Evrim Kavcar, Teaching Artist

Bio: Hi! I’m Evrim Kavcar. I am from Istanbul. I have been an artist and an academician for the past 15 years. I am a professor at Mardin Artuklu University Fine Arts in the Sculpture Department. My students mostly live in villages and commute to the university that is situated in a historical city by the Syrian border. My mother tongue is Turkish, but I also know English and German. I studied sculpture in a very vibrant city, İstanbul, and continued my studies at San Francisco Art Institute on a Fulbright Scholarship, and later on in Vienna. In San Francisco, I was a student of Charles Boone, and through him, I met Josefa and the amazing organization, ArtSeed. They touched my life. I work across disciplines such as performance, sculpture, animation, sound and drawing. The intersection of politics and poetics is my productive zone. The website has some of my work on it: www.evrimkavcar.com For the past two years, I have been collaborating with an artist friend on building a “Dictionary of Sensitive Sounds.” (If you would like to participate by adding a detailed description of a sound that is rooted in your memory, here is the link: http://elifevrim.com/projects/).

ArtSeed Statement: “ArtSeed is an inspiration; a way to achieve a state of caring through art, communication and cooperation. I am very excited to be a part of the program – thanks to the lovely Josefa – and to become involved with introducing kids to both sculpture and animation.”

Lesson Plan

Title: Transformation: Stop Motion Animation Using Clay
Date: 7/21 Time of day: 10:00 am-12:00 pm
Artists: Evrim Kavcar & the cat & participators
Materials/Prep: natural clay, aluminum foil for armature, a table top, a bowl of water; a fabric towel; a small tripod; a cell phone/camera; if we have a cell phone we shall download the “stop motion studio” application free version; in case we need a backdrop, a green cloth or garbage bags are fine.
Introduction: We will be producing a small animation video using clay. Think about stillness, movement, time and transformation. How much movement is involved? Or will it totally transform into something else? Also, since our material is natural clay/mud, we will witness the interplay between our minds, the warmth of our hands, our material, and how all these elements respond to time and movement. Each tiny move we make with clay will be photographed as a tiny segment of the animation we would like to make. We will be building a sculpture only to change it slowly. If we all enjoy it and feel the need, we might use subtitles depending on our technological skills. Cooperation is always valuable when it comes to animation; and well, it is always valuable! In this lesson, our cooperation with ourselves and clay is most important. We will keep asking the clay what it wants to be! Our point of departure will be a figurine from the past: The “Seated Woman of Catalhoyuk” that sits in the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. I will share my own experience of encountering this artifact. Is it an artifact? A sculpture? Craft? Art? Is it a goddess or a toy? This presentation will be an invitation for us to rethink/ re-imagining our own seated figure, and how she/he/it might move. In my first video is my own improvisation with clay. Is there a story there? Second one is a quick homemade video prepared for ArtSeed intensive where I explain the process. The third video is the result of this demo. Make sure to also watch the 4th little animation with the seated figurine of Çatalhöyük (its original is dated 6000BC). All of these animations use clay and they are technically simple. Talk about how they differ. Can a small gesture be meaningful? Or do you want grand movements? Improvise on the one you like. Each time you touch the clay, remember to photograph that moment. Moments will come together to make up the whole.

Evrim’s improvisation with clay: “stand up” clay animation

Explaining how the stop motion animation called “quick demo” was made

“quick demo” how the stop motion animation turned out

Goals: Understanding form (3D), discovering the potential of clay for stop motion animation, recycling clay, learning to let go, observing construction-destruction cycles and how this is a part of the process of transformation, turning still images into moving images, learning to use a basic stop motion studio program.

  1. Watch the first video for inspiration.
  2. Watch the second and third videos along with a clip from Jan Svankmajer’s clay animation called “dimensions of dialogue”.
  3. Discuss how sculpture turns into animation. The tricks: stillness, movement, and time.
  4. Start the process by building an armature and covering it with clay.
  5. Improvise without armature. Movement with clay; changing texture, posture, position, etc. Take pictures along the way
  6. Talk about lighting for sculpture; how it is different than a 2D experience.
  7. Turn the photos we took into stop motion animation using stop motion studio program or adobe premiere, etc.
  8. Decide what to do with our clay: to recycle it or let it dry?
  9. Does your animation need sound or shall we post it?
  10. Celebrate your new wonderfully created animated video!

Vocabulary: Clay, sculpture, artefact, craft, archeology, wire, structure, armature, posture, position, lighting, figure, archeology, movement, speed, gesture, texture, form, scale, light- shadow, negative-positive space, background, transition, sound, sculpture, stop motion animation, onion skin, trace, motion, stillness.
Closing: We shall share our experience of making our animations and possibly even share what we made together.
Successes: Having fun, learning the language of the material, getting comfortable with improvisation, let it transform along the way.
Challenges: Remembering to photograph each time you touch/move the clay. Letting yourself improvise.
CA State Standard(s): K.VA:Cr1.1, PK.VA:Cr1.21, MA:Cr1, 2.MA:Cr1, 5.MA:Cr1
Relevant Artist(s) and Distinguished People: Jan Svankmajer, Jiri Trnka