Friday, May 22, 2015

Garden Markers

     In my Clay Kids group (students ranging from grades K-5) we just finished these sweet garden markers.  Each student started with a slab that I had rolled with our slab roller.  They then cut out their markers using clay tools and stencils made from manila paper.  Each student made at least 4, and a few of them were even able to get one or two more markers out of their slab.  They wrote the names of plants or herbs that their families plant, and then we decorated them mostly by using larger beads as stamps.  After we made them, I realized I didn't get any photos of the kids using the beads as stamps, but here is a photo of the type of bead we used!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"What Does Your Hair Say About You?" Portraits

I love portraits!  I usually try to do at least one form of a portrait with each grade level each year.  Sometimes it doesn't completely work out for every grade level, but I try because I think they are wonderful snapshots of what the students were like in that moment.  These ones are really neat because they are so expressive.

We started with learning about the super neat artworks of Guiseppe Arcimboldo.  The kids were fascinated (I am too!!!!) by his portraits of people composed of many smaller objects.  In his work, the small objects always have a theme or are related to the concept of the piece in some way.  

These portraits started with classic facial proportioning guided drawing (I draw on the board, students draw on their papers).  When it was time to do the hair, the students answered the question: What does your hair say about you?  They drew all kinds of things and words in their hair and backgrounds.  I encouraged them to make artwork unlike any one else's.

They traced their pencil drawing with Sharpies, and then colored with a selection of watercolor crayons, watercolor pencils, and washable markers.  After they were done coloring with these mediums, they painted over their work with water.  This helped to get rid of white spaces and to maybe mix colors if the students wanted.  The only student that didn't paint with water made the portrait right below this paragraph.  He absolutely loves markers and didn't have any white spaces to fix in the end!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Portrait Weaving Inspired by Chuck Close

     The fourth graders just finished these cool portraits that we have worked on FOREVER!  We started them when the weather was bad and we missed a lot of school, and then we missed some classes because the kids had rehearsals for their spring program, and we have FINALLY finished!  I am proud of the kids' dedication to these artworks that took so long to make.

    We were inspired by the amazing paintings of Chuck Close and his awesome grid work.  To start, I took photos of the kids and then made them into posters on Picasa.  The kids glued the pieces of their photos to 18" x 24" paper, we folded them in half, and then drew lines every 2 inches apart.  The kids cut on the lines to create warps to weave through.
    They then wove 2" strips of paper through their portraits, and drew the missing parts of their faces.  From here, they traced with Sharpies, colored and made patterns in the background with crayons, and finished by painting with watercolors.  In the photos you can see that I also printed a smaller copy of each kid's portrait for them to use as reference.  


Friday, March 27, 2015

Texture Painting Update

     I've posted about texture paintings before, but I did these ones a little differently this year.  I did them in conjunction with slab knee bowls.  For these ones, the 1st graders started with copy paper and texture rubbing plates and crayons.  They really just experimented with the plates and some kids colored designs or patterns, and some just did blobs of different textures and colors.  Then they made resists by painting watercolors over the crayon textures.
     We glued the paintings to bigger pieces of construction paper to make frames.  I gave each kid a chunk of Model Magic and they broke it into small pieces that they stuck to the edges of the construction paper.  Like my other texture paintings, the kids used items from their art boxes to make different textures in the Model Magic.  A few pieces fell off here and there as the Model Magic dried, and the kids just glued them back where they belonged!  When the Model Magic was dry, they painted over it with Biggie Cake temperas.  I had them paint black lines at the edges of their resists to add a little emphasis, and they were done!

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Leadership Group Coil Pots

As I've mentioned before, our school has started focusing on leadership with our students, and we have started leadership clubs this year.  The students have been divided into groups with varying grade levels based on different areas of interest.  My group is called "Clay Kids" (15 kids), and we make functional ceramic artwork.

I am SO excited about these coil pots that the kids made.  We planted marigold seeds in them, and they are growing and doing great!  I've never grown flowers from seeds, and I am definitely enjoying having them in my room!  Hopefully they will continue to do well!

The coil pots were a challenge for the younger kids, but the older ones were wonderful mentors for them, and everyone had made one by the end of our club time!  We started with small balls of clay that the kids squished and worked with their hands to create round little slabs.  I had them use slip (which I don't usually do in a full class of  elementary aged kids) to help the coils adhere.  We still had some issues with construction though, and some of the pots ended up being a little shorter than their artist intended.

I poked holes in the bottoms of the pots with a straw once they had begun to dry a little, and the kids glazed them after they were bisqued.  On the club day that we planted the seeds, the students made the little popsicle stick flowers while they were waiting for their turn to plant their seeds.  I told the kids that I have never grown flowers from seeds before, and we wanted to be sure to have at least one flower in case the seed growing didn't go so well!