Cawthra Park Grade 9 Collaboration

Investigation: Where Art Meets Science

Saltwater and Iron Shavings on Canvas, 2017

“Artists and scientists alike begin their working projects and processes with a question – an inquiry. They are located within and asking questions of the same world. Processes and final manifestations of the work can differ greatly, yet goals may be parallel”.

– Beth Carruthers, 2006

“Same as a scientist an artist uses experimentation to think of different ways to make art, [we] were using different methods to make a picture with rust the same way artists use different methods to make art”.

– Avi, Grade 9 Science Student

As part of the unit, “Exploration of Space” the grade 9 Applied Science class built on their knowledge of chemistry to learn why the soil on Mars is red: Iron combines with oxygen to make iron oxide. Two elements combine to create a compound. A chemical reaction takes place.

At the same time, we explored how artists and scientists work in similar ways through experimentation and analyzing process. Using iron filings on cotton fabric, they created images associated with Mars and space travel, soaking the fabric in a saltwater solution to speed up the oxidation process. They did multiple trials, changing variables to alter the chemical process, creating a better image each time.