Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Let's Talk Clay! Part 1

Well hello there, y'all! It's been a minute...and, if you haven't heard, a lot has happened around here. Like, for instance, me stepping away from teaching art in a classroom setting after doing so for 25 years! I KNOW. CRAZY. All the details on THAT very soon but first...a little something that I've been promising on Instagram for quite some time: a big ole post on all things CLAY. 

Let's first cover my supply list of Must-Have's for working with clay:
* TOOTHBRUSHES! I'm so sorry to shout...actually, I'm not. You will thank me later but THIS is what your kids should be using when they slip and score. Buy this set and use them year after year!
* WATER DISHES! This is where we keep our slip. In fact, I use the same set of no-spill cups each year, just add more clay to it. When clay time is over, I let the water evaporate and just leave the dried clay inside. When the new year begins, I just add water and we have insta-slip! Kids dip their brushes here. We also have a set of these just for I don't have to worry about cleaning them out when we switch from clay to painting!
* DOGGIE DISHES! Okay, so this is an alternative to the no-spill cups. I love these! We use these also when painting. So if the other cups are too much for your budget, try these!
* DOILIES! Since I started shouting, now I just can't stop. I LOVE fact, just scroll below and you'll see a ton of my projects features a's from theses bad boys! You can also find them at your local thrift store and yard sale so be on the look out!
*SKEWERS! I think we all know about using skewers with clay but one thing that really always bothered me was how long they were. I was always thinking someone was gonna lose an eye! Not a happy thought. I discovered these shorter skewers a couple years ago and now...this is all we use. 
*TRAYS! Contain all of that dusty mess with trays. I didn't start using trays until recently and I was like WHERE HAS THIS BEEN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE?! 
* GARLIC PRESSES! Oh man. You can't just get one of these. You're gonna need bunches! I found them here...but I have also found them less expensive at the Dollar Tree and Walmart. 
* REUSEABLE TOWELS! Oh man...I cannot tell you how much this saved the MESS in my room this year. Hear me out: I placed a bin of water on each table with a splash of soap and 2 towels. At the end of each art class, the kids used a towel to both clean their hands and the table. This kept the dust mess down! My custodian friend was so happy. 

The other items you'll find on my list are the air dry clays I've used in the past. I'm also sharing glaze (which is only used on kiln fire clay). I purchase my clay locally from The Clay Lady. She also sells the clay mats I strongly recommend. If you purchase your clay locally, you'll be supporting local businesses. 

And now...on with the show!

Isn't it crazy to think that we are expected to know about all things clay...just cuz we have an art teacherin' degree?! Well, I created a video sharing everything I know about clay. You can catch even more details in this blog post. 

Of course, there are plenty of ways to add beautiful color to ceramics without the hassle of a second fire and of the expense of glaze. I'll share a TON of projects in the second installment of this blog post that do not require glaze...and still look amazing. BUT FIRST...
What is Clay is a video I created several years ago to share with my students on the very first day of working with clay. With my 30 minute classes, we watch the videos and then we spend the rest of class just rolling up our sleeves and getting a little messy. It's a great introduction to clay, no matter what the project. Here's a peak at the video:
And now...a moment from our sponsor. 

Me. I'm the sponsor. 
Many of my projects can also be done with air dry clays, either homemade or store-bought. And if you are kiln-less and would like a little more guidance, I wrote a whole book about it! You can find it here
Okay, y'all. I really thought I could also add all my favorite clay projects also in this blog post BUT...I think I'll save that for the second installment of this series, so stay tuned. Until then, have a good one!

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Sunday, January 8, 2023

Favorite Lessons for Valentines Day and Celebrating LOVE!

Let's talk all things Valentine's and celebrating LOVE, shall we? I'm putting together A TON of lessons in this post from weaving to painting, sculpture to clay all for your heart-themed pleasure. So, let's get started!

This Jen Stark lesson was one my students really enjoyed last year. You can find all the details, including a video, right here
I did this lesson with my kindergarten and third graders last year and both LOVED it. It's so open ended and allows for big messes and exploration. Try doing this on large paper for big, colorful results. I just happened to have a ton of this large yellow construction paper so that's what we used! Full lesson with video right here. 
Wanna do some printmaking? I've done this lesson with first and second grade in the past. Each one is so sweet and allows students to really spend a lot of time exploring printmaking. A hit, I promise! Lesson right here. 
This lesson is one that everyone seems to love! AND each one of these adorable critters comes complete with a how-to-draw video. SO, all ya gotta do is hit play and walk away! Here's the video right here for all animals!
Of course, it's the Year of the Rabbit! So you could use that rabbit drawing to celebrate. 
If you are looking for a weaving project, here's one that my first graders have done nearly every year. It's a great way to introduce weaving and a little sewing too! All the details with plenty of paper weaving videos here. 
My fourth graders LOVED making these! These giant candy hearts were so fun and made quite the impact when we displayed them with a huge candy heart box. Lesson with video here. 
Follow-up blog post can be found here. 
If you want to go a little smaller in scale, you could try this candy heart drawing on for size! Info with video here. 
Many artists have been inspired by the shape of hearts to create their art. In this lesson, students explored four different artists and a variety of media. It's a fun one and we did it in one art class! Lesson with video here. 
Kindergarten had so much fun exploring printmaking with these hearts. We used a book as our inspiration. Lesson here...and check out the lesson below for the follow up project we did!
Aren't they gorgeous?! AND kindergarten made them, y'all! All the details here. 
Can you really celebrate Valentine's Day without celebrating the work of Britto? My first graders reviewed pattern and line with this lesson. We also used bleeding tissue paper and paint sticks for this. So, lots of mixed media! All the details can be found here. 
What's Valentine's Day without a box of chocolates? We learned about the artist Peter Anton and created plaster chocolates and a papier mache box in this lesson. Video right here!
Looking for simple and FUN? Try this Chris Uphues-inspired lesson. This post has a video and a free handout! You can thank me later. The kids LOVE this one!
Feeling ambitious? Try on a school-wide collaborative! In this, my students, kindergarten through fourth grade, each created a heart using a different medium. You can find out who made what and how it call came together, here. 
Several years ago, I had to do jury duty so I created this lesson for my students to do with my sub. That's right, this here is a SUB PLAN. And she rocked it! And so did the kids, of course. Video lesson here. 
This heart-themed clay project is one that I lead the faculty and staff at my school to create. It was an Our Heart Gives Them Wings project and it was so fun to come together as a staff and create. Here's the video I made for the staff to view. 
My second graders used foil and celluclay to create these hearts! I love them, they look so very Jim Dine-y, don't you think? Video lesson and more details right here.
Need a fast and furious, one day art lesson inspired by an artist? This one IS THE BEST! The kids get messy, explore chalk, learn about J Goldcrown...what more could you ask for? Video and more here!
My first graders used up scraps to create the hearts you see above and below. We also learned about positive and negative space. This was a fun one and the results were so stinkin' pretty! Lesson here. 

AND more Chris Uphues love for y'all. These were collage hearts created by second graders and they were just the cutest thing! We added them to our heart printed background, seen below. Lesson here. 
Whew! AND there you have it! I hope you find something here to get you to Valentine's Day! BUT I really believe we can celebrate love all year 'round, don't you? Enjoy!

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Monday, January 2, 2023

Favorite Winter Projects for After Winter Break!

Happy New Year! If you are anything like me, you've spent ZERO time thinking about returning to school next week. Like, I mean, my brain has been switched to ANYTHING-BUT-SCHOOL mode. As it should be, I say. Until, that is, the end of break sneaks up on me!
So to put your cute little head at a tiny bit of ease, I thought I'd share my favorite winter lessons here in this blog post. Be sure and tap the highlighted link to each as many feature the full lesson WITH VIDEO. For free, of course. Cuz I'm a giver, y'all. 

Let's start off with some ambitiousness, shall we? If you are feeling up to it, might I recommend this tree weaving lesson? In my book, Stitch and String Lab for Kids I share how to create the evergreen tree weaving but you can also find the details here, just flip the plate upside down!
A lesson that my students love (and everyone who gives this one a shot!) is this Jen Aranyi-inspired winterscape! We create ours on cardboard pizza rounds found at Gordon Food Service (I'm lucky to have one down the road) but they could just as easily be created on white paper! If you are on a cart and want less mess, try doing the sky with the marker/water method, found here!
Want to introduce your students to printmaking? I love this printmaking lesson that could easily be done with kids of all ages. Okay, look, I'm not gonna lie: I often do the same lesson with multiple grade levels. It's much easier with my 30 minute classes that come back to back (with up to 8-9 classes a day). So, go easy on yourself! If that's what you do, just know that I'm right here with you! Lesson details here. 
This fun lesson introduces students to a wide variety of media from bingo daubers to chalk to...watercolor! Lesson details with video right here!
I did this project with my first graders and they always love it! We work big, 12X18 paper background but you could definitely work smaller, like even half that size. No bingo daubers? Try Sharpies!
This lesson for my kindergarteners is similar to that of the penguins which leads me to my next idea: do similar lessons! Less supply prep and less worry on your part. This year I have made an effort to clump lessons by supplies. I'm too old to be runnin around like a waitress, y'all. Lesson with video here. 
If you feel like tucking into a long lesson, this one might be for you. You know, there's something to be said for long means less planning. You could shorten it, however by just making the snowglobes much smaller! Lesson with video here. 
As soon as we return to school, I plan to have my students dive into clay and create clay mugs! Our tradition has been to drink hot chocolate from our mugs once complete. This was inspired by an art lesson we did where we created hot chocolate collages! If you have no kiln, creating these collages and then celebrating with a hot chocolate party may be an idea for you! 
Here's a look at our mugs! Every grade level, except kindergarten, does this every many of them have a collection of mugs at home! We also do another clay project but this one is easily their favorite. Lesson with a couple of videos here.
It's the year of the Rabbit! Did you know? If you need some quick lessons for your younger students, I piled a bunch of them in this blog post, check it out! 
Need even more cuteness? Here's another lesson that your kids WILL LOVE! My students had so much fun with this one and couldn't wait to take their kittens home. Lesson with video right here. 

Okay, need more ideas? Well, I actually have MUCH more! Just visit here where I did a deeper dive into all of the winter-y lessons on my blog. AND if you want to jump ahead and start working on art for Valentine's day, check out this post. See ya soon!


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