Showing posts with label stitching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stitching. Show all posts

Thursday, September 11, 2014

In the Art Room: A String-Stitched Dot for Dot Day!

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! 
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Thursday, May 29, 2014

DIY: Stenciled Embroidery

 I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm a songwriter. It's true. Do you really think Emimen came up with all those lyrics on his own? I'm the real Real Slim Shady, ermkay. Don't believe me? Well then, lemme share with you a song I've been workin' on. It's a little tune I like to call The Thus Far Days of Summer Vacay: 

On the first day of vacay,
My summer gave to me
A busted ankle swollen to the size of a panda babe-ee.

On the second of vacay,
My summer gave to me
Flashbacks of last summer when I dropped a food processing blade on the same foot
and a busted ankle swollen to the size of a cat babe-ee 
(which I know is called a kitten but that didn't rhyme so bear with me)

On the third day of vacay
My summer gave to me
A visit to the doctor who said I bruised my ankle bone (what?!)
Flashbacks of last summer when I dropped a food processing blade on the same foot
and a busted ankle swollen to the size of, well, nothing. It healed. End of song.
I do hope your summer is off to a better bruised-boneless start, ya'll!

The hubs and I, when not busting ankles, have found ourselves on the road aplenty thus far. And, as I've chatted about before, one of my fave travel crafts is embroidery (you can read all sorts of fascinating embroideryness here, here and here, kids). Howevers, at the time of said hittin'-the-road-ness, I had nothing in the works. So, on a whim, I grabbed this thrifted stenciled piece with the idea that I'd improve upon it's half-a##'ed stencil-ness as seen above.
 Whatcha see here is a half embroidered piece. On the left side is the original state and on the right is the embroidered upon. Not to sound like a bragosaurus but, despite what the photo shows, the embroidery is a big improvement to the formerly just-stenciled state of the fabric.
See? I told ya's.

Which got me thinking. When I gave my students an End of the School Year survey (an In the Art Room post to come, ya'll), many of them wrote that they wanted to learn more weaving, sewing and "handcrafts", as one put it. I was thrilled to hear that since I loves me some fiber arts (and totally enjoyed teaching it this year!). However, teaching embroidery takes 4.Eve.Rrr...R. And sometimes the results are small due to the size of the stitching and the limited amount of patience (on behalf of both artist and art teacher). 

So, after working on this piece, I had the thought, "Why not have them stencil a design then embroider?" Actually, that's not what I thought at all. What I really thought was, "Why am I thinking about school, IT'S SUMMER!" And then I reminded myself that this is a blog where I pretend that I eat, drink and breathe art education and I needed to shut up before those five folks that read this catch on. 

Oops. Too late.
Ahem. What was I saying? It appears that I fell asleep and that some evil Summer-Loving Art Teacher Maniac took over for a moment. My apologies. 

For this here activity, you're gonna need to gather up the following:
  • Stencils. I had these pre-mades from JoAnn's in my stash
  • Fabric Paint. Left overs from this dress
  • Fabric. I just used random bits from my scrap bin.
  • Embroidery hoops.
  • Stencil sponges. In a pinch, I used my makeup wedges as that's all I had on hand.
  • Embroidery floss.
  • Embroidery needle.

 Because just stenciling one color would be a snooze-fest, I decided to do a little color blend. I think the kids could handle that. Well. Maybe.
 The trick is watching where you stamp so you don't flip that wedge. Because a flipped wedgie just sounds terrible.
 Here's something interesting I noticed: the thicker the plastic stencil, the more underneath bleeding of the paint. The super thin stencils actually worked much better and produced a much more crisp image. Hmm. Not what I was expecting.
 Have you ever embroidered before? I'm gonna assume you've not. So lemme introduce to you The Running Stitch:

1.  Embroidery floss comes in strands of 6 pieces of floss (or thread). Cut your desired length (I usually go from hand to shoulder and clip) and separate 2 strands of floss from the 6. Do this slowly as the floss loves to tangle.

2. Ideally, you should run those two combined strands of embroidery floss over a lump of wax. Bee's wax is preferred. This will prevent the floss from tangling. And tangling sux.

3. Thread your needle with those bee's wax-y stands of floss and double knot one end. Frame your piece in an embroidery hoop. Starting from the back, poke your needle up at your starting point.

 4.  Go about a quart inch and dive your needle down. I'm using mine to outline the edge of the flower. You do whatever you want. Make veins for your leaves, fill in a shape, whatevers. Just be certain to pull that needle down until the knot on the back stops it.
 5.  Now for the next stitch, jump ahead a quarter inch and pop up pulling completely.
 6. And go backward to fill in that gap.
 7.  For your third stitch, pop up from the end of your last stitch. The reason you didn't do this previously is because you would be taking a stitch out. You see, you can never have your needle come out of a hole it just went into, it will take the stitch out. However, it works here because your previous stitch had gone backward. Say what? I don't know, I'm just as confused as you are. Let's keep stitching.
 8.  When you get to the point where your thread is as long as half the length of your hand, it's time to tie off and reload your needle. To tie off, flip your embroidery to the back. Slide your needle under a nearby stitch.
 9.  Pull slightly until there is only a loop of embroidery floss left. Then reverse that needle and go through that loop. Do this twice. That will create a secure knot.

Confused? Me too. Youtube it, kids.
 And there you go! You are on your way to a stenciled embroidery! I'm really excited to play around with this idea of combining these two techniques into one project for the kids. 

What are your thoughts? Got any awesome ideas you'd like to share? Please enlighten this bruised-bone barbarian, would ya?! 

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