Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chihuly Inspired "Macchia"


A while back I saw a great Chihuly lesson posted on The Crayon Lab blog (here). I've seen quite a few Chihuly inspired art lessons on the web, but I liked the simplicity of using rubber bands to hold the coffee filters on paint bottles before spraying starch on them.

I pretty much followed the steps in that lesson, except I didn't have enough paint bottles, so we used plastic cups from Smart & Final (seems like I've been living there lately!).

I also showed the kids a slide show loop that is on Dale Chihuly's site ( here ), explaining that macchia means "spotted" in Italian. They also watched a short interview with the artist, in which he explains how he named the series (which he originally was referring to as "the uglies" because his mother thought they were ugly!! (interview is here)  I like the video clip on The Crayon Lab site, but it was a bit long, and showing YouTube at our school is a problem. With the help of another teacher, we managed to show half of that video to one of the classes.

Students thought about their color plan, putting lighter colors down first and making the spots on top of that layer of color. This actually follows the way the Chihuly team applies the colored spots (or jimmies) after the main part of the piece has been formed. We used regular Crayola watercolor markers and a coffee filter.
Next, students wrapped their coffee filter around a cup (they wrote their names and room #s inside the cup with permanent marker) and fastened it with a rubber band. This is a step where neighbors can help neighbors!
The last step for this first day is to spray starch the whole thing and let it dry. Kids LOVED watching the starch fizz and change their artwork.


The final step will be to glue the "macchia" to a piece of illustration board. We have pre-cut these donated boards to 6" X 6".

24 comments:

  1. Thank you for showing the process!!! This I can do. . . looks cool thank you!

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  2. I'm planning to do this same project along with a bunch of Chihuly stuff close to the time of our art show (in May). Thanks for posting such a good tutorial.

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  3. Thanks to you both. The kids had SOOO much fun with these!! It was my first session of this rotation with 2nd graders and I loved that it was so no-fail!! I was also gratified that they had remembered a lot about Chihuly from our study of him a year ago! The drying cups didn't even end up taking as much counter space as I had anticipated. It did help that these classes are unusually small this year (only 22 per class):)

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  4. so awesome! and such easy materials :) how fun!!

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  5. Thanks for showing how you did these! They look great!

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  6. What a colorful project! I will try this soon! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. I just happened upon your lesson. i just think it is wonderful and I am going to do it this week.
    How Cool.
    Thanks bunches
    Tami from Bluemoonpalette

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  8. I just got back from a Chihuly exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum and was looking for lesson ideas. I love this and,like the above post,will be doing close to the time of our art show. Thank you for such a detailed lesson.
    Janet

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    1. You're welcome!! Good luck with your lesson -- I still remember the kids' eyes lighting up as the starch started to fizz and interact with the color.Such fun!!!!

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  9. We're doing this in my class on Friday. I plan to have them attach several to a sheet of white card stock and I'll hang them from the ceiling, just like his ceiling installations. I think they'll love it...at least I hope so! I've certainly enjoyed playing with the project at home! :)

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  10. tartseam@yahoo.comOctober 29, 2012 at 6:51 AM

    Is it just one coffee filter per student? I read another blog from another teacher who said "3 per student" ? I haven't done this project yet, so looking for guidance. Thanks!

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    1. Yes, I had the kids do one filter each. I wouldn't have the space for storing more than that as they dried!!!

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  11. Thank you for clear directions. I'm in the middle of doing this with my middle school students, and they are equally enthusiastic about the process. I am trying to come up with a way of giving the finished product a shiny surface to have it reflect more light when displayed. Any suggestions for something I can spray on the exterior?

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  12. how much starch did you use. I sprayed them once with a pretty health coating but I feel like they still aren't hard enough?

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    1. It has been quite awhile since we did these, but I think I had 2 large cans of Heavy Starch for about 125 machia. I sprayed them liberally until each looked foamy and fizzy. When kids took them off the cup and glued them on board the sides stayed stiff. Kids could press them down as much as they wanted.

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  13. This is so wonderful!! We took our children to visit Chihuly in Seattle, and it was an incredible experience!! This will be so wonderful to try with them. Thank you for sharing:) http://weekendadventuringwithxanderandava.blogspot.ca/2013/06/a-visit-to-seattle-chihuly-garden-and.html

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    1. I remember visiting Tacoma a few years back and seeing Chihuly's work -- it inspired me to have my elementary art classes learn about him. Hope you and your kids have fun with this project -- it is really fun to watch kids' eyes as the starch starts to fizz and cause the colors to run!!

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  14. How durable are these?
    The music teacher at my school asked my Art club to make a huge one of a lot of these as a 'chandelier' for the center of the auditorium.
    Does anyone think that will work?

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    1. I found if I sprayed a couple of layers of starch and let them dry thoroughly, they were pretty stiff. But if the kids handle them and bend them too much, they lose the stiffness. We also made a Chihuly inspired chandelier-like hanging from #6 plastic sandwich boxes that I put together with a glue gun. That was 3 or 4 years ago and it is still hanging in my room. Much more durable. The kids designed their plastic with permanent markers and I baked them until they curled into interesting shapes (maybe a minute or so) in the little oven we have at school. I am pretty sure it is here on my blog somewhere (I think it was 4th grade in either 2010 or 2011. I know that Mary over at Marymaking blog did that project, too, with some lovely results.

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  15. Could you spray them with an acrylic clear coat to help preserve them?

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    1. I think that might be a nice addition -- high gloss.

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  16. how long does it take them to dry?

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    1. As I recall, mine were dry by the next day.

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  17. I am doing this lesson tomorrow with 3rd graders and we are going to created a group piece. I have been experimenting with Modge Podge (gloss glue like) before and after spaying. This seems to work to give the glasslike effect. To make the inside shine, paint on the modge podge and let it dry before scrunchy over the cup to spray. Also found 2 coats of spray to be stronger. Can also modge podge the outside after sprayed with the startch to make it stronger.

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