Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Recycled Weaving

You may remember that a week or so ago I was experimenting with "faux weaving" using  cut up cereal boxes (here). Well, that got me to thinking how fun it would be to use this as a jumping off place for introducing real weaving. It is hard for little fingers to cut cardboard, so for Part 2 of my project I switched to cut up strips of magazine pages. As with my previous lesson, I began by gluing strips onto a square piece of board (about 4" X 4"), first horizontally, and then vertical strips on top. Notice that I left space between these strips to make the real weaving easier.
Then, starting on one side of this assemblage, I wove a paper strip under and over the already glued strips. The weaving is easier for little ones if they hang the loose ends over the end of the table. I wove two strips on each of the 4 sides.

To keep the strips from moving around, put a little dot of glue under the strips at each end. This is a good way to reinforce the "one dot is a lot" concept of using glue!!

And, voila!! It looks like a real weaving, but actually only the last two strips on each side were woven. I then cut the strips various lengths on each end to add interest, and let the glue dry.
This could be finished at this stage, but I think it is fun to play around with different backgrounds, too. For this first option, I used a plain piece of medium value illustration board:
 Next, I tried a diagonal placement on a board treated with glue, paper and crayon (more on this in a later post):
 And finally, I tried the weaving on a board I had painted earlier for another project:
I like having children make these kinds of choices with their art to help train their "eye" for seeing contrast and composition alternatives.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

We Celebrate Color in a New School Year

Kindergarteners painted these Fauve-inspired faces and line/color balloons last spring (posted here), but I saved a HUGE batch to assemble in our auditorium to help usher in our new school year with a bang!

The celebration of color continues on the opposite wall with collages modeled after Picasso's Rooster and a collage mural further down patterned after Eric Carle and made with painted papers. I have posted both of these lessons previously under "Collage."

I don't actually start with students for another couple of weeks, so I've been busy getting my Art Cart ready and auditioning some new potential lessons -- more on that later, of course. So, a little hemming . . .
 and a little Velcro . . . and my little space is ready to wheel the corridors:-) I made the fabric panels to cover the contents that I am leaving on the shelves and to distinguish this cart from the others around the school, in the hope that it remains where I left it when I am off campus:))

 For all of you who have already started teaching, I hope you had a wonderful beginning!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Looks Like Weaving, But . . .

You know how you sometimes just collect a bunch of something that you KNOW can be recycled into art?? Well, here are a few of MANY boxes that I have accrued:
At first I was going to use them to create weavings, so I cut them into skinny strips:
That reminded me how hard it was to cut cardboard when I was a little kid. My hand would hurt and I would always run to my mother to help out (fortunately she did!). So, if I do this with kids I think I'll pre-cut the strips on the paper cutter.

Then, instead of weaving, I decided to glue horizontal strips onto a 6" X 6" piece of illustration board . . .

. . . and then glue vertical strips on top of them.

This would be MUCH easier than weaving for younger kids, but the effect is quite similar. I went a step further and cut the ends varying lengths -- I think it looks better.

Of course, I never really got to weave, which was my original objective, so I decided to add on to these using weaving. But I am not quite finished, so I'll save that story for another day. Have a good week.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dot Day is Getting Near

September 15, International Dot Day, is fast approaching. This project is inspired by Peter H. Reynolds book, The Dot and you can check Google for the website and more information.  This year I think it would be fun to have the kids make dots with a collage of painted paper.

Of course, to start you need some painted paper. I like to have classes make a batch of this using tempera at the beginning of the year and then I always have some on hand.

Students start by painting the paper a solid color and then print designs on top using a collection of objects I have around (paper towel tubes, forks, spoons, old kitchen utensils, plastic lids, paint brushes) and contrasting colors.

To make the circles for this project we start by cutting a dot for the center. Then students cut curved line segments to glue around the dot, creating a circle. They can keep gluing segments until the circle reaches the size they would like. A cool math connection might be to have kids find the diameter of their circle when they are finished:))


My finished sample above was done on a 6" X 6" square of illustration board, but it could easily be done on black cardstock or construction paper. If the circles were done on these lighter papers, it would be fun to cut them all out and mount them floating around on a bulletin board for a great Dot Day display!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Last Craft of Summer

With the beginning of school fast approaching I figured there was just enough time left to fit in one more little summer project. Motivated by a Pinterest post on crochet trimmed pillowcases, I decided to buy a kitchen tea towel and add a crochet border.

 Well, as you might imagine, one thing led to another and the one towel became 20 and instead of just crocheting the borders, I got into appliqueing some fun designs onto the towels. What a great way to start to whittle down my stash of quilting fabrics (drawers and shelved full of it!!).

A couple of years ago I saw a great 3-D applique and embroidered lobster tea towel at Anthropologie. It cost more than I wanted to spend so by the time I got back to try to buy it on sale, they were all gone. Well, I have been thinking about that towel for 2 years, so maybe appliqueing one of my own will satisfy the craving!! ( Although, I still like their's better!)

Ooops, I just noticed I missed a leg on the left side!!

After making 3 of these little guys I moved on to easier designs that were less labor intensive. I'm sort of on a roll, because I know that soon enough I will tire of having the stacks of fabrics cluttering up my living space. But for now, I am loving just stitching away as I listen to music or catch up on some "On Demand" TV shows I haven't seen. I find it's a good time for me to start mulling over school art stuff in my head, because I know that first day is "just around the corner!!"

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Texture Boards

I have long thought of making a set of texture boards for rubbings and/or printmaking.

Today I got around to starting the project. I cut up some foam core board and started rummaging around for stuff to add texture to them.

Strips of cut file folders


After making 5 or 6, I got to thinking about the wisdom of this approach. Why should I be the one thinking about texture and repetition instead of the kids. So, Plan B is to pre-cut the foam core boards, assemble a collection of stuff that I have at school (staples, string, yarn, glue, etc.) and have each student make one texture board that will become a part of a class set to be used in their classroom. I'll have a small set of extras on my art cart. YIKES!! There, I said it again. I really will be teaching art from an old audio visual cart in the regular classrooms this year.

After the texture boards are done students will use them for the background of a collage that emphasizes repetition, value, contour lines and the use of text in art.

 While each texture board represents repetition in some way, I would also like students to think of repetition (of texture, line, color, etc) in their overall composition, too.
 When the background is completed, kids will collage text and pictures as well as adding detail with pen. The example below also has some shaded crayon drawings to cut and glue on. I'd like to have that element to help focus on value.
An added step might be to cut out the entire piece and glue it on a dark background board to frame it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Art Teacher in the Summer

Summer can be such a luxury of rest and relaxation. I LOVE just meandering through a day (or week) doing whatever comes to mind as fun. Reading is always a big part of my life and last week it was these two books:
Sundance, by David Fuller, continues the story of the Sundance Kid after we left him in South America in the movie. Apparently, it is unclear what actually happened to Butch Cassidy and "The Kid" in real life. Perhaps they died in South America, perhaps not. This historical novel follows the premise that Harry (the Kid) returns to the United States, is caught and imprisoned for train robbery, and once released goes to New York in search of Etta, his wife. It is an engaging read, steeped in the flavor of New York in the early 1900s, that I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend. 

Still Life with Bread Crumbs explores the life of a sixty year old photographer who moves from New York City to the country for financial reasons and builds a new life for herself in a small town. I always enjoy reading Quindlen and summer is the perfect time for this novel.

I always make time in the summer to make jam from the Blenheim apricots that are only available at our Farmer's Market for 3 weeks of the year. Some friends joined me one morning for the project. We all now have our supply of jam to last us until next July! I am thinking about having kids use oil pastels to draw apricots from some of my photos. The colors are just luscious.