I visited my classroom for the first time since my interview today. I have some challenges with the set up, but I am addressing those with stride. At least I have tables and chairs! I heard from a former classmate who works in an urban district and she wasn't sure if she would have tables or chairs for her students on the first day of class. On a lighter note, I have TONS of storage. I have shelving shelving SHELVING! and beautiful large cabinets. I am sure this room will fit me and my students just fine!
Tomorrow is orientation. I look forward to this year. The nerves are fading a bit and I am starting to just be excited!
It has been a very busy summer! I just finished teaching at Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis. My 9, 10, 11, & 12 year olds created some wonderful artwork. Take a look!
This first project began with a writing assignment. They practiced automatic writing after we demonstrated automatic writing (while verbalizing). Then we looked at artist Matt Mullican Untitled Elipses and Balls, 2003. Mullican did automatic imagery (same thing as automatic writing only one uses more than just words. For instance, if one is thinking about the sun, they don't just think the word s-u-n, they also visualize in their mind a sun. Students also did this process and installed their balloons on a table as a temporary installation. Many students did two or three of these! They really enjoyed being self reflective. In the below project, students worked collaboratively. They examined the way artists may become activists to evoke change in their community. Students teamed up and decided on a message they wanted to share with others their age. They made a design that included text and graphics and most importantly aimed at changing the audience's mind about an issue. Below the students decided they wanted to stop bullying. Students had to plan and work together to complete the final artwork. This artwork was a quick and fun variation to sand art! We looked at the installation created by artist, Ernesto Neto, We Fishing the Time (workm's holes and densities). The artist's work used hundreds of pounds of colorful spices in suspended "legs" from the ceiling of the gallery. Obviously, it wasn't cost effective to order pounds of spices for my kids, so I decided we would use colorful sand. We talked about installation art and how placement was important. We talked about a particular artwork not having the same meaning or message for a viewer if it is placed in a different environment. Students were asked to think of colors and placement of their work. Below, the 4 students felt their art was more aesthetically pleasing if they were placed together. Students can be frustrated by a self portrait! In this project, we reduced the anxiety by using a mirror and transparency sheets. Students taped a transparency to their mirror and used sharpie markers to trace their image. Students created several portraits and layered them together. They ended up looking very pleasing! The project below was my very favorite lesson of the summer! We studied Dale Chihuly and examined his artwork over Chihuly's life. We discussed how artist change their interests over time and the artwork evolves. The studio was super fun. We got acetate plates, cocktail plates, flatware, and flatware. Students colorized the clear dinnerware with sharpies and we used a toaster oven and craft heat gun to shrink and warp them to look very similar to Chihuly's artwork. Students layered pieces and suspended them and other chose to make them sculptural pieces that would sit on a surface.
An important health note: plastic gives off toxic fumes when it is melted. Students were not present when we shrunk the pieces for this reason. We were outside so we had excellent ventilation. If you chose to do this with students make sure you are in a well ventilated area and have students wear masks if they are present during the warping. Also, the toaster oven may not be used for food preparation after this project, so be sure you mark it so there is never any confusion in the future. I called this lesson "feeling drippy" Students used glass paint and pieces of plexiglass cut to 5"x5" squares. They took a look at Jackson Pollock,Barnet Newmann, Kenneth Noland, & Morris Lewis for drippy inspiration. When they were dry, we taped them at the top with clear scotch tape and hung them using fishing line, they were interesting since you could see through them. Below is a variation to a high school project I did earlier this year called identity cups. Students at this age have trouble thinking as abstractly and metaphorically like a high school student. So, I decided to have students think about the personalities of animals. We went around the room and said phrases such as "Fast as a fox" and "free as a bird". Then I asked students to pick an animal that they felt represented an aspect of their own personality. They then made pinch pots and added features of the animal. Below is a snail and a dragon. This project turned out so cool! Laumeier Sculpture park has many generous people who donate add-on collage pieces of "junk". We made Junk Flowers with these found objects and talked about found object art. Christo & Jean-Claude was the inspiration for this wrapping installation project. We talked about the many years and much hard work that Christo & Jean-Claude must complete before they can complete their artwork. Students each created large sketches and diagrams of what they would like to wrap and how they would like to wrap. Then they had to "pitch" their idea to a group of students (just like Christo has to talk to community leaders before he may complete his artwork). Students then decided on which object in our shelter they wished to wrap and discussed logistics. For instance, because the trash can is utilitarian, they had to consider how we would still be able to use it while it was wrapped. This project took a great deal of planning and working together to make successful and students enjoyed showing others at art camp their installations. During the week of natural reactions, we made stick figures, literally! Students hot glued and wrapped twigs with twine to create figures. This one is a bird.
This image is of a celebrity portrait project that was inspired by Andy Warhol. Warhol used celebrities as his muses in much of his work. We looked at Warhol's Marilyn Monroe, specifically. Then, I let students make a huge list (75+) of celebrities. It is a good thing that I let them create the list because the celebrities I would pick were certainly not who they were interested in. Many of the stars they chose I had no idea who they were! This really helped personalize the project for them. I printed up headshots of about 30 of the 75 they listed and students were allowed to create copies using overhead transparency sheets and sharpie markers. They laid their transparency over the head shot (printed black and white on 8 ½ x 11” printer paper and copied dark and light. I showed them techniques for getting “grey”, like crosshatching, stippling, etc. Then, they chose a background color (either analogous or complementary in color theme) and used color masking tape to “frame” their piece. Many students were surprised how accurate their drawings were!