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ART 2ER3 Enviromentally Resp Art

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Judy Major-Girardin


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 430

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27287


Office Hours: By Appointment

Course Objectives:

Course Description

This course focuses on environmentally responsible studio production and promotes more sustainable approaches to material and process selection including consideration of the impact of manufacturing, applied use, health and safety for artists, disposal considerations and the capacity for materials and practice to create meaning. Students will have an opportunity to examine and compare a broad range of alternatives and will acquire an understanding of the themes, approaches and strategies that are shifting studio production towards increased environmental responsibility.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

McMaster Sustainability Pledge

“I will strive to take an active role in understanding the social, economic, and environmental consequences of my decisions and actions in order to effectively contribute to the development of a culture of sustainability at McMaster University and within the communities which I am a part."


McMaster University Sustainability Policy - Mission Statement

McMaster University will apply its immense potential and use its creative and innovative campus community to advance sustainable operations and growth. McMaster is helping to shape the minds and values of new generations of leaders and decision makers by integrating an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable consciousness into all aspects of the university lifecycle through innovation, communication, community engagement and implementation.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


To Life: Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet (L. Weintraub)



Somerset paper 22 x 30 @ 7.99 + tax per sheet

Matte Dura-lar polyester film 24 x 36 @ $11.65 + tax per sheet

Wyndmans Walnut ink (AP) 473 ml @ $36.75 (locally produced and shared with class)

Cyan Blue FW inks (non-toxic) 280 ml @ $20 (shared with group)

Stabilo All Surface water soluble graphite pencil @ $2.25

Stabilo All Surface water soluble white pencil 2 $2.25

Micron archival ink pen 01 (AP) @ $4.21

Brush for ink

Container for ink

Papermaking workshop supplies (abaca and cotton fiber)

Wool roving & sewing notions for wet and needle felting (various colours)

Canoe rental and RBG fee for canoe trip

Some materials and hardware for Bee Hotel




Teaching Assistants


Visiting Artists

Life Models

Program Administrators

Student Support Offices

Studio and exhibition space

Specialized equipment (woodshop, presses, kilns, foundry, welding, computers/printers, etc.)

Shared hand tools, brushes, palettes, felting needles for in class work

Studio furniture and props

Access to campus resources (Library, McMaster Museum of Art, Anatomy Lab, Greenhouse, natural areas)



Materials for Bee Hotel (found/gathered wood, porous materials, bamboo, etc.)

Materials for Independent Project (your choice as it relates to your concept)




Method of Assessment:

Project #1 Reflections on Water

Each student will create and bind a hand made artist book informed by research, observation and experiential excursions associated with water. The class will participate in field trips to Coldwater Creek on campus and to the Royal Botanical Gardens’ Cootes Paradise Marsh (canoe trip off Princess Point). Through observation, research, art creation and discussion of local water challenges, students will be encouraged to reflect on larger water issues facing us today.

All materials for this project and field trip expenses are provide through studio fees.

Due on October 3 for a discussion/showcase with ART 1OS3 and weighted at 25%


Project #2 Bee Hotel

Students will create a sculptural structure using recycled materials that provides a home for native solitary bees. Instructions will be given on appropriate materials, size and depth of holes for occupancy, etc. but overall form and aesthetic will be determined individually. Technical workshop support will be provided and all pieces must be structurally sound and pose no hazards to bees or the public. Some materials will be provided but students will need to supplement this with reclaimed/recycled materials that they scavenge on their own. This project will culminate in a public workshop in collaboration with an environmental student group on campus.

Due on October 17 at the beginning of class for critique and weighted at 25%


Project #3 Independent Project

Students will produce a work in response to independent research on a concept of their choice. Consider textbook readings/reflections as a source of inspiration and information for this project. All materials for this project should be carefully considered for their environmental impact (see Environmentally Responsible Art Checklist for guidance). Media, size, concept should all be carefully researched and selected for potential to communicate meaning to the work. You are responsible for all materials for this project.

Due on Nov 21 for critique with checklist completed and weighted at 25%



Project #4 Reflection on Textbook Readings (15%)

Textbook readings are assigned as follows:

Sept 19- reflection #1 Introduction and Eco Art Themes (pgs. 9 – 33) and reflection #2 Eco Art Aesthetics & Eco Art Materials (pgs. 33 – 50) are due

Oct 24 reflection on 3 artists selected from 20th Century Eco Art Pioneers (pages 53 – 120) or 21st Century Eco Art Explorers (pages 123 -320)

Write a short (one page max) reflection on each reading as it relates to your individual interests and ideas with respect to this course. Focus on artists, materials, genres, strategies, approaches and issues of particular relevance to your own practice. Remember that even those things that you reject may be important in helping to shape what you embrace.


Project #5 Participation/Class Engagement (10%)

This category requires prompt attendance at class and active engagement in workshops (felt making, papermaking) as well as participation in critique discussions, field trips and attendance at films or lectures.

Ongoing participation and good attendance will ensure success in this category.

All workshop materials are provided through studio fees.



MIDTERM = 60% (based on Project #1 Reflections on Water (25%) and Project #2 Bee Hotel (25%) and Reading reflections #1 & #2 (10%). This assessment will be provided by October 24, 2017.

FINAL = 60% midterm + Project #3 Independent Project (25%) + Textbook Reflection #3 (5%) + Participation /Class Engagement (10%) = 100%

Bonus Mark (up to 5%) for reflection on Visiting Artist lecture or exhibition on campus


The following scale of percent equivalences is used for calculating final grades:

A+ = 90-100; A = 85-89; A- = 80-84; B+ = 77-79; B = 73-76; B- = 70-72; C+ = 67-69; C = 63-66; C- = 60-62; D+ = 57-59; D = 53-56; D- = 50-52; F = 0-49

Achievement Levels



A+ = 90–100; A = 85–89; A- = 80–84

Work assessed at the A level consistently exceeds expectations and exhibits the following:

Conceptual rigour

Deep critical engagement

Complex, ambitious and prolific production

Meets deadlines with time for reflection before presentation

Advanced technical proficiency and risk taking

Comprehensively researched responses linked to focused goals, personal interests and artistic vision

Independent and self-directed approaches

Highly professional presentations

Engagement with all aspects of the course (requires promptness and stellar attendance)



B+ = 77–79; B = 73–76; B- = 70–72

Work assessed at the B level consistently meets expectations and exhibits the following:

Good grasp of concepts

Evidence of developing critical skills

Meets deadlines

Technically sound, demonstrating sensitivity to materials and their connection to ideas

Evolving research skills and good understanding of personal goals and interests

Some independence, self-motivation and risk-taking evident

Satisfactory presentation

Engaged with most aspects of the course



C+ = 67–69; C = 63–66; C- = 60–62

Work assessed at the C level fails to meet some expectations and exhibits some or all the following:

Inconsistent grasp of concepts

Little evidence of critical skills

Work is regularly late or presented in an undeveloped state

Struggling with technical skills, and conservative approach to exploration and risk

Requires regular assistance to understand assignments

Unsatisfactory presentation (unprepared, late)

Minimal engagement with course (poor attendance, few contributions evident)



D+ = 57–59; D = 53–56; D- = 50–52

Work assessed at the D level consistently falls short of expectations and exhibits some or all of the following:

Significant struggle with concepts and objectives

No evidence of critical skills

Missed deadlines

Simplistic technical approach with little sensitivity to materials

Arbitrary or no research evidence

Unacceptable presentation (inappropriate or wastes the time of the group)

Unsatisfactory engagement with course



F = 0–49

Work assessed at the F level fails to meet enough of the course requirements to obtain credit. Studio Art is a hands-on learning experience. Students who miss more than 3 classes or 25% of the course risk a failing grade due to the impact of this percentage on their ability to demonstrate abilities during in-class activities.


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Arriving on time and making efficient use of class time is crucial for your success in this course. Late assignments will automatically result in a letter drop in grade (A becomes B). Late assignments will be graded but not discussed outside of critique session deadlines. Assignments that are not received within 1 week of the due date will no longer be accepted and no projects may be submitted beyond the last day of classes.


The success of studio courses is dependent on the active engagement of all participants. Learning is accelerated in a hands-on environment where work and ideas can be discussed as they evolve, and challenges and successes can be shared. Important health and safety information and safe operating procedures are communicated during class time. You must receive this information to work independently in the studio, and you may not operate any equipment or use any process that you have not received safety training for.


Class discussions and critiques empower individuals to take risks in their art practice and learn from each other. It is of utmost importance that all students participate fully by attending all classes and remaining welcoming and open to all points of view.


The atmosphere of the studio should be characterized by courtesy and mutual respect. Participating in group critiques is an important part of providing constructive feedback for your peers. Active questioning and differences of opinion, respectfully expressed in a spirit of collaboration and mutual exchange, contribute to a positive and supportive group dynamic. It is your responsibility to contribute positively in this shared space and come to class prepared, on time and ready to contribute to the activities of the day.


In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar “Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work”. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. Please review the entire policy prior to submitting any requests. or_Missed_Academic_Term_Work

Support Services

The University provides a variety of support services to help students manage their many demands. Reference librarians can provide invaluable research assistance. The Student Accessibility Services Centre (SAS) provides assistance with personal as well as academic matters. MUSC B107 and


Office Hours


Office hours are intended to provide additional assistance and you are welcome to visit often to discuss course projects or seek assistance on difficulties you may be experiencing. It is always better to deal with an issue while there is still time remaining in the term to seek solutions. Office hours are not a replacement class for those opting to miss class time without valid excuse. Office hours will not provide feedback sessions if you miss a critique deadline. It is important that you learn to manage your time. Of course, extenuating circumstances can sometimes occur and requests for accommodation should be discussed with the instructor a.s.a.p.


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:



Tuesday Course outline review and ERA Powerpoint

Sept 5 Fold paper, sign waivers, get materials and visit Coldwater Creek

HW Research on water and visit Nature@mcmaster website to learn about Spencer Creek/Coldwater Creek on campus

Reading/Reflection #1 To Life textbook


Sept 12 Canoeing at Princess Point

HW Research RBG website

Reading/reflection #2 To Life textbook


Sept 19 Introduction of Bee Hotel project – examples and specifications

Eco Art Materials, Approaches, Strategies lecture

Hand in reflection #1 and #2 (10%)

HW Gather materials for Bee Hotel (non treated, porous materials)

Continue with Reflections on Water book independently


Sept 26 Building Bee Hotels in woodshop

Simple stitch binding of Reflection on Water books

HW Complete Reflections on Water book


  1. 3 Joint discussion/showcase with ART 1OS3 on Reflections on Water (25%) Reflections #1 and #2 returned

HW Complete Bee Hotel


Oct 10 – break


Oct 17 Hand in Bee Hotels for assessment (25%)

Public workshop for bee hotels (collaborative activity)

Art 1OS3 drawing during workshop

HW Reflection #3 - Select 3 artists from the remaining pages of your textbook that are relevant to your own interests and informs your independent work


Oct 24 Midterm grades based on Bee Hotel and Reflections on Water book

Greenhouse visit and plant/foliage drawings in preparation for felting

Hand in Reflection #3

HW Independent Project


Oct 31 Wet and needle felting demonstration and work period

HW Complete individual felted section


Nov 7 Assemble felted sections into collaborative compositions

Discussion of progress on Independent Projects

HW Independent Project


Nov 14 Class period to work on independent project


Nov 21 Critique Independent Project (25%)


Nov 28 Papermaking demo/workshop


Dec 5 Andy Goldsworthy film and popcorn with ART 1OS3

Other Course Information:



Working in the Studios

It is mandatory for all studio art students to have read the Studio Safety Art Manual for Students available on

The studios are only for art students in the program with the exception of the public studio spaces (114, 105 and Atrium). If you have a special project requiring involvement from someone outside the program or you require access to some specialized piece of equipment or restricted area, you must seek permission from your instructor. Volunteer forms are on Avenue to Learn and require Director’s signature. There is no food or drink permitted in studio spaces. Exceptions to the food policy may occur in the flex studio, 114 or Atrium when art materials are not present. Steel toed shoes must be worn with the exception of 114, flex and atrium. If the policies are violated, loss of studio access will result as a consequence. Do not bring any chemicals or hazardous materials into the studios without the permission of your instructor. Do not decant any materials into food containers. All materials not in original containers must be labeled according to WHMIS regulations.



Appointments must be made with the Studio Technologist in regards to consulting and/or executing specific projects requiring the use of wood shop, metal, or ceramics facilities. Please ensure appointments and arrangements are made well in advance of deadlines and critiques.


Studios are accessible through access cards and are open from 7 am to 11 pm, seven days a week. Students are not permitted to work in the studios alone. Please arrange to work in the studio with a peer when working after hours.


Steel toe shoes are not required and eating/drinking are permitted in the following public studio spaces as long as art materials are not present:

Flex Studio 105


New Space 114


Non-art students are only permitted in 105, 114 and Atrium spaces unless accompanied by their class or with special permission of their instructor.



Incident Reports


If a student should have an accident in any of the studios, the incident (no matter how minor) must be reported to a faculty member, or the Studio Technologist within 24 hours. If no faculty or technician is available and immediate attention is needed, please call 88 for all emergencies. Do not hesitate to call 88 in any circumstance. Please do not make medical judgments for yourself or others. Let medical professionals make the necessary assessments.


Emergency Response

University line: ext 88

905 522-4135; or 905 525-9140, ext 24281


Student Walk Home Attendant Team (SWHAT)

Ext 27500

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday: 7 pm – 1 am

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: 7 pm – 2 am