Showing posts with label elementary clay projects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elementary clay projects. Show all posts

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spotlight on Talk of the Town

Yesterday was a really fun and exciting day: I was on News Channel 5's midday show Talk of the Town! You can catch my four minute segment here. I was featured on the show to chat about my book which is now available for purchase. I had such a great time that I thought I'd share the experience with you. 
Talk of the Town is a midday show that airs each day of the week and features authors, artists, chefs, gardeners (you name it!) who happen to be local. I received an email from the host Meryl Rose not too long ago (via the marketing director of my book) asking if I'd be up for a segment. Of course I happily agreed! During the summer, Talk of the Town is a fave midday show of mine. 

I was asked to go on the show the day after the art show. I have been so busy with this mural and the art show (big ole blog post to come!) that I readily agreed to be on the show...and then promptly put it out of my mind. I had too many other items on my plate to take care of first! But on Tuesday evening, when the art show was over, I had to start wrapping my brain around being on the telly the following day.
I gathered up my examples, a couple copies of my book, a project for us to make on air and my buddy Tamara and arrived about an hour before going live. The news station is in downtown Nashville which is always an adventure to drive around (ahem). With the big Nashville growth boom, there is construction EVERYWHERE and parking NO WHERE. I'm so glad I had Tamara with me as I woulda been in panic attack mode. 

When we arrived to the very unassuming building, we were so surprised to walk in to this. It was amazing! So big, quiet and magical. I was also surprised how few folks were working. There were the hosts of the show, the guests (I was on with a chef and a florist) and two camera guys. The cameras now operate by computer and move around on their own. So there just isn't a need for a room full of camera folks. 
When I arrived, I unpacked my projects. A table on wheels was waiting for me to prepare. The hosts were so super nice. Meryl was to interview me. She spent a lot of time chatting with me and getting to know me so that our conversation would flow on television. 

We did run into one small hiccup though. My clay demonstration called for me to step on the clay. Because of the way the cameras were set up, I was not able to place the clay on the floor and step on it. Instead I was to do it on the table. Meryl went in search of a pair of shoes but didn't come up with one that would work. It was then decided that I would go LIVE barefoot so that I could use my shoes for the demo. That's right! I was barefoot during my segment. You can take the hillbilly art teacher outta the art room but...well, you know the rest. 
The show is a half hour long and my segment was the first of three. With only four minutes to talk, Meryl mentioned that we might not have time to get to the turtle demonstration. I was determined we would squeeze everything in. I mean, I teach 30 minute art classes, I can talk fast when I need to. 
I cannot say enough about what a wonderful experience it was being on the show. Everyone was so sweet, kind and made me feel completely at ease. Thank you to the crew at Talk of the Town for a fun experience! 

 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Monday, June 3, 2013

In the Art Room: Pinch Pot Pets Take 2

Sometimes giving the kids the choice of every color glaze in the rainbow can be a dangerous thing. But I happen to think this turquoise with white spots pup is just the cutest.
If you are a teacher, then you are currently in one of two places: Summer Vacation Bliss or On the Verge of Summer Vacation Madness. I'm the former but I can totally empathize with all ya'll in the latter. The last week of school followed our school-wide art show which left my art room as cleared out and empty as my brain. But have no fear, all you O.V.S.V.M. folk! The end will come (of the school year, not the end of time. I'm an art teacher not an evangelist) and soon you'll be like me: feet up, taking in the sunshine with a nice tall (well, perhaps a splash of tea along with some other happiness-inducing ingredients) and frantically brainstorming lesson plans and thematic ideas for next year. Ah, the joys of being a teacher. Which sometimes feels like that unwanted gift that keeps on giving. Like a Chia Pet. Or crabs. 

(Did I really just liken my job to an STD? I believe I did.)

Don't get me wrong: if I didn't love what I do, I wouldn't spend so much time plotting and planning. Which brings me to this lesson. I started the planning stages of this project about this time last year. If you've read my recent art project posts (you haven't?! What's wrong with you, you got a life or something? No you don't, go read here and here.) then you know our purpose behind these animal sculptures: to raise money for a local humane society. Each grade level sculpted a dog or cat sculpture (check out my kindergartener's work and my fourth grader's masterpieces) with these being the ones my awesome second graders created.
The problem with projectile whiskers is sometimes they break. I still love this green-eyed spotted kitty just the same.
Because I'm missing school just a pinch (yeah, I do believe there was a little too much happiness in that last cup as well), let me geek out on you and break this lesson down with some good ole bullet points: 
  • On our first day, the kids were given a piece of clay the size of an orange. They twisted this piece in half and created a pinch pot with each piece. 
  • To connect the pots and create a sphere, each kid was given a small piece of newspaper (pages from the phone book work great...why am I still getting those, btw?). This was crumpled up and placed inside the pinch pots to prevent them from flattening. In the past, we've rolled up small spheres of clay and placed those in the newspaper before sealing it inside. When the newspaper burns, those little clay beads create a rattle inside of your piece.
  • After the newspaper was placed inside the two pots, the sphere was complete. To reinforce the seam where the two pots came together, the kids rolled a coil of clay and placed it over the seam. This was flattened and smoothed. I know what you're thinking, "An enclosed piece of clay is going to explode in the kiln!" Dude, relax, I got this. Holes were pierced into the sphere at a later stage.
  • Because my classes are a half and hour long, it was at this point that the kids wrapped their spheres in a wet paper towel and sealed them inside their labeled ziplock bag.
  • On the following day, the kids rolled out and attached four thick and short coils of clay for legs. To prevent the legs from falling off once attached, we bent the end of each leg at the top. This created a larger flat surface for the leg to attach to the bottom of the sphere. Of course, we tooth brushed the bottom of the sphere and the tops of the legs before attaching.
  • The kids were given some ideas on how to create a face for their pet. Then they came up with a billion much better ideas. Which is how is always goes, isn't it? I cannot keep up with their superior imaginations.
Best. Ears. Ever.
  • Now, I gotta tell you two quandaries I found myself in with this here project: One was finding a place to write the student's names. Ultimately most ended up being emblazoned on the tooshie. And the other quandary was that we did have a couple explosions in the kiln. Because all of the pieces were given a "belly button" (a small hole with a skewer stick in the bottom of the piece) I can only imagine that the explosions were caused by the thickness of the clay. The two kids handled it quite well, knowing that they'd be able to create a new piece. Apparently, it's very cool in secondgradeland to be able to tell your buddies "my dog blew up the kiln". 
  • Once the pieces were returned to the kids, we set to glazing. I love Mayco's Stroke and Coat as do the kids. We chatted about the patterns that might appear on dogs and cats, real or imaginary. 
And there you have it! I've still no idea just what we'll be up to this summer...but I've got a couple crazy ideas rolling around. Until next time, have a great Monday!
Read more »

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

In the Art Room: Cats and Dogs

This sculpture just makes me wanna say, "Aw, who's a good boy?! Are you a good boy? Oh, yes you are!" in my most annoying talking-to-doggies voice.
Hi there. Remember me? I'm that blogger that used to post a weekly DIY. That was before the school-wide art show ate my life. Thankfully, almost everything is hung up and on display and ready for the big day tomorrow. And, since I'm blabbering about the art show (of which I will most definitely snap endless photos and share them here), I'd like to give a super huge cyber hug to all the amazing moms that help out in the art room. Seriously. They've hung 5 pieces of art for each of my 400 students. I don't like math, but I'm no dummy. I know that's a whole lotta artwork.
This is like one of those super cute kitties that the moment you turn your back on them they hiss at you, claw your legs and hack up a hairball in your purse. When you turn back around...all you see is this creepily sweet face. Shivers.
Since my life has been swallowed by art-showy-ness, I thought I'd give you a sneak peak at my fourth graders clay projects. You might remember from this post that my students have created dog and cat sculptures this year. This was apart of our art service project as donations will be collected on the night of the art show for these sculptures and the proceeds will be going to Happy Tales Humane.
Your typical dog and cat: Dog does goofy stuff. Cat looks on in disgust.
In years past, my students have participated in Empty Bowls, a wonderful using-art-to-give-back opportunity. I'm trying to instill in these little art students of mine just how powerful and helpful their work can be.
Someone please play fetch with this sweet little pup.
Now each one of my grade levels did a different version of an animal sculpture and I've gotta admit, I liked these the best. Each of my fourth grade students had such great ideas that it really was exciting to watch and teach. I just taught them the basics and they went from there. If you are interested, here's what I showed 'em:
  • To begin, chose a texture for your base. I've got a wide assortment of doilies, burlap and textured surfaces for them to use. Fabric works best for this as it won't stick to the clay. 
  • Position your grapefruit-sized piece of clay on your texture. Using the bottom of your fist, pound the clay into the texture until it has a thickness of a cookie.
  • Peal your clay from your texture and prepare to be amazed. Move your texture off of your surface and cut out a shape for your base. To save time, I give my students several base shapes to chose from: circles, rounded squares and a floral kind of shape.
  • With the excess clay, roll out four legs. I tell the kids these should be as long as their finger but twice as thick. Because my classes are a half an hour long, this is usually where we stop for the day. The clay is wrapped in a damp paper towel and placed inside a ziplock back with the child's name on the front.
  • The following art class, the students create a body with a thick piece of clay. The legs are attached by using a little water and some scrubbing with a toothbrush.
  • To make the face, I tell the kids to sink both of their thumbs into an oval shaped piece of clay. This becomes the eye sockets.
  • The mouth is created with a skewer stick wiggled into the clay horizontally.
  • The nose is pulled upward away from the clay.

  • Eyes are rolled from two spheres and pupils are given with the back of the skewer stick. Here's my rough and dirty example. I've found that by making my example far from perfect, it removes they "I could never do that!" idea. 
  • Now, like I said, that's the basics. What I really wanted to emphasize to the kids is that they are unique artists so their work should reflect that. I wanted them to really explore all sorts of different ideas. So that they could make their ideas come to life, I told them that anything can be created out of clay by using three things: spheres, slabs and coils. I asked them to give me some ideas on what they'd like to make so see if  my theory was true. They told me: frisbee? Sure, a slab. A dog bone? A coil. A sombrero (yes, there's a dog with a sombrero and a mustache)? Let's see, a slab and a sphere. Coil for the 'stache.
I love the windblown ears.

This beagle was created to look just like the artists own. I love the cat on the right. Notice the palette and paint brush in her tiny paws.

The texture on this dog is awesome but my favorite part are the crossed paws.
This student meticulously glazed the rug on which her cat sits...and it's stunning. I love all of the depth and texture in her piece.
Isn't this how every cat sees himself? Royalty. Or a royal pain. You decide.
When it came time for glazing, these kids were so invested in their masterpiece that they spent an entire hour glazing. I love the effect of Mayco's Stroke and Coat. But mostly I just love these creations. I cannot wait to see their parents reaction tomorrow night at the art show. Until I recover from that, enjoy the rest of your week!
Read more »