Showing posts with label art room. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art room. Show all posts

Sunday, August 20, 2017

In the Art Room: A Color Family Display

So there are some things I decided shortly before school started. Let's start with the first: I had too much purposeless decor in my art room. I'm an over-decorator. Just take a peak into my sewing room or my crafting space (yes, these are two separate rooms and yes, I'm spoiled rotten) and you'll know I ain't lyin'. When it comes to my art room, I tend to overdo it there as well. I have a bad habit of getting sucked into the vortex that is the Target Dollar Spot and purchasing every cute thing under the sun. When I bring these colorful happies to my art room, I don't think: Is this going to benefit the art makin' of my students? Is this going to educate and not just decorate? Oh no. Instead I'm all: WHERE'S AN EMPTY SPACE, I MUST FILL IT MEOW. 

I realized the error of my ways over the summer when I came in to grab some things and I took a good look around. All I saw was clutter. Cute, colorful clutter. And in a fit of coffee-fueled redecorating rage, I tore down posters of unicorns, giant maps (why three? WHY?) and reference images that I never, er, referenced. I crumbled it all up into a big heaping wad and stepped back. Immediately I was horrified. What had I done?! My room looked so bare! And that's when I came to my second conclusion:

Eh, you'll figure out what you need as you go. Your room DOES NOT have to look PERFECT on the very first day...week...shoot, man, even month! of school.
Since then, I've slowly started rethinking my decor and redecorating my art room. I made the following decisions: what I use to decorate must also educate; if I can't find what I'm looking for, I'll make it; more 3-D and less 2-D when it comes to visuals. Basically, I want my art room to be a space that really inspires my kids without cluttering their creativity. 
So, what have I created so far? Why, I'm so happy you asked. Here you go:

* My ART room rules that are (hopefully) life rules and inspired by growth mindsets.

* The large color wheel I created from painted oars found at the craft store.

* And this here Color Family set of crayons!

I was inspired by art teacher Katie Lynn. She shared this image of a color family on the Elementary Art Teachers page on Facebook. 
I thought her idea was GENIUS...and decided to create a set of my own. Her drawings are so stinkin' cute, they are inspired by the book The Day the Crayons Quit, a kid fave. Big shout out to Katie Lynn for the inspo!
Since I had these "crayon boxes" left over from an art display, I decided to borrow her idea and create this 3-D color family. My kiddos did this very project a couple of years ago and it was a HUGE hit. I'm thinking I need to bring this project back this year...but I'll definitely be going about it a different (and much easier!) way. I'll share that below. In the meantime, here's a video I created back then for this project. 
So what did I do differently this time around? I skipped the papier mache and used plaster strips instead. But let's start at the start, shall we?
 My good buddy the custodian started collecting the paper towel tubes at my school. I like these better than you standard paper towel tube as they are much sturdier. Added bonus: upcycling! (can we please just go back to calling it REcycling? I dunno why, new words for old things always drives me bonkers).
My very artsy mom-in-law was visiting this weekend and I knew she'd be up for the crafting challenge. I cut rectangles of used tagboard (lookie, more recycling!) while she cut the strips of plaster. We found the plaster strips at our local craft store. After I rolled the tag board into a cone shape, I added a bit of tape, fitted the cone over the tube, cut tabs for easy folding and added a few more bits of tape just to hold. 
While I did that, Diana took to plastering. I loved this so much more than papier mache because it dries faster, harder and isn't a snotty, slimy mess. 
 With her help, creating these 12 crayons went by in a blink!
We did find that one roll of plaster just didn't cut it. We ended up using two. We didn't cover the tube completely as the paint would take care of hiding the fact that we didn't. Also, when I hang these at school, I plan to display them hanging up with the crayons in the box...so no one will see the bottom. Altho, now that I say that, it might be fun to make them removable to make them interactive. I'll have to think on that idea.
 I burned a little too much of the midnight oil (2am, ahem) getting them painted and STILL didn't quite get them complete. Diana helped me finish painting the "paper" and the crayon part.
 I used a flat paint brush and watered down black paint for the stripes.
 Done, son! 
 You better believe I contemplated making ANOTHER color wheel with these guys. But I forced myself to stick with my plan. 
 Initially, these boxes were created for the kids' display a couple years ago. I'm so glad I hung on to them. They were created from cereal boxes. 
I just cut off the top, cut a curve, gessoed them a few times before adding the paint. 
 Since they needed "labels", I just painted a black oval and used white for the color fam names. 
 I'm excited to hang these in my art room next week! I'll use Command Velcro strips and they should do the trick. These guys are pretty light weight. The strips have done a bang up job holding up my painted oars!
 I know my older kids are going to be so stoked when I tell them that they'll be creating their own versions of these as well. I foresee a TON of giant plaster art supplies in their future (eep!).
Take that, Target Dollar Spot. Get thee behind me, Satan, er, Target!
I'm so happy I decided to wait and only decorate when I feel it will educate...and it is necessary. More to come. Just know: your art room, if you are lucky enough to have one, doesn't have to be perfect on the first day of school. Go with what is pleasing and needed by your kiddos. You know best! 
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Thursday, August 3, 2017

In the Art Room: Art Room Rules

Yesterday, some pretty big and exciting news was released: I'll be teaming up with The Art of Education in the creation of Everyday Art Room, a podcast dedicated to all things elementary art teacherin'! I sat down with Tim Bogatz, the co-'caster of Art Ed Radio to share the fun news. You can listen to our chat here and catch my very first podcast next Thursday. I'm super excited! I do hope you'll take a listen. 

In one of the first podcasts, I'll be chatting about how I start my school year, which, as you can imagine, is with rules. My rules have changed...drastically...over the years as I learn and change as I go/grow. Recently, with the reading of The Growth Mindset Coach (you should totally join our book club if you haven't already. Like/follow here to stay tuned), I've been thinking of my art room rules as being more like life rules. Rules to follow to become a happy, compassionate and fulfilled person. With that in mind, I created these three art room rules life goals. I thought I'd share them with you in the form of a free downloadable PDF if you are interested. 





But before we get to that, when I shared these paintings on my Instagram, I got a lotta questions about how I hang things on those unstickable concrete walls. My go-to is usually hot glue but that does have a weight limit. It can also damage walls and artwork. My latest love are these Command Velcro Strips. Y'all. These bad boys can hold up to 16lbs and can be removed without damage. If you are hanging something heavier or from an actual hanger, you might wanna check out Hardwall Hangers by OOX. These hammer easily into concrete walls but are difficult to remove and leave behind some holes. Of course, if you are just hanging posters, Blue Dap (aka sticky tack) works great as well. All of these can be found at your local hardware store. 
Here is the download for the letter A

When writing rules, keep the following in mind:

* Keep Your List of Rules Short. The list of rules should be so short that you can easily memorize them. Any more beyond five rules and you might be confusing your rules with your routines/procedures. 

* Know the Difference Between Rules and Routines. Rules are the broad brush strokes. Routines are the finer details. I have 8 routines in my art room. I'll be covering those in my very first podcast that will launch here next Thursday. Confusion between the two can lead to confusion in the art room.

* Keep in Mind the Take Away. When your students reflect on creating, what do you want them to think? Feel? Be inspired by? Your rules should help you create that environment where they feel safe, inspired, confident, successful and encouraging to others.

With those thoughts in my head, I decided to create three rules, based on the word ART. You are more than welcome to use these in your art room. I've created downloadable PDFs of each letter and rule. Here is the download for the painted letter A.  

If you'd rather paint your own version of your rules, go for it! I had a great time coming up with these and bringing them to life in a colorful and exciting way. I scored the canvas panels, which I used for the letters, at Michael's in a package of either three or four. The long canvases were sold in packs of two. 

I picked up my favorite colors in acrylic paint. I laid out the canvases and quickly painted them. I tried not to overthink it...keeping in mind that one can always just paint over it! 
Once dry, I added some dry brushing of paint where I wanted the letter and rules to go. From there, I added the text, details and designs. The beauty of acrylic paint is that fast dry time! I did manage to mess up my spacing of letters so there was some serious repainting...but it was not a big deal.

Growing up in the 80's, where there was a strong resurgence of 1950's style and fashion, I've got a love for all things kitsch, colorful and tacky. This explains my color palette and design aesthetic clearly, doesn't it?!

Let's be honest: with rules like these, some explaining, modeling and role playing will need to be done. When teaching rules, always expect that your sweet kiddos know nothing. After all, what seems like common sense to you, an adult who has been on this Earth years beyond that wee person you are teaching, is news to the petite peeps. Think of everything as new, exciting and noteworthy...it will make teaching what we might deem "the mundane", the magnificent. 
Not even gonna lie, strong Pee Wee's Playhouse and Bebo influence here! 

Tell me if you do this: when thinking of lessons, plans, arrangements, whatever in your teaching environment, do you put yourself in your student's shoes? I do this...all the time. I often think of what excited me as a kid: seeing my third grade teacher in a silly costume; that teepee my second grade teacher had in her classroom; the parachute we played with in P.E. It's with that in mind that I craft my own teaching environment. I know I'm not alone in this...maybe it's for selfish reasons...but I use what excited me as a student now as a teacher. 

And it usually works! I used to think that the notion of bringing what I loved as a kid to my art room was successful because that joy I experienced was universal. I loved XYZ as a kid, therefore all kids love XYZ! Now I know...it was my passion about XYZ that inspired my students. Staying passionate, whether that be by taping into those childhood loves and/or brining what you love to your art room, is what keeps us excited and excitable as an art teacher.
But that just might be the back-to-school jitters talkin'. Let's talk about how you can print and hang these bad boys in your art room! Simply print out the letters and rules as is or blow them up! I did this with some items I purchased on TpT. I just made them as large as I could and then, once printed, taped them together puzzle style and ran them thru the laminator. You can't tell the difference!
Feel free to print and hang where ever you wanna share the love of art. Remember to tune in next Thursday for my first ever podcast, eep! So excited!
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Friday, July 28, 2017

DIY: Wooden Oar to Paint Brush Decor!

The other day, I was perusing the isles of my local big box craft store with the previous night's Art Teacherin' Book Club on my mind. We were joined by the amazing Barney Saltzberg, author of Beautiful Oops (among 62 other titles!) You can still view his live chat here. He said some things that really stayed with me: "You need to build your imagination muscle. Don't look for ideas, they are already there!" He shared with us that "art finds him" and that he has built his imagination muscle up so much that he can see what most people fail to. 
With those words ringing in my years, I stopped in my tracks when I spotted these oars on the Wooden-Thingies-You-Can-Paint isle (actual isle name). I was like, "Big Box Craft Store, you say Oar, I say Paint Brush Decor!" And marched outta there with a cart full o' oars faster than you can say, "take my fistful of coupons and can I score that teacher discount, please?!"
Now just HOW I was gonna paint them was still yet to be determined. In fact, my first attempt was what I'd like to call shabby sh** (just a step above shabby chic). Then I remembered Lichtenstein's painting Brushstroke. And I was totally inspired. 
So I went the cartoon-style route. It really made the painting process so much easier. Lay down flat areas of color, allow to dry and then add the high- and low-lights using black and white. 
Once I had these bad boys in my cart, I was so excited to see more inspiration in the mundane. Before I knew it, I had my cart full of Wooden-Thingies-You-Can-Paint...but decided to return them to their shelves for another day. One project at a time, right? My hoarders-therapist (aka the hubs) woulda been so proud. 
Now, I will admit, when I got them home, and these oars looked every bit like an oar, I was fearful I wouldn't be able to pull this off. Then I happened to look at the paint brushes I'd been using and realized that they had the long handled look as well. With a little skillful painting, I might be able to transform them. 
My name is Cassie Stephens. I used to suffer from Painting-Dysfunction. Every time I approached a surface for painting, I would convince myself that I would create a complete mess. It was not until I discovered alcohol relaxed and realized that I could always just paint over it, that I was able to paint with ease. Now I have no problem consuming alcohol enjoying the process and painting without worry. It's just a canvas or a Wooden-Thingie-You-Can-Paint, after all! Don't like it? Paint over it!
Blah, blah, blah, here I am doing the boring part of laying down the color. 
By the time I'd finished painting the paint portion of the brush, the handle was dry enough for me to add the white and black accents. They have a British and French accent, by the way, respectively. 
Ta-dah! I am really so stoked about these, y'all don't even know. I'm excited to paint the secondary colors and hang them as a color wheel in my art room...stay tuned!
 Did I mention I was stoked? I'm a little stoked. 
 Now that these guys are finished, I'll have to stroll down that Wooden-Thingies (ahem) isle once more. Thank you, Barney, for the inspiration. See art. Look for it. It's everywhere, y'all! 
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Friday, December 30, 2016

DIY: Marimekko Memory Game Wallhanging

I am a complete, total and utter procrastinator. I always have the best of intentions in mind but I rarely follow through with my ideas. I have this habit of psyching myself out that a task is too daunting; too difficult for my skill set (or lack thereof); too time-consuming; you name it, it's an excuse I've put to good use. One of my resolutions over my break has been to do the following: relax (things have been too crazy for me and I don't handle crazy well) and stop putting things on the freaking back burner. That burner is boilin' over! If you follow me on Insta, you know I've been hitting the sewing machine hard with that crazy eyeball dress (and matching jewelry, stay tuned!), a Mary Blair-inspired quilting project and this here Marimekko wall hanging. I've had the idea to create this bad boy since I scooped up all things Marimekko this spring at Target. Well, I can finally scratch this one off my To-Do!
I have a habit of buying frames whenever I find unique ones at the thrift store. I always spray paint them a satin black so they create the illusion of matching. I have an enormous stockpile which comes in super handy when I get an idea like this one. I remember picking up this one a couple of years ago because I liked the rectangular shape and the angle of the frame edge. You can see it better below.
If you go here, you can see what used to hang in this place at the end of our upstairs hallway. 
When Target was selling all things Marimekko this spring, I'm not ashamed to admit that I went bananas. Marimekko has been my muse since I discovered the fabric design company many years ago. If you know anything about the brand then you know their prices are pretty steep. So when a place like Target partners with them and sells their wares at affordable prices, well, you go bananas. I scooped up a couple of these memory games. One I gifted to my best bud and the other I kept.
But what to do with the game? Selfishly, I didn't want to take it to school and chance it getting ruined (sorry not sorry). And the hubs and I are more of a Cards Against Humanity and Exploding Kittens kinda card game playing types, not memory games, no matter how cute. So I got pulled all of my thrift store frames outta the closet and found one that seemed to work the best. 

And that was last spring. 

Did I mention that I have issues with procrastination? Yeah. Obvi. 
 So the other night, I decided to scratch this one off my list. I had a large sheet of cardboard in the garage that I cut to fit the back of the frame. Then I started to lay out the design. 
Once I got it all in place, I started to hot glue the back of the pieces. Purists will not be happy with me about this one...but I will get so much more enjoyment out of my memory set now that it is out of the box and up on my wall. 
To secure the cardboard in place, I did add hot glue but I also added tape. Then I hammered in one of those wall-hanger-thingies and was ready to put it up!

I hung it at the end of the hall that leads down these steps to our bonus room...which has become my crafting and recording-of-lessons area. 
For a more thorough tour of this room, visit here. And, yes, my Christmas decor is still up. I don't like to take things down until after the first. The sparkle makes me so happy!
The large painting on the left was created by me years ago and is a direct copy of a Marimekko design. In fact, you can see my much loved copy of a Marimekko book on the far right under the lady vase. 
Yesterday, before heading out to catch up with a long lost friend, I realized I even match my decor. Wow. 
Speaking of thrift stores, it's there and estate sales where I find my favorite things. Oh and the sale room at Anthropologie (I don't even bother with the rest of the store!). 
 All the gory details on these finds here
 Speaking of Marimekko, these large plates are from the Target line as well. I waited until they were half off and I'm so glad I scooped them up. I need to eventually hang them but for now they are happy to be propped right here...just above the map I trash picked from school (which hides all of my hubs drum gear and our big-butt television. Yes, we still have one of those). 
And there you have it! I'm so glad I stopped putting at least one thing off, I'm so happy with how this turned out. 
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