Showing posts with label clay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clay. Show all posts

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Gallery of Gratitude, Part 1

Hey, y'all! I am so excited with how these kid-created portraits of the faculty and staff at my school are turning out, I thought I'd share. This is just Part 1 of the Gallery of Gratitude posts...I'll be sure and post again once these are on display.

In case you missed the first post about our Gallery of Gratitude, you can check it out here. This idea is not a new one at my school...you can see our Gallery of Gratitude from a couple years ago here
 Two of my fourth grade classes got their portraits complete. They did such a great job and I have so much left over modeling clay that I think I'm going to have them create self portraits next week. They've become pros at this and have really loved creating them. Here's the lesson video I created and used:
Here are the supplies we are using:

* Modeling or plasticine clay. No one brand is better than another. I have just been purchasing whatever is cheap at the craft store.

* Model Magic Glaze. Here's the thing: modeling clay always stays soft. These portraits will be on display for a while in my school...so I knew I'd want them to be protected with a hard varnish. This "glaze" works really well at becoming super hard. I think ModPodge might work pretty good...but this stuff is a lot harder than that. 

* Plates from Hobby Lobby. So our "frames" are actually plates from Hobby Lobby! You can probably find them online. 

* Matte board. I cut ours down into 4" squares.
 Day #1: It took us some time to cover the entire background, create a skin color and add the head, ears, neck and nose. That took us an hour, believe it or not. Chatting about the project and watching the video took some of the time too.
Day #2: We really made progress. Almost all of the kids finished their portraits...some were super close! I thought I'd share what their works in progress look like.
Biggest bit of advice: HAVE PHOTOS! The kids really studied the photos, matching outfits, hairstyles, glasses and more. My sweet buddy the bookkeeper printed off yearbook photos and each student was able to use one as a reference. I plan to hang these photos near the clay creations when on display.
 And now, forgive me while I share a ton of these cute clay portraits!
 When we take these down, they'll be gifted to the teachers, faculty and staff. The kids will also write a message of gratitude about that person to be hung with their portrait. I'll post about that in Part 2!
 In the background, the kids were asked to add something that "said" something about that person. Here's a portrait of a kindergarten teacher. 
 Those are books behind our library assistant!
 And music notes behind our music teacher!
 I am loving the giant earrings and the cherries in this portrait. 
 This teacher plays guitar in his class. The glaze was just put on so it will dry clear, not milky like you see.
 One of our custodians is also our school D.J. Here he is, outside on field day with his baseball cap on backwards spinning records.
 This background, love!
 Incredible attention to detail! This one makes me so happy!
 Artistic license was taken with hair color here and I'm loving it. 

More to come, y'all! I had to share our amazing progress!

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Field Trip! A Visit with Audry Deal-McEver

Last year, I started a series of videos titled Field Trip! The purpose of these videos was to take all of my students on a virtual adventure to meet contemporary artists, see their creative spaces and witness them creating. You can check out my playlist of Field Trip! videos here. If you subscribe, you can also stay up-to-date as to when I post a video. I actually have three more Field Trip! videos recorded that I need to edit and upload before sharing them with you and my students. Please feel free to use these (and any of my videos) in your art room...I think all students can benefit from learning about these unique, creative and current working artists. 

I admit, I fell off the wagon HARD last spring when it came to searching out artists, contacting them and filming them. I was starting to feel super overwhelmed with all things art teacherin': the national conference where I presented a couple of times; our school-wide art show which is a beast of an undertaking and our clay unit which we always kick off in the spring. I will also admit this to you...I am very lazy, not consistent, a procrastinator and, did I mention lazy? I'm lazy. One look at Mount Laundry and you would agree.

But knowing just how much my students benefited from these videos, I knew I had to continue creating them. So during the spring, I attended an artisan fair and picked up just about every business card that I saw sitting out. Once home, I researched the artist, looked into their location (Nashville and just a little beyond is ideal) and sent them an email. I got a great response...artists are so giving with their time and willingness to share! The first artist I scheduled to visit is the one and only Audry Deal-McEver
Look at her beautiful home! Audry's studio is right behind her home and it is absolutely stunning, check it out:
When I arrived at Audry's home, she reminded me that we actually met many years ago (we are thinking about 10-12). My brother, who is 10 years my junior, was in a very bad car accident and was in a coma for several weeks. During that time, my administration allowed me to be with him and my family. Audry's mom, an art teacher, stepped in for me. She taught my classes, kept the students creating and made it so I could focus on what was most important. Her daughter, Audry, came in one day and did a wheel throwing demonstration for the students. I still have the photos of that day and share them with the kids when we chat about clay. What a crazy turn of events, right? My brother, by the way, pulled out of the a coma that they said he would not and is now an English teacher on a Native American reservation. 

I'm rambling...here's the video!
I have to tell you...Audry is an INCREDIBLE teacher...because she IS a teacher. She's taught ceramics and photography for the past five years at a local school. She is now taking time off from teaching to focus on her work. However, she does such a wonderful job explaining every element of working with clay that I feel this video would benefit all students, upper elementary on up to college. 
At the start of the video, you'll find her wedging clay. She explains the reasoning behind that and how to do it. Then she moves on to throwing on the wheel...which she makes look incredibly simple. I could only dream to throw a pot on the wheel that didn't end up looking like Patrick from SpongeBob Square Pantalones. 
I love how Audry shares her inspiration...and the origin of paisley! I had to include that in the video, it was new to me. Also, watching an artist work is always hypnotizing and she does her clay carving so quickly. It was fun to watch.
I was thrilled when she explained how a kiln works and the different types of kilns. I know that can help even us art teachers who might not understand how to operate a kiln.
Audry mixes up her own glazes to create the desired color. Her application process was interesting to see. 
And I loved the results so much, I had to have one of her vases in my home. She also gave me a beautiful mug...I know the kids will love to see me gettin' my coffee on with one of her pieces. 
A big THANK YOU! to Audry for allowing me to visit. Be sure to follow her Instagram as she shares videos and photos of her process.
I hope you enjoyed this visit to Audry's studio as much as I did! Until next time...
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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 37 GLAZE!

If you have a kiln, then you probably have glaze...and you are more than likely well aware of how freakishly expensive glaze is. I swear, it eats about a quarter of my budget. But I just can't give the stuff up: glaze really does give my students the ultimate ceramic experience. So today, I thought I'd share my very favorite glaze brand as well as how I distribute glaze and conserve it...so that I don't waste a single precious (read: pricey!) drop. Here you go:
My dog dishes, ice cube trays and just about everything else were purchased at the Dollar Tree. I love the Dollar Tree, y'all. If I could marry it, I totally would. Cassie Lane Dollar Tree. Has a nice ring to it, no?
Once our glazing days were done, I tossed the press and seal I was using to keep the glaze fresh and let them dry out. Just a crack of the tray works to pop them out. Then put them in the glaze bottles, add water and shake. Clean trays + conserved glaze = happy art teacher!
This is a messy task...and one that you will only want to do once. So get all your glaze bottles and trays out and knock it out in one fell swoop. 
You'll be happy you did. Clean (ish) glaze/ice cube trays and fresh glaze for the win, kids! 

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In the Art Room: Clay Texture Turtles!

Need a fast and fun clay project that teaches kids all about texture? Try these clay texture turtles on for size! Here's a one minute how-to clip:
So easy!
 I did this project with my kindergarten (this was their second clay project...I'll share the other one soon!) and they loved it. Stepping on their clay and seeing the texture that the sole of their shoe left behind was their most favorite thing. Here are the kiddos in action: 
Stepping on the clay was def their fave part! 
 I loved using Mayco's Jungle Gem glazes for these turtles. I stressed to the kids that adding at least three layers of glaze would really make their turtles super shiny.
This is definitely a project that could also be done with air dry clay. In fact, every Wednesday night for the month of May at 8pm CST over on my Facebook page, I'll be hosting a clay chat, starting tonight! We'll also be creating in clay so be sure to bring your favorite clays...or purchase these clays as that's what I'll be working with: 
Of course, that book I wrote is nothing but non-kiln fire clay projects...I explored just about every clay medium in the making of that book. 
By the way, don't you LOVE that painting in the background? My fabulous P.E. teacherin' friend Ali is painting it as one of the backdrops for the art show! I thought it was a cute photo op for these happy and colorful turtles. 
See y'all LIVE tonight at 8pm CST...come armed with your fave clay tips!
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Monday, May 1, 2017

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 33

If you are anything like me (and bless, as we say in the South, if you are), then you prolly got that art ed degree of yours without being a total pro in all forms of media. I didn't take a single printmaking or ceramics class in college and I got a C in textiles (which is a fave but at the time, I was huffing too many paint fumes, er, REALLY into my painting class, to be bothered with warping that freakin' floor loom). What I did get is a two year degree in oil painting because...you know, that's something we teach to the 10 and under set. Ahem. All that to say, we are expected to be at least somewhat knowledgable about the media we share with our students. But, let's be honest, a lot of times, we are learning right along with the kids. 

Now, I've been at this art teacherin' game for sometime now (18 years but who's countin'?) and I have learned a thing or two along the way. One thing is for certain: kids LOVE clay. However, it can be frustrating to teach if you lack experience. Since I've been around the art teacherin' block a time or two (wink-wink, nudgenudge), I thought I'd share some of my fave art teacherin' clay hacks with you. Here you go:
 Let's talk about some of the things I've shared and just where you can find them. 

* Clay mats. I mentioned The Clay Lady and her clay mats. I seriously have had mine FOR YEARS. They are worth the cost of $2 each. 

* Toothbrushes and doggie bowls. Seriously, what would we art teachers do without places like The Dollar Tree?! Toothbrushes are perfect for teaching scoring and doggie bowls are awesome for holding slip while preventing spills. 

* Texture! A visit to your thrift store will provide you with a good stockpile of texture for your clay adventures. Placemats, cable knit sweaters, burlap, stamps, you name it. If it has a texture, your clay will capture it.

* Skewer sticks. Perfect for cutting, drawing and carving into clay.
Something I failed to mention: what to do with those projects that kids work on for more than one class? To store these effectively, I have a stockpile of old and large zip lock baggies. The kids write their names on the bags in Sharpie, wrap their project in a damp paper towel and place gently inside the back. I tell the kids not to zip their bags shut as that usually traps air inside. Instead, I tell them to push the air out and tuck the opening of the bag under their project. This will keep their clay workable for about a week. 

If you would like to continue this clay chat, you are in luck. All throughout the month of May, I'll be hosting clay chats (and craft nights, so come armed with clay!) right here, every Wednesday at 8pm CST. You can work with any ole clay you like...however, I'll be using the clays made available in this kit which you can purchase here. For more info on what we'll be up to, check here

And now, I thought I'd share with you some of my fave clay projects over the years (many with video links!) for you to take back to your own Art Teacherin' Town. LOOOOOVE to hear your fave clay projects and words of wisdom. Please feel free to leave in el commentos below. 
This clay project was one that I did with my second graders FOR YEARS. They love it, it's a great way to introduce texture, slab, coil and glaze. It's also a quickie and with my short art classes, it worked very well. 
This was a fun project my third graders did one year. If you've taught clay before, then you've probably done the coils-in-a-styrofoam-bowl project (I know I have!) a different spin on that is having the kids use slabs of clay to create flowers. We had a spring theme one art show and these fit in beautifully. 
I almost always do a clay project that emphasizes texture with my kindergarteners. I'll share all of those projects...but this one is always a fave: texture butterflies
This is another kindergarten clay project with an emphasis on texture. This project is also shared in my clay book...but with homemade clay! 
These clay fish by my first graders always crack me up! They had so much fun creating the silly expressions on these a couple years ago. If every glaze is not an option, here is a fun alternative: florescent oil pastels and watered down black paint! 
Inspired by the painted elephants in India, my fourth graders created these fun guys one year. 
Funky frogs were created by my fourth graders one year. They had so much personality! This was a project we worked on over the course of a couple of art classes...which really allowed the kids to get creative. 
One year, to go along with our Asian theme, my fourth graders created these fun pandas. Each had their own wild and wacky personaltiy. 
To go along with that theme of Asia, my third grade kiddos created these Chinese dragons which they had a great time doing.
So I might have a thing for animals and clay...what do you think? My kindergarten and first graders created these pinch pot pets a couple of years back when our art show theme was to raise money for a local animal shelter. And, what do you know, animals are our theme again this year! 
That year, my second graders created this version of pinch pot pets: two pinch pots put together to create the body of their animal. 
And my fourth graders created these! Definitely a favorite by both me and the kiddos. 
Yet another spin on pinch pots and animals: using the pinch pot as a container. Our school mascot is the tiger and this particular year, second graders created tiger pinch pot containers
 Now last year, I decided to go for a food theme and create the art room into a 1950's style diner. These projects were not shared in detail like my others because...I was in the middle of writing my clay book and these projects are all featured in that book! The book is written to be used with no kiln fire clay...but, as you can see, you can use kiln fire clay as well. You can scoop up your book here
 My first graders served up these coffee and donut delights. 
 Second grade backed up cupcakes. Y'all better believe the retro lover in my totally enjoyed decorating for this art show!
 Third graders made hamburgers and fries...complete with all the fixin's. 
While others made pancake containers with hand painted paper plates. 
A kid and crowd favorite were the pie containers. The kids had so much fun googling pies and sculpting their favorite. 
While other classes did pizza containers. I reached out to a local pizza place for the boxes to display the pizza in. 
This year, we are back at it with an animal theme! We are transforming the art room into a pet shop. Third grade is in charge of the reptiles
Fourth grade had a blast creating these bobble head pets
But a crowd favorite so far are these fun and funky birds by second grade. They crack me up! 

Many more clay projects are coming up so stay tuned. However, if you just can't wait, you can see a handful of clay projects that have not been shared here but are on my YouTube channel. I always upload there first...so if you'd like to stay up to date, you might consider hitting subscribe. 
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