Mushy Maché

We are having so much fun with papier maché and recycled materials this summer at the Decorative and Fine Arts Camp! Students help us amass a selection of cool shaped recyclables like berry containers cans and paper towel rolls and transform them into papier maché sculptures.



The holiday season is always a time for nostalgia and reminiscing on seasons past. The last two years I spent in Philadelphia, I was organizing and pulling together our school talent show this time of year. It was (in my humble opinion) my greatest contribution outside of the classroom to the school culture. I would stay late with students working out dance routines, skits, and musical performances. This year at Stone Ridge we have entire departments dedicated to each of these types of performance. We have a Christmas musical performance, and a winter play, and I can’t help but miss my old school.

Don’t get me wrong there is plenty that I am involved in here in my new position. The art departments upcoming piéce de résistance will be our springtime art show that we are already beginning to prepare. So I am a valued team member here, just like I was at One Bright Ray, and it is equally rewarding. I guess what I really miss is the students that inspired me and will always be a force of wonderful positive change to my life.

Here are a few:



Happy Holidays!!!

Starting Our Adventure

On Thursday January 13th, 2011, we began a new adventure around the world in my Art Around the World class. I decided that the best place to begin, since we were picking up some new travelers this semester, would be the good ol’ USA. USA! USA! And what better place to be in the USA than New York City? Well we all know the answer, and the answer is no-where. We read The Adventures of Taxi Dog, by Sal and Debra Barracca, and imagined we were taking a taxi all around New York City, weaving in and out of traffic. (It is important to point out that these students of mine live in a sleepy part of Brooklyn called Windsor Terrace, where they  likely take gypsy cabs and car services and hardly ever get to ride in the yellow taxis. The ones with cabbies who have a conniption if they even hear the name of an outer borough.) So there we were, swerving through traffic, whizzing by the Chrysler , the Flat Iron, the Empire State building, past Central Park, up the West Side, past the Museum of Natural History, and there we were in Harlem. Where the Harlem Renesance happened, and home to the great Apollo Theater. Also the place where an Artist named Romare Bearden lived in the 60’s and 70’s. Romare Bearden being my favorite collage artist.

At this point we watched a quick slide show I had put together in iPhoto, of Romare Bearden’s work accompanied by some Miles Davis, because I thought it might set the mood. After the slide show, I had a few students share with the class one of their past experiences with collage. Then we all set out to create out own New York city, using a mix of paper and fabric scraps. Below are some photos of the work:

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.

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