Showing posts with label cassie stephens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cassie stephens. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

In the Art Room: First Grade Woven Owls

 Holy cats, I'm excited to share this first grade weaving lesson with y'all. I do a paper weaving project with my first graders each year and try to put a different spin on it each time. Here's a peak at last year's weavings
This year, I knew I wanted to do something a little different. Here's this year's weaving project, owls! Feel free to use this lesson in your art creating world:
What's the hardest part about teaching paper weaving? Creating the paper loom! I've been creating paper looms with my first graders since my first year teaching. So, like, for 100 years. I would like to say, I've got it down. Here's me teaching first graders how to create a loom:
The giant loom is a huge help. Also, that book, The Goat in the Rug, is a must have in the art rom. Here's our follow up lesson where we learn to weave:
I like to have my kids weave in a circle. I love this because it creates this fun atmosphere. It also allows me to sit in the middle of the circle and help those that need it. I also utilize a ton of peer tutoring at this time. Oh, you done? Go help Joe Bob over there, please and thank you.
 Pudgy first grade fingers KILL me, y'all!
 I'd like to take a moment to point out that I merely SUGGESTED rainbow weavings...but did not twist any arms. So pretty!
 The following week, we learned about abstract painting...well, as much as we could in our 30 minutes together. Here's the lesson:
 And here's the result. Not too shabby for 30 minutes and a whole lot of jibber jabbering by me, right?! Eat your heart out, Kandinsky!
 The following art class, we watched some great kid-friendly videos on owls before doing a guided drawing one of our own.
 This coming week, we'll begin to assemble and I'll be sure to keep you posted. I'm so excited about this lesson! I'd love to hear from you if you give it a go!
Until then, have a great week, y'all!
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Monday, February 19, 2018

Field Trip! Visiting the Artist Miranda Herrick

This summer, I had the chance to visit the artist Miranda Herrick at the gallery where she works, Bennett Galleries. In an attempt to bring living, breathing artists to my students, I've been working on a video series called Field Trip! In this series, I visit the space where artists work and/or create and interview them about their process. Miranda's work is super unique in that she does a lot of her creating with recycled goods. In fact, this series of work is made entirely with recycled aluminum soft drink cans. I really think her method of creating is something students in middle and high school could also do. Here's a video of her walking us through her process:
I love so many elements of her work from the recycling to the idea of meditation to the notion that her work can be changed like that of a kaleidoscope. I also loved that she shared her inspirations...and that they ranged from her grandmother's quilts to Islamic tile work. 
 I've not tried to cut aluminum cans but Miranda made it look so easy. I really would love to explore this avenue of creating on my own...but, I don't know about my students. Ideally, my fourth graders should be able to cut this material. But, honestly, I'd be worried about them harming themselves. It will definitely be something I'd explore on my own before bringing a project like this to my art room. However, I do think that sharing this video with them will be fun!
 Someone recently asked me how I go about sharing these videos that I've created. I share them when they tie in with a current lesson. They also come in handy when I have to be absent and need a video to share with the kids. I've also shown snippets to my early finishers as they relax and use the dry erase boards on the floor. 
 Love to know your thoughts! And feel free to use the videos I create in your art room...that's why I share them with you.
 Now, when it comes to Miranda's drawings, I do see a way to tie-in. I really think they would be fabulous at teaching mindfulness and meditation. I am excited to bring this lesson to my student's sketchbooks. I can see even a collaborative project based around these. So many thoughts are in my head! 
 Um, can I get a wall of these in my home, please? 
 In case you've missed the other videos in the Field Trip! series, here you go:











 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Sunday, February 18, 2018

How to Knit a Rainbow Scarf

LEEEEET me just start this blog post by stating the obvious: I am not a knitter. I mean, I know HOW to knit but just as much as I know HOW to sing in a wannabe opera voice or I know HOW to tap dance when I have annoying tap dance sounding shoes on. But that don't make me no Maria Callas or Fred Astaire. Knowing such, I should have known better than to even think I could knit a Rainbow Scarf...that didn't look like a giant boa constrictor about to devour me (my buddy Michelle called it the Rainbow Anaconda and I think that's hilariously 100% accurate). Think I'm exaggerating about the size of this thing? Check this out:
I mean...oops.
The whole thing started with a week of snow days and time on my hands. I spotted these colors at the craft store and they all happily hopped into my shopping cart. I had no way of stopping them, I swear (this is the story I tell the hubs. He's not convinced). 
I've knitted scarves before and I DISLIKE knitting. It takes to dang long! Which is why I only knit a scarf every two years...it takes me that long to forget what an epic pain in the butt it is in order to begin a new one. And, yes, I'm self taught with the help of a children's book. And, yes, I do have to give myself a refresher course each and every time I pick up knitting again. 
Okay, so, lemme tell you how this whole thing happened. I decided I wanted the rainbow to run the length of the scarf. And I also decided to knit on needles in the round. So when I was casting on, I just decided to go by look and not count how much I was casting on...that, obvi, was mistake numero uno. Then the round needles made the knitting appear a lot smaller because they kept everything so compact. Therefore, in actuality, it's the needles fault. Cuz I just kept knitting and knitting and knitting...

Let's talk about the pros and cons of having a 12 foot long (plus!) scarf, shall we?
It gets a lot of attention! I have been stopped by more people when I am wearing this monster. Mostly it's just like, "wow...that scarf...it's really long, isn't it?!" How do you even respond to that? My husband gave the typical "that's what she said" response but I'm pretty sure that wouldn't sound quite right if I said it. 
Another pro is that it's very warm...almost too warm. The weight of it tho, seriously, gives me a big of a neck ache after too much wear. 
 Let's talk cons now, shall we? It seriously takes some thought and time to put this thing on. Because you just keep wrapping and wrapping. 

 And even when you think you are done wrapping, the scarf is all "but wait, there's more!"
 One day, I didn't manage to wrap the whole thing around me and I found that I'd drove all the way home with half of it hanging out the car door. Thankfully the scarf was fine...but I can only imagine what others must have thought when they saw a little blue Honda with a giant rainbow billowing behind it.
 Don't mind me, I'm just over here putting my scarf on. For 20 minutes. 
 My students absolutely LOVE this scarf. I shared it with my first graders and we literally all wrapped up in the thing. 
 Me trying to gage just how many more wraps Ima gonna hafta do.
 About 7 more. 
And there you have it, the Rainbow Scarf! Remind me the next time I get the itch to knit about this crazy thing, would ya, please!? 
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png


Read more »

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Field Trip! A Visit with Shana Kohnstamm

 Hey, y'all! During my final weeks of summer, I had the chance to hang out in the home studio of Nashville fiber artist Shana Kohnstamm. Shana is, first of all, amazing! How kind of her to take time out of her busy creative life to have me over for an afternoon of wet felting! AND she's a wealth of knowledge on all things felting, both wet and needle felting. Just hanging out with her for an afternoon made me feel like I'd just had a crash course on all things fibers...and this from someone who is no stranger to felting. 
 Shana shared with me a fun process on how to create a wet felted adjustable headband. I filmed the process so I could share it with you. I know very little about wet felting...so it was great to learn from a pro. I really enjoyed learning all about her supplies and how she sets up her space for wet felting. Here's the video!
I mean...isn't she the best? Also, she's just a fun person to be around and that totally shines through in this tutorial. BIG thanks to you again, Shana!
Shana is such a prolific fiber artist...and does things with felt that I didn't even know were possible. I've done my slight share of wet felting and a TON of needle felting. But was really blown away with the possibilities of this medium that Shana shared with me. However, let's first talk about this studio space: so tidy, organized and perfect for a fiber artist!
And you know that epic stash of wool roving had me all starry-eyed! A lot of the roving, Shana dyes herself in her backyard! Can you imagine being her neighbor and seeing those rainbows of roving hanging out on the clothes line?!
 When I first met Shana, she shared with me a necklace she'd made...which lead me to believe she was a jeweler. Then, when I got to her home which, by the way, is FILLED with her art (as well as her collection of other artist's works), I found that she's a fibers jack of all trades. 
 Sculptures, light fixtures, weavings, jewelry, you name it. In fact, if you live in the Nashville area and are interested in learning more about felting, you should look her up. She can be found teaching classes on felting!
I had so much fun hanging out with Shana. A person who understands my love of felting! Gah, I'm starring at those weavings and itching to create one, so fun. 
 The sculptural felting was what really caught my eye. Her pieces and gradients of color were just stunning. 
 Not to mention solid. If you've felted before then you'll appreciate the amount of time and patience a piece like this requires. 
A lot of Shana's work put me in the mind of Tim Burton, like this amazing light she created the shades for. Seriously, her entire house was a work of art. So much to see and take in.
Shana, thank you so much for letting me hang out with you! It was a blast and I learned so stinkin' much!
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Monday, February 12, 2018

Abstract Painting in First Grade

Last week, my first graders, who I see for 30 minutes twice a week, spent one class learning as much as they could about Wassily Kandinsky, abstract art, non-objective vs. objective and painting to music...all in 30 minutes. Whew! It was fast and furious. Here's a peak into our lesson and time together. 
My students absolutely LOVED this lesson and I cannot wait to share with you what our plan is for our paintings. In the meantime, I've been asked a lot what supplies we used for this lesson. Let's start with the paper. I ALWAYS buy 80lbs paper because it's the best paper for everything: watercolor paint, tempera, collage, you name it. I purchase about 4 reams a year for my 350 students.
 My go-to watercolor pan watercolor is Crayola's Mixing Colors. I only order the refill sets, never new sets. I order the following colors: magenta, red, red-orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, blue-violet and purple.
 My VERY favorite oil pastels for resist are the florescent oil pastels by Sargent. All of the supplies mentioned can be found in your art supply catalog. 
 If you watch my video, you'll notice I do A LOT of call and response. It's my number one teaching tool...I probably use it to a fault! However, it's a great way for me to keep my students attention, teach vocabulary and have them retain information and directions. It also WORKS WONDERS for my English language learners...they LOVE repeating after me!
 Also...can we talk about what amazing abstract artists these guys are?! Holy cats! I am seriously thinking of printing their paintings on some fabric. I need these masterpieces as a dress, y'all!
 I'm so excited to share with you what the master plan is for these...so be sure and stay tuned!
 What are your favorite ways to teach kiddos about abstract painting? Do you have a favorite artist that you like to introduce your students to? I'd love to know!
 Thank you for letting me share these amazing abstract masterpiece by first grade with y'all. I hope they make you as happy as they make me!
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »