Thursday, May 7, 2015

mini Krushenicks

I originally had a different project planned with my first graders this week, but I decided, last minute that glue string bowls with my firsts would not be as successful as I had envisioned. Another time, another grade level:)

So, I switched to a shrinky dink project with them instead. It still fit into their texture unit because we were working with smooth and rough sides of the plastic.The inspiration for the project came from Phyl over at There's A Dragon in my Art Room and her post on a recent pd she did that used the work of Nicholas Krushenick as the focus. I was unfamiliar with his work and it's right up my alley! Brightly colored, pattern heavy abstractions with a strong sense of play in his shapes and compositions. I knew I'd use his work at some point after reading Phyl's post, just not this soon;)

So, the classes and I quickly reviewed the texture rubbings we did the week before and when I introduced Nicholas' work, I talked about how he, like Clare, was more interested in creating images with interesting arrangements of shapes and not about making a picture of a person, flower, etc.

We looked at a number of his pieces and then did some practice drawings that were inspired by, and not copies of his work. We borrowed compositional elements and his use of patterning, but I emphasized that everyone's was going to be different based on choices they made. When their sketches were done, I had students put a check next to the one they wanted to make and turn to their neighbor and explain why they wanted to use that one.

I then gave students their shrink plastic and they got to check out the surface qualities of each side- rough and smooth. They traced the rectangle of plastic on the back of their sketch and drew out their chosen design on a larger scale.

Students then traced over their pencil lines with thick and thin black sharpies to capture Nicholas' use of bold outlines. They used crayola color sticks to create color patterns and fields in their design.

Then we were ready to bake! I set my toaster oven temp to 325 and was able to fit 2 5x7" plastics in there at once. Kids LOVED watching their designs curl, twist, shrink, and finally flattened in the oven. Before putting each piece in the oven I used my 2 hole punch to add to holes at the top, so that it could get strung later to make a necklace, rearview mirror ornament, etc.

I think the kids really responded well to this project- they always do when shrinky dinks are involved, and I really dig the range of patterns and compositions come up with.

I get to play, I mean model too:)


  1. Starting this today!! Using your blog for examples, and inspiration of artist! Thanks for making my final days at school this year a bit easier.

    1. have fun! can't wait to see what y'all do with the project:)

  2. Cool! I'm planning on some shrinking next year. Though I'll have to buy a toaster oven to haul with me to my schools if I want the kids to get to watch the shrinking part! :D

  3. I can't believe it's taken me so long to hop over here and see this post! I'll w back at the Tang Museum, where the fabulous Krushenick work is hanging, in early August, and I'll share with the educators there how you've used the inspiration for your student work. They will be pleased! Very cool idea. I think I need to buy myself some shrinks dinks!