Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sports Themed Camp for the Blind

I had such a blast at last week's summer course!  Blind and low vision teenagers from around state of Georgia came together to play beep kick ball on a wheel chair accessible ball field, go bowling and  attend a baseball game! They spent a morning to do virtual fishing and hunting. Students took a tour of the Sports Hall of Fame, went swimming, and learned yoga. They rode a mechanical bull, played goal ball (similar to indoor soccer but with three blindfolded teammates on a gym court) and attended a tennis clinic with soft, bouncy, jingly tennis balls.

Part of my responsibilities for this program included doing art projects.  One day they screen printed their own camp t-shirt, using a silk screen I had photo-mechanically processed with a design my husband did in Adobe Illustrator based on my drawing.

The next day, students created their original designs, which were cut out of paper for stencils to screen print on their tote bags.

And finally they chose colors and designs to represent their own team before making into felt penants (not pictured).  

I also made a sports themed photo booth to help capture the moment and save happy memories.
By the end of the week they were all worn out but hopefully feeling more fit, more confident, and more independent than they were a week  earlier. Yay for camp! 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Wax Resist Ink Drawings

People with low vision need high contrast images more than those of us who can see subtle value shifts.  Ideally, this "wax resist" assignment would be done starting with only white crayon, or white oil pastel, but we also have liquid wax that is used for ceramics to block glaze from the bottoms of cups and bowls. There is dye in this wax to make it easier to see for those who need the some contrast to start with. So my students drew and painted with waxy or oily medium, and then brushed ink on top. The ink only stuck to the paper (although we did have to dab the tops of the oil pastel with a paper towel, to be able to see it better), to create a black and white (or black and green) image, with enough value contrast for my low vision students.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Beach Party and Decorations to Die For

Every time Kim, our school media center specialist, asks me, "Do you want this empty laminator tube?" I hear the words, "Do you want a palm tree trunk?"  I was glad that I had accepted and saved those large tubes when I got the call to decorate a faculty party at the last minute. "Something summery" was the suggestion, so I went with beach theme on a shoe string budget. It is easy to borrow beach towels to cover all the book shelves, bring in a beach umbrella, and buy some sand buckets from the dollar store to and place foam sunglasses, crabs, flamingos, suns and surfboard, made from construction paper or craft foam and glued to dowels. A shark's mouth photo op was made from a discarded trip-fold board, and beach balls were placed around the room. Bulletin board paper cut into palm leaves were given structure by attaching aluminum wire to the bottom with green masking tape. Then the palm trees were placed into buckets or cans with sand or rocks around to hold it up.

 Two days later, I was invited to an Edgar Allen Poe themed murder mystery. I painted a raven for the occasion and each guest posed with it was they entered the dinner party.  The hosts had ravens and sculls in each room, black table cloths. With everyone's costume and a menu that included "crow pie" and "funeral potatoes" it was easy to stay in character and the evening was a lot of fun! Whether the party theme is a luau or murder, there are colors, costumes and little touches that can make the mood complete.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Clay Boxes and Pinch Pot Animals

As an art teacher, it's my job to teach the basic techniques of ceramics, such as making slabs, pinch pots, coil pots, and using the potter's wheel.  But there's so much that can be done to learn each of those techniques. It has been four or five years since we made slab boxes to learn slip and score method of joining two pieces of clay, and about that long since we've made animals from pinch pots. And so this was our year to do those projects, and it was great fun.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Discarded Books to Works of Art

Old books can become new sculptures with a few folds and maybe some glue and paint. The book above just had the top and bottom corners of each page folded in, while the book below had a group of pages with the  bottom corners turned up followed by a section of pages in which the top corners were turned down.
After eight sections of alternating turned corners half of each section rolled right while the other half of each section rolled left. then the rolls were glued into place. Then it was sprayed lightly with gold spray paint.

Here is a similar process of folds and rolls, followed by a touch of red spray paint.

This Christmas tree idea that was found online is the only one in which the pages were cut before they were folded. Although some students cut out pages and painted ink silhouettes with them.

And one student used discarded maps to make paper flowers.

In order to create a vintage feel or a piece of art that communicates layers of meaning, it might be wise to look beyond a plain white sheet of paper into discarded reading materials.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Goodwill Volunteer of the Year

This month our central Georgia regional area of Goodwill Industries awarded my students and I with the volunteer of the year award for our many hours putting the art show together for them in January. There were about 500 people at the employee meeting/ party where we (among others) were recognized; The honor of being appreciated is just part of the fun of a happy partnership that I hope continues.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Rags to Rugs!

Teaching a textile art unit gave me a perfect opportunity to clean out unwanted clothes from my craft closet. I had meant to use husband's old shirts for quilts, but never got around to it.

I was taught to make a braided rug when I was young, by my adopted grandmother, but the task of sewing the braids together was so labor intensive, that I never did it as an adult. Luckily there is a no sew method, that makes things much easier, and probably stronger.  It requires four strands of fabric (1 1/2" to 2" wide). I tied the four strands together.

Then I took the first strand at the far left and went under the 2nd, over the 3rd, and under the 4th, ending with a small tug. I repeated the processes until about 5 inches of woven strands gave me enough wiggle room to wrap a small spiral.  Then I continued with the under over under pattern, except I ended by tucking it down through a loop from the previous weave.
When a strand got too short, we cut a little button hole slit in the end and stuck the end of another strand through the hole. That strand also had a slit cut into the end so that the other end (of that long strand) could thread through it and be pulled tight. This was much less bulky than trying to tie the two ends together.

And so the rug grew as each strand connected to the existing spiral. You may need to pull a little to make the loops big enough to push the strand through. But it comes along pretty quickly. And once my students could work independently, I could sit back and watch.  I put a piece of tape on the top to remember that we were spiraling counter clockwise and keep the pattern and shape tidy. Some students made personal rugs that were the sizes of hot pads, and others worked together on bigger projects.