Friday, March 30, 2012

Puppet Theater

Posted by Picasa

I highly recommend  this project for many grade levels.  The level of engagement was extraordinary from every student.  We started with a simple template  to create a character puppet (see image above). Simply draw your character, fold in half and tape.   We cut a rectangular shape from manila folders and used these for the setting of the story as well as the theater. I had fabric on a table in case anyone wanted to add curtains. Surprisingly, this project only took 2 class periods.  Another great thing was that the kids continued creating stories in their classrooms with their teacher. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Art of Ikebana

 First grade ikebana watercolor paintings. 

  I was so pleased to see the students taking in the art form of ikebana so thoughtfully.  Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging but the word literally means  the arrangement of plant materials. The history  goes back about 500 years.   One basic premise of ikebana is the idea that the arrangement symbolizes heaven, mankind, and earth, each of which is represented by different elements in the arrangement.  The heaven element is placed highest, earth towards the center, and mankind at the bottom.

This morning I gathered materials from our playground to make an ikebana to show the kids.
There is a great source for making an ikebana here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Storytelling with Bill Traylor

Posted by Picasa

 I'm  fascinated by the storytelling that Bill Traylor conveys through his art.  He's one of those artists that pulls me in and I have to stay.  How could I express this feeling to a 2nd grade class?  Ironically, through storytelling itself.  I told them how Bill started painting when he was 85 years old.  How he would sit on a box and paint the scenes that would travel by him.  And how his favorite mediums were black paint, crayons, and discarded cardboard.  They were hooked.

These were made by 2nd graders using white paper and black marker.

I asked the kids to imagine themselves sitting on a old rocking chair just watching the day go by.  What might they see?  What animals would pass by?    Most importantly, what story could they tell?  I was amazed at how quickly and how eagerly they grasped the idea.

Bill Traylor at work

Bill Traylor source here

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Collage Characters

Posted by Picasa

This lesson is about transformation.   The students explore the potential of objects and see them transform into a face, an expression or an emotion.   For this project we incorporated "found" objects to construct the face and to add details to the body.  Can you see the different expressions in each character's face?

 Inspiration came from the amazing art of Nan Fleming seen below.

 Trojan Horse

Nan Fleming, source

These were made a couple of years ago by K-1 students.  It turned out to be one of my favorite lessons.  I am sharing it now as it applies to my previous post and may give you some more ideas for a collage project and the use of texture plates.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Way of Collage

There's a wonderful tension that exists between the artist, the mind and paper.  Ah, but when the moment arrives, hands cut, papers fly, imaginations soar.  This is the way of collage.

The collages were made by first making the "material" for the collage and then cutting it to build a character.  Texture plates were used to created the illusion of texture.  The following week we cut the paper into 4  pieces that were used for body parts.  I also placed solid colored paper on the tables that could be used for contrast.
  One of my main goals was for the kids to explore the endless possibilities of this imagined character.   I showed a wonderful piece by  Miga de Pan (link and image below).  I also demonstrated the process of making a character while intentionally cutting free form or odd shapes. This way, the kids could see that it was not necessary to cut a "proper" head, body, legs, etc.

Miga de Pan