Brent Kington: Mythic Metalsmith - Activities

Illinois State Museum

Here is the list of activities by title. Click on html version (ideal for viewing any video) or pdf version (which is ideal for printing out the images).

National Art Standards for grades 7-8 students addressed in this lesson:

Content Standard 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas


Students use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks

Content Standard 4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures


Students analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time and place (such as climate, resources, ideas, and technology) influence visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art

Illinois Visual Arts Standards for grades 7-8 and 9-10 students addressed in this lesson:



Analyze and evaluate similar and distinctive characteristics of works in two or more of the arts that share the same historical period or societal context.

Lesson Plan: Influences 2

Inspiration: Here is a quote from Kington's oral history interview of 2001 (Smithsonian Archives) ( )

“Richard (Mawdsley) and I have always encouraged students in self-directed research. As an example, Mary Lee Hu, (

when she was here, she was taking a weaving class, and she was having problems finding anything personal to express in her metalwork. I'd been experimenting with weaving metal wires. I found the results interesting, but it bored me, so I badgered her into working with wire. That was when she got to wire structuring. I would make suggestions to students and push them if I thought a process or concept was suitable; or if they had areas of interest that appeared worth exploring, I would make suggestions and try to encourage the students into pursuing it. Some of our students have become very closely identified with a concept or process. ”

Goal: Students will demonstrate their understanding of artistic influences by viewing the work of a teacher and his students, looking for visual or technical influences and discussing them.

Concepts: 1) artists are influenced by other artists' ideas; 2) artists are influenced by other artists' techniques and materials; 3) artists are influenced by their own culture and other cultures

Pre-test and Post-test questions to answer and keep in mind as you look at various blacksmith's work:

Web sites:

Look at these web sites to look for the characteristics, skills, style, materials, and aesthetic of metalsmiths who have studied under Brent Kington at SIUC.

Activity: Class discussion of the characteristics of Brent Kington's work. Compare and contrast the work you find online of the former students listed above. Are there any characteristics that are similar? style? use of materials? scale? attention to detail? general mood or feeling? Was there influence to go into education for any of them?