Showing posts with label collaborative. Show all posts
Showing posts with label collaborative. Show all posts

Thursday, January 11, 2018

In the Art Room: "I Am..." Mobiles

So...at the BEGINNING of the school year, I got the idea for this collaborative project...and, here we are MIDWAY through the school year and I'm finally assembling and sharing it with you. Story of my life, y'all.
At the start of the school year, I dyed a bunch of clothes pins by placing them in a bin of watered down paint. I later learned that food coloring works well also. I dyed them red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
 When the students came in, we read The Dot (yes, this was our Dot Day attempt!) and we spoke about all of the things that we are. "I am creative. I am amazing. I am silly. I am funny." You get the idea.
I had the kids get two colorful clothes pins (any color the wanted) and one plain one. On the colorful clothes pin, they were to write their name on one and a word that described them on another. 
On the plain ones, I had them with  monochromatic Sharpies and create a design. I did this project with my first and second grade students who have 30 minute art classes. My third and fourth graders, who have an hour, did a different collaborative project:
You can find out details on this project here. I at least managed to get this project finished and hung at the start of the year! 
 After the kids were done with the clothes pins, I had them sort them by color. Then I clipped them around 9" cardboard pizza rounds. I then painted the center black and used the kids' painted papers to create the I am... in the middle. Initially I was going to hang these in the hallway but I was afraid they would get damaged without a watchful eye on them.
 AND because they are so stinkin' pretty I wanted to be able to see them all the time! I used command hooks and yarn to hang them above my window. They did keep rotating which would have been fine if I'd had the kids draw on BOTH sides of the clothes pin (which you might wanna do if you do this project). To keep them forward facing, I simply hot glued them together where you see them touching/overlapping a bit. 
Another happy rainbow addition to the art room that I'm happy to finally have on display!

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Monday, September 18, 2017

In the Art Room: Learning For All Collaborative

Those who are unfortunate enough to have to work with me know that I'm a bite-off-more-than-I-can-chew/start-now-figure-it-out-later/wild-and-crazy kind of gal. Thankfully, I work with The Best folks who not only tolerate my silliness but, I daresay, encourage and facilitate my weird ways. All that jib-jab to say this: look what the kiddos created for our 2017 collaborative! Learning for All with a contribution from each of my first through fourth grade artists and a whole lotta blood, sweat and (after misfires of the staple and hot glue gun) tears on behalf of me and my P.E. teacherin' buddy Ali Starkweather!
Ah! This 5' 6" mama weighs in at just over 15 lbs and is every bit of awesome, if I do say so. I've had the itch to create something in our foyer every since the kiddos created our Johnson Elementary sign a couple of years ago. And, with the successful creation of this massively heavy mosaic beast, I KNEW the custodians and maintenance dudes could make hang the monster...but how to create it? 
I originally got the idea this summer while I was at the hardware store and spotted paint stirring sticks. Before I knew what was happening, I was taking the folks at Home Depot into donating a ton of sticks to me for the cause. I was inspired by the Color Wheel Clock I created some years ago and just kind of went from there. 
With this inspo in mind, the first days of school, I had my first through third grade kiddos paint a stick with a color and white. This was easy: after going over the rules, routines and whut-nots of the first day, I was like, here, let's paint a stick, doesn't that sound fun?! After a resounding NO!, I chatted about creating a collaborative and a legacy piece to leave behind. That was a little more inspiring. With our leftover paint, we created painted papers for future projects.  
 My fourth grade kiddos were given the large paint stirring sticks. Those I did have to pay for as Home Depot decided they had to draw the line somewhere. I didn't mind. The kids were given baskets of analogous colors and requested to "leave their mark". They happily did so. After a wee sword fight with the sticks. 
Once all the sticks were complete, the MASSIVE assembling began. I'm not even gonna lie: I hardly snapped any photos as I wasn't sure if this was even going to be possible. In fact, it wouldn't have been possible had my buddy Ali not stepped in. She was determined this was gonna work. I'm so thankful she helped me...otherwise it would still be in bits in the art room!
 I just so happened to have the large round canvas at my house, sitting around, collecting dust. Ali and I began by laying out the colors of the shorter sticks and deciding how they would go together. When someone asked how it was assembled, I believe Ali put it best, "Lots of hot glue, gorilla glue, and a staple gun....and then LOTS of hot glue, gorilla glue and a staple gun!!! lol..." She says LOL but what that really means is for real tho. There's a reason we didn't snap any photos of the assembly.
Y'all better believe I wanted this bad boy up in time for Open House. And all y'all better also believe it was only finished the day of. In fact, these sweet fellas had to wait a pinch as the wording I had JUST painted needed to dry. 
And then, of course, the domino effect of disasters transpired: the lift stopped working; I didn't paint the wording to align with the hanger on the back (no surprise there)...but there was no need to worry. By some miracle of miracles, the lift was fixed the so was my hanger malfunction. And, viola! Masterpiece hung in time for Open House!
 High five to these handsome devils!
Every morning, when I do morning duty, I've been pleased as punch to see this happiness greeting our kiddos as they enter our school. This mantra is a portion of our school motto...and I believe everyone who loves to teach at Johnson Elementary agrees. 
 Even if some of 'em are a wee bit crazy. But I'm in such good company! 
Thanks for letting me share! This was a fun collaborative...and one that my wee artists and I (as well as all who were involved!) are mighty proud of!
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Monday, May 15, 2017

In the Art Room: A Legacy Mosaic Mural

So one day before the art show, we managed to pull together and pull off one of our biggest collaboratives to date: our Legacy Mosaic Mural!
This big honkin' mama-jama was created by my first thru third grade students. I knew that my kindergarten and fourths would need two weeks for their clay projects...and that my other kiddos would only need one. But when we work with clay, we ALL work with clay so I knew I'd need a project for that group which would carry us thru the second week. And that's when I got the idea for this big ole project. Here's the video I created months ago for the kids. Feel free to use in your art teacherin' world!
I'm a big fan of the artist and illustrator Galia Bernstein and this project was inspired both by her and by the book Who is the Beast? by Keith Baker. 
I know you can totally see the influence, can't you? I've always loved this book. When I came to my school so many years ago, I loved that a tiger was the mascot. It meant I could share this book even more with the kids!
So, who did we do it? Lemme tell ya.
First grade made the flowers, second grade made the butterflies and third grade made the birds. Everyone who finished their small piece then created a leaf or two. Before each piece was placed in the kiln, I placed the alphabet noodles of the kid's initials into the clay. These noodles burned off in the kiln and left behind the impression of the initials. 
Once each piece was out of the kiln, I created a diluted black glaze. Then I dunked just the surface of each piece in the glaze and then gave them a quick wipe on a damp sponge. This part was time-consuming (the entire thing was, honestly). But I just sat one day after school and dunked, swiped, dunked swiped until they were complete. 
These pieces were then returned to the students where they were tasked with glazing just the raised surface. I did limit the palette so that it wouldn't be too much of a sea of color. Flowers were yellow, pink and red, birds were blues, butterflies were purple, orange and yellow. Leaves were a variety of green. 
 After these were fired the second time, the workload was on me. I had acquired this huge frame last year and I'd been dreaming of a mosaic project since. I measured the inside of the frame which is 3' X 4'. I went to the local hardware store where they cut me a piece to size. I also picked up a jumbo bottle of Gorilla Glue and high gloss paint. My P.E. teacher buddy painted the board for me. From there my custodian friend glued and drilled the board into the frame.  
 I created the tiger. This literally took me 45 minutes to draw out, cut and texture-ize. With the art show looming, I was short on time which meant I was in hustle mode. That dried a matter of days. This past Sunday, I came in, laid out and glued each piece, glazed and fired the tiger. 
 In other news, does anyone know how to get Gorilla Glue off of skin? I've had it on my hands FOR DAYS now!
The tiger came out of the kiln this morning and was glued into place. This massive masterpiece will not be grouted. Before hanging it, it weighed in at 70 lbs. Grout would have only made it heavier.
 There were small empty spaces that were driving me nuts. I remembered I had a stash of decorative marbles and glued them in place. I LOVE them as they add a bit of sparkle to the piece. 
Stroke and Coat by Mayco is the best, y'all!
 This afternoon, my custodian friends worked tirelessly to get this beast up on the wall. It's drilled into the wall as well as supported by both a hanger and a beam underneath. 
 And the pieces are rock solid with that glue.
With the art show tomorrow, I'm so excited that we were able to pull this one off! It is my favorite collaborative to date!
 We do a lot of collaboratives and legacy projects. You can find out more about our chalked ceiling tiles, our You Be You mural and our JES selfies too! 
Because we do so many collaboratives, my students rarely are upset if they don't get to "take it home". I emphasize that this is their beautiful mark they are leaving behind...and for real, look how beautiful it is! I'm so happy with my sweet artists and this beast of a creation. Love to hear of any mosaics y'all have done like this! 
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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Field Trip! Mural Artist Gale Hinton

Recently, our school library was magically transformed thanks to our amazing librarian Laurel Aiello and magnificent muralist Gale Hinton
Over a weekend (that's just a matter of days, y'all!), Gale worked tirelessly, climbing up scaffolding and ladders with just paint and imagination as her tools. Gale does little preplanning; no sketching on walls and definitely no projecting of images. She's been doing murals for 50 years (!) and manages to create masterpieces in a matter of hours. When I walked in the library the morning she had started working, she had already created the background of the large mural above the checkout desk. I knew then that I wanted to interview her for my Field Trip! series and I was thrilled when she agreed. 
Isn't she amazing!? 
The selection of books that our librarian pulled for Gale to serve as inspiration. The kids were thrilled to walk in the library and play a game of I Spy looking for the book characters. Gale even has the characters talking to each other which adds another dimension to the mural. 
Gale said she wanted the mural to appear accessible to the students so she had it grow outside of the rectangle border with the ladder coming down from the treehouse and Fancy Nancy dancing on the bookcase. 
 The ladder is so realistic, we've had several kids ask to climb it! 
The speed with which Gale paints is amazing. She began this mural and the one below at 4:30pm and had them both complete by 9 that evening! 
One of my favorite parts of the mural are the quotes that she and Laurel chose. They are so inspiring and empowering for our students. I have yet to tire of reading them and just gazing at all of the beautiful work that Gale did.  
A question I received from my students was why I wasn't painting the mural. As art teachers, our kiddos often see us as the all-encompassing artist. I responded that I am an art teacher, that my skills lie in teaching art. Gale is a professional mural artist, that is her skill which she has cultivated over many years of hard work. There is NO WAY 1. I would get on that scaffolding (and a ladder on top of that, my hands are sweating just thinking about it!) and 2. that I could paint so quickly and with such confidence. What took her days would take me MONTHS and it still wouldn't look nearly as amazing. 
 The beautiful murals were dedicated to Laurel's husband T.J. Aiello. He would have loved seeing the library transformed into such a magical and amazing space. 
 For now, this is my favorite quote painted by Gale...my opinion changes every time I go in the library. 
Thank you so much, Gale, for sitting down with me and the students of JES to chat. AND thank you for sharing your incredible talents on the walls of our school library! 
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