Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Camp Projects

I took a lot of pictures this summer, and thought I'd share some of my new ideas that were a hit! 

One of my favorites were the "Art and Max" lizards, inspired by the book by David Wiesner. I found directions for 3-D lizards on Artolazzi and the directions for a good lizard head here: smArt Class 

To make the crazy painted paper, students dripped, dribbled and splashed liquid watercolors over watercolor paper with plastic pipettes/droppers. The next day, we cut, folded, and assembled our lizards!

Another fun project were these beautiful painted paper butterflies! We used fluorescent Jazz tempera paint for the butterflies because the colors are so intense and great, but they were tricky to draw detail on because the sharpies kept drying out. Maybe next time we would use watercolor. This part of the lesson was inspired by this video from the site Deep Space Sparkle.

While the painted butterfly paper dried, the students and I looked at the book "Green," by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. The paintings in this book are beautiful and show kids great examples of how expressive one color can be.

After reading, students were challenged to mix as many different kinds of green tempera as they could to make their leafy backgrounds. My class had students ages 6-9, and all of them enjoyed mixing the paint and completing these paintings.

I was looking for a printmaking project that would be accessible to all of my afternoon students (ages 5-10!), when my friend Reena suggested a lesson she had done before. We used a combination of scratch foam printing and collage to create these. Students cut shapes and made abstract collages using colored and foil paper. Then they divided their foam printing plates into sections that were filled with pattern and design, kind of like zen doodles. They had a great time cutting, arranging, and printing these little beauties!

One of my all-time favorite things to do with classes of any age is gelatin printing.  Each time, I try to come up with a new way to use this printmaking technique-by making accordion books, using stencils instead of greenery, etc.

This time I was inspired by the work of illustrator and printmaker Mark Hearld. I brought in a copy of "Outside Your Window" by Nicola Davies, to show the students how Hearld cuts out and collages his prints, and adds detail by drawing on top of them. The nature theme of this book also tied in with our use of flowers and leaves as printing material.

Although getting enough gelatin plates prepared the night before in my kitchen at home can be tricky, it is always worth it when I see what the kids come up with. I used 6" square foil pans, and made enough plates that we could have five printing stations around the room with a different color at each spot. I had two extra plates to the side, but didn't end up needing them. Since I had nine students, there were usually two at each station. I set up a table to the side full of vegetation, so kids could pick what they wanted to use.

Students were encouraged to overlap prints, and try different things on the large, lavender colored paper.

After kids had filled their large papers, they moved on to a stack of 6" square assorted colors that I had from an old project. They were encouraged to print as many as they could, overlap, and have fun trying different color combinations. Originally, I was going to have students collage these smaller prints on top of their larger, lavender-based prints, but those came out so pretty that I decided to let them be. 

 The next day, we reviewed what we had learned before about printmaking. We discussed vocabulary like monoprint, brayer, and plate, as well as how gelatin printing can create both a positive and negative image.

Students took their smaller prints and added highlights and detail with glittery gel pens. They were very calm and meditative as they traced out the shapes in each image. For the younger kids who needed to practice their scissor skills, I drew cutting lines around their prints so they could cut around larger areas. 

They glued down their prints in simple arrangements to create colorful, sort of forest-like landscapes.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Murals for the Classroom

These are photos of a mural I worked on for a friend. I will be working in her classroom this coming school year and I thought it'd be fun to add some color to the walls in a bit of a different way. 

I still can't seem to upload sharp images through the blogger app, which is pretty annoying. For now these will do, and maybe when everything else is put together I'll be able to snap a couple better shots. Just wanted to share them now because I had such a  fun time painting them and am so excited to share them with people!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Glaze Kiln Results

Just an update on the castle projects, since I realized I never ended up posting what they came out like after the glaze kiln. The kids did a great job layering on their underglaze, and I had given each a quick dunk in the clear glaze before firing. I think the glazes help to highlight all the ways in which students chose to build and add onto the basic castle tower structure.

Students each spent 1-2 classes building their pieces, and I let them dry for over a week before firing to prevent warping.

Exterior staircases were an easy way to finish off the towers and blend in where students attached the sides together.

I like the fence/gateway this student built to make her project look finished.

This piece was built by one of my youngest students, who was very creative in her explanation of every castle feature, from the stairs, to rock ladders, gardens, and more.

If you look closely, there is a floating bunk near the top of the center tower in this primary-color themed complex.

These were pendants that students created during our first class together. Somehow they got lost in the studio shuffle, and suddenly reappeared at the end of our semester.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Clay Castles and Heart Vases

My Fun With Clay Group spent a couple sessions working on these beauties.  They are waiting to come out of the glaze kiln (fingers crossed all's well!) but I couldn't wait to share a couple pictures of their work so far! 
Once I showed them how to shape a cylinder using a cardboard tube, the kids really took off with their own ideas! Each one is so unique-wish more of the pictures I took had come out-but I will try to share the final results when they come out of the glaze kiln.

They also worked on sort of Jim Dine-inspired heart vases around Valentine's Day, and they went to town experimenting with stamps, texture, and color!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Studio Update

Since my last post, I have been spending a lot of time working in my studio, so I thought I'd share a more recent view of how the bench is working out. 

This picture was taken first thing this morning, before I had my tea and got started working. I like being able to leave projects in-process out and accessible. Anyways, there are a few things I've added that seem to be working out well, including a cast iron swing-arm plant hook that holds the flex shaft motor.

 The plant hook belonged to my grandmother, who gave it to my mom, who recently found it in storage and gave it to me! 

The lamp was a project I helped my dad design, using some welded, and some cold connections to help it adjust and swing wherever I need light. It stared with a standard drafting lamp, but the only parts we kept were the shade and cord kit. 

Most recently, I added some small Command hooks for wall storage, and a saw blade holder made from scrap wood, drilled to fit clear plastic tubes of saw blades in various sizes.  The saw blade holder reminds me of a test tube holder you might see in a lab. To keep the saw blade holder from getting knocked over, I added a couple of those Velcro picture hanging strips to hold it to the wall. 

I want to post photos of the pieces I made today, but it will have to wait until there is more daylight. It was a busy day in my studio!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Photo-full Post to Catch Up with the New Year

It's been quite a while since I last posted, so I thought I'd include some of the art/making/things that I've been up to lately.  

Let's start with some student artwork! 

These were some underwater/coral reef sculptures that my clay class worked on, using slab, coil, and pinch pot techniques.  

They also got to finish adding detail to their Gnome Homes and Fairy Houses with underglaze. A few even decided to paint in features like wall art and big screen TVs inside.

One of my students wanted to make Christmas tree ornaments for her family....

...while another made a little snowman sculpture with hollow pinch pots scored together.  I get so excited to see what comes out of the kiln, especially when the kids are as enthralled with the process as I am.  I can't wait to see what they'll make and discover this year!

In other news, I have been busy in my own studio over the past few weeks as well, working on making the space more functional for the many projects I put it through.  It started with a workbench update using some lumber and metal pipe that my dad and I put together over a weekend and installed from wall-to-wall.  The bench is about two feet deep, so that as I build in more specific wall storage, I will be able to easily grab whatever tools or supplies I need.  

The bench is supported underneath by strips of wood along the walls that I caulked and painted to blend in with the wall, as well as in the front by two pipes and four fittings from Home Depot.  At the store I learned that yes, they do charge per cut on pipe-ugh!  

I am lucky to have people in my family who weld, as my dad was actually the one who put the shelf up top together for me from half-inch square steel rod.  The whole time he reminded me that I could be welding the shelf together myself..."it's easy," but explained that for the sake of time and getting the project done, he didn't mind doing it.  (I didn't mind either, as I haven't ever welded more than one ugly blob on the back of a sculpture, and that was over ten years ago.)  He's right though--I should get on that, so I can start doing some of this bigger metal stuff myself.  Next time...

This area looks sooo much cleaner in this picture, from when I first set up the bench and hadn't yet unpacked all my tools and projects.  It was great for finishing up Christmas presents for my sisters, and I like being able to leave a project in process on this side of the bench while I move back and forth with work on the other side, where my computer's currently set up.  

Some rotary bits, solder, books and goggles, ready to go.  

I've been getting used to another new tool on my bench for the past couple of days--a Silhouette Cameo electronic cutter--and have been using it to test out some ideas and possibilities.  This is an image I cut out for one of my sisters whose into insects.  I am thinking about some light fixture ideas, it's just pinned up here cuz I thought it looked kind of neat.  Some other things I am thinking might happen with this machine....etching resist w/ vinyl on copper (lamps? jewelry?) stencils for monoprints and screenprints...template and parts cutting for student projects (save my hands from scissor cramps and x-acto disasters-heck, yes!)

I also made a basic cuttable file for a tunnel book that includes scored sides for accordion folding.  I am thinking it could be good in the future if I have an older class, but I could probably modify it for younger students, too...there are possibilities.  I put together a quick demo of the idea below.  

I think this could be a good way to reinforce background, middle ground, and foreground, as well perspective, possibly value, using collage and drawing.  I have seen examples around the internet that focus on haiku and storytelling, so that would be a great use for this project.