Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In the Art Room: A Dotted Relief Sculpture

You know those flakey art teacher types that, although they've taught art for something close to 100 years, they still neglect to order art supplies until well into the school year? 

"Good heavens, no!", you say, "I don't know nor would I ever associate with any of those types of art teachers."

Oh, but you do. Hello, my name is Cassie and I am Queen of the Flakey Art Teachers. Seriously. And I've got a glitter-encrusted crayon-crown to prove it (if I could only find the blasted thing).
Why make this announcement in this here Dotted Relief Sculpture post? Because this project was born outta an empty art supply cupboard. In fact, I've rewritten a (disturbingly morbid, go here and read and tell me I'm lyin') children's poem just for the occasion. I've titled it Old Mutha Stephens:

Old Mutha Stephens
Opened her cupboard to be retrievin's
Some paint, colored pencils and glue.
But when she came there
Her cupboard was bare!
And so her students used foil and plates and didn't have a clue
That their art teacher was a Big Crazy Unorganized Flake.

(Okay, so that last bit is a work in profess, you'll have to forgive me).
What's that? You too strive to be just as flakey as me and wish to dupe your student into thinking you just dreamed up the most awesome project on the planet? Oh, well then. You came to the right place. Get yourself to the nearest grocery store and grab the following:


* Super cheapo styrofoam plates. You want the cheap ones because they cut much easier. Each kid will need two so go for the largest supply.

* Spray Glue. I like 3M because it doesn't suck. 

* Cheapo aluminum foil. The thin stuff works great.

* Sharpies in a lotta colors. 

* Glue. You know, like, Elmers or something.


After reading The Dot, the kids traced a circle that was the size of the center of their styro plates. After cutting out two circles, they used one as the base for their relief sculpture. The other circle was used to trace bottle caps and cut out smaller circles. These were glued to the larger circle. After they had a minimum of three smaller circles with a maximum of two stacked on top, they visited me at a separate table where I hit their work with a shot of spray glue and slapped a piece of foil on top. They returned to their seats to "massage" the foil and reveal the circles underneath. The extra foil was cut away from the circle and tucked underneath. Then the fun of coloring designs in sharpies began...


I gave the kids a zen-tangle-meets-circles idea sheet to get the ball, er dot, rolling. I'm a big believer in what we call "idea sheets" as I'm one of those artists that always needs ideas and never just has 'em pop into my lil head. For my wee artists that are the same, I provide idea sheets. The kids know that they are just ideas and they don't have to use them if they don't need 'em.
After the first hour of work, their dots looked a lil like this. I loved 'em so but I just couldn't imagine them being hung like this. So the kids began working on dotted frames to mount them.
Which were stamped with round stamps in white. The kids added color to the white dots with either paint or makers. Once those dried, they embellished their frames with Magical Metallic Markers (which are only "magical" because I told the kids I'd bought 'em just for them and that their nemesis, the fourth graders, had not used 'em yet. This got a lotta yesssss!es from the third grade crowd.)
To mount 'em, the kids chose a colorful piece of paper that they thought enhanced their design. A larger circle was traced and their metal dot was glued atop.
And that was then glued to their super groovy dot-erific frame.
The kids all loved how Peter H. Reynolds signed his name with his middle initial and several of 'em followed suit.
I'd say there's no dot, er doubt about it, these bad boys are dot-alicious (okay, okay, I'll stop. But I'm at the end of my post, just trying to bring it all together for ya!).
Funny story: just this afternoon, my personal hero, our school bookkeeper, announced over my phone, "Mrs. Stephens! It's Christmas in the office, your supply order came in!" and wouldn't you know it, the kids cheered HURRAY! 

Looks like Mutha Stephens just hit the art teacherin' mutha load. Empty cupboards no more, yippie!

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11 comments:

  1. I love this flakey we don't have any supplies project, looks are deceiving because these are quite beautiful! I especially love how the tin foil looks with the stamped background! I don't get to order my supplies till November (EKK!) so I have resorted to saying lines from Ferngully when students waste paper. "Can't you feel it's pain?" The students then remind me that the tree is already dead, so it doesn't know it is being wasted and used as a paper towel neck tie.... Oh middle school.

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  2. Glad to be in the club!

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  3. Ummm.....errrr...I....ummmmm....haven't done my order yet either!!!

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  4. Anonymous9/24/2014

    The smell of the spray adhesive is so strong, I don't feel I can use it without causing the kids (and myself) harm from breathing the fumes. I have 5 classes in a row. Any thoughts on this?

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    1. It is a little odor-ific, I'll give you that. And with 5 glasses in a row, that would definitely be a problem. Could you possibly do it outside? The kids could finish massaging their foil could then start adding their designs. I have a class set of clipboards for when we work outside or draw on the floor...could you take a clipboard for each kid to use outside (if you don't have a class set, I bet there are some classroom teachers that would be willing to lend you theirs). Just a thought.

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  5. Some good ideas, thanks for sharing

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  6. Grr. I wrote a nice little comment, complete with some snarky dot humor, and I guess it disappeared into the darn cloud that I have no idea what the heck it is. Anyhow I'll try to get a-'round' to it again tomorrow...

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  7. Anonymous10/07/2014

    I tried this myself and the tinfoil ripped when I rubbed my fingers on it to get the design. Any tips? Want to do this with my 4th grade! Thank you!!!!

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    1. Anonymous10/07/2014

      My name is Amanda by the way....I do not have a google account so I had to pick anonymous :)

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  8. This dotted relief sculpture is very pretty. I like the way you used tin foil to make such a unique Aboriginal Art sculpture. I’ll definitely try making it. Thanks for the idea dear!

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  9. This is an awesome lesson plan. I'm diggin it. However, the colored sharpies are really hard to come by, and I'm going to have to go shopping...

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)