Monday, April 4, 2011

flower power.

First day of spring break.
In the backyard.
Coffee by my side.
William Fitzsimmons on the player.
A post about flowers.

The first graders recently completed a 3d collage project based on the work of 2 New York based artists and designers, Aaron Wexler and John-Paul Philippe. Both men have a keen eye for shape and color. This is the second year I have done a project inspired Aaron and the first one that is inspired by the work of John-Paul.

I came across an installation that the two did for a department store in NYC and thought it would make for an interesting exploration of pattern and both decorative and 3d shape.

I started class by sharing Aaron's website and a number of window installations he has done, focusing on his use of shape and the collage technique to make his pieces. We then looked at the focus piece and revisited the concept of pattern.

Since the installation was created as a collaborative piece I thought this would make for a good teamwork exercise for the students as well.They worked with a partner to build their flower designs.

The construction of the project was pretty straightforward. Each team started with an 18 inch square for the base of the flower and the pieces got smaller from there. There was a lot of folding and cutting to make the petals for the flowers. Teams worked together to draw, cut, and glue pieces on. The flat petal process took most of one class.
The 3d part was then built a couple weeks later when our school was on minimum days. The art team met with classes for 40 minutes instead of an hour on these days, This shorter time frame was perfect for completing the center of the flower.

The center is made of rolled and glued paper cylinders of varying heights and widths. Students used glue sticks for this part. When it came to gluing the cylinders on to the flowers they used white elmer's glue. I poured the glue into plates for teams to use and they rotated the bottoms of each cylinder into the glue so that there would be an even, thick enough ring of glue so that each piece would adhere properly. This application process worked out so well!

The students really liked the look of their flowers. After they dried I hung a number of them up on my wall. I plan to install a larger collection of them at our end of the year art show. Students and teachers alike were very impressed by the 3d collection of shapes and patterns. Each class used a different range of colors so that the end result wonderfully varied. It's a fairly easy project with positive results across the board. Very high success rate for my student artists.


  1. Hello Shine Bright,

    I am so impressed with the way you use the work of contemporary artists in your projects. You have inspired me to try new ideas and you are to be commended for your creativity and forward thinking! This comes from a 35 year art teacher, a veteran on the front lines of art education:)


  2. Hi there... You've been walloped by the wand of the Art Fairy! I loved this tutorial so much that it made the Weekly Top Twenty at the Art Fairy. Stop by an pick up a button if you get a chance.

  3. thank you pat and thank you dear art fairy!
    art fairy- wait til you see the display of this project from our annual art show tomorrow!

  4. I have to second that comment from Pat - I'm also really impressed with the way you incorporate contemporary artists into your curriculum. I get really bored with lessons based only on the "master" artists (not that they aren't relevant, but it can be a limited scope.) One of my goals this year is to incorporate more artist exemplars into my curriculum - I'm having a good time finding about some artists I had not heard of before on your blog!