Home » EJ students make movies with clay | News, Sports, Jobs

EJ students make movies with clay | News, Sports, Jobs

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EJ students make movies with clay | News, Sports, Jobs

East Juniata student Lily Varner stands with her solo art project.

COCOLAMUS — No one will likely confuse Tina Kerstetter’s classroom props with something from a Hollywood film set, but for 10 days East Juniata High School art students certainly have had a taste of the big screen.

Through funding provided by the Perry County Council of the Arts, Kersetter, the art teacher at East Juniata, was able to provide her students with the chance to work with Artist in Resident Rand Whipple on a claymation unit.

“The students are really excited and having a lot of fun with this,” said Kerstetter of the project, which is scheduled

to wrap up Tueswday.

Claymation, or clay animation, is one of many forms of stop-motion animation, a film-making technique in which objects are physically manipulated in small increments between individually photographed frames, so they will appear to move when the series of frames is played back.

Any kind of object can be animated, such as a stapler or tape dispenser, which were among the items students used. Those classroom desk items were given human features and featured as stars in some of the movies.

The most famous claymation production from television and film might be Gumby, a green clay humanoid character who became an American cultural icon, spawning tributes, parodies and merchandising after he was created in 1953.

“Right away, they were very excited because this is a new form of art for them,” Kersetter said of her students who ranged from seventh-graders to seniors. “They’re all creating different movies.”

About 85 students take Kerstetter’s classes, although some take more than one class taught by her.

Whipple is the founder and director of Box of Light Digital Arts Studios, located in Bloomsburg. Over his 40-year career, his work as a performer for young audiences has taken Whipple to 11 countries and four continents. Whipple has performed numerous times at the Smithsonian Institution’s Discovery Theatre, and his work has appeared on public television.

The students’ movies certainly displayed a creative flair with themes ranging from animals deep in the jungle or woods to creatures in the ocean and superheroes to bank robbers.

“They’re great,” Whipple said. “They have a wonderful environment here. The art room is so pleasant, and the kids are so engaged.

“There were two to three people on a camera,” he added. “It was so collaborative. They were working together; it was a hub of activity.”

Kerstetter was extremely grateful for the PCCA for giving her students the rare opportunity to work with Whipple. He brought his own iPod and film-making applications then helped the students with creating characters out of modeling clay, writing story lines and animating their films.

“He took them through some of the character-building exercises,” Kersetter said.

She explained that the students also got to experience real-world techniques used in film-making, such as creating story boards.

“He’ll go through the editing process, add sound and music and help them work on their movies,” Kerstetter added.

Some students were so thrilled with the project that they produced their own original movies outside of class.

“One student created a video with origami,” Kerstetter said. “Another one used dolls in a house, animating the motion of what they’re doing. There were two or three other groups of students who made them, too. Their movies are going to be very good as well.”

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