La Grande Finale!

Now that our school year has come to a close, I finally have time to brag a bit about the amazing success of my classes final exam. Each student was given the task of designing their own projects for themselves, setting goals, and sketching out a plan for action. They were asked to draw from skills they picked up during the year, and they were limited to using only the materials we had explored in class. As I suspected a lot of my girls returned to painting. (Which is why finishing up with the collaging-for-paint’s-sake assignment was, albeit accidentally, BRILLIANT!) However, many of them chose other mediums and mixed them in un-expected ways. I am especially pleased to see that so many of my girls were comfortable with returning to photoshop and digital photography.
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20150511_083420^Works in progress

in classroom

cube

cloakroom^Digital meets hand drawn cartoon masterpieces!

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20150520_083434^A Series of watercolor emotions.

20150520_083227^Digital Photography altered by hand.

20150520_083106^Three Studies of the Potomac River.

20150520_083031^The Eastern Shore.

20150520_082944^A Brilliant Sunset.

20150520_082848^Exploring light and a love of New York City.

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20150520_082725^Detailed studies of the human face.

20150520_082646^A girls best friend.

20150520_082555^This piece is an extrodinary piece of work. This is done in sharpie and acrylic paint, and it is an expansion of a series of notebook doodles. What I love about this piece is that not only did my student spend more than 8 hours finishing it, but she accidentally began what could very well be an AP portfolio concentration.

20150520_081615^Gorgeous sunset.

20150520_081600^An Indian Elephant.

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20150520_081539^A life sized mixed-media painting of a movie star type, in a real fabric dress.

20150520_081528^An impressive close-up of an eye.

julia photoshop 5

bridget photoshop 4

bridget photoshop 2

bridget photoshop 1^A series of Digital imagery altered in photoshop.

2 yellow and pink edited final

6 edited 4 final

4 eye pic final^A colorful photoshoot, inspired by color runs.

 

 

 

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Solid Ceramics

We finally finished our beautiful ceramic pieces. The glaze firing went off without a hitch except that the delay I had programmed into the kiln seemed to not have worked? It fired hours before I expected it to, but luckily this did not affect the glazing, it simply meant I did not know to check on it at the right time.

Regardless of my inability to set a delay, the girls did an amazing job at creating wonderful, and sophisticated vessels. If you remember from my previous post Clay Hurray, we were creating vessels for things that were precious to us. Students interpreted this in so many different ways, and that was exactly the point. I am so pleased with the results, I’d say this project was a great success. I enjoyed it much more than the clocks and plates last year.

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Oh, and I had a little photo shoot with these ones. We had a white piece of paper left from the AP Ceramics students photographing their work.

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Setting The Tone

This past Saturday was the first day for Pratt’s Saturday Art School. This means a new semester of my ceramics class for 10-12 year old students. I have been promoted since last semester and I will now have a class of 15 students, instead of 8. This is very exciting. I did have to set up the room very differently from last time. Where my students all fit at one long table last time, this time around I am going to have to be walking around the classroom a lot more because all of my students are now at different tables.

We started our class with a studio tour, and we went over rules. I made sure to make lots of bad jokes, so that even though I was very serious and very forward, they knew I had a sense of humor as well. I don’t take rules lightly, because I don’t want my students to. I wanted to re-enforce this by repeating certain things through-out the day. “Put the class symbol on the bottom of your sculpture!” “Don’t touch the college student artwork!” “Do not touch anything that isn’t yours.” “Your space is your responsibility to clean up.” etc…

Our first project was a competition to make the tallest structure using only 1 pound of clay. 4 students tied at about 13 inches. Then we knocked them over and rolled out the clay to see who could make the longest. Finally I let them create a project that they could keep. Simple Pinch pots with coil handles. Enjoy.

Pinchy Animals

This project involves measuring out a  pound of clay and then creating an animal without ever detaching any piece. The objective for the student is to learn more about the possibilities of the clay and its physical properties and limitation. So what I did for this lesson was disguise the objective as a challenge to each individual student. I told them that they were being asked to make an animal as best they could without making any new attachments, only by pulling and pinching and adding texture, could they make their animals. I think they came out fantastic!

Pueblo Indian Pinch Pots

I am enjoying my day off this Veterans Day, and taking time to reflect on lat week’s project: Pueblo Indian Pinch Pots from New Mexico.

This was the first time my “Art Around the World” after-school class has made it back to the United States since we started our imaginary journey. (We’ve come close with Mexico and Cuba.)  We read the story Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott. The artwork in this book is just absolutely amazing! And following the story I reviled that the Pueblo Indians are actually from… New Mexico! This was confusing for some of the children who asked me why we were still in Mexico, “didn’t we go there last week?” But, after some clarification it was exciting to tell the kids that this seemingly strange culture was in-fact that of their own country. Hurray USA! The air dry clay that we used to complete this project didn’t dry quite as fast as I had hoped but hopefully each student’s piece made it home safe and sound.

Here is a link to Wikipedia’s information on the Puebloan Peoples.

Gambian Masks

Every week we travel to a new place in my “Art Around the World” after-school class, that I teach for Private Picassos.  Ever since I can remember African mask making has been a constant go-to for art teachers everywhere. (O.K. maybe not in Africa, I would have to check) My only problem with this is that since I am stamping my students passports every week with the actual name of a country. Stamping “AFRICA” seemed a little bizarre because even if my students don’t know better I know full well that no one visits an entire continent all at once, nor does one have “EUROPE” stamped into their passport as soon as they arrive in say, England. So I thought I would pick and stick with a country in Africa. I had no idea where to start so I decided on Gambia, because my good friend Ami is from Gambia. After some light research I realized that Gambian does have a tradition of mask making. I felt better about having chose a specific country and from there I began my lesson planning.

Glazing

Glazing can be a tricky thing to explain. Sometimes the color of the glaze is not the color it will be, and sometimes it kind of is. Sometimes you can mix colors together and sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you dunk and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes…

I decided that since I value the process of trial and error, and feel like learning from your mistakes is one of the most powerful ways to learn something, and remember it forever, that I was going to do my very best to explain which glazes did what and how to use them, but then just let the ten, eleven and twelve year old students I am teaching ceramics to, go ahead and dive in. I decided I was going to step back unless I saw someone who was about to do something totally disastrous or someone asked me for help.

Lucky for them I am not a cruel teacher, who revels in saying, I told you so. So, I did my best to make the glazing process fairly fool proof. I set out under-glazes in squeeze bottles (it basically is the color it says it is, and you can mix it with other colors) a bucket of solid yellow glaze for dunking (looks gray before it’s fired, slightly confusing) and a bucket of clear (looks blue before it’s fired), also for dunking.  I am excited to see the results next week.

I have my fingers crossed that the bottom of each piece is not currently stuck to the shelf of the kiln either. I checked and double checked the bottoms but you never know with glaze.

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