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Phyllis Schwartz

Discipline: Visual Arts
Homebase: Vancouver
Languages: English
Contact Me: (604) 813-4563 , Email , Web

My art career includes photography, ceramics and publishing. At Emily Carr University, I consolidated these interests with a concentration in photography. Since 2005, I have worked as an artist in residence in Lower Mainland schools and maintain a long-term residency at Tupper Secondary School, where I continue my experimentation in glaze development and surface design. In my ceramic practice, I explore glaze materials and effects in sculptural and functional forms. I am the project editor of Seeking the Nuance: Glaze Experiments of the 60s and 70s from the Ceramic Studios at UBC, in collaboration with Glenn Lewis and Debra Sloan. This work makes it possible for me to share the social history and ecology of BC ceramics, and the connection between earth materials, art and technology. Recent lumen print residencies offered students the opportunity to experiment with a hybrid photo-printmaking process to document their natural and consumer environments. As a teacher, I have written curriculum in three subject areas for the Province of British Columbia, been awarded the Speaker of the House of Commons Award for Teaching Excellence, been published in a number books and journals in the arts and volunteered in a number of schools across the lower mainland to rebuild arts programs that have been in decline. Through my fifty years of teaching, I have engaged students of diverse cultural backgrounds by safely drawing out their voice and narrative within the context of the diversity of our classrooms. I am passionate about making sure that all students feel a sense of inclusion, and this has been a strong, driving force throughout my career. I bring to my work a sense of compassion informed by a life experience of living and working in multicultural communities with colleagues and students to maintain a safe learning environment that honours readiness for learning, diversity, multiple perspectives and respect for diverse cultural perspectives. I view a residency as an opportunity to work collaboratively teachers and students to negotiate learning opportunities for all partners on a shared learning journey.


Testimonials

Phyllis Schwartz, a master teacher, has been been an Artists in Residence in Vancouver Schools through our programs since 2004. Her approach has received excellent feedback from all the diverse cultural settings that occur within our organization. Her approach engages students by drawing on their own background and orientation through the process of making art, and then sharing this within the framework of the classroom. I found from working closely with her over the years that her sensitivity to the diversity within our classrooms is key to her successful engagement with students and she she has a knack for successfully bringing students together around sharing their individual experiences through many different artistic practices. Phyllis has also worked closely with UBC and the VSB to implement a Sketchbook Project which helps student teachers learn the process of teaching drawing within our schools. She is a unique and passionate artist with an extensive academic and teaching background. She has contributed more to helping students explore the arts and we are consistently impressed with the positive outcomes of her engagement with students. Peggy Bochun, Vancouver District Fine and Performing Arts Coordinator, Vancouver, BC
Phyllis worked with students in Grades 1, 5, 6, and 7 in a curriculum-based, photo-lumen impressions class. The experience was amazing. Not only did Phyllis work with the children regarding the fundamentals of art and photography, but she challenged them to see their environment in a whole new way. The results were beyond exceptional. The children learned a new art form but also developed an increase in self-esteem and pride in their completed works. Ria Terins, Coordinator, École Braemar
Working with Phyllis as an artist in resident at Kitsilano Secondary School has been a rewarding and educational experience for both my students and myself. Approaching the themes/content/skills with an experimental and open ended approach, the students are lead through a process of discovery which keeps them engaged and curious to learn more. Phyllis has planned and conducted several residencies at Kitsilano including lumen prints/alternative process photography, native clay making/building and is currently working with making mid-fire glazes with the students. As well, we have been able to showcase our work in the ArtStarts gallery space and at the local community centre. Sandra Sugimoto, Kitsilano Secondary

Project Examples

Earth, Wind and Fire


Students observe and create natural forms that are incorporated into their individual ceramic pieces, which express personal connections and understanding of their place and responsibility in their natural environment. Through a variety of activities, students observe and inquire about the nature and sources of ceramic materials as well as local history of ceramics. Students work in groups and as a class to creating larger ceramic pieces for shared meals or display. During their work, students work individually and collaborative to document their collective inquiry and learning journey.

Environmental Documentation Using Lumen Prints


Using a hybrid photography process, students will document their environment and experiment with lumen print techniques to learn to control this unique hybrid print making process. They will also have an opportunity to make handmade negatives that can be digitized. It is also possible to extend this project into a book arts project using these prints. This photo printmaking process can be linked to various curricular areas: science, social studies and language arts. Lumen Prints are a form of hybrid photo printmaking are unique photograms made without a camera or darkroom enlarger.

Say It in Clay


Curricular based ceramic residencies include instruction in clay modeling and hand-building techniques: pinch, coil and slab. Final products can be finished with glaze or alternative materials. Activities are suitable for individual skill development as well as class and group projects in which students work in design teams. Activities provide students tactile experiences that are opportunities to develop spatial reasoning skills, experiment with structural forms and challenge the imagination. Through a variety of activities, students observe and inquire about the nature and sources of ceramic materials as well as local history of ceramics. Previous residencies include altered bowls, clay critters in the garden, masks and myths, shoes in stone, porcelain carving and raku firings.

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