Monday, August 22, 2016

In the Art Room: Fiber Arts Studio Course

Y'all, I've been waiting all summer to share some big news with you: I worked with the wonderful folks at AOE this summer to put together a fibers course just for you! Everything I've learned from teaching art and exploring my love of fiber arts over the past 20 years is packed into this class. AND I'm able to offer you a special discount cuz we're buds and all. More on that in a moment (just scroll downward if you can't wait). Let's talk about what I'll be talking about!
 I'll be covering the following of my faves:

* 2-Dimensional Weaving With fresh fun spins on weaving lessons. I LOVE weaving as it has so many connections: math (measure much?), science (let's dye some fibers to weave with!), social studies (y'all, every culture weaves) and so much more. I secretly think I became an art teacher just to teach weaving.

* 3-Dimensional Weaving Don't even get me started. I know I have shared MANY of my favorite weaving projects here over the years, but I saved some fresh and new techniques just for this course!

* FELTING! Eeep! Y'all know that's my JAM.
 We'll be exploring both wet felting and needle felting techniques. 
 * Sewing and Embroidery Which I learned as a kid and absolutely loved. I so enjoy sharing that passion with my students...and art teacherin' types. 
* Tips, Tricks, Organization and Management Never taught fibers and have a fear of the unknown? Lemme hold your hand and offer you my best tips for streamlining your fiber arts curriculum. 
And now for the best part! I'm able to offer you the course for a 10% discount! Just use the code: SAVE10CASSIEART17. That's almost a $40 discount (you can thank Google for figuring that out...cuz you won't see me leading a math course anytime soon). You can sign up for the class here! AND if you do, please drop me a line in the comments below. I'd love to stay in touch and hear all about your fiber artin' adventures!
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

In the Art Room: Art Room Placemats!

This summer, I spent some time creating all sorts of magical movies with AOE! In case you didn't know, I'm kinda like the Meryl Streep meets William Shatner of the art teacherin' acting world. STILL waiting for my Golden Globe. 

This week, I shared one of my favorite creations: Art Room Placemats! I love them so: they offer so much information for the kids and clean up with soap and water. I purchased the information for my mats from the wonderful Teacher Pay Teacher's store Art with Mrs. Nguyen
I printed these wonderful handouts two ways: one small for the images you see on my mats and the other large so I can hang them as posters. I love that they match and the kids can find the same information both on their tables and in the art room.

The color mixing recipes came courtesy of an internet search and were my favorite price: free. All color copies were made at a local office joint that offered pathetic looking teachers discounts. I spent a 1/2 day with the help of a kind assistant cutting, gluing and running these bad boys thru the laminator. They've lasted us a while and I hope to get many more years out of them!
This summer, I created several short clips like this one as well as a course and workshop video with their AMAZING film crew and WONDERFUL staff at AOE. It was such an honor and pleasure to work with them!

SOOOOO...that being said, stay tuned: tomorrow my AOE Studio: Fibers Course will launch! Check back here for all of the details as well as a super sweet discount code I have for y'all! 
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 15

Second grade and I going over the Elements of Art. Here we are flexing our muscles and showing FORM. 
"Why, yes, I did become an art teacher so I could repeat myself over and over and OOOHHH-VERRRRR again. In fact, I'm pursuing my masters degree in the Fine Art of Repetition as I do love hearing myself give the same set of directions during one art class so stinkin' much!"


If you are like me (and bless you if that truly is the case), you absolutely positively cannot stand it when you have just finished giving all sorts of fabulous directions only to have a student come up to you and say, "So, like, what am I supposed to do?" 

Well, roll-those-eyes, shake-that-head and face-palm it no more, my dear art teacherin' buds. I have a solution that has worked wonders for me: Call and Response!
My face, after my head does a Linda Blair head spin, when asked to repeat the directions for the gazillionth time...

If you aren't afraid to be a little silly and animated (and, I mean, really. You teach ART, y'all! Get silly and animated already), then this method is for you. 

Here are the keys to making Call and Response successful (and fun!):

* Have a cue. The kids will need a signal to know when it is an appropriate time to repeat after you. I clear my throat with an "ah-hem" which they mimic and know that anything I say and do from then on, they are to parrot.

* Deliver it in bite sizes. Keep your directions short and sweet so that the kids have an easy time repeating.

* Make it silly. Silly sticks, y'all. They remember the silly. Goofy voices, funny phrases, that's the stuff they remember.

* Add a hand jive. I'm all about the hand motions. Use those to help reinforce what you are saying. Throw some sign language in there to boot!

Like I said, I do this with all of my students, kinder thru fourth. They are all expected to repeat (because I have noticed that those who do not never know what to do!). It truly works wonders! I've had parents tell me that they've tried it at home...sadly, it doesn't work as well there. 
And to change things up, I sat in front of a random supply cabinet this week. I thought y'all might want a look see without my crazy self sitting in front of it. 

So, what do you say? Is this something you would do? I really recommend you give it a go...your kids will love it and you'll be amazed at what they remember! We do this for all sorts of things: learning vocabulary, the elements of art and more. Have fun, y'all!
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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

In the Art Room: Mini-Monochromatic Self-Portraits

Well, hello there. This big toothy grin is brought to you by our mini-monochromatic self-portrait project! Our first project of the new school year is a collaborative one. Each of my four hundred-ish students will be making a 3" square selfie to contribute to a large mural. Y'all might have seen the rainbow portrait mural that was all the rage on Pinterest a couple years ago (in case you missed, it's the same process as what I'm sharing here. When complete, the portraits are hung in Roy G. Biv order which makes for a beautiful display). The last time I did a project like this (back in 2012), we hung the pieces to create a large world map. This go-round I have something different in mind which I hope to have ready to share with y'all real soon. In the meantime, let's chat monochromatic self-portraits!
 I have my older students, third and fourth grade, for an hour. After watching the start of the video below, I allowed the students the choice of either participating in the guided drawing in the video or working on their own. My classes were pretty evenly split between those who preferred guided vs. independent. Some kids would draw along for a while until they felt comfortable then migrate to their chosen table (more on that in a sec) while others would decide they'd like a little guidance and join the kids on the floor.
Creating this video was great in that I could add vocabulary pop-ups when needed. I also think that the intro would work great with a variety of self-portrait projects. Feel free to show it in your art room, that's why I'm sharing it here! You can find many more videos like this on my YouTube channel. I add more videos weekly so if you subscribe, you can stay tuned. 
My third graders (seen above) were able to bust these bad boys out in no time. I had only one rule when coloring: only use colored pencils on the face. I learned from experience that the dark markers will often cover too much of the face and the kids lose their beautiful details. 

So, who did they know which colors to use? 
I color coded the tables! I told the kids that the table cloth signified which color was available on the table. Inside those plastic bins were markers and colored pencils of only one color. I also had mirrors and "idea sheets" (with a variety of faces and facial features) drawn on them.
So on the first days of art, the kids sat where they liked, no assigned seats. This gave me a chance to see who would migrate together and who would not be able to sit with their buddy (more talkie than workie means new seatie for sweetie). 
 AH!! First grade! Their selfies made me smile! 
 For the wee ones, we did a guided drawing activity. We spent one day learning about self-portraits and drawing them together.
I love this activity because it's such a great assessment of student skill level at the start of the year. It also is gonna make a super sweet mural that I can pop up on the walls right away. And, who doesn't love a selfie? Especially when they are this cute. 

Love to hear what y'all are doing for these first weeks back to school! 

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

What the Art Teacher Wore #169

 Monday, Here We Go!: The first day back with students is usually a lil spooky for me but this year, I was surprisingly calm. I shoulda known that was a sign! The days did go smoothly but I did change and improve my little chat before each class. Next week, we are on to the fun part: art makerin'! dress: made by me, details here; belt and crinoline: Amazon; shoes: Converse, Zappos

Hey there and welcome back! It was our first week back to school with the wee artists and we kicked it off with a bang. Each year, I try to do something a little different to start the school year. I noticed that I've written several blog posts about those first days of school so I thought I'd make a list of those here. Some ideas I still use and some have changed and evolved. Regardless, I hope you find 'em helpful:

* The First Days Back, Welcome to Asia! That time I kicked off the school year with an Asian theme.

* The First Days Back, Artists, Vocab and More! Here I'll walk you through exactly what I say and do during those first days with a couple of video clips.

* The First Days Back, A Room Tour! This post shares with you more tips and tricks as well as a room tour.  

* This Year's First Days Back! I just shared this the other day, but in case you missed it...check it out here for my older students and here for my younger

* Art Teacherin' 101: Also, to get you in the swing of things, I've chatted quite a bit about going back to school in some recent Art Teacherin' 101. You can view all of those here. I share a new Art Teacherin' 101 nearly every Wednesday so if you subscribe to my channel, you won't miss! Also, if you have anything you'd like me to chat about, just leave it in the comments and I'll make an attempt.

I hope y'all have a great start back. I'll be back with you real soon. Until then!
 My third and fourth grade students LOVED playing the Art Rocks Escape Game to learn the rules, routines and way around the art room. This is definitely something I'll be bringing back again. 
 Sharpen Your Pencils Tuesday: I so love the little pencil print on this dress by Love Ur Look London. I shared it on my Instagram and Love Ur Look said that they were bringing that dress back soon. So if you don't see it on their website, stay tuned! shoes: Converse, DSW
 I love taking photos of how happy and clean my art room looks before the Fire Marshall comes and loses her mind and the kids come and create masterpieces. Ah...the cleanest it will be all year!
Splatter Me Wednesday: If y'all are a shopaholic like your girl, then you know ModCloth is a dangerous place. I've had my eyeball on this dress for a long while so when it dropped down in price to the lowest I'd seen it, I scooped it up before it was sold out. Another dangerous site? Zuilily, y'all. Check out those Tom's! necklace and scarf: thrifted
 This weekend, I've been trying to reach outside my comfort zone and work on some new projects that I'm super excited about. I'll be sure to unveil my new project here first...I can't wait to share it with y'all!
 Portrait Dress Thursday: We're all in self-portrait land on my end of the art teacherin' world so this dress seemed like the most appropriate thing to wear! dress: made by me, details here; necklace: from an artist in Charleston; shoes: Cons, Zappos
So this is the first time I've ever shared four blog posts in one week, y'all. It's been a goal of mine for a while but I gotta tell you, it's a lot! Because I've got some "adulting" to do this weekend (reading rewrites for THE BOOK I wrote {ahhh!}, video-lesson planning and plowing the field, aka, cutting the grass), I don't know that I'll get to that DIY I've been dreaming about all week. But, while it lasts, I hope y'all enjoyed the four blog posts. Hopefully it wasn't too much for ya! More on the Shibori dying here
Fun Friday!: Not even gonna candy coat it, it was a long week, kids. Friday was a much welcome sight! dress: ModCloth, also on super sale!; Rainbow Brite Belt: Buffalo Exchange
Several of you have asked about my new choice in footwear. My feets are fine...I'm just over wearing the heels. I noticed that by mid-day, my dogs were tired and I just wanted to sit down (what I usually did was just switch to my Fast Flats, those ballet style slip ons you can pick up at the drug store). Over the summer, I picked up a pair of Chucks on a whim and I loved how they looked with my vintage dresses. And my feet are happy! So now I have a super serious Chucks-obsession to add to my long list of shopping-obsessions. And there you have it: the unfascinating story of my shoes. 
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

DIY: Shibori, Indigo Tie-Dye

Y'all don't even know how excited I am about my Shibori-dyed napkins. Dinner party, anyone?
True facts about me: I suffer from Public Creating Anxiety. When attending any workshop, craft activity or any adult-art-makerin' of any kind, my stomach muscles tense up, my mouth goes dry and I just can't create anything that doesn't make me wanna cry myself to sleep at night. That doesn't stop me from happily attending any crafty date I get invited to (so, call me, y'all!). I mean, I love learning something new and fun. It's just I'm totally stressed THE.ENTIRE.TIME. 

Case in point: the first time I learned Shibori...(back in the day when I made poor choices in footwear)
Me and my buddy Debbie!
Way back in 2007, I was super fortunate enough to travel to Japan as apart of the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program (I've been campaigning for them to shorten that name for years). If you aren't familiar, it is a program where 200 teachers from all over the U.S. are invited to stay in Japan for nearly 2 weeks. During that time, you are educated about the culture, taken into schools, toted around and even allowed to stay with a host family. I made so many wonderful friends and learned so much. It truly was an experience I wouldn't swap for all the dark chocolate in the world (which is really saying something). 

At one point during our adventuring, we were taken to Aomori, Japan and a Shibori dying facility. After the tour, we were told that we'd be able to try our hand at this beautiful dying process. Being the only art teacher in the group, all eyeballs were on me and my design. Needless to say, no one was really impressed with my lackluster performance (although, personally, I am more embarrassed by that ensemble. WHAT AM I EVEN WEARING?!)
Needless to say, after that flop nearly 10 years ago, I didn't attempt Shibori again...until a couple weekends ago when my friend Sara had some art teachers over for a Shibori party!
Where I made much better outfit choices but STILL sucked at dying. You can see my dud of a dye hanging on the far left. I was so sad at how my attempts at dying turned out. I mean, how can I stink at tie dye?! I love me some fiber arts, that's my jam. That afternoon, determined to better my dying skills, I ordered a dying kit and a couple books on Shibori. And last weekend, I went NUTS.
And, it's official: I'm in love with Shibori! 
If you wanna give Shibori dying a try, I recommend this kit and purchasing a bolt of muslin (so you can really go to town like I did) and bunches of rubber bands. Be sure to follow the dye mixing directions carefully for best results. If you'd like to learn the techniques I tried, I go thru each and every one of them in this video. 
Even if you follow my folding and banding techniques to a T, that doesn't mean they will turn out just like mine. The fun is not knowing what you are gonna get.
Baby Banding: I picked up some of those tiny rubber bands for fine hair at the Dollar Tree. For this look, mark your fabric with a disappearing ink pin where you want your designs to be. Then pinch the fabric just a little and place a rubber band around it, wrapping it several times. If you do that with one rubber band, it will create the circle you see. If you add more rubber bands, one below the other, it will create the larger circles. 
Over Dying: If you dye a piece of fabric and you are disappointed by the outcome, don't throw it away. Just try something new and toss it back into the dye bath. For this piece, I first just scrunched the fabric into a ball and banded it. Unfortunately, not enough dye was able to get into the bound areas which left big areas of white. To add more design and color, I placed wooden beads under the fabric and attached them to the fabric with rubber bands. I threw that back into the dye bath. Once the rubber bands and beads were removed, they left behind those beautiful floral designs.
Paperclip Dying: This one was super easy. Just accordion fold the fabric and bind it with paperclips. You can see the halos of the clips on the top and the bottom.
Wooden Block Dying: The kit I mentioned comes with directions and suggestions for dying. One was this method. To achieve this look, accordion fold the fabric. Then triangle fold the fabric (see video). Once complete, add a block of wood to either side of the triangle and bind with rubber bands. The dye only manages to seep into the outer edges of the fabric.
Diagonal Fold: Instead of starting your accordion fold at the bottom, try something different by starting at one of the orders of your fabric. Once finished, add rubber bands every 2" for this kind of look. 
Accordion Fold: Same method as above...but start the fold on the side instead of the corner.
Faded Look: This was one of my first pieces. I tried the wad-it-up-and-band-it method and it was a dud as it left me with large areas of white. So I just threw it in the dye bath for a moment and it added the really beautiful light blue color. Now it's one of my faves.
And then I completely lost my mind and started dying everything from wool yarn that I bound with rubber bands. 
 To wooden beads that I bound with the baby bands.
And wooden bangles that I wrapped in rubber bands (my new fave!).
And, um, my hands. You might have noticed that my finger nails, which I NEVER paint, are currently painted blue. That's to hide the fact that they are indeed blue.
So what does one do with a dozen pieces of Shibori dyed muslin? Make napkins, of course! I simply hemmed the edges and they were done. I scored those napkin rings on the cheap via Amazon.
 This calls for a dinner party! It's a shame that I don't cook. 
Perhaps I'll just host an "Admire my Shibori Napkins" Party. I wonder if anyone would show up. 
Regardless, I'm loving how the indigo blue goes with my dining room...and now I can say that I can Shibori dye! I can't wait until the weekend to do it some more, I'm totally addicted. 

P.S. I attended another craft night on Wednesday hosted by my good friend Tamara...and was again struck by Project Creating Anxiety. Tell me I'm not alone in this! Looks like I'll be working on that craft this weekend and attempting to perfect it as well. 
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