Thursday, March 29, 2018

Wire Art Commission Piece

I just finished a commission piece for the NAEYC (National Association for Education of Young Children).  The sketch they approved was one of a teacher blowing bubbles to gleeful toddlers. They asked that I add the initials of their organization and some glasses on the teacher.  So here's what I ended up doing:  blowing up my drawing until it was 36" X 26".  I traced each figure with wire, and then I filled each shape with curls of plastic wire, and stripes of pipe cleaner. I stitched upholstery fabric, strung beads, and wrapped wire mesh.

I have no control over what color the wall will be behind this piece, and so I tried it out on several walls to make sure each part had enough contrast to be seen from a distance.

The project took about four times longer than I'd anticipated, but that's how it goes with art never know when the muses are going to take a day off.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Field Trip: The Center of Puppetry Arts

Today we had our spring student exhibition, in which we showed off the Jim Henson inspired hand puppets.  This month we also made a trip to the Center for Puppetry Arts, where we were in Jim Henson heaven as we saw exhibits about The Muppets, Sesame Street, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth.  There were also puppets from all around the world, some historic, some contemporary. Do the movies "War Horse" and "The Corpse Bride" ring a bell? Julie Taymor's masks from"The Lion King" were there too, which kicked off our mask making project, (see the previous post). Plus, we saw "The Wizard of Oz" performed with marionettes in a room full of toddlers, and so it was well worth the trip.  If you are ever in Atlanta, try to stop by The Center for Puppetry Arts!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Clay Masks

The first time I'd heard of Julie Taymor was when I saw an exhibition of her work at the Wexner Center in Columbus, OH decades ago. Yes she's a theater person, but I've always loved the relationship between visual and performing arts,so  I showed my students  videos and a slide show of her amazing costumes from "The Lion King," It just so happens that the Chorus took a field trip to see "The Lion King" the week before so the timing of this lesson was perfect.  And then we saw her actual Scar and Mufasa masks at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta,

My students each made sketches, newspaper forms, and then used clay slabs to create their own mask.  These are much too heavy to be worn, but holes were made on each side for wire, which makes it easy to hang on a wall. It was so gratifying to see them fired, glazed and displayed within two week's time.

Monday, March 12, 2018

What's In YOUR Closet?

For those who think that Art has nothing to do with their life, I'd invite them to look around them.  Every piece of junk mail, every web site visited, every bill board, every board game, every movie, T.V. show, theater production, every pieces clothing has involved a person with a visual art back ground. Graphic designers, industrial designers, fashion designers-all use the same tools: line, shape, color, value, texture, etc. They use the same rules: balance, emphasis, repetition, proportion etc.

And so my students looked at sketches from designers such as Ralph Lauren.  They learned the proportions of the human figure (or at least the idealized, 8 head high figure), and then they came up with their own fashion plate. Art isn't just for the galleries, it also
for the runways.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

If I Were Pharoah For Just One Day

For a fresh look at an ancient civilization, my students used technology to print photographs of themselves for a mixed media "self portrait as pharaoh" assignment. We watched videos about Ancient Egypt before discussing the mummification process, what life was like along the Nile, and how tomb raiders were tricked by pyramid architects. Then we looked at traditional head-dresses, before each student picked one for their two dimensional self. They used collage and oil pastel for their costume, boarder, and background. Then they embossed their name in foil for a cartouche using hieroglyphs.
We ended our lesson with a Venn Diagram to compare what we'd learned about Egypt with our previous week's study of ancient Greek's culture, religion, architecture, and mythology. It's just matter of time before some fashion designer brings headdresses like these back into fashion. Hey-it could happen!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Stellar Stella Relief Project

I have always been partial to Frank Stella's hard edged minimalist artwork of the late 1950's and 60's. But that's not to say his maximalist pieces done as recently as this decade, don't have some exciting things happening in them too, including relief elements, which are so helpful for my students who have visual impairments. Our Stella inspired, maximalist cardboard relief sculptures were made to go all out in terms of patterns, shapes, and brush strokes popping out.

Minimalism whispers to us that that less is more, where the maximalism philosophy shouts more is more! And when my students finished these projects, they were shouting for more!