New Shapes is a project designed for kindergartners, and was first carried out in early 2009 at John Muir Elementary School in Berkeley, California.
In groups of five, children sat around a circular table, each with a sheet of paper and a pencil. Each child was given a uniquely shaped object to trace; a square, a circle, a rectangle, and two dissimilar triangles. The children each traced their shape, and passed that drawing to the person to their right, and thus, received a drawing from the person to their left. Each child then traced their own shape again, overlapping the one made by their neighbor to the left, and again passed the drawing to the right. This continued until the fifth pass, when everyone received the drawing they, themselves, had initiated. These drawings were now unique, collaborative compositions of interlocking, familiar shapes, with ‘new’ shapes formed where the familiar shapes overlapped. Using color pencils, each child completed the drawing that they had begun.