Thursday, May 23, 2019

Wearable Art- Inspired by Delina White

I'm so excited to share this fun lesson I did with my 3rd grade. I was inspired by the work of Delina White. Mrs. White is a Minnesota Anishinaabe Artist who I had the privilege to be taught by in a workshop about a year ago. Delina is known for her blend of traditional and modern design in her Wearable Art. Using mediums such as leather, beads, birch bark and other fibers, Delina has created an amazing collection of work that she shares on her website, I Am Anishinaabe.  My love for her style was reenergized as Billy Kheel, our recent Artist in Residence included a little work of Art in his installation inspired by the Minnesota Native. When I started to connect this lesson with our experience with Billy Kheel, I ran across Delina White's TEDxBemidji talk on Fashion, Compassion, Identity, and Unity. WOW... talk about relevant and powerful. I knew this Artist MUST be brought into my classroom as an inspiration. 

Along with the Artist in Residence... I just happen to have a lot of felt around my room. I decided I would use put together a way for my students to learn about the Artist Delina White as well as the concept of Organic Shapes while using fibers.  Yep, I was excited! 

In this lesson, I started the kids out with pre-planning in their sketchbook.  In my lesson, I broke down how each color was a shape that we would be making putting back together like a puzzle. Students used subjects from Minnesota's Nature. 

Then we created our patterns and cut out our felt. I was shocked at the ease my 3rd grade had when cutting felt. They were very motivated. We used Aleene's Tacky Glue to connect the felt. Then we used puffy paints to add the extra details. Again, I expected a lot of difficulty with the fabric paints, but the kids rocked it!

The fun part was modeling our Wearable Artwork! We did a photo shoot of our art to share with parents and our followers on Instagram. I even let the kids be part of the fun playing both the photographer and model. 

I am offering this lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers. I put a ton of effort in this lesson researching Delina, organizing the flow, recording, collecting project samples, and even giving some teacher tips with images after teaching this lesson to 5 sections. Want to know more about this lesson? Please watch the video below. If you are interested in seeing the lesson on TPT, Please click here

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Creating a Successful Composition for Observational Drawing

My Kindergarten students are doing a performance this week in music class for their parents. The theme for this program is 'Sea You Next Year'. In Art Class, we also have been working with the theme.  We all drew fish for one of our projects working on following steps and tutorials to learn to draw. We used videos from Kids Art Hub (Angel Fish, shark, and an octopus) as well as  Easy Peasy and Fun (shark and dolphin)

A second project involves using shells for a still life.  My mother-in-law goes to Florida for the winter so we usually visit sometime every year. I have a mass amount of shells in my collection. Many of my K's have not been to a beach and/or seen and touched shells. This was a real treat. So many of them were over the moon excited to have the opportunity. 

The first day I gave the kids paper and said, go ahead, start drawing these shells. Right away I noticed an issue with composition. That night I came up with a solution and made the adjustment with the rest of my classes. 

I asked the kids to use tracers first to fill the page up with shapes.  We used big circles tracers from Fiskars.  Some people said they had issues with these tracers breaking but I have had them for 5 years and have not had an issue. We then used smaller tracers shapes for the spaced in-between. These tracers where a creation of my own (with my husbands help) using the laser engraver. By doing this step students were able to successfully fill the page creating a full composition. 

Then, we filled the shapes with Observational Drawing. The objects we used were shells but you could use anything. I really like the shells because of the variety and the textures. Kids loved touching, smelling, looking at these little treasures. 

I then used a method of marker bleeds that I have seen a lot on Lauralee Chambers Instagram. We traced around the shapes as shown in the video with our markers (good, juicy ones). Then we used water to encourage the bleed between the markers. 

The end results were awesome. I really like this as a kindergarten lesson but I'm excited to try it out with other grades as well. I think the tracers to develop a full composition could surely be a skill that could help other grade levels. 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Summer Art Camp Options

I mentioned this on Facebook last week to my friends and family and I'm sorry to say, it's about half full, but there is still room for a few more students. If you are interested in signing up your kiddos who have completed kindergarten on up to 12 years of age, I'm offering a summer camp at the Oliver Kelley Farm. This is geared to students who are serious about art and will have an attention span for such an intense summer Arts Camp. Take a look at the dates and contact me at if interested. I will let you know if there is room by the end of the day you email me.

If my Arts Camp doesn't work out for you, might I suggest my good friend Leah Schultz who is putting on a camp as well in Elk River. Leah and I were hired at ISD728 the same year and have been a good friend since. She works at Twin Lakes Elementary as an Art Specialist. Quality camp her people! Give Leah a call if you feel that is going to be a better fit for you. Tell her I sent you.

Another good option is another friend of mine. Kelly Scharber is local to Rogers and puts on sewing classes all year round. This would be perfect especially for our 5th-grade students at Hassan who have been sewing for weeks and loving it! Kelly's classes are more machine sewing which would be a great option for our kids who have learned how to hand stitch. Her classes will be developing in the next few weeks for summer... but check out her FB page here

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Egg-A-Day Challenge

It's so important for us to create. I have done many monthly challenges in the past to assist me in this goal.  In the month of April, I decided to do a challenge on my own. I designed an Egg-a-Day. My family eats lots of eggs so we always have lots of supply.  I didn't hard boil all of them, so I was able to use the eggs for all of our cooking needs. And why not... this mini canvas goes to waste if I don't decorate it before using it.

It was fun to figure out not only what I was going to be designing the eggs with, but also what media, and how I would take the photo to document the adventure. I'll share a couple of eggs here, but feel free to visit MiniMatisseArt on Instagram to see the whole group.

I started the series with some of my more regular used themes in my drawings such as hands and eyes.  These are subjects that I use in a lot of my sketchbook designs. 

Many of my designs were created with Posca Pens. I love these things! I used them in my sketchbook all the time.  I don't have it in my budget yet to order them for my classroom, but I hope to have them someday for my students to use as well. I used many mediums to create my eggs. One of the most popular was these 'Tissue Paper Bleed Eggs'. For these eggs, I used the traditional egg dye kit to soaked the eggs in. Then when I removed them and they were still wet, I wrapped bleeding tissue paper on the egg and let it sit for a few minutes. After removing the paper, the ink would stay on the egg and you would end up with this tie-dye effect. Really simple and an awesome result! 

I created some very cutesy eggs just for fun! Again, half of the fun was taking the pictures so finding props and the right setting was important to me.

Some eggs were not even my idea... My sister came up with the corn idea. My husband came up with the 'title of the eggs'. I was inspired by my dear friend Ashley McKee (@Ashcanworks) for the 'U Matter' egg. She and her husband have developed this symbol and sell buttons on their Etsy shop. 

Sometimes I was inspired by my environment. The shell eggs and the colorful insides of eggs were both inspired by a visit to Florida over spring break. The open eggs were inspired by a piece of Artwork I saw while visiting Busch Gardens and the shells were inspired by our visit to the beach.  My husband just rolled his eyes when I said we needed to stop at a store on our vacation to pick up eggs... but he did it... he gets me :) The strawberries were inspired by prepping lunches for the week for my family. They just looked so pretty in the berry bowl my Aunt made our family. The proper lobster was inspired by a sketchbook drawing I did of a still life while out with my family at a restaurant called Grand Catch in St. Paul.

Other eggs were inspired by books. My daughter was doing research for her upcoming 'Wax Museum Project' on Julia Child. She got this book by Lisa Congdon about a variety of Bad Ass women that changed the world, illustrated beautifully might I add. The butterflies on the cover were perfect for me to draw on eggs. Then 'The Good Egg' by Jory John and Pete Oswald was introduced to me by Hassan's Media Specialist, Meagan Harapat. A-MAZ-ING book. Great illustrations and perfect to emulate for this project. 

Some of the eggs were inspired by Artist I admire. I admire the simplicity of Melissa Doty's work. She was perfect inspiration to the egg with the colorful half circle and bold black line. On my spring break experience, I spent some time in St. Petersberg, a city filled with Street Art. I was introduced to the work of @Kosharekart. I made the stacking doll eggs inspired by her work. The sweet garden and frog image above was inspired by Lauren Lowen's work. She is such a wonderful illustrator and after using her for inspiration for one of my lessons, I discovered she's a really good person too. She sent my class a letter encouraging them to continue creating! Below you see the Notorious RGB (Ruth Bader Ginsberg)... not an Artist, but certainly an inspiration. 

And other days, I just drew a bunny on an egg... and that was OK too. 

I really did have a fun time with this project over the month of April. If I'm feeling it next year, I might just do it again. But for this year, I'll kiss this project goodbye and start on another focus... Yep, That is right, I'm already working on another 'challenge' for myself. Start watching Instagram (@MiniMatisseArt) for my 'Wearable Art' project for the month of May. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Paper Stuffed Fish

After Billy Kheel was finished with his week of working with Hassan Elementary, we have been inspired to create like Billy! My Kindergarten and 1st grade created a stuffed fish like Billy... but instead of felt, they used paper. 

Students first took the time to look at the Artwork that we had created collaboratively with Billy and they drew their fish out on a large format sheet of paper that had been folded in half. Some kids choose to create a fish in a very realistic way and others created fish from their imagination. 

After drawing and coloring in our first class, the second class was the stuffing. Students LOVED using a stapler... I mean really loved it.  Out of 250 students... I only had one kid staple themselves (and he survived to see another day... and probably learned not to do that again). I'm not going to lie... Stapling with littles does create some problems to be solved. I would suggest having refill staples, a needle tool (for clay) and a needle nose plyers... these tools will help you when "this stapler doesn't work". I have been able to 'fix' every stapler for several years through thousands of little hands using them.

The stuffing was successful for most students.  We used scrap paper and they loved ripping the pages to stuff. I kept stressing, "stuff GENTLY!"

The kids were sooooooo, soooooo, sooooo proud of their fish! 

I have a few more postings of stuffed fish from the past.  I have never done this with kids this young... It went OK... 1st grade was more successful than kindergarten for this project. Click here to see the previous post.