Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Happy Word" Collage

I have used California Artist, Kim MacConnel's design work to motivate other student work this year. His work, seen here, is terrific for pattern, design, color and space. This week, 1st graders will be working with all 4 skills as the create a "Happy Word Collage." Earlier this year I went to see the work of another local artist, Steve Roden, and was taken with one of his mixed-media paintings where he used collaged letters as part of the art. I plan to have the kids incorporate this into their collage.
Before starting, we will brainstorm a lot of 5-letter "happy" words ( ie. happy, laugh, loves, smile, etc.)
For this project, we will be starting with a 9" X 12" piece of illustration board that was donated by a local art framer ( but construction paper would work fine, too ) as the background. I pre-cut contrasting colored construction paper smaller than the board
(maybe 7"X12"), which students will cut from top to bottom however they like.
One of the great things about MacConnel's artwork, is that he paints vertical patterns that start at one end of the page and extend all the way to the opposite side. I find that with this inspiration, I don't see as many kids starting or ending lines floating somewhere in the middle of their page.

Next, they glue that first piece (or, 2 pieces, now!) onto the background, creating a space where the back shows through. I have a lot of various width strips of colored paper at this time of the year and students position those to add to their design.
I pre-cut some circles from old wall art calendars that I have been saving for years and years. Students will place those in a line design and finally use letters in them to spell a "happy word."

In this sample I put whole words in the circles, but for the actual project I will pre-print the words that students brainstormed in Times Font and have the kids cut out the letters and glue one letter in each circle, randomly arranged, so the viewer will have to "unscramble" the word. I'll post the results later so you'll see better what I have in mind.

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