Thursday, May 14, 2015

In the Art Room: Ceramic Flowers with Third Grade

Well, spring is here but I gotta tell ya, for me, it feels like my spring done sprung. I'm absolutely beat this time of year. Between putting together our school-wide art show (where I've not hung a single thing, thanks to all of my parent volunteers. I.LURVE.YOUS.) and trying to clean up after a year of bad put-stuff-away-after-you-use-it habits (I'm so bad, y'all. I've got more cabinet space then Ole Mother Hubbard and I still leave everything out all over my counters), I'm a walkin' talkin' zombie. Therefores, I have no DIY goodness to offer you this week, dears. Howeverness, I do have this super sweet ceramic flower project that my third graders just wrapped up!
 (Insert "awwww" emoji here.)
Like, that's a sculpted hummingbird created without instruction, y'all. (Insert "child prodigy" emoji here. Which I imagine looks like Doogie Howser. Or a childhood photo of me. Ahem.)
And a frog snagging his lunch. Let's face it, these sculptures are way cooler than any DIY of mine. Here's how these crafty kids created 'em. 
 We started out with some low-fire clay the size of a grapefruit. and a styro bowl. 
 We then created ping-pong ball sized spheres. 
And proceeded to squish 'em flat. We kept the thickness as thick as a cookie. Any thinner will become too fragile and too thick takes for-evah to dry. And we ain't got time for dat!
Once they were all squishied, we lined them all up and went to war with the one wee piece on the left. Actually I have no idea why I snapped this photo and then proceeded to share it here. I'm tellin' ya. The end-o-the-year has devoured that gray blob between my ears. 
Shape a couple of those flattened circles into leafy shapes if you wanna. 
 Use a pencil to draw veins. Again, if you wanna. 
 Start layering the leaves and flower petals into the bowl. For slipping and scoring, we use a toothbrush dipped in slip. We still use the terminology but this method is way easier than actually having the kids score with a pen tool. 
Why am I talking, these photos are pretty self-explanatory, right? You don't even need me, just the pics. I'm like IKEA directions but way easier and without the long hours of wrestling with particle board only to discover you've got a couple screws loose. Both figuratively and literally. 
 Oh, look! A flower donut!
 Fill it in,y'all. 
Just to make sure the center is secure and all flower petals are attached, some kids added a coil around the center of the flower.
 And viola! Finished! 
From there I went into my lil speech about how you can make anything in all of clay land if you know how to create a coil, slab and a sphere. Together we brainstormed some ideas on what we'd create and just how that could be accomplished with those three things. These ceramic pieces were created in one 60 minute class period. 
 Once they were bisque fired, we used Amaco's Teacher's Palette Glaze which I looooove. The colors were so bright and rich that I'm an instant fan. 
Today the kids were able to catch a glimpse of their projects while creating labels for the art show. They were thrilled with the transformation. Glazing with kids is truly magical.
Almost as magical as their imagination! Whutz your fave clay project? 
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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

In the Art Room: Desert Landscapes with Third Grade

Hello, Tumblin' Tumbleweeds! I hope all y'all are feelin' footloose and fancy-free (like, why would you wanna be free of fancy?! I take it back, I hope you are fancy-full). My third graders have been wrapping up their art projects as the end rapidly draws near (like, 7 days left, y'all. Not like I'm counting the days, minutes, seconds or anything. Ahem) and I realized I'd never shared these beauties with ya! So in this here post, I'll fill you in on our process, the prezi used and some other whut-nuts. 
 So I've been kinda obsessed with having the kids work in chalk since we created those chalked ceiling tiles last month. And the kids have really enjoyed working with it as well. There's just something about using an art supply that involves smearing and getting up-to-our-elbows messy that's just irresistible. 
Since these guys didn't have a chance to make ceiling tiles, I thought I'd let 'em work on a desert landscape. It tied in nicely with our theme of Mexico and allowed me to introduce a super fab contemporary female artist, Sushe Felix
When I first spotted Sushe's work, I was totes smitten. And I totes thought she was working in chalk! That is until I saw this photo...
Like, fur realz?! All those amazingly even gradations are PAINTED?! Are you kitten me? I am in love with her work, you can view more of it (and her hubby's, his work is pretty groovy as well) here
Right? Totes smitten. If you have a chance, check out her paintings of animals, they are so cute. The girls let out a collective "awwwww!" when I shared a baby owl painting with them. 
For this project, we used the KOSS brand chalk that had worked so well for our ceiling tiles. We also used 9" X 12" sheets of paper.
I told the kids that their first step was to create their background. They could use any light color they wanted for their sky and any coupla colors they thought might look good for a desert floor. 
We blended with our fingers because it's super fun. I did tell 'em to use separate fingers for different color blending so as not to muddy their vibrant colors. 
 Next the kids cut out big cloud shapes.
And colored them with darker colors of chalk in the same fam as the color of our sky. Again, this was to prevent muddy looking colors. 
Using one hand to hold the paper super still, we used our other hand to smear the chalk upward. 
The key is not to let the paper move so that your cloud stencil can create a crisp line. 
 Like-a dis.
Then we flipped the cloud paper over and repeated the process on the other side of our masterpiece. 
Next up: creating the mountains! Cut a zig-zag mountain-y kind of shape out of some scrap paper. 
Color like you did the clouds with a variety of greens. However, this time, instead of pushing the chalk up, pull the colors downward.
The kids seriously thing this entire process is magical. You will be considered high class art teacherin' royalty with this one, I promise ya.
 Now cut out a piece of paper that doesn't have peaks like a mountain but has plateaus. We borrowed some desert books from the library to use on our tables for inspiration. Let's hope the librarian doesn't notice the chalk dust. 
 For the cliffs we did the same pull-down-the-chalk method. 
Once complete, we looked at even more desert books and my stash of How-to-Draw books for ideas of what could live in our landscape. 
Just a mile?! Well, I'm not taking my chances with that scorpion, yikes!
 Love the pink sunset in this work of art. We did chat about creating depth and space with a decrease in size of objects, rivers and roads. 
Just 200 more miles to Tennessee, y'all! Hope in your dune buggy and drop by! Tell next time, kids.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

DIY: Kitty Litter Containers to Pattern-y Planters!

Well, hey there, dirt diggers! Allow me and my black thumb of certain plant death to present to you my latest planter creation: Kitty Litter Containers to Patterny Planters! Please don't ask me to refer to these planters as "up-cycled" because just the mere mention of the word "up-cycled" makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and my right eye twitch. Maybe it's my severe gag reflex to all things hipster but I just can't sta-hand that word. Tell me I'm not alone, y'all. Surely there's a word that is totes hawt right meow that drives you up the up-cycled wall? I gots to know what it 'tis. While you think on that, I suppose I should return to the blog-tasticness at hand. 
So despite the fact that I'm known in the plant world as a killer of all things lovely and green, I have a habit of giving it a go every single year. Mostly cuz I love painting me some planters. You might recall these flower-y numbers from a coupla years back. 
Or these Day o' the Dead planters I created a couple Halloweenies ago. 
Last weekend, I thought I could use these ole kitty litter containers for some new planters. We have, like, one million of these bad boys cuz my hubs is borderline doomsday preppers and keeps assuring me that we'll need these for water containers when all the hipster zombies start to attack and up-cycle the universe. I stole these from his stash of one million and tossed 'em out into the yard. Cuz I'm classy like that.
Then I went at 'em with my razor blade and removed the tops. I'm tooootally going with a Tiki theme in my art room next year and these are toooootally gonna be up-cycled, er, reused as Tiki mask decor. Although, now that I think about it, they toooootally would make great Tiki bird houses with the openings as the mouth. RIGHT?! I'm like a genius, I know. After those were removed, I drilled holes in the bottom of each planter so the water could drain.
And then I set to painting! I spray painted some of the planters a pencil-y yellow and others a teal-y blue. Once those dried, I busted out some pattern books by my fave retro artists: Alexander Girard, Florence Broadhurst and, of course, Mary Blair. Some of these guys served as inspo while others were copies of patterns created by them. I like to copy the retro-y pattern-y masters, y'all. 
While I don't expect these planters to last beyond the summer (although those floral numbers are several summers old), I did slap a coat of ModPodge on 'em just to preserve them a lil. 
They make me so stinkin' happy everytime I catch a glimpse of them outside my front door. I am completely addicted to patterns, y'all. They rule my universe. 
As for the plants, Ima ask that you "pray for 'em" as they say here in the South. Dear lil baby Jesus, please don't let the Cassie's Black Thumb of Death cast a shadow on this sweet lil flower thang. Amen.
Least you think that I'm gonna keep them on my front steps so no one can visit, I have found a home for each planter in these lil planter thingies near my front door (don't you worry, that one at the bottom is just for show, it has a nice sunny spot elsewheres). Thanks for visiting all y'all up-cyclin' hipsters! 

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