Thursday, February 23, 2012

Off to Convention! Any Advice?

The NAEA convention takes place in NYC this year. Since I live so close, I am making it my business to be there! I am hoping I bump into some of my fellow teacher bloggers, so please keep an eye out for me.

I have been looking over the schedules and am feeling a bit overwhelmed. The offerings for the first day alone are 68 pages long! I want to take advantage of as much as possible, but don't want to fry my brain with too much input day after day. Does anyone have experience with past conferences? Are there things you wish you had gotten to see or do in the past? Are you inspired more by hands-on learning or great speakers?

The one thing I have in my favor is that I can navigate the city well, and already have exposure to the museums outside of convention (although free admission to MOMA is quite tempting!) So, please comment, what's your game plan, if any? What would you do if you were going? What should I not miss?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Three Sisters Patterns

During my teaching assignment last fall I tried out a new lesson plan with first graders to learn about the Thanksgiving holiday, creating a pattern, and to highlight a living artist's work.

We discussed the companion gardening technique of the Wampanoag people, and why they called beans, corn and squash The Three Sisters. While researching this assignment I came across the website of a New England artist named Janice Schupak Frishkopf, whose works inspired my students to create their own autumn harvest patterns!

To make our patterns I provided tracing templates for ears of corn, beans and various types of squash. Students were asked to show each of the Three Sisters in their patterns, to repeat shapes, to let their shapes reach outside the border of their paper, and to start with the largest shapes first. They could also let shapes overlap. The first class they worked in pencil to trace out their patterns.

After the pencil drawings were finished, I placed ears of dried Indian corn, and decorative squash at each table. We looked at all of the different colors and textures, and then added color to the drawings with oil pastels. The last step was using cake tempera to add a wash of color to the background and/or as a resist.

Their color choices and attention to detail were more than I had hoped for! And they really had fun creating their own distinct patterns. I actually left this lesson in progress for the returning art teacher, and she finished up the assignment with the children. When I had a chance to sub again I saw their finished pieces on display. I just had to take a few pictures! Thank you Emily for letting me introduce this lesson in your class room, for helping the children complete their art, and for letting me share this lesson on my blog.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kimono Collages

I've seen ideas for this project a few places, but the one that comes to mind was over at Blue Moon Palette. I loved the idea of using patterned origami paper as a textile for designing a Japanese kimono. Each student selected a sheet of origami paper for the main design. They then added scraps of other patterns and solids to create the binding, sash, belt, sleeves etc. We discussed being mindful of what colors and patterns worked well together. Some choices were bolder than others, but they all worked so well! Final touches were mounting on a square of black or white paper and adding a paper border.

This is a great lesson to combine with textile design, art history, world art, fashion, or even just the basics of color, pattern, composition etc.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

I had better wish you all a Happy New Year now, before it gets to be June! Sorry for neglecting my blogging duties. As you all know I had my first full-time position as a leave replacement for one of the elementary art teachers in my local school district. It was a great experience, full of firsts, and full of learning. I loved every minute of it! Thanks to all of my fellow bloggers who helped me be prepared as I was for the task. Our community is such a wonderful thing, and I don't know how teachers, new and experienced, ever got along without it in the past!

While teaching, I also contributed to two upcoming publications— one was as an illustrator, and for the other I was invited to write the foreword. These were incredible experiences as well and I can't wait to share more about them with you!

I am back in my little studio with new classes and lessons in the works. My new favorite class is Manga Club! I have a great group of students who are so enthusiastic and are teaching me as I teach them. Hurray!

I wish you all well in 2012. New posts coming, I promise!