Saturday, January 31, 2015

Quilt Block Cube - Geometric Design Lesson


This lesson lets students experiment with Graph paper and geometric design using quilt blocks as the inspiration.

My students will have already experimented with graph paper and quilt designs, now they can turn their 2-D designs into a 3-D cube.  A natural and fun transition from the graph paper beginning.

Here is the pattern Jpeg:


Now the students can put their favorite designs on the cube, or create new ones.  
I'm going to review Complimentary Colors and Analogous Colors.
I'm also going to discuss how to divide the squares equally, their are 9 squares with 4 boxes in each block, or 4 with ? boxes in each block, etc...


I'll have some quilt designs on the overhead projector for them to look at and also some graph paper for them to experiment with (if they want to) before they color on the cube.

Once they complete their designs they will cut out the cube and fold it on the solid lines.
Put a knotted loop of fishing line inside the top flap before it's glued and you have a nice hangar. 
Using a glue stick they can put glue on the tabs and assemble the cube.

They can label their patterns if they want to.  
I think they'll have fun making these and they'll look great displayed in the classroom!
Photo from the classroom:

Monday, January 19, 2015

Corky - The Wine Cork Doggy DIY


I saw a pin on Pinterest of a cute cork dog, but no directions.  I have lots of corks so I decided to try and figure it out.  This is what I came up with and here's how you do it...

First boil your corks in water for at least 5 minutes, maybe 10.  It's the only way you can cut them.

You will need 5 corks.
Cut one cork lengthwise into 4 pieces for the front legs.
Cut one cork in half at an angle for the back legs.
Cut one cork at an angle on the top and the bottom for the body.
The head is left alone.
One cork can be sliced into pieces about 1/8" thick and then cut in half for the tail.
The ears are slices cut at an angle.

Glue the head to the body with a glue gun.
Glue the front legs to the body under the head.
Glue the back legs to the sides of the body.
Glue the tail on the back of the body.
Finally glue the ears on the head.
You could also make pointy ears, but my dog has floppy ones.
These eyes are dressmakers pins, but I think googly eyes and the black eyes look great too.
I found some rhinestone hearts for the nose and used a sharpie for the mouth etc...
A ribbon finishes him off.
This one has googly eyes.
This one has black plastic eyes.
Each one is a little different - Have fun!!

Happy Howl O Ween

Beau The Wine Doggy













Friday, January 16, 2015

Imagination Tesselation - Escher Inspired Art Lesson


This is a Tessellation Lesson using imaginary creatures.

I used this Pin for inspiration: 
http://linesdotsanddoodles.blogspot.com/2012/01/tessellations-4th-grade.html

It explained the process of creating tessellation very well.

Math isn't my strong suit so it's no wonder I've never tried this before, but this process makes it easy.
Tessellation is the repeating of a shape without any negative space - everything fits together without any gaps or space in between.  An example in nature is a honeycomb.  I'm going to ask my students if they can think of any other examples...

Escher was a master of this Art form and I'm going to show my students this video about Escher: https://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=ERAIqVfKF5o

Start by giving your students a 3" X 3" square, if you want to use graph paper it may make it easier to  get the design more exact.

Have your students draw a random shape at the top or bottom - not both, just one or the other.

Then another shape on the right or left side.  
I used organic lines on the top one and geometric on the bottom - just to let the students know you can use both.
After they get it drawn they will cut it out and tape it onto the opposite side.  


Tape the bottom to the top and the side to the opposite side as shown.
Try and get the shape exactly the opposite.  If it's a little too high or low - or too much to the left or right they aren't going to fit together.
I put a few details on the shape once it was taped to turn it into a creature.

Now they should trace this onto tagboard or card stock to make a template.


They'll trace these on their paper in rows and fit them together like a puzzle.  
They can move the pattern a little to make it fit better if they need to, I did.

They can trace with pencil and then go over it with sharpie or just trace with a sharpie.
Once they have all the shapes traced have them add their details.


Now it's time to paint the creatures using watercolor paint, (or markers) alternating colors.  
I used complimentary colors for my examples.  I'm going to review color theory before they begin to paint.

They should do all of one color and then let it dry a little before starting the other color so the colors don't bleed together.


I think the kids will really have fun with this!  All students can feel successful because it doesn't require any drawing expertise, but they do need to pay attention to detail and draw their shapes very carefully so they fit together.
4th Grade Student Work








Monday, January 12, 2015

Patterned Penguin Printmaking


This is a great art lesson for Winter and/or the study of Winter Animals or even Migration.
Using black ink on a white background (or white ink on a black background) is a natural choice for the black and white penguin.

Using foam plates have your students cut the curved edges off - leaving a flat circle.

Trace the circle onto some sketch paper and look at some penguin photos.

Penguins are basically an oval shape with part of the oval on the outside edge turned into a wing or flipper.

The head is a circle with the beak added.

Practice some penguins on the paper, but not in the circle.  Their penguin can be doing anything and they can draw as many as they want.

When the students are happy with drawing their penguins they can put their design into the circle they traced.

Every line they draw will print as a white line, the areas they leave alone with print black - opposite of their drawing.

Ask the students to put some pattern on their penguins belly.  This will make the belly look white in contrast to the plain wings and head.

Ask them to also add a horizon line and some snow or stars to the sky, thinking about balance and pattern.

They can also add a pattered border around the edges, like a frame if they want.

They can draw their sketch on the foam by tracing over their pencil lines with the foam under the paper, or draw freehand on the foam.  Have them press lightly the first time, remove the paper and then go over it with more pressure.


Using water based block printing ink, a sheet of plexiglass and a soft breyer,  ink the foam circle on a sheet of newspaper.

Place the foam circle face down on the paper and push down, using your hands as a printing press.  Make sure the students don't push the plate across the paper smudging it, have them push straight down.
I like to have the students use a paper towel and push straight down on all the areas of the plate with firm pressure in a circular motion.
The drawing prints backwards - I usually ask them not to draw any words on their foam.

They can make as many copies of the print as they want.  Each one will probably be a little bit different because they may not get the ink rolled on the same or use the same pressure etc...  That is part of the beauty and magic of printmaking.

They should sign their print and put the print order of the print above the number in the edition of prints.
Mine is the 2nd print made out of a total of 2 - so 2/2

A super simple lesson in drawing, printmaking and pattern.
Examples of 3rd Grade Artists:






Sunday, January 11, 2015

Unconventional Wish Quilts - Quilting for 4th Grade Art Lesson




This lesson focuses on 
"Unconventional and Unexpected, American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000" 
On Exhibit at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art - Feb. 14-May 17th 2015.





Lesson 1 -Students will view the quilts, discuss them and learn about them.  Then I will give them a piece of grid paper to do some quick exercises in designing their own quilt square.

Lesson 2 - Color theory will be discussed focusing on what colors look good together and how to put together a quilt square using color knowledge.  Students will then choose a design that uses strips of paper and build their own quilt square with a solid background and patterned paper.  This is one example - but they will have a few to choose from.
This square focuses on complimentary colors and balance.
Lesson 3 - 4 - Students have learned about quilts and experimented with designing a quilt square.  Next they will each make their own square of a "Class Quilt" patterned after the String with Grid Quilt above.  We'll focus on this quilt for a while as a slide - discussing how they think it was made and why the artist didn't make all the strips go in the same direction?  Why all the grid colors are not the same?  Why they used the colors they used? etc...

Necessity is the Mother of Invention.  For the most part, the reference to historical pattern in this collection is refreshingly free and loose - there is no apparent need to rigidly conform to convention or expectation, whether by accident or by design.  Colors and prints are mixed unconventionally and that is what makes many of these quilts so exciting.  The beautiful truth of making do is that the act of sewing two random and perhaps clashing pieces of fabric together means they now "go" together, simply by virtue of being stitched together into one object.  That the combinations are partly the result of happenstance, rather than careful consideration and forethought, is the magic.  Denyse Schmidt, "The Beauty of Making Do" from the Book:  Unconventional and Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar: 1950-2000.

I'm going to have several strips of patterned and solid paper cut for the students to choose from.  Some will be straight and some will have an triangle or random shape, thus enabling the students to create a square similar to the String with Grid quilt above.

I think this assignment will be more challenging for the students than creating an exact pattern using triangles, squares, or strips.  They will have to fit the strips together like putting together a puzzle, making decisions about which colors and patterns look good together and which don't until they have their final design.  They will be going through the same process the original quilter did - taking what they have and fitting it together into a quilt square.  They won't be able to glue their design until they have experimented for a while.
They can go off the edges of their 9"X 9" square - we can trim the edges after it's glued.

This square has a blue and orange complimentary color scheme.  There is strip of yellow in there too, but somehow it works.
The students will need to add an unusual strip into their design as well.

I especially enjoy what some traditionalists may see as imperfections, or mistakes, in these quilts - a random fabric here, a wobbly edge there, a seam that doesn't align.  These "mistakes" make the quilts come alive and give us a sense of the people who make them, along with some hint perhaps of their individual stories.  They draw us in because they are surprising and intriguing, and somehow forgiving.  
While our minds seem to crave the repetition that is inherent in a quilt pattern, the variations on the theme - especially when subtle and surprising- spark our imaginations and make us see more, and look harder, for all the delights the piece might offer up.  They keep us interested.  Denyse Schmidt, "The Beauty of Making Do"



Lesson 5 -

Once the students have completed their quilt square we'll work on a "Wish Patch".  As seen in the quilt above - quilts don't have to be perfect and sometimes a patch is needed.  They are going to do a quick worksheet about what their wish is and then draw their wish.  I'm going to ask them to "shoot for the moon"  and not limit themselves, but please don't wish for a new video game or other monetary item. Giving them a chance to give us a sense of who they are and their individual stories and making the quilt more interesting and surprising... as quoted above.
Then they will draw their wish with pencil, outline it with Sharpie and color it with colored pencils.

The wish patch can be any shape - I chose a star and the reflection makes it hard to read - "I wish I could fly"  They will need to decide where on their square the patch should go.
Lesson 6 - Tying the Quilt
Using a hole punch we'll measure and punch holes in the border around the quilt squares.  Then the students will use yarn to tie the each others squares together - like a Quilting Bee.  Quilts are tied with yarn similar to this so they will get to experience some of the actual quilting process. 

As soon as I have some photos of the class quilts I'll add them - here are two squares I made as examples:

El Verano 4th Grade Hopes and Dreams Quilts:




No Sew Whale Pillow

I'm teaching a Summer Camp with an Ocean theme so wanted to do one of my pillows with my students.  They seem to really like...