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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New School Year!

Today was our first day of school.  Would you like to see a glimpse of my room?  Any of these pictures you can see larger by clicking on them.

Free Draw Cart
View of the classroom.  We have small rooms because we have small classes.
This is the view from our window.  It is the back of our school.  The playground is to the right and there is a bike trail in the distance.
Miscellaneous supplies
Kiln room
                           This is an origami display the other art teacher did with her 7th/8th grade students.                                                                   It is hanging in the ceiling window well.
Close-up of the origami display
Art Mystery Game..  There are 5 artists to figure out based on clues.  The posters were bought from the Nasco catalog.
I'm in charge of Student Council.  Last Spring, we planted a garden and we grew tons of gourds!  The garden is only 4 ft x 4ft, but the gourds spread much further beyond the plot. 

These are fabric dolls made by 2nd graders.  They were made 2 years ago with a visiting artist.
First assignment.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fun Blog

I just discovered a fun blog from a kindergarten teacher who does lots of way cool art projects.  These kids are so lucky to have such a creative teacher!  I'm impressed with the felted balls she made with the kindergartners.  Why have I been intimidated by teaching felting to kids?    Plus she has such a cool name and it is her real name, lol.

Meri Cherry's Blog

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Collage Doodle

The full collage/doodle

Detail-- I almost like the details more, because they are cropped more tightly. :)
     Speaking of doodles, this is a very fun book for kids.  I have this in my classroom and sometimes kids will take it out in their free time.  It is small, pocket-sized, but has a lot of pages.

Oodles of Doodles

     I also enjoy this book, which is fun for scrapbookers.  It is more like a booklet, but it has a lot of fun inspiration.  If you are interested in looking at it, I found mine at Michael's craft store.  So you can page through it before you buy it. 
The Doodle Formula: A Step-by-step Guide to Creating the Perfect Doodle

Friday, August 20, 2010

I really like these drawings

I really like THESE drawings.  (they are not mine, but they are making me want to pick up my sketchpad.)

Drawings in a crowded cafe.  If you click on the link above you can see them up close.


While searching the internet for some clay how-to's I found this picture.  Woah! That's crazy!

It's on

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

Rule #1: Thank the person who gave you your award.
                 Thanks to Mini Matisse for giving me this AWARD.  Wooh!  I feel so special.  I didn't know anyone had actually been reading seriously.  Her blog has lots of great art lesson plans too.
Rule #2: Share 7 things about yourself
                     1.  I have been married since 2006 to my wonderful husband Andrew, who is a radio news reporter.  We met in college in Illinois.

                    2.  We have a 10 1/2 month old daughter named Daria Jane, who is so much fun and lights up a room.  She has 7 teeth and has started to take her first steps.  She loves playing with rubber ducks and little people.

                   3.  Our dog Linus is so fun.  He's a schnauzer-poodle mix- a Schnoodle.  We got him from a rescue when he was about 8 months old.   I don't think he got a lot of attention from humans before us, because he was living at his breeders' house and they didn't even name him!  He was very skittish and scared around people for the past 2 years.  He's gotten better though.  We call him an emo-puppy because he is so moody.  He's very obedient for the most part.

                  4.  I live in Madison, WI which I think is the most beautiful place I lived.  Lakes, bike paths, cute downtown area, charming houses, tall trees, lots to do and see.  Andrew's sister and her family already lived here and since we moved here, my brother and sister-in-law, and Andrew's parents have since moved here. So it's nice to have some family in town.  We live only about 21/2-3 hours from my parents in Illinois.  
                   5.  I teach K-6 art at a private school in Madison.  It is a school for gifted and talented kids.  I am lucky because we have small class sizes, ample supplies and resources and a supportive parent population.  The art and music programs at our school are valued and we are lucky to be able to bring in artist-in-residents and go on field trips.  There is usually one or two music residences and we are able to have guest artists work with our kids on occasion.  For example, we had Sharon Kilfoy come make fiber dolls with our little kids.  We are having Greg Percy come this year for a "Songs in the Key of Art" performance.  

                     6.  As for my own personal art, I like to make jewelry, scrapbook, knit, make mixed media collages, sculpt with clay, shoot photography and alter it digitally, and lately I've been working with ceramic tiles and painting them with alcohol inks.  I'm going to start making some mosaic-type wall hangings.  

                    7.  Hmm... what else, I am 30 years old, like taking walks with my dog and baby, love to hang out with friends, and read books. 
Rule #3: Pass the award on to 15 bloggers whom you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic. 

              I've been hunting online for lots of inspiration lately and here are some that I love-- all art related
                 1. Briargrove Elementary Art
                 2.  The Crafty Crow
                3.  Carla Sonheim 
                4.  Sarah's Art Room 
                5.  Paper Art Studio 
                6.  I am an Artist
                7.  Karen Michel 
               8.  Danita Art  
               9.  Art Journaling as a Creative Process 
               10.  Lilla-a 
                11.  Gathering up bits of the World  
                12.  Pink and Green Mama 
               13.  Very Debra
                14.   Adventures of an Art Teacher 
                15.  Laugh Paint Create 

There are so many awesome art blogs I look at.  If you look under my profile on blogger, you can see the list of blogs that I follow to get more ideas.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pinecone Crafts

At our church garage sale I picked up a large bag of pine cones for $2.  I suppose I could have found pine cones on the ground, but hey, they were all in a bag right in front of me already.  So, what to do with all of them?  I'm looking for ideas on the internet.  I want to find something to make with the kids at school.


Any other ideas?  I'm thinking of having kids paint the pinecones, add glitter, tie on yarn, ribbon and beads?

Creativity Exercise

I'm going to have some of my students do a creativity exercise on the first day of school to get their juices flowing. 

Creativity Test
Directions:  Use your imagination to invent something that we could add to the school.  It could be something real, made-up, unbelievable or something that we could actually add to our school.  It could be added to the inside or outside of the school grounds.  It could be decorative or functional.  Draw a very detailed picture of where this would be added and details of what it is.  Try to imagine something that no one is thinking about.   

Clay Figures

So, you may remember that I made a couple clay figures as demos for a kids' clay class that I taught.  I painted the girl and put her in a chair that I had.  This is a chair made of sticks that my neighbor made.  He nails them together and ties them with some sort of twine to hold them together.


With the other guy, I painted him, and put him in a box.  The box I had bought at Michael's or Hobby Lobby for very cheap and I painted it with gesso and black stripes.  Inside the box, I put some odds and ends to create an assemblage for this clay guy.  Everything was glued together with the E6000 glue.  Wow, is that stuff strong!  I'm not completely finished yet.  I want to add something in the upper left corner on the wall of the box.  I'm trying to find something that goes with the work, but does not take away the balance. 

Making Pendants

Making jewelry is one of the hobbies I enjoy.  When people ask me what kind of art I do on my own, I have a hard time saying what I do... I love photography, jewelry making, collages, drawing, watercolor, clay.  I dabble in a little bit of everything.  So, my mother-in-law and I went to a craft show in Madison this weekend and we want to start selling some crafts.  She is thinking about sewing some kids' capes for boys and she already makes these lovely pillows made from upholstery samples.  I was thinking about making some pendants and some mixed media collages or photography to sell.  I like to make pendants out of clay or glass gems.  I also make some dangly, jingly charm necklaces.   It would be really fun to do, but I'm worried about recouping the costs of the table and so forth.  So last night I started to wire wrap some of the glass gems I made earlier.  Here are some of them.

Two of my favorite jewelry-making books are: Custom Cool Jewelry 
Custom Cool Jewelry: Create 200+ Personalized Pendants, Charms, and Clasps 
and The Impatient Beader
The Impatient Beader
Both of these have techniques that are not too overwhelming for the beginner, plus plenty of eye candy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Photography from the Dells

We went to the Wisconsin Dells the other weekend and of course, I took about 300 pictures.  My theory is that if you take 300 pictures, one of them is bound to look great!  Playing around with photo editing online yielded these photos.  Next, I'm going to try to do some hand painting on photos.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Weaving Camp Part 6

3rd graders' burlap weaving with feathers

Burlap weaving made by 4 year old

Weaving on Burlap
Weaving camp has been over for a couple of months now and I'm finally getting around to updating the last of the lessons I taught for the camp.  Just a refresher, the weaving camp was for kids going into kindergarten to about 3rd grade.  Each day focused on a different type of weaving and kids could sign up for one day or all of the days.  Each class lasted for 2 1/2 hours (approximately-- we had a break in there).  One of my favorite weaving projects was weaving on burlap.  First you need to cut the burlap into rectangles about 8 x 10".  Then the kids will pull out a few threads here and there from the burlap to create a space for weaving.  Just choose either horizontal or vertical threads to pull out.  Stay away from the top or bottom edge, otherwise the piece will keep unraveling.  So, then you can use yarn (with a plastic needle) to weave over and under in the spaces you have created by pulling out threads.  Show the kids how they can skip a few strands-- they don't need to go over each and every strand.  

Burlap Weaving in Progress

The kids can also weave in feathers, ribbons, pipe cleaners, or loopy wire and beads.  I would encourage them to use some thicker materials otherwise they might become frustrated at the amount of time it takes to weave.  Time is up and someone is not finished??  No problem!  Just take some foam stamps and tempera paint and have the child stamp in the blank spots.

Finished burlap weaving with foam stamp (kindergarten)

I think a great way to finish the weaving is to hot glue it to a piece of slightly larger felt.


 When I teach weaving at school, a book I like to read to the children is:

The Goat in the Rug

I just received another story book from Amazon that explains the weaving process but also focuses more on the creative process and how artists can be inspired by nature.

The Weaving Adventures of Edgar and Rita


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