Tuesday, October 21, 2014

DIY: A Lichtenstein Dress That'll Knock You Out

 'Kay, can we all just say it right now: the best part of this ensemble is the hair. Gee, thanks, guys! This is actually what my hair looks like if I don't flat iron it. What?

Since the start of my artworks-turned-frocks journey (frock-works? I need a name, y'all. Whatcha got?), I've had Lichtenstein on my mind. Which sounds totally weird I know but it's the truth, Ruth. His work is so colorfully comic bookish that I just knew it'd be a hit with the kids and I (mistakenly) thought it'd be a snap to complete. Little did I know that the creation of this number would be a descent into applique'in madness. But more on that in a sec. First, more goofy wig/dress pics!
When the applique'in times got tough, I turned to a lil internet shopping to relieve the tension. I just knew this outfit wouldn't be complete without a red belt (Pin Up Girl Clothing, y'all. Check it.) and a crinoline to match (found on the cheap via Amazon). Of course, as the world knows, Target secretly pipes in a magical You-Didn't-Just-Come-in-Here-for-Laundry-Detergent-YOU-ALSO-NEED-A-FOAM-WIG! potion through their air vents thus making it inevitable that I purchase the wig. Although you should try 'splainin that to a hubs. For some reason, they seem to be immune to the magical Target potion. Humph.

Lest you think I only applique'd the front of my frock, oh no, I placed a big ole "POP!" and "BAM!" on the back of my arse. You know, just in case I wake up one morning with a Kardashian can. 

For my "blank canvas", so to speak, I used this cute lil 1980's dotted number that I (re)discovered as I was packing away my summer duds and replacing with my fall-ish ones. I've worn this dress several times and every time I did, I always thought, "this would be so much cuter with a shorter hem" and then I would think "SQUIRREL!" and promptly not alter the dress. This time, howeverness, my first order of biznatch was to hack -n- hem a good 8" off this thang.
By the way, art teacher buddies, have y'all introduced Lichtenstein to your students? I'd love to hear about what projects you've done. I did find my buddy Phyl had created some rad landscapes with her kids inspired by ole 'stein. Check it here, friends. I'm thinking a mural perhaps? Or maybe some painted ceiling tiles (my principal lady is on me to have the kids paint the ceiling tiles. I've never done that. You guyzzz?! Hep me!).
For the action words, I would first sketch 'em out. Then I would stack two pieces of the lighter fabric (because I didn't want the black to show through the yellow so I did a lil double layerin') and one of the back. My sketch was then pinned to the fabric and the cutting commenced. 
BAM! The only easy part.
Playing with the background fabrics was my fave part cuz I'm a girl that loves to play with fabric. Seriously, I think I could happily spend my days just combining (seemingly-random to the normal person, perfectly-matching in my crazy eyes) fabric swatches. After deciding what looked best together, I drew my designs out in chalk and cut them out.
And then the stitching began. Seriously. Didn't I learn anything from the Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup Dress? Appliqueing the lettering was so unfun. I guess that's why it took me so long to get to this here dress. I had to wait for the wound to heal before giving it another go. 
Not only was there the appliquéing of the letters, but also the black shadow. Oh, and the three layers of fabric. I mean, do I know how to have a good time, or what, y'all?!
I mean, lookie here. Is it any wonder I found myself in the aisles of Target wearing a foam wig and talking to myself (ha, like that's anything outta the ord)? I told you, a descent into appliqué-crazy.
I tried to do the majority of appliqué separate from the dress. This was cuz I knew rotating that lump of a dress around my machine would be most unfun. So I tried to only save that for the outer edges. I do believe I went through three spools of black thread and wound my bobbin at least a dozen times before all was said and done. 
But in the end, I'm super stoked I toughed it out. This just might be one of my fave artist dresses. I even got a lil outta hand and created something to match...but for that, I'll post in yet another photo-heave post. For now, let's just stick to frock-talk, shall we?
Of course, what's a lil Lichtenstein without imitating some of this paintings, riiiiight? I opted outta painting my face (you've seen this, right? Nutz.) but I do have a lil phone prop for times like these (what, don't you?).


"Girl, this ain't Jeff. This is Jeff's wife!"

By the way, did I tell you that I got Target to taking a whopping 5% off the wig? Yeah, it was a little dingy from being tried on by everyone in state of Tennessee so they took a whole dollar off! I might have head lice but a got a buck in my pocket, yippie!
P.S. One cannot wear this wig without making annoying faces. My apologies.
See? What'd I tell ya?! 

I'd love it so if you'd leave a comment. Especially one that justifies the purchase of a big foam wig. Don't do it for me, do it for the hubs. 

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

What the Art Teacher Wore #119 and Spooky Ensembles of Halloween Past

A Return from Fall Break: Ain't gonna lie, that break sure was nice but it was good to be back. Looking at this photo, I can't help but notice all the creepy things that stare at the kids while they work: Señor Roy G. Biv (um, that's what we call the big-eyed rainbow), Graffiti Mona and those rando drawings of mine on the board. owl sweater: felted DIY, details here; dress: BCBG, old; belt, tights and necklace: Target, old; boots: Buffalo Exchange; hair bow: um, I'm wearing the belt from the dress as a hair bow. What?

Hey, friends! I hope you all are enjoying your weekend. Here the leaves are turning, the temps are as unpredictable (warm-then-cold-then-warm-again-and-now-rain-for-three-days-straight) as my moods and it's now dark way too early. I think that's the only thing I don't dig about fall: the fact that it's, like, 5pm and the pitch black night has me convinced I need to hop into my pajamas and consume multiple cups of hot chocolate. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I suppose. 

Now since Halloween is right around the corner, I thought I'd share with you some of my fave spooky ensembles from years past. I'm hoping this will inspire you to start dreaming up your creation for the Dress-Like-A-Famous-Artist/Artwork Contest! Y'all have been coming up ideas for your costume, riiiiight? Halloween is on Friday this year which means you can totes wear your costume to school (if you are a teacher although any of my non-teacherin' friends can enter!) and tie it in to whatever it is you are teaching. I don't plan to enter (although I will be in costume that day!). I did spend my weekend wrapping up a coupla costume ideas (come on back on Tuesday and I'll show ya!). Grand prize is your pretty face in SchoolArts Magazine, y'all! For all the details, please click here

Speaking of creating, have y'all been gathering up your fabric and stitching supplies for our next Sew-Along? In case you missed it, we will be creating dresses for Dress a Girl Around the World, an organization that sends dresses to girls in need. I am so excited about this that a group of my teacher buddies and I are doing this in the afternoons as well! I was really hoping that I could get the first tutorial up by the week of October 27th but I forgot to consult my calendar. This coming weekend is my state art conference where I'll be, wait for it, recognized as Tennessee Elementary Art Educator of the Year! (Or, "Art Teacher of the Universe" to anyone who asks. You'd be surprised how many "REALLY?!"s I get. Sigh.) Since I won't be around to film any tutorials this coming weekend, I'm going to push it back a week. However, you really don't need my help as the Dress a Girl website has very clear directions. Have any of you already started? I can't wait for us to begin!

Other than that, I got nuthin, kids. I hope you have a super awesome fall-ish week. Until Tuesday, I hope y'all enjoy these spooky ensembles of Halloween past.
Last year I was so stinkin good at getting my Halloweenin' on. I felted eyeballs on my Target pants, created that leaf printed garland and even painted some pumpkins. This year, um, not so much. The season totally got away from me! I've decided not to let that happen with Christmas, gonna start early-ish on that one. 
Rainy Chilliness: Suriously? Where's my coat/hat/scarf? I swear, in my art room, I had my heat running one day and my ac the next. top: Buffalo Exchange; skirt: Anthro; necklace: El Dia de los Muertos DIY; tights: Target; shoes: thrifted
Part of the prob this year was that I got too late of a Halloween start. I mean, it's only a coupla weeks away and I have two dresses that I'd love to bust out before then (totally wishful thinking as I'm the slowest sewer everrrr). This Day of the Dead dress and matching planters were all created in early September of that year. What happened to that plan-ahead person? Where did she goooo? (and just who is she because I've never been one to plan ahead. I do think this was that time aliens clawed in my ear while I was sleeping and took over my brain for a hot minute before realizing that the battery was too low.)

Bustin Out Them Boots: It's that time. Tights -n- boots, y'all. I really am so glad that tights season is here as it means one happy thing: no more leg shaving until May! Let the glorious gorilla legs begin! sweater: felted fox DIY, here; dress: Anthro label found at Buffalo Exchange; tights: Target; boots: Frye, found at a discount joint because Frye boots are INSANELY expensive, kids; belt: Anthro
This outfit was super fun to make. Well, the needle felted sweater was actually the fun part. Sewing doesn't always go smoothly for me (I do more seam-ripping than stitchin, kids. True Story.) but felting I feel I can't mess up. I do seriously wish I had a white streak in my hair. Hmmm. 
Squirrelly Sweaterness: I love this sweater but I only wear it during the fall. I paired it with this funky 1960s sleeveless two-piece because, well, I thought they looked like a perfect match. sweater: Urban Outfitters, couple fall's ago; top, skirt, shoes: thrifted
One Halloween dress that wins my fave fabric award is this one. It's got al the famous Universal Studios monsters featured on it and it's just a buncha fun to wear. You can find the gory deets here, if you dare. 
Spook-tacular!: A friend of mine told me about a house just down from my school that was decked out in the Halloween spirit. Mitch and I took a trip there this weekend and I just had to share it with you. It really makes me sad that I didn't decorate at all for Halloween (we're always gone to haunted houses on the night of Halloween anyway, sigh). Next year I will attempt this level of amazingness. sweater: vintage, thrifted; skirt: Anthro found at Buffalo Exchange
Until next time, I hope your week is simply Be-witched!

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

In the Art Room: A One Class Clay Project

So I've got this super fun group of kids that hang out in my art room every Tuesday and make stuff outta clay. It's a class of about 15-ish first through fourth grade kids. We have a glorious hour of art makin' together and this here is one project we busted out in one of those classes. It's a project that I used to do all the time with my second grade kids until I just got so tired of it, I couldn't do it anymore. You know what I'm talking about, right? Howevers, it is one of those everybody-loves-it/they-always-turn-out-fab/personalized-and-thusly-awesome project that bears repeating (gah, I do love that saying as it always puts the image of a buncha repeating bears in my head).
This is also one of those fire-it-once type of projects which is always a plus. Most projects I do with the kids usually require both a bisque and a glaze firing. Which is tiresome for a super lazy art teacher like myself. Without sounding like an old lady, does anyone else experience a little back aching from leaning over the kiln whilst loading and unloading? Please tell me it's not just me and my whiny/gripey personality.
So just how were the bad boys completed in under 60 minutes? Well, lemme show ya.
I gave each of the kids a hunk of low fire (Cone O6) clay the size of  a large orange. I have a variety of doilies, pieces of burlap and lace that we use for texture. The kids pick one and place it on their clay mat.
The lump of clay is then dropped onto the doily covered mat and pounded flat. This is usually when my left eye begins to twitch and the onset of a headache begins. A room full of 15 kids pounding the daylights outta clay is just a lil holy-crap-this-is-my-life?! inducing. Thankfully it ends rather quickly as the kids know to stop the pounding when their clay is as thick as a cookie.
The clay is then pealed off the doily and placed right-side-up on the clay mat.
I then gave the kids a variety of templates to trace for their wall hanging. Some are flower shaped, square, round, whateves. When tracing with a skewer, it's key that the stick stand tall and vertical ("like a soldier") so that it can cut all the way through the clay. Otherwise, you'll get that unappealing shark's tooth edge and, like I always tell 'em, it's not Shark Week in the art room.
Then the glazing begins. Now, we used Stroke and Coat by Mayco for this project. Normally, I'd only use that kind of glaze after a bisque fire. However, for this project, the glaze had double duty (OMG, do your kids also loose their sh%% if you say the word "duty"? Make it stooooop, y'all!) by not only acting as a colorant but as glue. 
See? Roll a coil, shape it into your initials, a shape, whatever you like and press it into the wet glaze. 
Most kids opted to also paint their letters and add a lil decoration to the background. I used the back of the paint brushes to create two holes to hang the masterpiece.
When they came outta the kiln, the kids were given a piece of Twisteez wire cut in half and the chance to dig around in my big ole bucket of beads.
So I was gifted this giant stash of beads which is cool because the beads are super unique. There's dolphins and cat beads, flower and sparkle beads. You name it, there's a bead for it. However, I warn you, if you unleash the kids on beads, it's like a piranha attack (P.S. never EVER image search "piranha attack". I can't unsee what the interwebs just showed me, waaaahhhh!). Just place a handful of beads on a couple plates on the tables and step back. I did limit the kids to only 10-ish beads so they could pick the ones that meant the most to them...and save some for the rest of the kids on the planet.
We have a lotta school pride at my school. This dude showcased the school initials and used school colors. 
So often our clay projects take many sessions. With this quick lesson, the kids were thrilled to be able to take their creations home and share them with their families. And who can blame 'em? They're pretty rad.

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