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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

In the Art Room: Clay Chameleons, Update Part 2

Y'all. When I opened the kiln this morning (which I had no right doing as that big ole lug was still flashing 600 degrees), I let out a squeal. Who snuck into the art room and put a bunch of cute-ified chameleons in my kiln?! I mean, really. Can you even handle...THIS?
 I know I can't. I'm so excited to share these with the kids next week. Their hard work sculpting and glazing paid off. Here's the video that I created to teach my sweet third graders this fun lesson:
The kids have loved this lesson! Having taught art (and clay!) for nearly 20 years, I've learned a thing or two along the way. My biggest tip for those working with kiln-fire clay: LET THE FINISHED PIECES DRY FOR LONGER THAN YOU'D EVER IMAGINE.
I was always led to believe that the reason clay exploded in the kiln (and I've had my share of 'splosions) was because of air bubbles. I call baloney on that theory. The reason there are explosions is: the clay is still WET. I allow my clay projects to dry in the kiln room which is both hot (due to the kiln) and well ventilated (as they should be) for TWO WEEKS. That's right, you heard me. Here's the deal: if there are any water molecules in the clay, as they are heated up in the kiln, they begin to move, faster and faster, until they cause an explosion. However, if you wait...every last one of those water molecules will evaporate and diminish your chance of breakage. One way to test and see if greenware (unfired clay) is ready to be fired? Touch it. If it feels damp, even slightly, it is still holding water and needs to dry.

The problem is...if your students' clay projects are thick (and some of these chameleons were very thick!) there might be water trapped within the clay project that you cannot feel with touch. My suggestion? Fire on the slowest setting possible. This will help air out the clay before ramping up to firing mode. 

In other words: When in doubt, DRY IT OUT. 

Can someone please help me off this firing soap box?! It's hot up here!
Now, when it comes to glazing, that's a whole 'nother story. Glazed pieces can be fired on the fastest setting as they have already been fired once and are not going to explode. In case you are curious, I use Cone 06 clay and glaze. 
 I don't always glaze with my students. After all, two firings is super time consuming. However, I do think that the glazing experience is important for kids to be exposed to at least once. It's truly magical. Imagine: little pieces of glass that are going to transform your dull clay project into a shining, sparkling masterpiece!
My favorite glazes are Mayco's Stroke and Coat. I love their color variety. I did order some of their Jungle Gems to add a bit of spots and sparkle to their projects...and I was a touch disappointed. I don't think I shook the bottles up enough because I don't see too much of the spotted and speckled effect. Perhaps my next crop of chameleons will be more speckled as their glaze is near the bottom of the bottle where all the glass has settled. 
 Oh! And if you follow me here...you might have seen that I received a copy of my book
This lesson is NOT featured in my book...which is why I can share it and the video for free with you here. Many of the project directions from last year's art show were not shared here...because I was under contract with the book publisher. Little known fact: when you are writing a book, they "own" the rights to your ideas! All that to say...all of the lessons I share in the book have not been released here. So 52 NEW art projects for you and your kiddos...that can be used with both no-kiln and kiln-fired clays! 
 ALSO...in case you didn't know, I've been hosting weekly #creatingwithcassie craft nights right here. Currently, we are felting but next month, we are exploring clay! 
If you'd like to join the fun and explore some fun new materials, pick up your clay kit here...no kiln required! 
 Now...this is just the beginning of clay themed posts as I've declared the month of May, the month of CLAY! So brace yourself...lots of clay posts ahead!
Until then!

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Chalked Folk Art Fish

Need a happy and colorful project for your kiddos that reviews the elements of art, introduces the artist Sandra Silberzweig and allows them to explore the messy and fun medium of chalk? Well have I got a project for you! Here's the lesson video...
Please forgive the quality. I filmed this video at school using my iPad (I normally use my camera) and the iMovie app. I really love filming short clips this way as it's lightning fast! However, when I watched the video back on my laptop, I noticed the quality was not what I had hoped. 
I get asked often about making a video for the art room. I created this video last year at about this time when I was just starting to get my feet wet with filming. I use almost all of these techniques still so if you are interested in creating filmed content for your kids, you might find this helpful!
Back to the lesson: I'm doing this project with my second grade kiddos. This will probably be the last project for the year as they still have a couple of their clay projects, hot outta the kiln, to paint. We are going with a Pet Shop theme and my students created these birds:
They have all come out of the kiln so cute! I purchased some florescent paint, feathers, beads and wire for us to embellish them. I noticed on the bottle of paint I purchased that it says it works in black light...so now I'm on the hunt for a black light for the art show. How fun would that be?
 All that to say, since we are going with a Pet Shop theme, any final projects created will feature animals or fish! My students are using 12" X 18" paper (I used half that in the video) because I wanted big, bold and colorful art. On the first day, we traced the template and did the glue drawing, all in 30 minutes. 
I am going to rethink my black glue recipe for next year. I use tempera paint and Elmer's Glue All...but I think the paint is too thick as the bottles sometimes get clogged. Next year, I'm going to try using India ink as my buddy Ginger uses. That being said, I do kind of like the variety of thick and think lines that the glue produces. 

Y'all know I've caught the Black Glue Bug this year. Check out what third grade created: 

And fourth grade: 

 What I love about chalk work is how vibrant it is. 
We have a couple more days of work left on these lovelies so I'll keep you posted on what happens next. Until then, enjoy your long weekend!
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Exciting News: Free Clay Workshop!

I have got to be honest with y'all: I am LOVING our Wednesday night craft nights! If you aren't familiar, I've been hosting a free felting workshop over on my Facebook page each Wednesday at 8pm CST during the month of April (in fact, if you are joining in the fun tomorrow night, I'll have a list of supplies needed below). You are ALWAYS welcome to join, even if you do not have the felting kit. That was simply created with the help of Sue at Back to Back Fiber. And, if you decide you do want to join, you can still pick up your kit from Sue. All of my LIVE chats are archived both on my Facebook page and on my YouTube channel. Remember: I would LOVE to share what you create right here. Just use the hashtag #creatingwithcassie when you share your work on your preferred social media outlet. 

So now on to the exciting news: I'm going to continue the craft night fun with Clay in the month of May! I've partnered up with Activa Products to create a kit just for you and our creative evenings. Here's what your kit will include:
 A 1lbs. box of Celluclay, a 1lbs. box of ActivClay and 4" X 180" of Rigid Wrap which can all be purchased here. Knowing that we art teachers love a bargain, Activa is offering us a very special rate. I want to throw a big shout out to them for working with me! I know I've shared this before...I am not making a profit from these craft nights. I am doing them simply because I find creating, teaching and spending time with y'all so much fun. Thank you for joining me on this adventure. Remember, you do not have to make a purchase to participate in this free Clay in the month of May workshop. These are simply the supplies I will be using if you want to create along with me. You might have heard me mention both Celluclay and Rigid Wrap before. Here's a peak at some projects I've done with both materials:
This was my first experience with Celluclay and I was HOOKED after creating these vintage-inspired treat buckets!
Maybe too many episodes of Walking Dead was the inspo behind my Zombie Head Planters
Obviously, I'm a fan of the Halloween. This Book of Spells was big fun! 
I also introduced my second graders to Celluclay with this project
I shared Rigid Wrap with my fourth graders when they created these Candy Heart Sculptures

This is the perfect opportunity for you to explore new sculpture materials before introducing them to your students. If you are without a kiln, these materials are just the thing as they don't require kiln fire. I became very familiar with Activa Products when writing this here clay book of mine
My book is currently available for preorder here and slated to come out early June (I previously said mid-May but that release date has changed). In this book, I work with a variety of air dry, polymer and handmade clays. Once you are done with our 5 Wednesdays of clay exploration, you'll be ready to dive into this book and bring the fun to your art room next fall. 

As for this Wednesday, we'll be Wet Felting. So bring a zip lock bag (whatever size you have handy), a bowl of warm water, a bar or pump soap and scissors. Can't wait to create with you!
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Friday, March 24, 2017

Field Trip! Doris Wasserman

I'm so excited to share the latest artist in my Field Trip! series, Doris Wasserman. Doris is a Canadian artist who lives in Nashville. I discovered her when I was searching for local artists and her beautiful paintings popped up. I absolutely love the air, space, color and radiating light that seems to shine thru her work. On a whim, I sent her an email to see if she'd be interested in taking part in this series. Not only did she agree, but she hosted me both at her showing and invited me back to her beautiful home studio. How wonderful is that? Below, you'll find the video. Art teachers, feel free to share this with your students. Doris does a wonderful job of explaining her process and sharing her journey as an abstract painter. 
Doris was originally a medical illustrator. She decided to take an abstract painting class...and the rest is history. Well, that makes it sound like the journey was an easy one. If you've ever tried your hand at abstract painting, you know that it really is a journey full of ups, downs, self-doubt and discovery. Doris likens getting into the grove of painting like meditation. When I look at her work, I can sense that peace and calm that comes from mindful breath. 
Doris and I share similar painting backgrounds in that I was once a representational artist. In fact, my degree is in painting (which got me real far working at Pizza Hut, lemme tell you). Over time, I found that style of painting to be very constrictive and I lost interest. During my college years, abstract painting was looked down upon by my professors and it was ingrained that the only real painting was realistic painting. What a pity that I missed out on learning just how incredibly rich abstract painting can be. 
Listening to Doris talk and witnessing her process was very eye-opening to me. I love her method of hanging a wall of canvases in varying shapes and sizes. How fun would this be for our students? How freeing would it be for our kids who struggle to get things "just right" as I used to do? Would't it also be great for our wiggly friends? 

Doris' method is to put a color on her palette, a heap of white and some medium that give the paint more viscosity. Working in acrylic, she applies paint with one hand and scrubs with the other, using inexpensive house paint brushes. 
As she works, Doris also will collage bits of paper into her work. Sometimes the paper is so subtle, you have to look for it and other times, it has more of a voice in her work. As Doris paints, she also uses the back of her brush to scribble and sometimes write onto her canvases.
 Over time, the paintings take on layers of color and texture. As the paintings draw closer to completion, Doris adds delicate lines and designs in a deep gray. 
Her process and her work inspired me to look more closely at abstract paintings. When I was in her studio, Doris asked me if I miss painting and if I think I'd ever get back to it. Y'all know that I piddle with painting and create silly pieces to hang around the house. At the time I told her no...but after visiting her studio, chatting with her and editing this video, I have to say, I'm feeling very inspired. 
Thank you so much, Doris, for allowing me (and my students) to get to know you, your artwork and learn about your process. You are an inspiration! 
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Sunday, March 19, 2017

DIY: The Crayon Tote

Hey, friends! I'm coming to you from the magical land of Orlando with free time provided by the amazing gift known as Spring Break! Hence the big smile and bright sunshine...tho you may have to wear sunglasses to view this post as the sunlight reflecting off my pale legs is blinding. 

Usually when I have a break, I spend the first half of my time off ignoring my To Do list and binge watching junk on Netflix...which is then followed by the end of my break where I am scrambling to accomplish at least one To Do. This time around, I decided to flip flop: before we cut outta town, I managed to edit a couple of videos (which, if you've not seen our school talent show vid, y'all are missing out. Catch me getting roasted followed by my uke debut at minute 47 here) and finish off this here Crayon Tote. All before cuttin' outta town for a few days. I'm mighty proud of my procrastinatin' self. I'd say that perhaps this is a sign of me turning over a new leaf...but I'm willing to put money on it that this is a one time dealio.
But, let's return to the subject at hand, shall we? This here Crayon Tote!
 So I started this tote MANY moons ago. It was a weekend, I'd had this idea for a crayon-themed bag in my head and without much of a plan, I started sketching, creating a paper pattern from my drawing, pinning the pattern pieces to fabric from my stash, and stitching it together. By the end of the weekend, I had completed the front and back of the bag. And I had no idea of how to proceed from there.  
And so it sat in my sewing room for months and months. Finally this past Saturday, I decided I was going to figure it out and finish it. I recalled that one of my very first sewing projects I created about 7 years ago, when I first started stitching, was a tote. I had used Lotta Jansdotter's book Simple Sewing and, following her directions, churned out a bag that I got quite a bit of use out of. The boxy nature of that tote lead me to believe that the concept just might work for this bag as well. So I cracked up the book and followed the directions once again. 
 Now, you can purchase that book used and on the cheap over on Amazon. The pattern is simple really. Create a front and back panel, a bottom panel and two side panels. With right sides together, stitch the side panels to the front and back panels creating a tube. Flip inside out and pin the bottom panel to the bottom of the tube and stitch. That part is a pinch tricky...just remember to turn those corners and you'll be fine. 
 Because I had already created my front and back panel before settling in on this pattern, I did not follow the measurements in the pattern. Instead I used my pre-created front and back panels to determine the size of my end and bottom pieces. 
For the lining of the bag, I was just going to use yellow fabric...until my art teacher friend Michelle suggested I use this vintage Crayola fabric. I've had this fabric in my stash for some time (it was gifted to me by a sweet art teacher) and had recently shared it on my Instagram. I had planned to use the small stash of fabric to create a top but when Michelle mentioned that it would be great for the lining, I couldn't have agreed more!
The lining was created in the exact same way as the bag itself. From there I stitched the handles. The pattern calls for short handles...but I knew I'd want something I could throw over my shoulder so I doubled the length. 
By the way, the first bag I created was very slumpy. In the pattern, it doesn't mention adding anything to stiffen or firm up the fabric. So whenever I would set my bag down, it would kind of dissolve like the Wicked Witch getting water thrown on her. I def didn't want that happening with this bag. I wanted it to stand up and look adorbs even when it was empty. So I sandwiched some thin quilting batting material in between each part of the bag...even the handle. And I'm so glad I did. Not only does it make the bag look more like a box of crayons but that cushion in the strap makes it much more comfortable on my shoulder.
Just a fun side pocket for pens and random other things for me to misplace and lose. 
 I love me some applique. It's so perfect for creating graphic imagery with hard lines. 
 Ah! That peak of lining! 
Of course y'all know I had to wear every color in the crayon box to coordinate with my bag. 
Whew! Another thing off my spring break To Do! Now back to my usual program of watching mindless telly. Toodles!
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