Friday, September 5, 2014

we'll keep on biggering and biggering...

That's one of my favorite lines from the Lorax and I loved getting all into it with my kids at home when reading the book to them. It also suits this first week back to school project pretty well too:)

School started this week here at Zamo and we are getting back in the creative mindset. For the past 4 years I have done a collaborative art mini lesson with the upper grade students to give them a low stress opportunity to create and to go over my art room rules and expectations.

I LOVE doing these at the beginning of the year. (well, actually any time I get the chance- see my Gee's Bend and Eleanor McCain projects too:) These collaboratives really click with my love of textile design and pattern. My own work tends to swing back and forth from representational landscapes and interiors to more abstract pattern heavy colored works.

I realized on my drive home yesterday that all of these projects have had one shape in common- the circle. I also realized that they also have another cool thing in common- they have all been inspired by women artists (Lee Gainer, Georgia Gray, Lea Anderson, and now, Maritza Soto).

I came across Maritza's very cool modern take on the drunkards path quilt pattern on pinterest and immediately thought it would be a good fit for my opening week project. I decided to add a little more visual variety by quickly sharing Mexican talavera designs and talking about the repetition of line, shape, and color in them... and the presence of symmetry to boot.

 Maritza Soto's modern drunken path pattern

traditional Mexican talavera pattern

I always focus on unity and variety with this opening project, both visual and as it relates to our student population. Each of our students have similarities with one another, but each of them brings something different and unique to the table too:)

After a quick rundown of my rules and expectations, I talk about the inspiration of the project, and then we are ready to dive into the hands on. At this point we have about 20 minutes to work!

Students fold their square paper 2 times to quarter it. I emphasize having the one fold on the left and the 2 folds on the bottom. Students then take their quarter circle stencil and trace the curve onto the folded paper. One cut on the curve later and  they have a whole circle... or 2 halves, or 4 quarters, depending on whether they got the fold locations correct.




Even if they end up with 2 or 4 pieces, it's okay because they will end up cutting the circles apart in the end anyway.

Students have about 10 minutes to draw a design on their circle, trying to create something that shows symmetry. They then cut their circles into quarters, reassemble them on a white square and glue them down.





The final piece is to have students put glue on the back of their white square, decide the direction they want it to go, and glue it onto an even larger white sheet.


The final collaborative could end up any size depending on how many kids are involved and how big the original circle shapes are. I did this with all of our 4th and 5th grade classes, as well as a couple 3rd grade. Probably about 400-450 kids. I plan on assembling them in our auditorium as our stage backdrop as soon as I can. Visually, projects like this are fun because of the look from far away and the detail of the designs when you get up close.



after one day.

After 2 days.
22' x 4.5'

23 comments:

  1. Great explanation. I'm totally doing this next year... or maybe at the end of the year... or maybe right before Holiday break... or maybe on Monday :) Thanks for the full details!

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    1. Ha! Glad you like it. Looking forward to seeing what your minis do with it:)

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  2. Really striking, and I love how it is a success for everyone - even those who cut on the wrong side :)

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    1. Thanks, Hope:)
      Right? Getting the folds in the right spot is the most challenging part of the lesson and if they don't get it right, it still works out.

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  3. So simple but it works really well! Love it... I especially love that you let them choose which way to glue their pieces so the arrangements vary. The piece looks really beautiful all assembled.

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    1. thanks, Phyl! It is quite simple, isn't it? I love that with 20 minutes of time, kids can contribute something to the overall design. I can't wait to see it vertical!

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  4. So great Don! Very inspiring : )

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  5. I LOVE this! (I might do it tomorrow!)

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    1. Thanks, Rachel! Keep me posted if you do:)

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  6. This is beautiful! I am looking for a group project for my 3rd graders to present to an art gallery that will be held next month. Can you provide a list of materials needed and if they should use crayons, markers, or oil pastels?

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  7. Hi there. Love the collaborative effect and the simplicity of this work. Kids use coloured paper to draw on? Their designs show up so well - what did they use to draw with?

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    1. thanks jane. I am a big fan of crayola colorsticks. They show up great on all sorts of colored supports. construction paper crayons work well too, but they translate more to a pastel/tint of the colors.

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  8. super cute! I love this idea and the collaborative efforts are so much fun to see in the end! How big are the white sheets of paper that you glued the 4 quarter circle pieces to to begin with and did you use just a regular piece of construction paper. Thanks so much! so glad I found this fun activity! THANKS!

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    1. Thanks, Ashli! The white squares were 6x6". Yup, regular white construction paper. Have fun!

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  9. you are awesome!!! thanks so much for your SUPER quick response! This is my first year as our new Fine Arts program teacher!!! I am so excited! I will be relying HEAVILY on your blog! <3 thanks again! have a great day!

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  10. I am using this idea this week to start off my year! Thank you so much for the idea! We are using a black background and tying it into our Circus schoolwide theme for the year!

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    1. very cool! please share yours when y'all are done:)

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  11. I am definitely going to do it . this is cery helpful..thanks for sharing a wonderful idea..the kids will love it..it's gonna be a fun filled art activity

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  12. This is just WONDERFUL! Thanks for sharing! I am definitely doing it... even though my pupils are 5-yr-olds! We'll have great fun.

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  13. Hello! These are beautiful, I would love to try them with my kinders! I have the same question as a previous poster--what kind of colored paper do you use? It looks brighter than construction paper. I'm assuming you start with 6 x 6 of the colored paper too?
    Thank you!
    --Patricia

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