portugal.
24 September 2011, 19h00-23h00
Facilitators and Staff
13 Female and Male adult participants, with an age range between 23 and 47 years old. One child (Male) also participated in the project (14 years old).
(This workshop was open to anyone)
This workshop was part of a project which aimed to respond to the dynamics of Drawing Spaces by presenting a series of public workshops coordinated by a variety of experts in the field of drawing. These workshops took place over a period of 2 weeks, during opening hours – from Wednesday to Saturday, from 19h to 23h – following the ‘open residency’ model. This gave the public the opportunity to daily visit and accompany the development of these experimental sessions around drawing.
These series of workshops were designed to extend the public contact with artists and with the specificity of the artist’s modes of working in their personal projects. The artists were asked to develop a workshop that maximized the interaction with the public; it was proposed to the public to participate in more than one of the workshops and to observe and experiment with the diversity of the artists’ approaches. Drawing archaeological artefacts offered the opportunity to practice archaeological drawing, while learning about tools and different conventions which have been used over history in archaeological illustration.
In Archaeology, artefacts are drawn through specific conventions and techniques. This session offered the opportunity to practice archaeological drawing, while learning about tools and different conventions which have been used over history in archaeological illustration. In partnership with the Iberic Institute of Heritage (neighbours of Drawing Spaces), participants were able develop their drawings by working with archaeological objects (very ancient artefacts) provided by the Institute.
1. After gathering participants in one of the rooms of Drawing Spaces, Guida Casella, an archaeological artist who was invited to propose drawing strategies for this workshop, presented some of her work as examples of archaeological drawing, illustration and research work.
2. After, Guida Casella also showed examples of works by other archaeological illustrators, through books and a power-point presentation while discussing uses of different methods and techniques over time and in different cultures.
3. Adding to this introduction, a member from the Iberic Institute of Heritage delivered a short presentation about the Institute, describing their work and aims, and talked about the pieces of artefacts they had brought into this workshop session which would serve as objects of study for the participants to draw.
4. Participants were then invited to choose one artefact from set of objects brought by the Iberic Institute of Heritage to develop his/her studies. Facilitators and the member of the Institute helped participants choosing their objects.
5. Different measuring tools and drawing implements were then distributed among the participants for this activity.
6. Participants were then taught the best ways for illuminating each artefact to create the best conditions for observing and registering the details and particularities of their chosen objects. Different desk lamps were made available in this session to facilitate this part of the activity.
7. Participants then started their studies by following some of the methods and techniques presented at the beginning of the session.
8. The drawing process was extremely slow and delicate, but participants engaged very well in this approach and were extremely focused while studying their objects through the provided drawing methods.
9. At the end of this workshop, facilitators, participants and some members of the Iberic Institute of Heritage gathered around the table to discuss techniques, working methods, processes and results. In the overall, the results of this workshop looked very controlled, expressive and professional.
VALUE FOR LEARNERS
Participants learned various techniques of archaeological illustration and how several times these have also been adapted to artistic illustration. In this way, the methods of drawing provided in this workshop also informed participants who aimed to experiment drawing as illustration.
Participants were empowered with several drawing techniques enabling them to produce observational drawing with measurements and rigour. Adding to this, participants also learned about different expressive techniques to register things and artefacts according to their shapes, shadows, textures and material properties. Participants showed a lot of enthusiasm by being given a rare opportunity of working with extremely old and fragile artefacts provided by the Iberic Institute of Heritage, as this enabled them also to discuss and think about the history of the drawn objects.
Participants were very enthusiastic in learning that through specific drawing methods one can control quite well and with a lot of exactitude the registering of his/her object of study while also making choices about the expressive effect of the produced drawing.
Lastly, participants also understood how archaeological drawing can be used as a valid professional registering tool in the archaeological context and how even within a scientific context it can have a great influence in artistic practices, such as artistic illustration.
VALUE FOR THE FACILITATORS
Facilitators learned that some drawing processes are extremely slow and therefore one needs to be prepared to engage participants in working processes where results take longer to appear. Therefore, in this workshop it became quite clear to facilitators that the slow processes of such drawing methods needed to be closely accompanied to provide confidence to the participants and to encourage them to persist in their studies. Creating a sort of intimate environment was an extremely effective strategy to make participants feel that they were being supported throughout the process, and that everybody was working together helping out and providing feedback when needed. Facilitators also learned how effective and exciting it can be to the participants to work with strict methods and instructions. It was actually surprising to realize how much participants were willing to learn and experiment with more controlled and traditional working methods. Pedagogically, facilitators gain much from participant’s positive responses to the working methods provided in the workshop.