Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to School, and How to Earn a PRIZE!

It was nice seeing you at Back-to-School night! Classes begin in just one short week, and we'll be learning (and revisiting) some interesting techniques in the months to come.

We talked about the basics during back-to-school night--guidelines for getting around, and getting along during the regular school day. By now, you know where we enjoy our lunch; where the recess area is; where each of your classrooms is located; who your teachers are, etc. Don't worry, though, if you can't remember it all! The first couple of weeks are always a bit chaotic :)

Attention, CERAMICS STUDENTS: If you took Ceramics last year, please bring back  your personal supplies (towel, old shirt, spray bottle, hand lotion, etc). If you're taking Ceramics for the FIRST TIME, please bring an old shirt to wear as a smock (one of Dad's yucky, old T-shirts will be perfect!), an old terry cloth hand towel, and a small bottle of hand lotion. Many items can be shared (for instance, spray bottles and water containers), and doing so will save some space. 

Can you guess what the above picture is? Here's a hint: it's something that we often discuss in ceramics class. If you think you know what it is, leave a comment with you name. If you're right, you'll get a "high five" from me during class!

Attention, ALL STUDENTS: Be sure to check out some of the websites (links) listed here when you have time. This year, I'll be asking you to visit our virtual classroom to check for clues, or do something specific to prepare for an upcoming class. Printing out a requested page or assignment will earn you a REALLY COOL PRIZE: an ATC or ACEO. If you're asking yourself, "what's an ATC or ACEO???" then now is a good time to use your researching skills!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Welcome Back, Part II

In Sculpture class last year, the students used recycled materials to make gorgeous, transparent sculptural cylinders. Once finished, we lined them up in a window to appreciate the final results.
After burnishing and firing pinch pots, the young ceramic artists used pigmented waxes to decorate their wares. This year we'll have glazes to work with!

The first firing of the semester was solely pinch pots. The ones featured, above and below, demonstrate the use of the polychrome (many colors) for decorating the pots. Students who also attended  Cultures of the World were already familiar with this decorative technique, because we discussed it when we learned about Native  American pottery. It's always nice when we can tie lessons together!

All of the following photos are from the final semester's Art Show and open house. 
The Drawing & Painting students each created a mixed media work for the Art Show.
Students had a variety of materials to choose from, and made their decisions based on what they liked best . . .
The only "rule" for this final work was that they use at least two mediums to create their masterpiece.
Students also titled their works according to the subject . . .
Ceramics and Sculpture students created place mats to display their 3-dimensional works . . .
Works featured here include pinch pots, coil pots, slab pots, "slam" pots, and animalitos.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Welcome Back to School!

Summer passed very quickly! I'd like to welcome back all my former students, and extend a hello to new students--both in Westminster and in Evergreen. We're going to have a lot of fun in art class this year.

This virtual classroom will be an extension of our "real" one. Please feel free to ask questions and make comments. To get us started, I've posted some project samples from a couple of last year's classes: Cultures of the World, and Explorations in Art.

One of the cultures we studied in 2008-2009 was Mexico. We learned about the ancient Aztecs, and recreated colorful masks; we created very authentic looking God's Eye weavings; and we learned about the importance and prevalence of the Ex Voto in Mexican culture. An Ex Voto is a "thanks" painting, and each student created an Ex Voto to represent something that they were personally thankful for.
Ex Voto: Miss Frida, Crayon and Sharpie Marker, 12" x 9"
In Explorations in Art, we talked about both contemporary artists, and artists from recent and ancient history. One of the projects we did, in Explorations, was a contemporary version of the pre-history Faiyum mummies. The originals included portraits, done in encaustic, and tombs that were elaboratly decorated with pigments and gold leaf. 

Our "portraits" were cut from magazines.  And, just like many archaeological sites, our mummies were complete with "grave goods," also cut from magazines. When these were completed, each student shared their work with the class by introducing their mummy (each had a name!), and explaining the significance of the grave goods.
The Mummy of Miss Gertrude Pumpernickel, front (above) and back (below).
Cardboard, tissue paper, magazine cut outs, newspaper, glue

This was, perhaps, the most interesting and funny project we did in Explorations. The students came up with very inventive names, and highly detailed stories to explain the "grave goods." No doubt, the laughter coming from our room traveled all over school!

To get the kids started, I introduced them to Miss Gertrude Pumpernickel, and explained her story . . .

This is the mummy of Miss Gertrude Pumpernickel. Among her grave goods, archaeologists found the following: 

Her favorite chair, where she would spend hours and hours; either reading, or gazing out the window to check for changing weather patterns.
 Her little dog, Fruit Loop, who was a constant and loyal companion.
 Her favorite meal of all time: sushi. Especially the  California and avocado rolls.
A cameo brooch; her most sentimental possession, which had been handed down through the generations. It originally belonged to her great-great-great-great Grandmother, Beulah Pumpernickel.
Chocolate chip cookies, because she always felt that a meal wasn't complete unless it was followed by dessert.
Her Mini Cooper, which she nicknamed "Zoom." She had saved for years and years, and purchased it only a week (to the day!) before her sad and untimely demise.
Her favorite boot.  She only had one leg, but that didn't slow her down. Every other Saturday night she went out "one stepping" with her friends. Actually, her friends only knew how to do the "two step," but that's beside the point.