Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dolvin artists in Youth Art Month show

Every year, our county has an art show featuring works by all the schools.  Here are the submissions from my classes this year.  I am very proud of their expressive and colorful pieces of art!

"Views of Mt. Fuji" by 2nd graders Jessica and Stevie, crayon and tempera

"Evergreen" collagraph prints by 3rd graders Onhwa, Jack, and Cora

mixed media "Starry Night" by 1st grader Lindsay

Gee's Bend style quilt -"Louder Crazy Quilt"- by 3rd grader Carrington

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thank you, Dolvin families!

Thank you so much for the beautiful flowers I received today in honor of "Dolvin Rocks! Teacher Appreciation Week 2012."  They made my day so bright!  The PTA has spoiled us with gifts, a yummy breakfast, and I can't wait for tomorrow's luncheon.  I really appreciate your thoughtfulness.

A handmade rose by 5th grader Bela - who knew duct tape could become something so pretty?!?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

5th grade Face Jugs, part 1

Fifth graders are beginning our annual tradition of building clay Face Jugs.  We started out with this great video from PBS, which shares the origins of face jugs in Africa, and how they ended up the the U.S.  Thanks to ArtMuse67 for sharing this video - we loved it!

Watch Face Jug on PBS. See more from History Detectives.
Next, we looked at examples of face jugs in Georgia, created by members of the Meaders family of potters in the North Georgia mountains.  We also looked at modern potters and designers who continue to produce face jugs in a variety of styles, such as artist/designer Jonathan Adler.  Both of these artists often stylize their jugs by exaggerating or minimizing the size of the facial features.
one of the Meaders family

Meaders Ugly Jug
Adler, throwing a pot on the wheel

Adler's stylized face pots
 Students chose a style for their jugs - either "traditional ugly", animalistic, or realistic - and formed the jugs from two sealed pinch pots.  Stay tuned for the finished glazed examples, coming in a couple of weeks - here's how they're shaping up so far -

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Paper Community Quilts, inspired by the quilts of Gee's Bend

*These 3 quilts were made by members of the Pettway family, more history and images can be seen here:*

A few years ago, I had the great privilege of seeing an exhibit of quilts at the High museum that were made by the women of Gee's Bend, Alabama.  I can honestly say that I have never been so emotionally moved and, at the same time, creatively intrigued by an art experience.  These quilts were some of the most interesting graphic pieces I had ever seen, and were equally personal.  To me, this is the ultimate combination in art, and not easy to achieve.  It's amazing that these folk-art quilts - made from old clothing for keeping warm, by women who lived in a tiny, rural, poverty-stricken, isolated community - could rival any modern masterpiece hanging in any museum today.

Another Pettway piece, lovingly made by a mother and daughter using work clothes from the father, who had passed on.

Here's a little info about Gee's Bend: this small community in South Alabama was once a cotton plantation.  It is almost completely surrounded by a bend in the Alabama River.  There was no school there until the 1940's, and the people who live there are descendents from emancipated slaves, who continued farming the land and eventually purchased it from the government.  Quilting is a skill handed down from generation to generation and is still enjoyed in the community to this day.  The beauty of these quilts became known through photographs taken for a government study, and ever since, these quilts have adorned the walls of many museums around the world.
For our lesson, we began with a viewing and discussion of the style of the quilts, and how they were different from some traditional quilting styles, where symmetry and repetition are more common, as seen here:   

Each 3rd grader made two quilt squares from paper, attempting to represent an article of clothing or other piece of cloth from their memory - a favorite dress, a baby blanket, a father's tie.  Then we cut our squares into sections and traded within our classroom community in order to get a variety of patterns and colors.  We pieced the sections together in interesting ways, keeping in mind the asymmetrical patterning of the Gee's Bend quilts.  Finally, we titled our quilts with a meaningful name.  Here are some pics of our process and results. 
creating "quilt squares", inspired by fabrics from our personal memories

trading our squares within our classroom community

a beautiful, colorful collection of our own work and our neighbors'

Assembling the final designs...

I can see that their Matisse influence is still lingering from 2nd grade...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Very Pinteresting Valentine's Day!

Pinterest has been a big hit with art teachers and parents alike.  Here are two Pinterest inspired valentines from today - the "army man" one was made by my son Mak and myself, and the heart crayon was a gift given to me by 5th grader Jackson. 

Here are a few more valentine activities from today... hope it's been happy!

lovebirds inspired by MaryMaking blog

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Georgia Folk Art, 2012: 1st grade

First graders looked at the works of some of Georgia's most well-known folk artists, including Howard Finster, Mattie Lou O'Kelley and Nellie Mae Rowe.  Some of the things these artists had in common were growing up on a farm with a large family, and little or no schooling.  They were self-taught artists who painted scenes familiar to them and used materials they had available - notice the sheet of notebook paper as the background in this drawing by Nellie Mae Rowe:
The notebook paper reminded me of several artworks I'd seen on Pinterest that used book pages instead of blank paper, so we used some old books that were damaged and waiting to be recycled for our backgrounds.  We also looked at examples of folk art quilts - another example of reusing materials on hand for art-making - and made a "frame" from patterned paper squares. The uniqueness of all the chickens really makes me happy!