Wednesday, December 15, 2010

7th Grade Watercolor Mushrooms

Students worked from photographs on these watercolors.  They had never practiced the more formal method of wetting individual areas to prevent colors from bleeding out before. (This is the first year that I get these students).  We also worked on making "Impressionistic" backgrounds from the detailed, realistic reference material.

Project Runway: Recycled Sweaters turned into Mittens

Our Project Runway class took a field trip to the local thrift store and purchased many clothing items that can be turned into ???? (imagination- no limit).  Sweaters, using the bottom ribbing, can be turned into mittens.  If you are going to make them, trace your hand and make sure to include your wrist.  Think about the widest part of your hand...will it fit through that wrist opening?  If in doubt...widen the wrist part of the drawing.  Add seam allowance and cut four.  Sew.

If a student prefers, or if you lack the materials, then use polar fleece or old wool blankets.  Be aware that the wrist opening will need to be even bigger than you think, because there is no stretchy ribbing to work with. 

We also taught the students how to use beads and sequins. If you are going to do that, purchase some beading needles and perhaps some threaders.  We had one student who had particularly sharp eye sight thread all of ours, because most of us could not do it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

More Amazing 8th Grade Ink Drawings

Here are some more Amazing 8th Grade Ink Drawings based on the Cabinet of  Natural Curiosities (see link,scroll down)
This project gives just about every student a sense of accomplishment that they did not have before.  I have them complete a series of crosshatching samples (from a really old drawing book).  They draw the basic outline in pencil, but they really don't need to draw the repeating aspects in pencil- they can master that in pen (lizard scales, feathers, etc.)  I used to think that copying from existing work was cheating (my parents didn't let us trace anything past 1st grade)....but they aren't tracing here, they are drawing.  AND they are learning methods of shading that aren't that common any more.  How else to learn?   (Click on pic to see bigger)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Veteran's Day Flags

I saw these Veteran's Day cards at a local nursing home.  They were clearly made for the veterans that were being rehabilitated there, but the assignment is unclear to me.  Either they were recalling what the actual American flag looks like, or they were re-designing the flag.  In either case, they are interesting. The second picture is of Obama, I think.  Funny how the first flag has a "bump-out,"  and the last one has the star area indented. Kids.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

More Foil Projects...

I failed to post these first foil projects that were made about 8 years ago...and noticed them around my classroom. You can click on the link to the others (under foil projects) on the sidebar. Here, in brief, are the instructions that I used for these.  I cut out  as many gold or silver pieces of art work that I could find in the heaps of National Geographic Magazines that I have.  I paid no particular attention to the era, style, or culture that it came from and put them in a folder for the students to choose from. I avoided having the students do this part, because my past experience has been that they waste about 2 days looking at magazines and say that there is nothing in them that they can use. We researched Illuminated Manuscripts, Russian Icons, and Gusav Klimt (decorative works, with an emphasis on gold...a variety of meanings and time periods).  The projects needed to be well planned, the magazine parts needed to be well integrated, and a border was necessary. These were made on the gold tooling foil that comes on a roll (approximately 8 inches wide).  I spray painted some beans copper and gold, and had some metallic and decorative paper on hand for the borders.  We also had some plastic gemstones. The ones that I posted earlier were not made from the clipped gold pages.  I think that these were more successful.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

300 Piece Get Well Card

Everyone loves to get mail, especially when they aren't feeling well. Most of the students at my school created panels for a huge get well card that was glued together to create one, long accordian folded card for a very important person at school.  Each panel was 6 x 6, with a 1/2" tab folded back on the left side.  The tab was glued underneath the face of the card section that came before it..and so on...and so on...and so on.

If you want to make one, reinforce these ideas, especially with younger students:
1) The tab is on the LEFT.  It does matter if you want all of the panels to be right side up.  
2) The artwork goes on the front, and the message goes on the back.
3)  The message needs to be written in the center of the back.  If it extends too far, then the glued tab will cover the message.
Some students worked on these with their classroom teachers and some students made them in art class.  I glued them together using a light strip of hot glue.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Felt Pieces/ Grade 7

What to do with a pile of felt and a group of 7th graders? Creating simple designs and improving or learning how to hand sew appealed to this small group of 7th graders.  We sat in a small circle and enjoyed getting to know each other better while working and talking. Here are a few of them....

Making a Piece of Art from Many Carved Stamps

Students designed stamps that could work together- either as repeating designs, or as a thematic picture. I have lots of soft rubber stamp material left over from projects- either scraps or "lino-cuts" that students did not want to take home with them (we used the backs).  This is the first year that we have done this.  The students really loved carving multiple stamps.  The printing was a little more difficult.  Eighth graders have a hard time with the idea of needing to start over if something becomes messy (or messed up)!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Class: Project Runway

A colleague of mine suggested that we co-teach a class that she titled Project Runway.  She teaches Family and Consumer Science (which includes sewing).  Our first days were spent looking at and making style challenges at  We then asked the students to create hats using mainly paper or cardboard, along with other natural materials (we worked along side of them, making our own, included here). We asked the students to identify where they would wear their hats. In order: The Kentucky Derby, hunting armadillos, to a Fourth of July parade, working in a munitions factory, and lastly, to a botanical garden.

Would I do anything differently?  I think that it is important to emphasize form over "decoration."  All good design comes from form, whether we are talking about graphic design, furniture design, architecture or fashion. For a first challenge, though, it was a confidence builder- limited in scope, and easily made (with a hot glue gun).  The down side? Paper is hard to mold to the shape of the head.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Haitian Drapo/ 8th Grade Art

I had seen Drapo, or Vodou flags at a museum show a few years ago, and thought that students might enjoy imitating them, using as much glitter and shiny paper as they wanted to.

Drapo, or flags, are an important element of the Vodou ceremony. They are made of satin, velvet, or rayon, and are decorated with applique, sequins, or beads.
The designs reflect Vodou's open attitude towards the mixing of cultural and religious symbols and concepts.  African symbols merge with Catholic processional banners, French military ensigns, and Masonic flags and aprons.

(Information from the American Museum of Natural History)

The first collage is of the students' work, and the second, an original drapo-
La Sirene by Evelyn Alcide,
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

I will do this project again, but I would like the designs to be more intricate.  I asked for "over the top," but that is not necessarily what I got!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Love Trees- Any Style, Any Method

Trees.  Any style, any material- created by high school students.  I reviewed what materials we had  in the art room, first, and then explained how to mix Sculptamold, cut thick foil, and how to make a foundation for a tree.  If they had chosen other methods or materials, I would have demonstrated more techniques....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Teacups- Middle School

Even though drawing from life is the ultimate way to learn, realistically speaking, many students draw from photographs (for a report, as an illustration, or for fun).  We started the year with photographs of white teacups.  Some are oddly shaped- it is not you- it is the original cup shape that is odd!

I know that I am always saying this, but I love how each student works differently...