Friday, February 22, 2019

Sketchbook Project: Seeing Through Blind Eyes

It has been a couple years since I've participated in the Brooklyn Art House Sketchbook Project, but I made it a goal to get back into it this year.  In terms of a theme, I looked back on the last few years teaching special education, and tried to honor some of my students.

The ink was bleeding through the pages, so I had to glue every other page together to make them thicker. I didn't add color, because it's a sketchbook after all. Keeping things simple is a priority to me lately, and the black and white makes me feel a little nostalgic.

Some of the backgrounds are a nod to special interests/ obsessions of a student in the sketch.

My students have changed my life and I never want to forget them, just as I hope they will never forget me.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monogram Wall Art

Last weekend was a short course weekend at my school with the theme, "Family Matters." I decided to use my Saturday Art time to have students take the initial of their last name and create a small wall hanging to decorate their room or door.

I printed each letter into card stock (2 per page, about 500 pt font). They cut out their letter, and then decorated it. They could glue glitter, buttons, beans, pasta, sand, or beads to make it tactile. They could spray paint their letter with or without texture. Then they picked out an upholstery swatch to cover a piece of cardboard.  We cut the fabric corners to lose the bulk, and hot glued the edges to the back. Students picked a ribbon that matched their fabric or letter, and blued the ends to the back of the upper edge.

 Once the letter  dried it could be glued to the front.  It was interesting to see which students wanted burlap and beans, and which ones wanted the most bling they could get. Some of the girls remarked how much these wall decorations looked like cute gift bags or small purses. That's a project for another day.

Clay Sculptures

Ceramic monster sculptures made my art students
I have taught my students how to make coil pots and hand build with clay slabs and the score and slip technique, but when I was looking at images of  Janis Mars Wunderlich's art, I came across a few images of sculptures being built from the table up with thin walls. In a few seconds in video clips, I saw her rolling porcelain coils  and then flattening them with her fingers before adding it to the top edge of her piece in progress.  Janis was kind enough to let me stay with her when I flew to Ohio a couple decades ago to check out the OSU art department and occasionally had me over for dinner after I became a grad student there. She was always very prolific and her work was edgy and engaging.
Wunderlich's unfinished porcelain sculpture and my student's unfired piece of bucktoothed boy in party hat.

 I decided to introduce my class to some of her pieces and her technique.  

The subjects included a cowboy boot, a cruise ship, a fox, and a large fish and although the finished products are slightly clumsy, given the short time and the visual impairments of the students, I find them pretty charming.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Carved Bowls

Decorative, functional art assignments make sense for kids. They use bowls every day, so I thought that would be a good way to introduce them to subtractive techniques in sculpture. We threw the bowls on the potter's wheel, and waited a day for them to be leather hard before carving patterns into the surface. Textural surface treatment is especially pleasurable for my students who are blind because they can't see the color.