Showing posts with label art blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art blog. Show all posts

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What the Art Teacher Wore #114 and INTERNATIONAL DOT DAY!

Happy International Dot Day, y'all!

I thought I'd share with you what my students created for International Dot Day in this here What I Wore post because I'm so stinkin' excited! My lil artist friends have worked so hard for weeks on these masterpieces (I've shared a sneak peak here and last year's Dot Day here)...and their art teacher (um, that'd be me, speaking in third person like a true crazy) just barely got everything up in time for Thursday's Open House. Over the next coupla weeks, I'll post the complete dotty lessons starting with that Dots-turned-Flower-Garden mural that my sweet first grade artist created as it's my personal fave. Or was it the stitched dots by fourth grade? Maybe the metal dots by third...? Oh, I can't decide, I just loves 'em all!

This week our Word of the Week was inspire and our Artist Inspiration was the author of The Dot, Peter H. Reynolds. We chatted about how The Dot has inspired artists all over the world to "create a mark and see where it takes you". The kids and I talked about how their dots can now inspire others throughout our school. It was so fun to hear them encourage each other and drop the "i" bomb (that'd be "inspire") as they know that anytime anyone says the Word of the Week, everyone says "Whoop! Whoop!" 

In other non-dotty news, I've got a ton of beautiful ladies who've made beautiful aprons to share with you this week! The Apron Sew-Along was so fun that I've come up with another sewing project for those stay tuned, y'all. 

Until then, lemme show you something Dot-tastic!
Lemme introduce to you the Kindergarten dot! With kindergarten, I always start the school year with a construction paper line sculpture (you can read all about my kindergarten unit on line here, if you wanna). Instead of giving the kids rectangular construction paper, I simply gave them either a black or white pre-cut (shutter if you like, it was our first day in art. We'll cut more later.) dot and let 'em have at it. 
Our Word of the Week that first week of school was artist. So after our 45 minute art class, we hoped on the Art Train (um, just a long line of kids that chugga-chugga-chuggas to each table). I held up each kid-created sculpture and would say, "Wow! Morgan is an artist!" to which everyone gave her a Whoop! Whoop! There wasn't a single kid not beaming before they left the art room.
Now, you know, kindergarten is notorious for touching the walls. These have stayed unharmed...and I do believe it's because they created them! 
Totally Dotty Tuesday: Lookin' back on What I Wore for Dot Week last year...I gotta say I did several repeats. Tis okay. Don't nobody need to know...unless I tell em in a blog post. Der. sweater: thrifted; dress: vintage; belt: Target; sandals: Anthro
My first graders are so proud of their mural! They've seen the fourth grader's Warhol Soup Cans and the third grader's Magritte mural so they were ready to create one of their own. So I took down The Great Wave that was still hanging outside my door from last school year's Asian adventure and replaced it with these lovelies. I feel like I'm taking a trip down Candy Cane Lane every day when walking in the art room door!
Y'all might recall from my previous posts that the kids were learning about Kandinsky's concentric circles. After being inspired by that piece, we turned our attention to his other paintings that involve line like Composition VIII. The following art class, we made textured and stamped papers...
and used those to create our flower petals! Like I said, more details to come this upcoming week! Not trying to be vague...but I don't wanna spoil all the fun.
The kids also painted many sheets of line and shape patterned papers for the mural. They informed me that they loved painting on those big sheets o' paper the very best.
Squiggly Lines and Dots Wednesday: The temps here have been slowly dropping so much so that I'm currently sitting in a sweater and wearing tights. TIGHTS! I'm so afraid to pack up summer duds this early because it was only a week ago that we were still trapped in the 90's. Not the decade, the temps. Did I really need to clarify for you? Sorry. sweater: Forever 21, old; dress and belt: Target
So last year, all the kids had a coffee filter dot hanging in the window. It was the first time I'd hung art in the window (what took me so long?!) and it was a huge hit. This year, I picked up a buncha pizza rounds that were white on one side. I painted the other side black (to remove one useless step for my mere 30 minute classes)...
And we talked about Kandinsky again. Which is totes perfect for my second grade friends as they are the grade level I'm taking to see the big ole Kandinsky exhibit that's coming to our local art museum The Frist. We looked at Kandinsky's painting Several Circles  and our word of the week was creative. I challenged the kids to only paint dots or circles on this side of the board. We chatted how we'd have to be super creative with such a constraint and they totally nailed it. I love this dotty painting.

On the reverse, we chatted about line and went crazy creating a line design in black ink. The following art classes we added color. I love how they rotate in the window so both sides of the painting are visible. These kids had Double Dot Duty!
Open House Thursday: I still can't believe it's all up -- all 400 plus kids works of art. I really liked having a deadline to get all the work up and I think I might set that as a goal in the future. It forced me and the kids to really hop to it. AND I also snapped photos of (most) works of art and a super mom uploaded 'em all onto Artsonia for me! Yay, I'm thrilled! You can see them here. art supply blouse: DIY here; pencil skirt: DIY here; pencil shoes: DIY here
My super third graders created these foil relief sculpture dots. I'm currently obsessed with Sharpie on aluminum foil (we've seen it before...and yet it never gets old!). I'm plotting a project for my fourth grade using a similar technique.
But we couldn't just leave 'em be. Oh no, we had to dot-afy the frame as well. ESPECIALLY when metallic markers are thrown into the mix. Then the kids were unstoppable. Or, rather, undotable!
They even wanted to sign their name like "Peter H. Reynolds" which totally cracked me up.
Exhausted but Standing, Friday: Not gonna lie, after a long day (and night) at school on Thursday, I was super pooped. But it was a good, big-sigh-of-relief kind of tired. This weekend is gonna involve lots of chill-axing. And not much else. top, skirt, shoes: thrifted
Here's a peak at what the final display of all my fourth grades stitched art looked like together. I paper clip chained them like I did the second grade paintings. I like the way the look all together like some sort of groovy stitched string art quilt. You can see the complete lesson on this string artiness here. 
I had one class finish their's off the very day of Open House. That didn't stress me out. Oh nooooooo. Not. At. Alllllll. 
And there you have it! 

Happy International Dot Day, everyone! I can't wait to hear all about what you and your students have created for the occasion! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What I Wore #113 and A COSTUME CONTEST!

Magnificent Monday: Not gonna lie, having an extra day added to my weekend was simply splendid. I clocked more pj's -n- crafting hours than usual which was at the top of my To Do list for the weekend. I did manage to look presentable on Monday but only because I needed to make a craft store run. dress: Anthropologie, old; sandals: Target, old
Whut is UP, party people? I dunno about you but, while I love me a nice long three-day weekend, it does leave me feeling a pinch frazzled and fried. When I got to school on Tuesday, it was like waking up with amnesia. I was all, "Who am I? Where am I? Why do these strange children keep coming to my art room and messing the place up?" I tried putting a CLOSED FOR BUSINESS sign on my art room door but neither the kids nor their teachers were buying it. 

Given my aforementioned frazzled -n- fried state, I only managed to snap three photos of what I wore this week! I started to pile just too many things on my plate as the days went on and, well, snapping pics of my outfits just kinda slipped off the plate, I guess. Howevers, this leaves me more room to share with you a couple of exciting things:

** The Winners of the Best Dressed Art Teacher Contest are recognized in the October issue of SchoolArts Magazine! ** 
I'm so excited for these awesome art teachers and their chance to be recognized in a publication that means so much to the art education world. Congrats, y'all!

** I'm hosting a Dress-Like-a-Famous-Artist/Artwork Costume Contest! ** 
That's right, ya'll! The Best Dressed Contest was so much fun that I thought an Artist Costume Contest would be fab. You know, Halloween is right around the corner. This would give you a chance to come up with something fun to wear in your art room AND share with the rest of the art teacherin' world on this here blog. Not only that, but Nancy Walkup, editor of SchoolArts Magazine has agreed to feature the winners! Here's the deets:

1. Dress like a famous artist or work of art! (duh. That's kinda the name of the contest.)

2. Snap a high resolution photo! SchoolArts can only produce such photos in their magazine. If you have no idea what "high resolution" means, I'm going to walk you though those steps in this post!

3. Submit your photo and a brief description of your inspiration to my email address! (

4. Submissions due by Sunday, November 2nd! 

5. Vote on this here blog! Winner will be announced mid-November (it's too far ahead for me to actually give you a date. My brain is small.)

6. Winner will be featured here AND in SchoolArts Magazine! And how cool is that, y'all?!

I hope you are just as excited about this idea as I am. And I can't wait to see what you come up with! How fun will this be, y'all?!
October issue of SchoolArts Magazine where you just might be featured!
Speaking of being featured, special contrats to the following awesomely dressed art educators (clockwise): Natalie Friedl, Michael Kantor, Lindsey Ostafy and Ashley Hammond. Special Thanks with Sugar on Top to Nancy Walkup for sharing these art teachers with the art ed community in SchoolArts Magazine! In case you can't read the copy, here's what it says: Art teacher and blogger Cassie Stephens is widely known in the art education community for her amazing homemade art-related outfits. This year she decided to hold a contest on her popular blog highlighting the very best of the artfully dressed. In the end, six art educators were named "Best Dressed Art Teacher." Here are a few of the winners. 
Putting a face with a name, here's the also-awesomely dressed Nancy Walkup! I need that zigzag dress in my life when I teach line, Nancy. Hook a girl up! It was so fun meeting Nancy at NAEA...I can't wait for the next conference to chat with her again.
Last Days of Summer Tuesday: Even though the temps here are still well into the 90's (with an extra dose of humidity, thanks to some pop-up storms), the leaves have started to fall and it seems the whole world has become a Pumpkin Spice Paradise. I figured this just might be the last time I could wear this week summer number. dress: Bernie Dexter, scored on ebay; sandals: Swedish Hasbeens, sale at Anthro last season; belt: Anthro sale, now
Now, let's chat photography, shall we? When Nancy and I met at NAEA and I took out this Scotch-Taped-Up ole Canon Power Shot of mine (that's at least 5 years of age), Nancy took a step back, sucked in her breath and said, "Is that the camera you use for all of your photos?!" Um, yep. I ain't fancy, y'all. I'm all about the cheap. Now hubs did upgrade me recently...but I still only travel with this guy. You see, you don't need a fancy camera to take great photos. You just gotta now what you're doing. So, lemme show you a couple things that will make snapping your costume pics a bunch easier. 
First of all, you'll wanna take photos that are high resolution. That means Nancy will be able to use them in SchoolArts without them being too pixelated. To make that happen, press the "function/setting" button on your camera. On my camera, when I do that, it looks like this. Do you see where it says M2 at the bottom left? Use the arrow button on your camera, scroll down to that so you can change it. M2 is the size of the photos I use on this blog but it is not big enough of a photo for a magazine.

Now, scroll across to the L setting. If you look closely, you'll see that L has some dimensions above it: 3264 X 2448. That's the printing size. Meaning that's how big you could print that image and have it look good. If you look at the dimensions on the M2, you'll see it's smaller. It cannot print as large of a photo without getting too pixelated. On my camera, to select this new setting, I press the "function/setting" button again.

You'll also need to adjust your "fine" settings. So on my camera, I just scroll up one and scroll across to the Superfine. Cuz that's how I like to consider myself: supah-fine. Once you've gotten "superfine" and "L" set, you're good to snap away! Now, this will bog down your memory if you go back to just snapping normal pics, you might wanna readjust your settings.

If you are snapping photos on your iPhone, check your settings as well. I do not own such a phone (I like to live in a the early 2000's with my dim-witted phone) so you'll have to play around to figure out those correct settings. Personally, I always think a camera is better than a phone photo but that's just me.

Another tip: Use a tripod! AND use your camera timer! I take all of these photos of myself, by myself. A tripod is great because it can be adjusted to find your best angle (c'mon, ladies, you know it's all about the angle!) and it's STILL. How many photos do you have that folks have snapped that are just too darn shaky? None of that with a tripod. Also, set that timer. I use a 10-second timer on my camera and it works great. 

I hope those tips are helpful! I know if you take the time to make something magical, you'll want your photos to be perfect. 
 Tiptoe Through the Patterns Wednesday: I know what you're thinking, "What kind of art teacher steps on kids paintings?!" To answer your question: The kind who also posts countless photos of herself wearing something wacky every week. You know the kind. Ahem. Speaking of these paintings, my friends in first grade worked in groups of two to paint 'em. It's all apart of the big fat Dot Day mural they are creating. They'll be ready to be hung this week (I don't have a choice, our Open House is this Thursday and I've gotta get 'em on the walls!) so I'll share the finished result with you very soon. top: garage sale; beaded necklace: made by me, DIY here; skirt and belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; shoes: thrifted

Can't wait to chat with you again! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

What the Art Teacher Wore #112 and a Winner!

Muumuu Monday: Alright, so I know it's not fitted like a muumuu but it's a horrifying vintage number from Hawaii, so it's close. You know, sometimes, I look back on these What I Wore photos and I think "never again. Never EVER again." Oui. vintage dress: thrifted; shoes: Anthro, gift from a friend.
Happy Three Day Weekend to my friends in the states! I hope everyone has made the most of their time off. I know I've devoted the majority of my time occupying my pajamas and crafting. In fact, I done needle-felted so much I've a crick in my neck. It's been awesome having this extra day to relax and rest up for what's sure to be a wild and wacky week.

Just a coupla thingies before I go any further. Firstly, I have LOVED seeing everyone's finished aprons on the Apron Sew-Along Facebook page and in my email mail box (remember, you can send your photos to! I plan to share the finished aprons right here in an official blog post within the next coupla weeks. So you've got plenty of time to start stitchin' if you've not yet. I enjoyed this sew along so much that I was thinking...should we do another? If so, whatcha wanna sew?

And now I'd like to announce the WINNER of the Spiral Art Giveaway! Congrats to TROUTGIRL! 
 If you recall, I tossed the idea of a giveaway out there a couple weeks ago. To enter all you had to do was share your story of how you became the person you are today. What people inspired you? Who influenced you? How were you motivated? If you've not read the comments, you really should. As a teacher, I found them to be so inspiring not to mention tear-jerk-er-y (which is nothing like beef jerky, in care you are wondering). THANK YOU so much to all of you that shared your personal story. I loved every one! As promised, I put everyone's name in a bowl and randomly drew one. I told y'all I'd share the winner's well as send the prize. So, without further chitty-chat, here's Troutgirl's tale: 

I grew up in rural West Virginia where my art studio was the woods and the creek in the back of our house. I used to make early versions of Andy Goldsworthy sculptures out of sticks, ferns, and rocks in-between throwing them at my 2 older brothers who destroyed them as soon as I made them. From there I moved on to trying new mediums such as putting crayons in the toaster oven to make "candles". It didn't end well. I also had The Sunshine Family which were like Barbies but hippies with a vanagon and I used to make all sorts of things for them.I was into deconstructing and recreating most all my toys including painting my green banana seat bike purple with house paint I found. I am just wondering where my parents were? But the real influence was my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Pence. She moved to our small WV town from the exotic land of Michigan and we all loved her. She was always very tan and had hair that flipped up. One day Mrs. Pence brought in barn wood and Mod Podge for us to make collages! To this day I LOVE the smell of Mod Podge. It makes me happy. We also make a quilt about our town, did a play, and painted landscapes. It was the first time I loved school. Being an artist wasn't even an option where I grew up but luckily I am super stubborn and always found a way to use art as a classroom teacher then jumped at the chance to just focus on arts education. My art studio still is the woods of the Pacitic Northwest and I finally learned how to make candles the right way.
Rainbows and Unicorns Tuesday: I hosted what I hope will become an annual Donuts with the Art Teacher for parents interested in volunteering in the art room. It went really well and I now have a wee army of moms and dads that are willing to help a crazy art teacher out. More details on how I worked my bribery magic to come. top: thrifted; skirt: vintage, etsy; shoes: Target, last summer; necklace: Paper Source; hair palette: made by me
Speaking of spirograph...I did a lil googling to find that there actually is a HUMAN SPIROGRAPH. His name is Tony Orrico and he's a self proclaimed "artist, performer and choreographer." A former dancer, Orrico performs for up to four hours at a time to create his designs. Armed with a Sharpie in each hand, he works meticulously to create these spirograph-inspired drawings. When the Sharpies start to squeak and run out of ink, the drops them, grabs another set and resumes his work with his nose to the floor or wall.
Watching him is fascinating. I loved hearing about his inspiration. I plan to share his work with the kids this week as apart of our celebration of Dot Day.
Wild Wacky and Always Tacky Wednesday: I love this ridiculously tacky outfit. It's a lifetime goal of mine to look like a middle-aged Rainbow Brite. top: vintage, thrifted; skirt and shoes: thrifted
I think this series of his is my favorite. But, really. Can you imagine working like this? He works by pivoting around on his stomach using his feet to direct him and his arms to create the work. What would that be like, to lay on your stomach for hours, not being able to see your creation? When he stands up and sees what he's made, is he surprised? 
Backwards Thursday: So I spied this dress on the sale rack at Anthro while out shopping with some art teacher buddies this week. I lurved it's bold Andy Warhol-esque but didn't like how it was designed. You see, I'm actually wearing the dress backwards. Which means, when worn correctly, that cape thingie is in the back and it TOTALLY looks like a miniature superhero cape but not in a good way. But, when worn this way, I think it's adorbs. So just seam-ripped out the tag and wore it backwards. In true crazy lady fashion. dress and belt: Anthro
Looking here, I wonder if he purposefully changes the value of his markings or if that's unintentional. On another note, this photo cracks me up. He looks like a kindergartener having a fit on the floor, "argh! I'm so angry Ima gonna just scribble all over the place!". Sorry, Orrico. 
 Half a Day Friday: Well, the kids had a half day, we had a whole one. You teachers know how that goes. I find 'em to be more exhausting than a whole day. But the thought of a three day weekend made it pretty painless. top and skirt: vintage; shoes: Frye, Marshall's
While the ones on the walls look like hairy brains to me (which I like as I often feel fuzzy-headed), I'm in love with the piece on the floor. 
After watching the youtube clip, I really thing that Orrico needs to start is own workout DVD series as this looks like the most insane arm and ab workout I've seen. Seriously. I wanna try this! Who's up for a little Sprio-Body-Graph wit me?! In all seriousness, I love Tony Orrico's work and I'm currently trolling the interwebs for more. 

I do hope you all have a super fab SHORT week! I'll be back shortly with a DIY and a coupla video clips of what life is like on the first couple days of my art class. Until then!

Friday, June 20, 2014

In the Art Room with...The Best Dressed Art Teacher!

Hey, kids! That super cute art teacher you see before you (who I think could totally pass as a younger, cuter kid sis of mine), you've actually seen before on this here blog. You might have even voted for her during a lil Best Dressed Art Teacher Contest I hosted I while back. Face not ringing a bell? 

How abouts now? She looks just a pinch different, doncha think? It's amazing what a good eyebrow pluckin' will do.  Meet Natalie Friedl, Best Dressed Art Teacher extraordinaire! I was lucky enough to interview Natalie about her all-around art-teaching-awesomeness and I'm so excited to share her words of wisdom with ya'll today. So, without further jibber-jabber, take it away, Natalie!
Hi, guys! I'm Natalie Friedl and I've been teaching elementary art for 10 years, 9 of these glorious years have been at the wonderful Torrence Creek Elementary school in Huntersville, NC (right outside of Charlotte).  I am originally from NE Ohio where I graduated with an Art Ed. And Studio Arts degree from Kent State University.

I'm also married to the hunky Alan Friedl and we have a beautiful 5 year old princess named Felicity.
Me and the check we gave to Second Harvest Food Bank from our very first Empty Bowls night.
I teach the wonderful world of ART to Kindergarten through 5th grade artists at Torrence Creek Elementary School and have since the doors opened in 2005.  We are a Charlotte Mecklenburg School.  For the last eight years our population has been about 1200 students and this is our first year with half of that.  This year was very busy: in the fall I presented a workshop called "Hooray for Clay" with my partner-in-art, Alicia Waters, at the North Carolina Art Education Conference.  And in the spring, I presented our school's first Empty Bowls success at the NAEA conference along side 5 other wonderful CMS art educators.'s been a whirlwind of fun and art! I wouldn't have it any other way!
One of my favorite pics of a students empty bowl with her artist statement. To find out more about the Empty Bowls project and have your students participate, visit their website. 
  I love being an Art Teacher and have two important pieces of advice to other art educators:

Make like minded friends.
Don't get me wrong non-artsy people are good folks too but artsy-smartsy peeps just get our craziness! The best thing I ever did was to become friends with my BFF Sarah Beirne ( while in art ed classes at Kent State University and then meet Wade Cox at the NAEA convention in New Orleans and help to hire Ms. Alicia Waters (  These 3 amazing art educators are my ART TEACHER BFFs!  They are my support system for great ideas, new lessons, CRAZY talk, venting, NAEA and NCAEA travel buddies but most importantly my friends.

My team is a WONDERFUL support system too! Mrs. Joyce Mutter, our technology teacher and Beth Smiley, our media specialist help me to carry out my ideas into real life success along with being the best co-workers and friends a girl could ask for.
They get my crazy and we all need that.
Get involved.
Become a NAEA member, go to the conferences, become a state art ed association member and travel to their conferences or if you are lucky like me your district has art education professional developments. Shout out to Cheryl Maney - Visual Arts and Dance curriculum specialist!
By joining these organizations and attending their functions you become knowledgeable on what's new and you meet important people!
 Just like I did when I met my new friend, Cassie Stephens!
 Now, about Natalie's Frida Kahlo look...

I love teaching art to the little artists of TCES and this Halloween I decided to take a sick day to enjoy my favorite holiday. Well, I was so happy to find that Frida Kahlo herself had recently become a substitute in our system.  I quickly called her and she agreed to sub for me on Halloween!

I was sad to miss the fun but my students filled me in on her life, stories she told, new Spanish words they learned and completed the class with an oil pastel drawing of her including her pets, colorful tissue paper flowers and glitter galore! Most TCES artists loved her thick Spanish accent too!

To this day the kids mix my name up with Frida by calling me "Frida Friedl" and it cracks me up because I remind them that I was absent that day. So FUN! 
The amazing artwork that resulted in Frida's substituting stint.

Frida Kahlo has always been one of my favorite artists because of the vibrant colors she uses and her Mexican culture. Not to mentions, she was an amazingly creative and strong woman. After I traveled to Mexico several times I was under Frida's spell.  She is a colorful person to look at herself from studying many of her self-portraits.  It was a no-brainer for me to dress up as her.
 I drove to school with a black wig tied up with flowers, a large uni-brow and bright red lipstick. As I entered the school my Spanish began to flow and Frida Kahlo was in full force for the rest of the day.  We learned about Frida's life, studied many of her self-portraits and created a portrait of her with one of her pets using oil pastels, tissue paper flowers and GLITTER.  We even listened to Mariachi folk music as we created and also learned about El Dia de Los Muertos.  It was a fun and an exhausting day that left the art room floor very messy yet sparkly.

This was my first time--but not my last time-- dressing up in full costume as a famous artist. I have a lot more up my sleeve for next school year! I do enjoy wearing art themed shirts such as Warhol's soup cans, crayon shirts, Make Art Not War, Keep Calm and Teach Art.  I am not a stranger to crazy hats, crazy hair or crazy socks days either.  There have also been many a time where I have worn complementary colors and had reindeer antlers coming out of my head.

I urge all ART TEACHERS to dress up! The kids EAT IT UP and will remember more from you teaching with a unibrow than your paint-splattered apron!

(OMG, yous guys, don't you LOVE Natalie?! Can I puh-lease adopt her as my kid sister??)
I have tried a variety of super fun activities but the art making projects that mean the most are the ones in which we create art to help others.  Most recently our school participated in students rebuild in which we created enough magazine beads to give clean drinking water to over 40 people in Tanzania ( This year was also our first Empty Bowls night in which the entire school created or helped create a bowl and then they were sold and auctioned off.  We raised over $2,000 for Second Harvest Food Bank!!!

 Some other very meaningful art experiences that we have participated in are cards for Vietnam Veterans and The Memory Project's - books for Africa.The first picture is of the magazine beads my students made for students

Thank you SO MUCH, Natalie! You are truly an art-teachin' inspiration! Her students and colleagues   are so lucky to have her, doncha think?! Unibrow and all. 

Now, this isn't the last you'll be seeing of Natalie and some other folks from the Best Dressed Contest -- oh no! They'll be featured in non-other than SchoolArts Magazine thanks to the editor Nancy Walkup. How exciting! I'll be sure to share that with you in the near future. Oh and if you need more art-teacher-dressin'-craziness, go here, ya'll. It's like a Starter Kit to Crazy Town. Until next time, ya'll!