Sunday, April 22, 2012

Geometric Table Runners Run Wild!

For this lesson, I was inspired by the idea of combining design elements from the Ikat textiles of Indonesia and the heavy wool textiles from Mexico and Latin America. Our theme was to create a small version of a table runner. As I mentioned in the previous post, I brought in examples of real textile table runners to share with my students and this was very helpful!

Example of geometric motif similar to the
Mexican table runner I showed in class.

 I was particularly attracted to the repeating geometric motifs and the use of symmetry that was commonly used in these textiles.  I decided that the students would have a better time designing their runner if they first experimented with folding and cutting random geometric shapes to use as tracers.  The idea of discovering something that looked really cool simply by cutting a paper helped the kids to become less stiff when it came to "thinking" of ideas to use.  I asked them to trace samples of their paper shapes and to settle on their favorite two to use for final draft.  We also experimented with removing negative shapes from the middle of positive shapes.  It was fun to re-use the small shapes that were cut out from the larger shapes; combining these parts often resulted in an even better design!
 Before we traced our favorite shapes in an alternating pattern on final draft paper, each student traced a small square template eight times to fill up the page.   Then, we simply traced each design four times to fill up the page in a checkerboard pattern. 
   When everything was traced with pencil, we discussed how to select contrasting colors of crayons to really highlight every part of each design. We referred to the color wheel for help with selecting high and low contrast colors.   I explained that we would be covering the entire picture with one color of diluted tempera paint.

Isabella carefully traces one of her original designs onto the final draft paper.

Hannah P. demonstrates correct heavy crayon coloring.  This is important since the waxy crayon would need to be waterproof enough to "resist" the diluted tempera paint that would be applied in the last step!

I had an " ah-ha moment" when I had the idea of having students make a test strip before painting over their pictures.  Just simply make samples of all of the colors used on the designs, then add one color of paint over each sample.  Blot it off with a paper towel to reveal a sample of how those colors would look once they were painted!  This was very helpful because what we thought would look the best often turned out not to be the best choice!  It helped students make good design choices and encouraged dialogue about their work!

The very last step was to add the yarn to represent the fringe.

Created by Adrian T. in Period 5

Here are several examples of the amazing paper textiles we made!

Created by Nicole M. in Period 2

Each one is unique and uses colors and shapes in a special way as designed by each artist!

Created by Kevin H. in Period 6.

Created by Amber P. in Period 5.

Created by Justin C. in Period 3.

Created by Ethan S. in Period 6.

Created by Isabella V. in Period 2.

Stunning geometric motifs!

Created by Chris C. in Period 1.

Created by Shae J. in Period 1.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about this lesson and seeing the colorful, geometric paper table runners that my students created! 
Check back soon for the culminating lesson in the Textile Unit: wearable Inca-inspired tunics!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tantalizing Textiles!

We have finished a new unit of study inspired by woven textiles. I designed these lessons for my 8th grade Visual Arts classes as a way to cover some basic design skills while introducing the students to  cultures known for being masterful textile weavers.  After we read an introductory handout we watched the video,"The Village of Textiles."  It provided great visuals about the daily life of people in a typical family of weavers. The video is only twenty minutes long, and our class period is nearly fifty minutes, so I made a quiz to supplement the info on the video.  The quiz required the kids to thoughtfully respond to the many steps it takes to gather wool, spin yarn, make dye baths and begin the weaving process. They also made connections to the role of each family member as illustrated in the video. I highly recommend that you pick up the video and also check out the wonderful multicultural teaching resources available at Crizmac.

I really enjoy collecting different textiles which I display and use in my home, so it was only natural that I would bring in some great textiles to share with my classes.  I tried to stress the significant amount of time, effort and design skills that textile artisans have.  I passed around heavy wool woven textiles from the Zapotec Indians of Mexico, like the one shown below.  I also showed fine woven Ikat textiles from Indonesia, also pictured below. The kids were interested in the patterns and origins of these pieces, and they also wanted to know how much I paid for each one and where I bought them. I find that Ebay is a good place to find reasonable yet nice quality authentic weavings.

Jacobo Mendoza with wife Maria Luisa and son Jacobito who wove the rug he is holding.

Indonesian Textile E77747
A 19th Century Ikat weaving from Indonesia.
  I can not stress the importance of sharing your love of all art, be it fine or folk, with your students!  My students are always amazed that I have "real art" at my house, and that I collect it and enjoy it every day.  One of the greatest gifts we can give our students is the ability to value and take pleasure in the viewing of art.  I hope that this lesson will inspire you to share some of the art you collect as a way to enrich your lessons!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Attractive Opposites! More Visual Antonym Boxes.

These two boxes show the facades of different "doors" that invite the viewer to take a closer look and open the door to reveal the student's interpretation of the meaning of summer and winter.

Below we see the interior of the winter box, which is mostly collage as well as some found materials like fiberfill to represent snow.  There are pink pipe cleaners connecting the two sides of the box and they also serve as functioning "hinges" to open and close the door.

The summer box is full of fun!  I encouraged students to use the entire interior space of the box and this is a great example of that.  The man doing a back flip off the cliff is actually raised from the back of the box with a simple pipe cleaner "pop-up".  These great-looking boxes were made by Shae J. in period 1.

This next set of boxes was created by Danika in period 2.  She decided to include the definition of her pair of antonyms as a part of the design of her doors.  It is difficult to see in the photos, but each window has the dictionary definition of each word.  She also added fabric curtains in a simple and a complex fabric!

The tiny blue pipe cleaner at the right of the door is a 3-d handle!
You can see the two tongue depressors underneath the box; these were used to connect the pair of antonym boxes together.  The tiny bit of orange at the top of the image shows the "handle" that allowed me to hang the finished artwork from the bulletin board. 

A simple interior of basic shapes, and minimal details contrasted well with...

The exciting and appealing interior of this complex composition.  Look closely at the profile of a plain tan face in the top box and compare it to the purple face with the curly pipe cleaner hair in the second box.  Just one of the many ways that this young artist used visual images to define her antonyms! 

Ashley Z. chose the words "safe" and "dangerous" for this lesson.  Here she explores combinations of magazine images to create an appealing collage featuring things to show safety.

This image totally cracks me up although it is pretty serious.  This door certainly gets the message out that bare feet on hot coals is really dangerous! 

More danger lurks in the interior of this box including a giant venomous snake, a woman with a pick ax and a group of soldiers with automatic weapons.  Yikes, this is a dangerous place!

This set if boxes was created by Robert G. in period 6.  He did a really great job of using humor in his "human" box because he experimented with adding unusual proportions for some details, such as the fork and bowl.  The animals are a nice contrast with the comical humans in the other box.

Madison P. did an impressive work with the antonyms "clean" and "dirty".  She did a wonderful job of establishing a color palette that helped define each word; dirty has many brown and warm tones while clean uses many cool blues and a lot of white.

Mmmm.. looks like some rotten food and a few maggots have shown up to hang out on the interior of this "dirty" composition!

And the scariest box of all goes to Anya D. from period 1.  It is so visually powerful that I'll let you figure out what her antonyms were, although I will say that it  has nothing to do with a place in the clouds!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sneak Peek! Visual Antonym Boxes

Don't you want to take a peek inside?  Well, you can!

This image shows the exterior door of Alexia's 1st box.  She chose the antonyms "Unique" and "Ordinary" for her artwork.  Underneath you can see the interior of the unique box, where she used a variety of found images to create this exciting composition to visually define her word. The strong use of contrasting colors really helps each detail show up!

Craft sticks helped Alexia show an ordinary door which opens to a visually appealing, but "ordinary" scene shown below.  Fabric, more craft sticks and "pop-ups" underneath some pictures helps to create a real sense of depth.  Beautiful work!

Be sure to check back soon to see many more very cool visual antonym boxes!