So all my students, kinder-town through 4th-grade-land, are participating in International Dot Day. I know several of you art teacherin' peeps are doing the same, amiright? I have absolutely loved dreaming up projects that I hope (fingers and toes crossed) have been artistic, creative, unique and inspiring (our feature Word(s) of the Week for these first four weeks of school). I'll give you a sneak peak of all our projects at the end of the week with complete lessons to come. In the meantime, lemme introduce you to my favorite dot lesson to date, the String-Stitched Dot!
Dude. After seeing this 4th grader's stitched design I've decided I wanna create a stitched color wheel! Doesn't this one totally remind you of that? I love his pattern.
I gave the kids three design options to choose from with the freedom to play with those ideas, change 'em and make them their own. I love how this artist used symmetry and color to create a sunset-esque stitch.
One of the ideas the kids could stitch was one we called "rotating squares". This was not an easy design to stitch but once you got the hang of it, it went by in a flash. None of the kids wanted to stop stitching so many of them thought of ways to enhance that design idea. I liked how Tony found a way to stitch a circle around this squares.
For this lesson, we used the following:
* 10" X 10" cardboard (I did a lil dumpster diving for those)
* Paint and brushes (because the cardboard looked like, well, cardboard. We had to jazz it up.)
* Florescent yarn (because this here art teacher is currently on an '80's kick, can ya tell?)
* Tapestry needles (what big eyes you have! The better to thread you with, my dear.)
* Stitching template (so we all end up with the same 16 evenly spaced lines)
* Masking tape
On our very first day of art, after covering all this biznatch, the kids painted their pieces of cardboard, "thickly and quickly". Meaning, since they had the option of using texture combs, they needed to make sure the paint was thick and wet as the comb can only rake the surface and create super cool textures when it is. Then I gave the kids of using florescent paint to add some splatters as, let's be honest, splatter painting is super rad. AND makes the first day of art just about the best thing everrrrr.
On our second day of art, after our Word of the Week/Artist Inspiration routine, we had to prep our board for stitching. For that, I gave the kids these old coffee container lids with 16 evenly spaced notches drawn with silver Sharpie. The kids were to make sure the circle was placed 2" from the top/bottom and sides (well, hello thar, math connection!) before tracing it and drawing tick marks for the notches.
Once done with that, the kids were given such dangerous art supplies as push pins and needles.
With the push pins, the kids put the initial holes in their boards where the notches were drawn. Because they'd be stitching with thick tapestry needles, I then had them go back and push the needles through the board to make the notches even bigger. From there, the kids had to start plotting their design...
For this, they got a worksheet. Yay, worksheets! They had to complete the directions of each design ("even if I don't want the other designs?!" YES. DO. IT. RIGHT. MEOW.) They were also given the option to come up with their own ideas, or mix and match the ones I suggested, on the right.
To best explain this process, I created a lil video clip. There are several steps so I hope I'm making some sort of sense. I showed the kids the steps to stitching ALL three of these designs that way they could feel free to pick and choose/mix and match once they were on their own.
And now! For a Totally Inappropriate Short Story!
Gather 'round friends, this one's a gem:
So, on that very first day of stitching, when I'm walking the kids through the steps, I thought it might be less confusing for them if I referred each of the 16 holes in their stitching board as a letter. This way they could remember stuff like, "I stitch from A to B, from A to C, back to A then to D", for 'zample. However, whilst in the midst of teaching, I may or may not have mistakenly said this several times (unbeknownst to my innocent babies!):
"You first start at the A-hole. Then you go to the B-hole. Return to the A-hole. REMEMBER! If you are doing a radiating design, you always return to the A-hole."
And I think it was the phrase always return to the A-hole that actually stopped me mid-breath and caused a rash of red to creep over my face. My mind started racing: did I just say the words A-hole to my kids, not once but several times, and neither me nor the kids noticed?! If I don't call it A-hole, what DO I call it? The "A-Spot"? What happens when we get to the letter G?! OMGeee, what am I gonna do?!
And it was then that we began to refer to the notches as numbers. And all was A-hole-free in art land. WHEW.
I gotta say, the kids loved this project. Especially my boys. Which I don't find that surprising as they are always the ones that love any weaving projects we do. It's that working-with-my-hands/math-mind that makes them adore these types of things. Is that sexist? Maybe. Is it true? Yes.
A coupla kids found ways to incorporate their initial in the design. This one kills me ask it looks like the symbol for Anarchy...and this sweet child is the furthest thing from a punky-Anarchist.
I love how this artist played with our school colors to create her design.
And there you have it! A String-Stitched Dot for Dot Day! Do you think this is a project that you'd give a go in your art room? I do believe your kids would dig it.
For our display, I decided to connect the boards together with a coupla paperclips. I love how they look as a group...ready for Dot Day!
And what are you up to for Dot Day? I'd love to know what your kids are creating so puh-lease share, y'all!