Friday, May 28, 2021

Bead Board Upcycling Project

After my family finished a home improvement project, we had strips of left over bead board. I cut many of them into small enough pieces to ship in a large envelop to my distance learning students along with a fat sharpie marker, and the rest I used for the students in my classroom to work together to create a large wall piece of art for the school. They decided to use light blue and peach to create a complimentary color scheme, so they painted the strips in the wood, before creating patterns and zentangle designs with sharpies: variations on spirals, checker board, weaving, zig zags etc. Once the individual boards were nearly full of pattern, we finished the exposed edges with white tape and then screwed the strips together going horizontally and vertically. Basically, we ended up with a fun, 6 foot piece of art that everyone could contribute to and be proud of while celebrating Earth Day!
Students paint large pieces

Personal pieces were made from small pieces

A virtual student shares her finished art from home

Hats Off to Trash Hats

hat from stove top packaging and a little ribbon

As my daily high school art students met to make fashion from garbage, my elementary and self-contained classes joined in on the fun with their hat making project. I started by teaching how to make a traditional pirate hat from newspaper, but students had lots of other ideas and the project quickly developed to making pointed party hats, crowns, and sunshine headbands. Two class sessions is all it takes to realize that there are lots of options on types hats and techniques to making them.a runway show stopper made of plastic cups, hot dog papers and foil.

As a literary component to the lesson I introduced students to one of my favorite childhood picture books: OLD HAT, NEW HAT by Jan and Stan Berenstain. In English class we are taught that a sentence requires both a noun and a verb, and that writers use sentences to write stories. But this book only contains one nouns (spoiler alert, it's "hat") and NO verbs!  It's a book of adjectives, opposites, rhymes, and of course hats! I love it because it's a great book to teach little kids about how to describe as well as having them make predictions using rhymes and context. It also contains a great life lesson about how about how sometimes forget about how great things are for us until we go looking for something newer and better only to realize that nothing compares to a favorite, albeit old, hat.  Maybe our lives aren't as bad as we think. 
So make hats during your language lesson or read during your art lesson, but either way, you will walk out of the classroom with a little bit of style!

Friday, May 7, 2021

Trashion Fashion Photo Shoot

Being an artist means looking at one thing and seeing another, creating order from chaos. A lot of artists find potential in garbage, including my art students for the last week and a half as we upcycled waste to create fashion accessories. Upcycling is to use discarded objects to create something of higher quality.
Sorry about the blue dots. I wish I had permission to show you the beautiful faces of my students.

I introduced my students to Vic Muniz through the film "Wasteland." Muniz is a Brazilian artist who went to the largest garbage dump in the world and recreated masterpieces using people who pick through the garbage for recyclables as models. Then they'd project the photos onto a large studio floor to make the image again using the recycled materials found in the dump. The installations were documented and photos sold. We also learned about El Anatsui, the Nigerian Artist who uses thousands and thousands of bottle caps to create large jewel like wall pieces that drape and sparkle. 

For inspiration on our "Trashion" assignment I showed my students the Fashion Show scene from 80's cult classic, "True Stories." Suits made from grass, dresses in the shape of a wedding cake. What could be more fun than dressing up and pretending to be a model for a morning?

My adorable friends and colleagues, Melanie Thompson (above) and Sara Lynch (below) , share a classroom wall with me. They happened to have a Trash-ion Show assignment for their Environmental Science first period class the same month that I wanted to do an Up-cycled accessory assignment. So we shared garbage, shared students, and collaborated on this interdisciplinary project.

Sara worked her green screen magic to give us fun backgrounds, and we mixed and matched some of the accessories to see what combinations worked best. Lucky for me, magazines don't do "Who Wore It Better?" articles about Special Education Teachers and their students.

Boxes, canisters, cups, and packaging materials, bottles, aluminum foil, bulletin board borders, and egg cartons were all glued, and stapled before being painted. 

The most popular and useful materials were long strips of cardboard and paper hot dog trays (left over from a summer camp). The hoop skirt, hat, and ruffled collar below were made from just these two materials. Lots of Hot glue and  and spray paint  disguise the materials, which then help disguise us as high fashionistas.