Tuesday, September 9, 2014

DIY: A Warhol's Flowers Printed Dress

You know, being the uber professional and not-at-all shallow person that I am, when I was initially asked to teach a workshop at a local -n- lovely botanical gardens my first thought was, "OMGah! WHAT AM I GONNA WEAR?!" 

Not the lessons I was gonna teach or the examples I was gonna share. Nah. Because, you see, I'm about at deep as a nearly-drained kiddie pool. I ain't braggin, y'all. Just statin' facts, ma'am. And that one lone sir who accidentally found himself on this blog and is wondering, "how in the world do I get outta here?!".  Oh, hubs, if I've told you once, I've told ya a million times, hit the back button and return to the land of the non-crazy. Sigh.
In all (non)seriousness, when I was approached by Karen Kwarciak, Manager of School and Outreach Progams at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art (holy cow, that was a mouthful), she mentioned that the workshop was on the very last day of the Andy Warhol's Flowers exhibit. Being that the exhibit was super fabulous, Karen and I thought it would be fun to base the workshop around Warhol's Flowers.
I mean, riiiiiight?! Super fabulous. Unfortunately, this piece is no longer available as it's hanging above my couch. Thanks for the discount, Cheekwood! Wait...what do you mean you want it back?! And, really, was it necessary to call the cops? I mean, suriously.
Since museums tend to get all huffy about folks "borrowing" their masterpieces, I thought we'd create our own Warhol-inspired pieces at the workshop! AND, being that I needed something to wear, I decided to print mine on fabric and use 'em to embellish a dress. I was super stoked with how these turned out so I thought I'd share the super simple process with you!
For this, you'll need the following supplies:

* A Gelli-Plate. If you don't have these as they do cost a small fortune, no worries! You can make your own version of a Gelli-Plate outta gelatin found at the grocery. I wrote a blog post about it a while back...go here for directions and it will yield the same results (I just wanted to say "yield the same results" because I thought I might fool you into thinking me intelligent. Did it work?)

* Fabric Paint. Only necessary if you plan to wash the fabric. Otherwise, acrylic would probably work.

* Brayer.

* Thin Cotton Fabric. I noticed that the thinner the fabric, the better. Or paper.

* Flowers. I used these daisies (that's what those are, right? I have two black thumbs so I've no clue).

For the first print, which will be the negative image, ink up your printing surface and lay a flower down face down. Place your fabric (or paper!) and massage the surface. Lift off your paper/fabric and VIOLA!
Groovy, right? But wait, there's more!

Now, remove the flower, apply a fresh sheet of fabric/paper, massage and BOOM!
Can I get an applause? Thank you, thank you vury much.
After pulling over a dozen of these prints, I decided I was ready to add it to a dress. So I skipped down to the local clothing-resale shop and found this super short-shorty for a mere $6. I thought the colors were perfectly suited for me prints.
I was so excited to begin, I only snapped a coupla photos. I did appliqué stitch the flowers to the neckline...
As well as quilt and attach these prints to the hemline.

For a quickie DIY, I thought the results were pretty fun. AND NOW I had something to wear for the workshop. Otherwise, I woulda just had to call in sick. 
So just what was the workshop all about, you ask? Okay, so you didn't ask but whateves, Ima bout to tell you. We began with a fantastic guided tour through the Warhol exhibit. Once finished, I introduced that aforementioned gelatin printing. If you've not tried this yet, it's one of those everyone's-successful/inspired/challenged type projects that we all love. This got a lotta oooohs and ahhhhhs. The process works exactly the same as that I showed ya on the Gelli Plate: negative print first...

Remove the leaves, print again and positive prints second. Not only did the participants play around with the gelatin plates but they also tried their hand at printing on the Gelli-Plates. They created prints both on paper and on fabric. I loved their results.
And, being the awesome art teachers that they are, they totally came up with their own ideas! For example, several experimented with using the flowers as a stamp.

For the image on the left, the artist stamped onto their negative print paper with a flower. It turned out the flowers held the paint for a pinch thus making this possible. I do believe that same idea was used on the right.
I thought the flowers looked pretty amazing after this process! So Warhol-esque!
These images were created on fabric. The one on the left was created with that stamping technique. I also had puffy paint available for those that wanted to play around with outline or design ideas.
That morning, I also introduced a leaf relief project that is another one of my faves. If you follow this link, you can read all about this simple yet super-amazing looking process.
After a super delish lunch and some down time, we jumped right back in for more crafting. This time, I introduced a stenciled embroidery project that I can't wait to try out with my students. I also showed 'em my fave craft in the whole wide world -- needle felting!
I tried to keep the afternoon projects super open-ended. I thought this would be better for the teachers to visualize what might work best in their art room with their resources and curriculum. I loved the variety of felted fun they had! I think felting was their fave.
Here's an example of an artist using her stenciled piece with needle felting. The fabric paint dries quickly so no one had to wait before attacking with the felting tool.
Y'all know I loved this piece!
And so, there you go! A Warhol-inspired dress for a workshop full of artsy mess! Special thanks to Cheekwood and Karen for hosting the fun. Chat soon, y'all!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What I Wore #113 and A COSTUME CONTEST!

Magnificent Monday: Not gonna lie, having an extra day added to my weekend was simply splendid. I clocked more pj's -n- crafting hours than usual which was at the top of my To Do list for the weekend. I did manage to look presentable on Monday but only because I needed to make a craft store run. dress: Anthropologie, old; sandals: Target, old
Whut is UP, party people? I dunno about you but, while I love me a nice long three-day weekend, it does leave me feeling a pinch frazzled and fried. When I got to school on Tuesday, it was like waking up with amnesia. I was all, "Who am I? Where am I? Why do these strange children keep coming to my art room and messing the place up?" I tried putting a CLOSED FOR BUSINESS sign on my art room door but neither the kids nor their teachers were buying it. 

Given my aforementioned frazzled -n- fried state, I only managed to snap three photos of what I wore this week! I started to pile just too many things on my plate as the days went on and, well, snapping pics of my outfits just kinda slipped off the plate, I guess. Howevers, this leaves me more room to share with you a couple of exciting things:

** The Winners of the Best Dressed Art Teacher Contest are recognized in the October issue of SchoolArts Magazine! ** 
I'm so excited for these awesome art teachers and their chance to be recognized in a publication that means so much to the art education world. Congrats, y'all!

** I'm hosting a Dress-Like-a-Famous-Artist/Artwork Costume Contest! ** 
That's right, ya'll! The Best Dressed Contest was so much fun that I thought an Artist Costume Contest would be fab. You know, Halloween is right around the corner. This would give you a chance to come up with something fun to wear in your art room AND share with the rest of the art teacherin' world on this here blog. Not only that, but Nancy Walkup, editor of SchoolArts Magazine has agreed to feature the winners! Here's the deets:

1. Dress like a famous artist or work of art! (duh. That's kinda the name of the contest.)

2. Snap a high resolution photo! SchoolArts can only produce such photos in their magazine. If you have no idea what "high resolution" means, I'm going to walk you though those steps in this post!

3. Submit your photo and a brief description of your inspiration to my email address! (cassieart75@gmail.com)

4. Submissions due by Sunday, November 2nd! 

5. Vote on this here blog! Winner will be announced mid-November (it's too far ahead for me to actually give you a date. My brain is small.)

6. Winner will be featured here AND in SchoolArts Magazine! And how cool is that, y'all?!

I hope you are just as excited about this idea as I am. And I can't wait to see what you come up with! How fun will this be, y'all?!
October issue of SchoolArts Magazine where you just might be featured!
Speaking of being featured, special contrats to the following awesomely dressed art educators (clockwise): Natalie Friedl, Michael Kantor, Lindsey Ostafy and Ashley Hammond. Special Thanks with Sugar on Top to Nancy Walkup for sharing these art teachers with the art ed community in SchoolArts Magazine! In case you can't read the copy, here's what it says: Art teacher and blogger Cassie Stephens is widely known in the art education community for her amazing homemade art-related outfits. This year she decided to hold a contest on her popular blog highlighting the very best of the artfully dressed. In the end, six art educators were named "Best Dressed Art Teacher." Here are a few of the winners. 
Putting a face with a name, here's the also-awesomely dressed Nancy Walkup! I need that zigzag dress in my life when I teach line, Nancy. Hook a girl up! It was so fun meeting Nancy at NAEA...I can't wait for the next conference to chat with her again.
Last Days of Summer Tuesday: Even though the temps here are still well into the 90's (with an extra dose of humidity, thanks to some pop-up storms), the leaves have started to fall and it seems the whole world has become a Pumpkin Spice Paradise. I figured this just might be the last time I could wear this week summer number. dress: Bernie Dexter, scored on ebay; sandals: Swedish Hasbeens, sale at Anthro last season; belt: Anthro sale, now
Now, let's chat photography, shall we? When Nancy and I met at NAEA and I took out this Scotch-Taped-Up ole Canon Power Shot of mine (that's at least 5 years of age), Nancy took a step back, sucked in her breath and said, "Is that the camera you use for all of your photos?!" Um, yep. I ain't fancy, y'all. I'm all about the cheap. Now hubs did upgrade me recently...but I still only travel with this guy. You see, you don't need a fancy camera to take great photos. You just gotta now what you're doing. So, lemme show you a couple things that will make snapping your costume pics a bunch easier. 
First of all, you'll wanna take photos that are high resolution. That means Nancy will be able to use them in SchoolArts without them being too pixelated. To make that happen, press the "function/setting" button on your camera. On my camera, when I do that, it looks like this. Do you see where it says M2 at the bottom left? Use the arrow button on your camera, scroll down to that so you can change it. M2 is the size of the photos I use on this blog but it is not big enough of a photo for a magazine.

Now, scroll across to the L setting. If you look closely, you'll see that L has some dimensions above it: 3264 X 2448. That's the printing size. Meaning that's how big you could print that image and have it look good. If you look at the dimensions on the M2, you'll see it's smaller. It cannot print as large of a photo without getting too pixelated. On my camera, to select this new setting, I press the "function/setting" button again.

You'll also need to adjust your "fine" settings. So on my camera, I just scroll up one and scroll across to the Superfine. Cuz that's how I like to consider myself: supah-fine. Once you've gotten "superfine" and "L" set, you're good to snap away! Now, this will bog down your memory card...so if you go back to just snapping normal pics, you might wanna readjust your settings.

If you are snapping photos on your iPhone, check your settings as well. I do not own such a phone (I like to live in a the early 2000's with my dim-witted phone) so you'll have to play around to figure out those correct settings. Personally, I always think a camera is better than a phone photo but that's just me.

Another tip: Use a tripod! AND use your camera timer! I take all of these photos of myself, by myself. A tripod is great because it can be adjusted to find your best angle (c'mon, ladies, you know it's all about the angle!) and it's STILL. How many photos do you have that folks have snapped that are just too darn shaky? None of that with a tripod. Also, set that timer. I use a 10-second timer on my camera and it works great. 

I hope those tips are helpful! I know if you take the time to make something magical, you'll want your photos to be perfect. 
 Tiptoe Through the Patterns Wednesday: I know what you're thinking, "What kind of art teacher steps on kids paintings?!" To answer your question: The kind who also posts countless photos of herself wearing something wacky every week. You know the kind. Ahem. Speaking of these paintings, my friends in first grade worked in groups of two to paint 'em. It's all apart of the big fat Dot Day mural they are creating. They'll be ready to be hung this week (I don't have a choice, our Open House is this Thursday and I've gotta get 'em on the walls!) so I'll share the finished result with you very soon. top: garage sale; beaded necklace: made by me, DIY here; skirt and belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; shoes: thrifted

Can't wait to chat with you again! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

In the Art Room: Those First Days of Art Class, 2

Oh dear Lawd. Please don't ask me what is happening here as I've no explanation. 

Well this here blog post is just a pinch delayed! I do believe we're heading into the second MONTH of the school year in my neck of the woodz. Howevers, since I did post a First Days of Art Class last year, I thought I'd share another this year. Some things have changed (with some influence from Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess, one of our Artsy Book Club choices) while some have remained the same. I thought I could best explain myself (complete with odd hand motions, apparently) in a coupla short vid clips. One thing I forgot to mention in the clip are the flashcards I used on that very first couple of days. You can see 'em here...
I like to use flashcards at the door as the kids enter. To get them into this routine, I flashed 'em these as they entered. Once everyone was in and on that red line, I told them that this group of words they read had two things in common: they were words that described them and words that described art class. 
Just a lil close-up of our Word of the Week. I actually see my kids on a 6 day rotation so this is more of a Word of the Every Six Day Rotation. Which wouldn't fit on my sign so I took some liberties. Since we are in our 3rd rotation of the year, we've thus far chatted about the words "artist", "unique" and "creative".  As far as artist inspirations go, we've looked at Kandinsky, Hundertwasser (boy, that was a fun name to teach the kids) and and Rizzi. We've yet to use the phone to Dial-an-Artist...I'll let you know when we do.
That Spring Drum was pretty rad, amiright? I know you want one. They are made by Remo and if you google "spring drum" for a hot minute, you'll find tons of retailers with 'em for cheap. Mine is a larger size but I'm willing to guess a smaller one would work just as well. Lookie here.
What?! Rules are SUPER FUN to go on and on and ON about, riiiiight? That Sound Machine can be found here.
My rules with some Haring illustrations. I'll eventually post these permanently somewheres in the art room. By the way, those questions I ask the kids can be just about anything. I just wanna get them talking and feeling comfortable. I also wanna keep it kinda short for those long winded friends of mine.
In all honesty, I've yet to use this routine. I can't seem to break myself of my normal habit of getting the kids attention which is either playing my Energy Chime (thanks, hubs!) or saying, "Point to the ceiling. Point to the floor. Point to your nose. Point to your toes." That usually does the trick. But I'm gonna keep trying.
Um-hmm, y'all better behave. Less you wanna look at this. 
Oh, I did mention The Smartest Artist in that clip. More deets here. AND Dot Day! We're closing in on the big day! I'd love to hear what you are up to. I just hope my genius artists can finish in time, agh!
Oh! And in case you missed my Virtual Room Tour posted a coupla weeks ago, here you go!

Chat with y'all soon.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

DIY: A Kandinsky-Inspired Dress, Part 2

'Kay, so when I decide to quit art teacherin' and become a Big Time News Anchor, this will be my promo shot. My tag line will be sumpin like, "Cassie Stephens...where there's news, she'll find it (especially if it's celebrity gossip as she's exceptionally shallow). Where there's sports, she'll report it (for example, the fine sport of sniffing out sales at Anthropologie). And where there's unfortunate fashion choices, She'll. Be. There." Eh, whatevers. Maybe I'll just stick to art teacherin'. 
I may or may not be a totes glutton for punishment. Just when I was No Where NEAR the finish line with my first Kandinsky frock, I up and started a second one. You know, because needle felting for hours on end totally wasn't to blame of the pain in my neck (erm, no, that'd be the hubs) and the  reason I couldn't turn my head without rotating my whole body. You know, classic Terminator style. Every time I turned in such a way in art class, I'd widen my eyes and say in my worst Austrian accent, "I'll be back." To which my humorless students just replied, "huh?!" It's so sad when a comic genius like myself goes unappreciated on a daily basis. But I digress.
In case you missed it, that's last week's Kandinsky can-can on the left. Both were made from Target dresses. I scooped up the white one from the clearance rack along with the hot pink belt. The LBD was a thrift store/Target label find. Personally, I'm more of a fitted bodice, puffy skirt kind of girl so I like the fit and finish of the one on the left better. Howevers, I do love how they look side by side, such a contrast of crazy.

I mightah mentioned that Kandinsky is coming to our local art museum The Frist Center for Visual Arts. Where I will be taking some kids field trippin and where I will be wearing one of these crazies. Or both. Every good field trip deserves an outfit change, amiright? "Excuse me, Mrs. Museum Docent, mind if I leave you with all 80 of these angelic children whilst I slip into Kandinsky Can-can Number 2? And by "Number 2", I don't mean I'll be, like, number 2-ing, I'm just going to change. Into my second dress. OH FORGET WHAT I JUST SAID...[slow turn of entire body toward docent] I'LL. BE. BACK."

To which the docent will laugh uproariously because she will have a perfectly wonderful sense of humor. Unlike some under-10-ers I know. Humph.
Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913. While I was working on this dress, I definitely had a "favorite square". I'm in love with the one in the second row, second from the left. That sea foam-y turquoise color is my fave...as you can tell from the painting in the background behind these snapshots. Is there one that you are drawn to? 

So in my sewing room, I actually have a stash of thrifted clothing that is just waiting to be DIY'ed. Some of it is tattered and some of it is boring (by my tacky standards). And I can't seem to part with 'em because for me, they're like blank canvases. Which makes me sound artsy and uppity when I'm really closer to fartsy and shluppity (I've no idea what that means and yet it describes me perfectly). What I'm trying to say is that I'm a hoarder with benefits. The benefit being that when I get an wild and wacky idea, I usually have the crapola on hand to make it happen. 
Like this Lil Black Dress. Or Lil BLANK Dress as I like to call it. It's a funky little number with a peebled pleather neck and cap sleeve and a rectangular panel of fabric down the front. I'd originally bought it cuz I thought it looked classy. And then promptly never wore it because, well, it looked classy. When I pulled it outta the hoarder heap, I realized that the rectangular line of fabric down the front would be just the place for me to felt those concentric circles. Which, by the way, I'm hoping come across as concentric circles and not a dress of colorful nipples. Pretty please lie to me and tell me it doesn't. Puh-leeeeeease!
To start the dress, I did a lil bit of math to make it so my dress was divided into equalish squares. Then I proceeded to watch back-to-back episodes of old Project Runways and felted away. Okay, I guess I should go into a pinch more detail. I use wool roving and place a cushion inside my dress. With my little needle felting tool, I commence stabbing the roving until it came through to the other side of the fabric.
Once that color was felted in place, more was added and felted. If you're kinda new to this blog, I'm not trying to be vague about this process...it's just that I do it a lot. And I've blogged about it a lot. And made a handful of short video clips. I've also made One Million felted sweaters, dresses, even a hat. If you troll this blog for a hot minute, you'll find a million plus. 
Do ya see how simple this is? Even still, because of the translucentness (look! I invented a word!) of the roving, I did have to layer the crap outta it thus taking forever. Like everything I do. I function at a drunken and demented snail's pace, so there's that. 
Yay! Rainbow Brite Areola!
Oh, look, here you can see that faux leather detail at the top. I like that it gives the dress a tough edge.   
And there you have it! I'm saving this number not only for the art museum but also for Dot Day week. Fingers crossed I'll have at least one kid remember what a concentric circle is! Otherwise, I'LL BE BACK to teaching it. Again. 

Later, cats!