Sunday, November 18, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #43

Matching my Mini-Me Monday: So I have this third grade student that refers to her self as "mini-Mrs. Stephens" (poor girl) and tries her best to imitate my tacky-tasticness. The day before her art class, she informed me to wear "a vest, a tie, a puffy skirt and a big bow in your hair like Lady Gaga so we can match." We were quite the sight, if only I'd snapped a photo. dress: old, Francesca's; vest: vintage, thrifted; tights: Target; boots: Hunter, ebay 
Hey there. I come to you on my wonderfully long Thanksgiving break. That's right, I've got a week off for the occasion. About which I'd be just a bit more excited if I wasn't surrounded by bottles of Nyquil, wadded up tissues and half empty cups of tea, coffee and gluhwein. Gluh-what, you ask? That's fancy German-speak for a traditional mulled-wine which is perfect on a chilly evening when you are feeling as I do. I've been using this recipe here.

Speaking of Germany, that's the country my students are going to be studying after Thanksgiving break. AND after they finish up these French-themed projects. Which seem to be taking forever. I've got my passport station set up, photos of Jes in Germany printed and now I'm onto the research of the great country of Germany and their traditional crafts. I've decided that one grade level is going to create their own version of a cuckoo clock. Since I've been doing research on these bad boys, I thought I'd share it with you as apart of this week's art history lesson. I hope you enjoy. And to my friends in Germany, please feel free to add info I'm sure to miss. Thanks for dropping by!
Cuckoo clocks hail from the southwestern part of Germany called the Black Forest (or Schwarzwald  in German). The Romans originally gave the Black Forest it's name because of the dense growth of coniferous trees that block out the sunlight. The story goes that the first cuckoo clock was created around 1730 by a clock-maker who added a moving bird to his clock that would announce the hour with it's cuckoo call. The clock maker got his idea from a church organ. 
Feelin' Squirrely Tuesday: Just a matter of days before our Thanksgiving break and the kids and I are just trying to make it. I tried very hard to get most of our Parisian projects wrapped up so we could begin our study of Germany after break. sweater: sale! right now! Urban Outfitters; skirt: vintage, gift from a friend; tights: Target; boots: Seychelles
Okay, when I think of cuckoo clocks, this is what comes to mind. However, the first clocks actually had a flat panel of wood with a floral or fruit still-life painted on it. There was a little door for the cuckoo and, of course, the clock. These clocks were usually sold door-to-door by clock-peddlers who wore huge backpacks depicting the clocks, the dials and the movements. In the year 1850, a cuckoo clock competition was held and an architect by the name of Friedrich Eisenlohr won for his design that depicted imagery very similar to what is seen above. This style is called the Bahnhausle.
Oh, Wednesday. Always the middle child: Okay, check out this new-to-me Anthro sweater. It's inspired me to root through my rarely worn sweaters and give them a new DIY life. I just love that big ole applique flower. sweater and dress: Anthropologie, picked up for cheap at Buffalo Exchange; tights: Target; boots: Frye
I totally love this style. It's called the Swiss Chalet style cuckoo clock because it originated in Switzerland in the late 1800's. These clocks feature more than the appearance of a cuckoo bird at the beginning of each new hour. Popular animated figures include beer drinkers, wood cutters and dancing couples. Notice that the weighted pine cones are also on these clocks.
Amelia Bedelia Thursday: My second graders totally had an Amelia Bedelia moment in the art room. When I gave them used envelopes to keep their small cut out shapes in, I told them to "scratch out" the other persons name and write their own. I knew I had misspoke when I heard the following convo: (kid #1)"I just can't seem to scratch out the name!"...(kid #2)"here, let me try, I have really long fingernails". Ha! sweater, red dotted top, skirt: all from Goodwill; tights: Target; shoes: Fluevog
I am totally in love with these cuckoo clocks by contemporary artist Stefan Strumbel. He's from the Black Forest region and uses some very traditional methods in his non-traditional work. I love how he plays on themes of folklore and popular culture. You can check out more of his work here.
Catching a Cold/Surprise Observation Friday: That's right, an observation of my last class of the day before break. Did I mention I was also sick? To be fair, my insanely sweet vice principal asked if it was okay and I agreed. We'll have to wait and see how it went as I've decided not to open my score results until after break. jacket: Anthro, picked up at Buffalo Exchange; skirt: vintage, thrifted; boots: good ole Seychelles
In my research, I found this adorable fabric here. It's by the fabric designer Kelly Lee-Creel and it's from her Storybook line. I promptly ordered myself a couple of yards and I am mid-way through a new dress. I can't wait to share it with you. Sadly, I made the unwise decision to include sleeves...and if you've been reading here long, you know how I feel about ... sleeves.  If you don't know, let's just say, I ain't cuckoo over 'em.
I hope you have a wonderful start to your week tomorrow! Chat with you soon.


  1. Leave it to the art teacher to drink glue-wine. haHA! Have a great break!

    1. You know, I should try just might work! Enjoy your Thanksgiving too!

  2. I bought a yard of that same fabric this summer, not sure what I will do with it. I'm interested to see what you do with your German study, especially the clocks. We love cuckoo clocks.

  3. mallory11/19/2012

    SICK! No!!!! Not on break!!
    In other news, cuckoo clocks are the best and I can't wait to see what the kids do with the idea! I also thought it was highly appropriate that you saw me on your squirrely tuesday :)

    I hope you feel better soon!

  4. You look almost (not sure about the green tights!) conventionally dressed this week! ;-)

    We had a German cuckoo clock we bought there when on a visit to see German family I'd forgotten all about it. I was about 8 yrs old. I wonder where it is now.

  5. Ha! I know, someone told me last week I was "losing my touch" ;) I think it's the fact that I'm currently a pinch too lazy to crazy-ize my hair.

    I've been to Germany a couple of times and yet to pick up a clock! It's now on my list.

    Did I tell you cut out part of the dress pattern you sent me? Super excited...and then ran out of fabric! Waiting for more to come in the mail :)

  6. I am so excited to do these with my students. I did a study abroad program in Reutligen Germany and I very nervously brought home a Cuckoo Clock from the Black Forest. She was beyond thrilled. I have to dust off my Germany pictures for my students. I even have some German music I can play while they are working. I have all kinds of ideas running through my head now. Thanks again for the inspiration! I can always count on you.


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