Saturday, January 25, 2014

More snow days, 2hr delays and slow progress in the art room...

Progress, but slow progress.  The Berry Intermediate 6th graders, well at least some classes, have moved on to the next project, completed that and then are now working on a clay project.  Other classes that have missed out on art classes because of snow days and delays are still working on finishing up their tiles and beginning the next project.

This project includes making a print of a design with their initial in a specific style of lettering and a design in the background that extends to the edges of the print.  The print is then cut out and then glued to a black boarder and the student continues the lines in the design onto the black  boarder.  

The students began by drawing four different designs for their printing block on a planning sheet.  I explained to the students that the purpose of making four designs is in a way like brainstorming because out of the four, the students will choose the one they like the best.  This is a method for making a successful design.  Packets with a variety of styles of calligraphy and other lettering were provided for inspiration.

After the four designs were drawn, the one that was to be used to make a printing block was cut out.  The students turned over their cut-out design on either the window or light table and traced it on the back in order to make the letter backwards.  This was then placed on a sheet of Styrofoam and traced so the lines are pressed into the Styrofoam.

 The students took the paper off of the Styrofoam and went over the lines once more with their pencil just to make sure the lines were deep enough to get a good print.

The next step was to choose one or two colors of Crayola water based markers.  This is what was used for printing ink.  The students colored the Styrofoam printing block and then made four prints this way.  Achieving a good print took some practice.  The students had to color quickly enough so the ink did not dry and press down with their hands enough on the printing block when printing.  We also found that in addition to pressing with their hands, rolling the marker over the Styrofoam worked well.  

Once they had four prints the students chose the one that they liked best and cut it out.  This was arranged onto a black square of paper in a pleasing manner and glued on with a glue stick.  There were two sizes of black paper available to choose from:  8"x8" and 12"x12".  The prints were 4"x4".  

This student chose to make the Greek letter, Delta.

The students then extended the lines onto the black boarder.  The designs on the black paper were made with metallic markers and colored pencils.  These metallics show up very well against the black paper and add a pizazz to the designs!  I encouraged the students to continue the designs in the same way that they were drawn in the prints.  For example, if the designs had wavy lines, then they should be continued as wavy lines on the black  boarder.

I think the next time I teach this project we may use printing ink instead of marker.  The markers tend to work better when printing with a smaller printing block.  The size of our printing blocks (4"x4") made it difficult for some students to achieve a successful print.  

Recently, the 5th graders began a project about the Chinese New Year.  This is a theme that I teach every year around this time.  I have to give credit to my friend and fellow art teacher, Carol Carver, for the idea of this theme.  She is such a creative art teacher and inspiration! 
 Each year I invent a new project to go along with this theme.  We have sewn the animals of the Chinese Zodiac, we have sewn pillow-like hanging ornaments with Chinese characters in glitter on them and we have made paper dragons among other things.  All of the projects tend to be hanging decorations.  This one (clay) is my favorite.  

This year I created a clay hanging ornament that the students are carving into. They choose a Chinese character from either the Zodiac or symbols that represent peace, good luck or kindness or any other Chinese symbol that they find and choose to carve.  The ornaments are glazed with red underglaze, the students slap on a couple coats of clear gloss glaze and I fire them.  This one above is my example.  Below are some of the students' in-progress pieces.

Before they are glazed.

On the back they write their name and art code and "2014".

I have the students glaze them after they are dry and before they are fired.  I would not recommend this with a clay piece that has a lot of parts that are thin and fragile but these are so simple that there is little risk of them breaking.  The glaze turns out just fine with firing these once.  It makes it so much quicker than having to fire 400-500 of these two times.  I do explain to the students that the pieces are very fragile because they are dry clay that has not been fired yet, and the students are very careful with them.  

Good Luck

2014 is the year of the horse!



Next week we will be making tassels to hang from the bottom.  The students will also tie on a loop of yarn at the top to hang it with.
Happy New Year!

These guys are what the 6th graders are working on currently.  The ones above are my examples.  You can see that, unfortunately, the monkey lost his ear in a fall, and that is when the frog was born.  I got this idea from this art teacher's website who pinned it on Pinterest.

These are obviously in progress because the legs have not been added yet.  
I begin the lesson by introducing my students to a pinch pot and the process for making it.  The students are then challenged to transform their pinch pot into an animal.  The students are encouraged to create an animal that is sitting up-right so the legs can be attached in the front and dangle over the edge of a shelf or table.  

These are glazed with underglazes with a clear gloss glaze over top.  

Some students have chosen to attach four legs instead of two, for example on this turtle.

I will update when they are finished!  Until then, "arty on!!!!"