Thursday, April 23, 2015

My New Love of Metal

I know what you're think, NEW? Yes, new! I've never worked with pliable metal and boy did I have fun when I got to explore the process at a recent professional development. Made me feel a little silly that I've been missing out all these years! 

If you haven't tried working with pliable metal you must give it a try! This material creates an impact, can be molded, embossed, colored, painted, layered and so many more possibilities. This inexpensive material really packs a punch! 

With that long list of possibilities, I wanted to leave my first exploration into teaching pliable metal as open ended as possible. Simple requirement were give to students;
  • Use the metal to demonstrate the concepts of depth (foreground, middle ground, background)
  • Use knowledge of composition to show movement, contrast and whatever else you want to dazzle me with! 
I peppered in some art history to get their wheels-a-turning and then I demonstrated a few techniques for adding texture, pushing metal forward/backward to emphasize space location, and how to add metal to create a 3D effect. What fun the students had. It's a little difficult to see some details because of the shininess of the metal but still check it out!

 Here's a good look at the 3D effect the students got by manipulating the metal


GIVE IT A TRY!!! Sharpies/metal paint definitely give the most shine but acrylic paint gives a really nice contrast with a matte look. My students also really liked my white paint markers for some added details in white. 

LEARN FROM ME!!! I chose to use hot glue to stick on the extra metal on. Big o' did NOT work! I suggest using E6000 for adding any materials to this unique material.  

Hope you enjoyed! Thanks for stopping in!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Identity Part Two

Hopefully you checked out my previous post on the topic of "Identity", where I talked about two projects all based around the topic of identity and how artist use their identity to make meaningful artwork. In the three years I've been teaching, I've done a lesson on identity with my 6th grade students. It's a great way to start the year and fun way to get to know my students.

I wanted to share with you all the conversation I have with my students before I begin my identity projects. I start by having student close their eyes and visualize a word (I typically use the word "cat"). When they open their eyes I have them share what they thought of. We see really quickly that although we all have a similar image of a cat (small, hairy, four-legged animal) we all have different experiences with cats. These experiences allow us to have an individual idea of what a cat is. Are you thinking of your childhood cat? Are you thinking of a cat that scratched you once? Are you thinking of a recent cartoon cat you've seen? What's fun is that no two people will ever answer the question same. We all have different experiences and this is what helps shape our identity.

We also look at a few pieces of artwork and discuss how although we can't experience what the artist experienced when creating the piece, we can use our own experiences to interpret the work for ourselves. Isn't art the greatest!!!!

Here is our most recent exploration into identity. Students created identity handprints. We talked about dynamic composition, contrast and using analogous colors to layer colored pencils!

Hope you enjoyed! Thanks for stopping in!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tatebanko- Japanese diorama making

For the past two years, I have done a unit called "Art and Social Activism" with my 8th grade students. I had only ever seen a unit like this in the high schools and I felt my students could 100% relate to the topics. I have been pleased with just how well my students handle these difficult topics and how much pride they take in their work as they express themselves creatively.

For my 3D Art students, I had them choose a social issue that effects our local community. They researched statistics and local organizations that help those in need throughout the Fox Cities. I was impressed with the wide variety of topics the students chose.

Next we learned about the Japanese art of diorama making. It was a good way to incorporate 3D knowledge of deconstruction, balance, depth and overall structure building.

If you're not familiar with the art behind Tatebankos, check out this cool video! Even if social activism doesn't fit as a unit in your classroom, this is a really fun project for students. It involves a lot of problem solving and is a really fun take on the classic diorama/tunnel book.

Social Issue: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Step one was to have students thumbnail sketch their ideas. I urged students to use metaphors/similes. This made the imagery a little more unique and personal. Then using colored pencil they labeled each layer so they had a good idea of what needed to go where and I could see how they understood the concepts of creating depth.

Social Issue: Bullying

Social Issue: Depression

Step Two was to conference with each student on what materials would work best for their idea. Most used chipboard (thin cardboard) with paint or colored pencil. As you can see some students resourced alternative materials like transparency paper, puzzle pieces, etc. 

Social Issue: Mental Illness (primarily schizophrenia) 

Social Issue: Depression
To create the "cloud" around the cool colored person this student used sandpaper to create texture on transparency paper! Super fun!

Social Issue: Bullying

Social Issue: Pollution

Social Issue:Bulimia/Anorexia

The final step was layering their pieces on the base and finally building the box. Some students made full boxes and some chose to leave the top off to allow a little more light in. A few students even utilized black light to give their piece a "darker" feel! 

I can't express how happy I am with the outcome of this project. It was exciting to problem solve along side my students and to encourage all their amazingly creative ideas. Each Tatebanko turned out a little different and that is a beautiful thing! These were a hit at our "Art and Social Activism" art show!

Hope you enjoyed! Thanks for stopping in!