Saturday, October 13, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #38

Tie Dye Tuesday: Yeah, I skipped Monday this week. Oops, my bad. This week marks the third year we dyed in the art room. T-shirts, that is. Our school colors our yellow and blue so I figured if I got dye on my clothing, it'd blend in nicely. sweater: vintage, thrifted; skirt: Anthro, coupla seasons ago; fishnets, tights, blue top: Target: boots: old favorite, be prepared to see them a lot, Seychelles
 Whut up, ya'll? I am currently trying to wrap my mind around the fact that in a mere 5 work days,  my fall break begins! And I'm pretty stoked. We're heading on another Halloween adventure which means I'll get plenty more wear out of my Horror Flick Dress. I just hope the other two Halloweenie/Fall-Themed dresses I'm working on also get finished in time. I've been spending entirely too much time online reading about Henri Toulouse Lautrec and all of his buddies at the Moulin Rouge. Which would explain why I'm sharing more of his paintings this week. I am currently in love with his paintings of Carmen Gaudin. I have a feeling you'll love them as well.
So apparently our friend Toulouse-Lautrec had a thing for red heads. Not only did he create many posters, prints and paintings of the famous red headed Moulin Rouge dancer Jane Avril, but he also painted artist Suzanne Valadon and laundress/prostitute Carmen Gaudin. That's her in the painting above.
Masterpiece Wednesday: On this day one of my third grader girls told me I looked like a masterpiece. How sweet! This was quickly followed up by one of the boys looking me up and down and asking, "Wait, what's a masterpiece again?" When informed it was a really good work of art, he continued to look at me with an "Oh...huh. Hmmm." dress: vintage, thrifted; sweater: thrifted; belt: Anthro, you must check out their mad belt sale going on now; tights: dunno, Target; shoes: Dolls by Nina
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin Red-Haired Woman The Toilette, 1889 The story goes that Toulouse-Lautrec spotted Carmen coming out of a Montmartre restaurant and was immediately struck by her red locks and her hardened been-around-the-block-a-few-times air.
Chilly Fall Temps Thursday: I missed a couple of days of school recently. When I walked out of my room to greet one of my classes, the kids cheered and said, "Where were you?!" Before I could respond, one student said "I bet you were gone getting all of those tattoos on your legs." Yeah, no. sweater: vintage, thrifted; scarf: Amsterdam; skirt: Marshall's for $3!; tattoo tights: I forget; shoes: John Fluevog, my fave shoe designer
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin After having met Carmen, Lautrec wrote to his mother that he was "painting a woman whose hair is absolute gold." I'm guessing he left out the part about her being a prostitute. Lautrec's family were aristocrats and Carmen was definitely not.
More Details Thursday: Since I skipped Monday, I thought I'd share another photo of Thursday's outfit. blouse: Anthro, gift from a friend
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin At Montrouge. 1886-87. I had a copy of this painting on a postcard hanging in my painting studio when I was in college. I love her body language, the pursed red lips and those red bangs that are always in her face. I've always wondered what was on the receiving end of that hard stare.
Rainy Day Friday: The spooky storm started early in the morning and continued on through the day. It made it so hard to get out of bed. But, I'll do just about anything for you, Friday. dress and sweater: vintage, thrifted, DIY applique here; fishnets and tights: Target; Hunter boots: ebay; belt: made by me
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin as The Laundress. 1889 I can't seem to find much more about Carmen online. Despite this, I feel like these paintings by Lautrec tell us so much about her.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) Carmen Gaudin Red-Headed Woman in a White Blouse in the Artist's Studio From this painting alone, I think you can tell she was probably guarded and cautious. I'm sure her experience with men lead her to be that way. Look at those hands. You can imagine their roughness from her work as a laundress. There is nothing dainty or traditionally ladylike about her. Yet she has a kind of unique natural beauty. The kind a guy with a penchant for red heads, like Toulouse-Lautrec, would appreciate.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

DIY: Applique Your Way into Fall

Dude. Seriously. Sometimes I just don't know when to call it quits with a DIY. I always start out with a simple idea: I'll just add a coupla flowers to my dress. Next think ya know, I'm swapping out the buttons on my cardi, adding a matching flower and topping it all off with a big fat gingham bow. The fashion police have given up on me and just planted a "condemned" sign in my craft room. Which I promptly bedazzled.
Well, fall is upon us here in Tennessee. I knew it was coming when the mornings became so crisp that the hard wood floors in our house were like walking on ice. And in preparation, I spent a good two hours over the weekend swapping out my happy summer dresses for heavier darker frocks. With my hoarder ways, it's quite the undertaking and I dread it so. Mostly because it forces me to come to terms with the fact that I have waaaay too many dresses. And sweaters. And stockings. Pants, not so much. But I digress. 

The hardest part about packing things away is what to do with the clothes that fall in the middle. You know, the ones that aren't necessarily winter or summer clothes but something in the between. Clothing limbo, so to speak. This dress DIY that I crafted last fall fits into this category.
I scooped up this retro-stylin dress from the sale rack at Urban Outfitters. And while I loved it's fit and finish, I never seemed to reach for it when it came to getting dressed in the mornings. Seemed to me that it was missing that certain je ne sais quoi (which in the Cassie translation of French means: sumthin tacky).
It's summery with it's light weight fabric but fallish with it's color palette. Seeing it in my closet reminded me that it's a DIY from last season I never shared with you. Wanna add a little something to a snooze-fest of a dress? Here's what I used:
  • One dress
  • Vintage floral fabric from the '60's
  • Black thread and an applique stitch on my sewing machine
  1. I began by cutting out a variety of flowers from the fabric. I chose a floral fabric with a color palette that I thought complimented the color in the dress.
  2. I tacked the flowers into place with some Stitch Witchery and began the slow process of using the applique stitch around the flowers.
  3. I'm not kidding, that's all I did. Which is why I absolutely love applique. You can change the look of something in just an hour. You can see more of my Applique Madness here and here  Oh! And the Rock Star apron I appliqued here.
I've had this plain brown vintage cardi in my closet for ages. Because the dress is sleeveless, I decided to create this sweater to match. I added one of the fabric flowers and swapped out the brown buttons for vintage pink ones.
Shortly after completing the dress, I  followed it up with another applique cardie. Because I'm not only a DIY-over-doer but I'm also a repeat offender. It's a sickness.
When I scored this sweet vintage dress at the thrift store, the hem was out. Way out. So, I took up the dress by several inches. This left me with fabric aplenty. So you know I had to put it to good use. Applique cardie and headband. Das right.

I've currently got another applique project underway in my sewing room. This one is inspired my students' latest art project. I can't wait to share it with you. Oh, and I've been asked by some of you just what exactly a hoarder's clothing closet looks like. Well, you asked for it. I've started snapping embarrassing photos. I'll try to get the courage up to share it with you sometime soon. Until then, go applique something!

Monday, October 8, 2012

In the Artroom: Hangin' with the College Kids

Excusez-moi, but we moustache you a question...should art teachers really have this much fun? Also, do I look constipated or is it just me?
Let me introduce to you who has been hanging out with me for the past month or so: some totally awesome art ed students from Middle Tennessee State University (that's MTSU to you, monsieur). I have been so lucky to work with these ladies. They've hung up art work, created beautiful bulletin boards (that I get to keep!), taught and worked with students and kept me in stitches. I really dunno what I'm going to do without them now that their time with me is over. I mean, who's gonna teach these kids?!
The witch is Rebecca (I promise, we only gave her the witch apron because of her hair, not her witchy personality), the skeleton is Katie and the pumpkin is Erin. They jumped right into my kind of art-teacher-crazy by donning my Halloween aprons.
MTSU has an amazing art education program. I've had the great opportunity to meet and/or work with several of their students and they've always been excellent. I find that I learn just as much from them as I hope they do from me. The art ed department is headed up by Dr. Deborah Sickler-Voight and Dr. Bonnie Rushlow. Both of these women are incredible educators and the students that come out of their art education program are always well prepared. I mean, just check out these awesome bulletin boards the girls created...they tie in perfectly with my current lessons, they are interactive and just plain beautiful.
Ah, a bulletin board dedicated to my latest artist crush Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Thanks, Rebecca! She created the boarder for the bulletin boards with the kids' "messy mats": the paper mats I use under their paintings in a feeble attempt to keep the tables clean. I love the way it turned out.
I especially love the heading of the bulletin board: Artist of the Month. I attempt to highlight an artist each month and now I have a bulletin board that will hold me accountable. Gee...thanks, Rebecca.
Does this bulletin board remind you of anything? Madeline, perhaps? That's right, Katie is a huge fan, read all the books as a kid. I love that she took to this idea and ran with it. And while it's Madeline-inspired, it's all about the Eiffel Tower. How perfect. Wanna know what's double awesome? The fact that our world traveling friend Jes hidden in the bulletin board. Can you find him?
But wait, there's more...this bulletin board is also interactive. Lift up the flag and the leaves and you'll find all sorts of facts about la tour Eiffel. Funny, "Iron Lady" is also my nickname as I'm the only one who stomach my mom's cooking.
After reading this to the kids the other day, one of them asked, "So, why did they call it the Eiffel Tower?" Another student just looked at him with her best boys-are-so-dumb face and said, "Really?"
How beautiful is this bulletin board? The kids are learning about all of the most famous places and faces in Paris and this bulletin board of Notre Dame is just perfect. We've already been reading over the facts that she attached to her board. 
Erin poured over the details of the cathedral in her rendering and it shows. She used oil pastels to achieve the look of the cathedral. Several of the kids have asked who created the drawing. After I tell them, they always say, "wow, she must be an artist!" So true.
The girls told me that they were doing a fundraiser for the art ed department at MTSU and would I like to purchase a painted pumpkin. Well, of course. When asked what I wanted on my pumpkin, I said Fifi, the art room's talking poodle with attitude. Thank you for creating this for me, Katie!
Such a wonderful group of young art-teachers-to-be! I am excited to see what awesomeness lies ahead for each of them. Thank you, girls, for all of the wild and crazy times in the art room!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #37

Late-for-a-Very-Important-Date-Dress Monday: Sadly, it was a rainy Monday and my Hunter boots hid my amazing tights by Teja Jamilla. dress and belt: Alice-in-Wonderland wannabe dress by me, DIY here; Hunter boots, ebay
Hey, dudes. I hope you don't mind that along with my outfits this week, I'm sharing with you my current obsession: Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. My students are currently learning about him (he ties in so neatly with our all-things-Paris theme) and I've developed a bit of a crush on him, his work and the story of his life. I've been reading about him to the kids using my favorite series of books: Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists. And while the book is an excellent resource, it leaves out much of the dark side of his life. Which is a good thing. Angry parent phone calls aren't my favorite. But, personally, I love the dark stuff. To me, it's like vintage TMZ or a retro USWeekly. I eat it up.

So, here you go. My duds and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. Enjoy!
Who doesn't love a cute guy with a beard and a sense of humor? Love this double self-portrait created pre-photoshop. The way Vincent van Gogh is notoriously famous for cutting off (just the lobe!) his ear, Toulouse Lautrec's small stature is probably his most recognizable trait. The cause? Well, his parents were first cousins. The inbreeding resulted in his many health problems, including his fragile bones and limited growth. I opted not to share that with the kids. I live in the south, the whole marrying-your-first-cousin thing might be a little too close to home (I kid!). Images via pinterest.
Sadly, every time I see these posters, I think of the movie Moulin Rouge. Which I did not love. Try to block it out. The real Moulin Rouge (which translates The Red Mill -- the mill was attached to the building) was a cabaret theater where the patrons could even receive lap dances. That's Jane Avril, the Moulin Rouge's most popular dancer, in the middle. I love that her top-of-the-head bun has made a comeback.
Messy Art Room Tuesday: Oh, let's be honest, when is it not a messy art room? dress and sweater: vintage, thrifted; yellow tights and fishnet stockings: Target; Jane Avril-wannabe shoes: Softee

 So it's no secret that Toulouse Lautrec had a muse: Jane Avril. The story of her life is quite the Dickens-tale as well: abused as a child, she ran away from home only to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. There she discovered her love of dancing. Later she became the headliner at the Moulin Rouge. Her graceful style of dancing contrasted the other cancan dancers of her time. She was meloncholic and thoughtful which is probably what drew Toulouse Lautrec to her. She can be found in many of his sketches and posters advertising the Moulin Rouge.
While I love Toulouse Lautrec's posters, I think these sketchy paintings of his are my favorite.
Flex-and-Bust Wednesday: I wore this thrifted vintage dress for the first time...and I kept hearing a tearing sound as I was working with the kids. This happens to me and vintage more times than I'd like to admit. Turns out the sleeve fabric had dry rotted and I tore a small hole right at the shoulders. Nothing a patch can't fix. dress: vintage, thrifted; belt: borrowed from another dress; sweater: Ann Taylor, thrifted; shoes: Anthro
Toulouse Lautrec painted many of these dancers and many prostitutes as well. He said about painting them: "A professional model is like a stuffed owl. These girls are alive." Except when they are sleeping, of course. 
Another Toulouse Lautrec-ism: "I paint things as they are. I don't comment. I record." He added no superficial beauty, just the beauty in what he saw.
"Love is when the desire to be desired takes you so badly that you feel you could die of it."
Halloween Horror Thursday: More details on our latest Halloween adventure soon. dress: made by me, details here; sandals: Chaco
Toulouse Lautrec was friendly with such troubled artists as Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin (don't tell me that dude wasn't troubled, he painted more underage South Pacific girls than any man should). I love his portrait of van Gogh. 
Forever Friday: Wouldn't that be lovely? How much more would we live each day if it were a Friday? top: BCBG; skirt: Anthro; sandals: Target; sunnies: Rayban; belt: gift from a friend
Sadly, Toulouse Lautrec's life ended too soon. He was just in his mid-thirties when he died of alcoholism. After a life of pain, both his body and from the abuse he took for his small stature, he died young as so many great artists do.
Thankfully, he worked his tail off during his lifetime and left behind a huge body of beautiful work. I can't seem to get enough of his scenes of everyday life. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have sharing them.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In the Art Room: Packing Our Bags

Bags packed? Check. Passport and identification? Chickity check. Good. Let's blow this popsicle stand.
My mom can't sing but she likes to. She also only knows bits and pieces of songs. I remember this from when I was a kid. And every since we started creating these passports and suitcases, I find myself singing one of mom's song-bites: "I'm leavin' on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again...(repeat a good 5-6 times)."

And, that's all I got. Sorry 'bout that John Denver.
When I was passing back the kids' suitcases so they could start filling them with their masterpieces, one of them weighed it in his hand and said, "What did I pack in this thing, it is so heavy!" They so silly.
Each year, the kids create a portfolio to hold their small 9" X 12" artworks. These smaller works are usually sketches for their larger masterpieces. The bulk of their 2-D artwork is usually 12" X 18". These little folders come in handy when passing back a group of their sketches without riffling through their classroom's art box. 

This year, to go along with our travel theme, I decided that their portfolios should be suitcases. One with a pocket to hold their passport, of course. And with a luggage tag to I.D. the bags. Oh, and a handle to carry it around. Don't forget the travel stickers to show where we've been. Whew! It ended up being a larger project than I imaged...and one that really has captured their imagination and enthusiasm.
Remember my traveling companion Jes? Well, the kids and I have been having so much fun following his adventures in Paris. And I'm thrilled to say, he's just finished a lovely trip to Strasbourg, France. I love living vicariously through a stuffed tiger.
Our world traveling adventure has been enhanced by our Flat Stanley-esque school mascot, Jes, the little stuffed tiger. The kids and I are traveling the world through his eyes. He informed us by postcard that we'd need a passport in order to leave the country. So we began the school year by creating passports. We also created a school-wide self-portrait map so we could see just where in the world we were going.
To create these simple passports, you'll need the following:

  • navy blue construction paper
  • light blue copy paper with the same information typed up that is inside of a passport. Scroll down to see what I'm talking about because I know I'm not making any sense.
  • a photo of every student
  • stamps of countries and black ink pad
  • passport stamp (optional). I picked mine up at this awesome etsy shop: stampoutonline
  • gold stamp pad
  • thin black sharpies
Yeah, have you EVER seen a customs agent smile? I need to work on my cranky "I hate you, go back to your own country" face.
After a nice long chat about passports, what a surname is versus a given name, nationalities and the meaning of  "date of birth" (if only it said "when's your birthday?", they'd get it so much faster), we were nearly finished. We signed the contract that is on each passport, added our photo and then made our way to Customs and Passport Control.
There each child stamped the cover of their passport.
And stamped the places they have traveled to. Because we learned about Egypt last year, we stamped that country as well as France.
A passport sneak peak.
This young artist is from New Zealand. She wanted to add that to her suitcase as apart of her travels. I love the kiwi bird.
Supplies for the suitcase portfolios:
  • 12" X 18" construction paper, folded for the suitcase
  • 5" X 6" construction paper for the pocket
  • strips of paper to help bind the pocket
  • two pieces of 5" X 6" paper for the handles
  • price tags found at an office supply store
  • shapies
  • glue
  1. Fold large construction paper in half. We added texture to our papers  by using rubbing plates and naked (aka paperless), sleeping (aka horizontal) crayons.
  2. Put glue on the sides and bottom of the rectangular shape and press onto the folded edge of the construction paper. While glue is drying, squeeze the sides of the paper together to create a pocket. Add the vertical lines on the sides of the pocket to secure. 
  3. Pick any color for the handle. Fold those two papers in half, create a half handle shape and cut out. Glue one handle on the inside front and the inside back of the suitcase.
  4. Add luggage tag.
  5. Round corners of the suitcase if desired.
  6. Use the other elements of art to create your travel sticker.
So love this sweet, carefully drawn travel sticker.
And there you have it, bags packed, ready to go! Our French adventures have already begun, complete with pink poodles and an introduction to a foreign language. More details on our projects to come. Until then, we're leavin' on a jet plane (and I'm off to find out the rest of the lyrics to that song!).