Archive for the ‘Classes’ Category
Saturday, March 23rd, 2013
Therese Brady Donohue, Director of Picture Book Theater and founder of The Amherst Ballet is leading an exciting workshop called Paint, Shape, Create! for ages 9 through adult here in the Studio on April 20th from 1-4.
Inspired by works in our last exhibition Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle, participants in this upcoming workshop will channel Eric Carle and their own inner artists as they paint on aluminum foil and then experiment with shaping it in strips and composing the strips on a painted canvas.
Therese, well known for costume and mask design and construction as founder of Amherst Ballet, told me “For eight years I have worked with reproducing Eric Carle’s picture book images, adapting them into puppets and costumes. I am always interested in taking a technique and creatively using it in different ways. When I saw what Eric had done as an independent artist taking his signature textures and applying them to foil and creating dimension, it spoke to me as a fun technique to introduce to artists of all ages. It is not complicated and does not require in-depth talent to experiment with this technique. This is also a good technique for educators to use in the classroom up through high school.”
With that in mind, Therese and I thought that this creative process would be a great opportunity for an intergenerational class experience in which young artists, parents, grandparents, artists, and educators could work side by side and learn from each other.
The Carle has offered parent/child and family programs before, but with this workshop the elementary-aged artists can participate with or without their parent present. By age 9 some young artists are clear in their creative passions and are ready for an opportunity like this.
Therese and I are both excited about the creative expression and layered learning that will happen this workshop. If you or someone you know in our area might be interested in this workshop learn about how to register (carlemuseum.org/register ) today! We’ll need to have at least 5 participants registered by April 12, and space is limited, so don’t wait!
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Don’t forget to enter The Carle’s Call for Caterpillars Contest for the chance to win an original doodle by Eric Carle! Visit www.carlemusuem.org/call_for_caterpillars for contest details.
Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
I’m pinning up a storm over on The Carle’s Pinterest boards getting ready for my nature workshop this Sunday. My favorite board to pin to, Bridging Art and Nature, is a growing archive of inspiring ways to experiment with, appreciate and observe nature together at home or with students in an artistic way.
One of the popular ideas I see floating around Pinterest right now is using fall foliage to create little leafy critters. Here are a couple of my favorite, most inspiring versions:
kokokoKIDS: Fall Leaves Craft Ideas
Leaf Critters via Little Emma English Home Blog
Leaf Alphabet via Martha Stewart.com via Apartment Therapy
At the end of the summer this year we did our own version of this activity with leaves and flowers collected from The Carle’s grounds and a nearby farm. We pressed them for a few days between sheets of tracing paper and corrugated cardboard under the weight of heavy books.
Students selected which leaves and flowers they wanted from the trays and used Aleene’s Tacky Glue to attach them to pieces of white mat board.
When the covers were completely dry, we made enough photocopies of each child’s image so everyone would get to take home a book full of everyone’s critters. The next day we helped the students bind their books with the Stick-and-Rubber Band binding method. We used a 2-hole punch, sticks collected and trimmed, and rubber bands to bind the books.
If you don’t have the time to press leaves ahead of time, we’ve also created natural book covers with non-pressed leaves and flowers, and the outcomes were just as beautiful.
Let us know if you give this project a try or design your own version!
Follow The Carle’s growing Pinterest Boards! Bridging Art and Nature, Making Art with Children, Art Activities and Explorations, and Programs and Events.
Monday, September 24th, 2012
I wanted to share this monotype printmaking project I taught last month during Animals, Art and Imagination, a mixed-age summer class we host here at The Carle every summer. Monotype means one-of-a-kind and if you’ve ever tried this style of printmaking before, then you know how playful and open-ended a medium it can be for making marks and layering colors. It’s a great project to try whether you’re doing a lesson on the color wheel or just looking for a rainy afternoon activity at home with your family.
In this exercise we rolled ink on plexiglass plates in the primary colors (blue, yellow and red). When we printed the single-color plates on top of each other, a magical thing happened. In the places where those colors overlapped on the paper, the secondary colors (green, orange and purple) suddenly appeared. Okay, it’s not exactly magic, but printmaking always has a super surprise factor, you never know quite how things will turn out, and to kids especially, that’s pretty magical!
Let me backtrack to earlier in the day, prior to the printmaking lesson. As a mark-making warm-up, Meghan introduced the students (ages 6-10) to The Museum’s sculpture Imaginary Garden by Leo Lionni, which lives in the Great Hall, encased in glass.
They had a discussion about what they saw going on in the large landscape, and then sketched the parts of the sculpture that interested them the most on small clipboards.
When the group returned to the Studio, I gathered them around and gave an introduction to the color wheel and how the primary colors mix together to make the secondary colors. I also demonstrated how to use the materials and tools found at each station around the room.
I assigned a random color order to each child to help everyone move from station to station to make an even flow around the room without crowding. When they got to their first station, everyone rolled the ink onto the plates in their first color, red, yellow or blue.
Next, they used one of the cotton swabs to make marks and remove areas of the ink. I asked them to think of things growing in nature for inspiration. A variety of tools can be used to remove the ink from the plate: combs, forks, found materials or basically anything pointy. I kept it simple and provided cotton swabs for this activity.
After mark-making they carried their inky plate over to the printing press station where I helped them run their plate and a piece of paper through our tabletop press. I made sure the pressure was set and handled the press blankets so they didn’t get covered in finger prints and they were in charge cranking the handle.
The last step was to return their plexiglass plate to a tray to be reused, and write their name on their print and leave it to dry. One of the best things about this process is how quickly the work dries on a table or rack.
They repeated the whole cycle until they had overlapped all three colors on one piece of paper.
I asked them to make at least three complete prints during the 45-minutes we had for this project. We easily could have continued for an hour (or more!) since the different steps kept the kids really engaged. Everyone had a handful of colorful prints to take home at the end of the day.
Here is the list of materials I used for this project:
- Tabletop Printing Press, The Studio has this one. Hand printing works fine if you don’t have access to a press
- 3mm plexiglass cut down to about 7″ x 5.5″ with rounded corners (we have a set of about 30 little plates, but you could get away with 15 or 20)
- Akua Kolor Slow Drying Watercolor in Crimson Red, Phthalo Blue and Hansa Yellow (you can use tempera paints instead if that’s what you have)
- Speedball Screen Printing Transparent Base 32 oz. or gallon (use Nasco Tempera Extender instead if you’re using tempera paints)
- 4″ foam brayers- at least 6, I prefer using the foam rollers over the rubber rollers for this activity
- small trays for rolling out the ink at each station (I suggest 2 rolling trays per station)
- 3 plastic deli containers with lids
- 3 plastic spoons
- a stack of drawing paper cut down to a little larger than the plate
To mix the colors for printing, put a few scoops of the transparent base (big scoops if you’re mixing for a large class) in a deli container and stir in several drops of the Akua Kolor until you get the level of transparency you like. Repeat the process for the other two colors. You want plenty of transparent base so the colors will blend when overlapped, but you don’t want to add so much that your colors aren’t vibrant if you print them alone. Test out what you’ve mixed by brushing it onto a piece of paper. The colors can be mixed ahead of time and stored in the deli container for several days in a cool, dark place. For rolling, spread a spoonful of the ink mix across the top of the tray and use the roller to spread the ink evenly in the tray. I suggest keeping adults in charge of adding more ink to the trays, kids tend to add more than they need and the roller can get too gloppy.
Click here to see our other printmaking ideas.
One of my favorites (besides monotypes) is making pasta machine prints.
Have a great week!
Photo Credit Laurie Mills
Thursday, September 13th, 2012
A few weeks ago, the Studio hosted our annual full-day summer class for children, Animals, Art & Imagination. It’s one of my favorite weeks of the summer because of the range of art activities we get to do with the kids in the Museum and outdoors at The Hampshire College Farm. Meghan posted about the program last year, you can read her post here.
One of the morning activities we added to the four-day program this year was making paper! We blended cotton rag and natural fiber pulps with fresh leaves, petals and seeds. I purchased the cotton rag pulps, natural fiber pulps, reusable couch sheets, and the Arnold Grummer’s Classroom set of Hand Molds from Nasco Arts & Crafts catalog. The classroom kit includes a set of 6 mold sets, which was plenty for us. The other supplies: blender, sponges, containers and trays we already had on hand.
First, I talked about the history of papermaking, where paper comes from, and passed around sheets of handmade paper and dry pulp for everyone to feel.
I went through each of the papermaking steps, turning the blended mash into a finished, pressed sheet of paper. For this activity I showed them the pour method, where the pulp and water mix is poured over the mold. The dip method is another way; you scoop the frame into a large tub of the watery pulp mix and pull it up, collecting the fibers on top of the screen and letting the water drain out the bottom. I chose the pour method because it’s easy to make as many sheets of paper as you need without any waste. I think it’s best for working in smaller groups or in indoor spaces where it’s not an option get the space very wet.
I took papermaking in college, and the lab was designed with water drains built into the painted concrete floor and we had to wear rubber boots to keep our feet dry and prevent slipping on all the dripping water. Needless to say, papermaking is a very wet (but fun) media!
When it was the students’ turn to make paper, the children eagerly picked from the flowers, plants and seeds (collected from a nearby farm) and mixed them with the cotton rag and natural fiber pulps in apple sauce to-go cups (any yogurt or small plastic cup would also work).
1/2 a cup of dry pulp = One sheet of 5.5″ x 8.5″ paper.
As you can see, no two sheets of paper were alike!
I put the blender at a big table so everyone could watch each other blend the pulp while they waited for their turn. You want plenty of water mixed with the pulp (we used about 3 cups) to help distribute the pulp evenly over the paper mold and keep it from clumping. Because the pulp was purchased pre-shredded, it only needed to be blended for about 10 seconds on low.
I assisted with pouring the pulp mix over the mold & deckle to make sure the pulp spread evenly across the mold. The oldest children poured the pulp themselves.
After removing the deckle, the wooden frame that helps give the sheet its form, we put a piece of screen on top of the pulp (it comes with the class kit) and used a large sponge to absorb as much water as possible, ringing out the sponge between presses. It’s hard to see in these photos, but the blue mold is sitting on top of a white plastic grid that came in the classroom kit, which helped give the mold its structure and made the water drain more quickly.
With most of the water drawn out by the sponge, the pulp sheet was transferred from the mold onto a couch sheet (very absorbent paper or material designed to draw any remaining water from the paper without sticking to the wet pulp). Anna helped them press out any additional water.
The next morning, the kids proudly showed their parents the paper we left drying on trays overnight. All of the paper sheets were completely dry and ready to bring home by that afternoon.
For this activity we worked with a group of twelve children, ages 6-10, and I had an assistant, Anna, helping me supervise the stations. It would have been very tricky to supervise everything myself. If I did papermaking with a larger group of children (classroom size), I would pre-blend the pulp in large buckets that we could scoop from and pour over the molds, instead of using the blender. The children could still make their paper unique and colorful by adding petals, leaves or seeds between poured the layers of pulp.
I’m by no means a papermaking expert, but having some previous experience from college made me more confident with trying papermaking with a multi-ages class. I would recommend testing out all of the steps yourself a few times and watched some videos online to see the different variations.
Participants in my upcoming Fall Workshop will also get a chance to experiment with hand papermaking:
Bridging Art and Nature for Teachers and Parents
Sunday, October 14, 2012
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
$60 (Members $55)
(5 PDPs) Using some of our favorite picture books and our beautiful surrounds, we will explore ways to link the art and design of the picture book with an exploration of the natural world and a variety of open-ended art projects. Designed to enhance your science curriculum or provide ways to share outdoor time with your children, the program includes time spent outside, so please dress accordingly. We also suggest you bring a brown bag lunch in order to maximize workshop time.
Instructor: Diana MacKenzie. To Register for Professional Development Workshops at The Carle, click here
If you want to learn more about how to make paper, I encourage you to do some research, take a class, or watch some demonstrations of the pour and dip methods online. Below are a few quick videos that I found helpful:
Here’s a 4th grade teacher demonstrating the dip method to his class.
Here’s a version of the pour method by PaperStudio.com
Here’s how they make paper in Nepal from the Lokta plant.
Have you ever made paper at home or in your classroom? Which techniques worked best for you?
Photo Credit Laurie Mills
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
One of my favorite things about The Carle is its proximity to so many acclaimed picture book artists and writers.
Micha Archer, one such artist, creates brilliantly colored collages for books, book covers, and magazines. She even designed stamps for the Massachusetts State Park system. In addition to being skilled at her craft, she’s also a former elementary teacher. Needless to say, I’m thrilled that she’s offering an illustration class for 10-13 yr. olds July 30 – August 3 here in The Studio.
Micha was also recently awarded the Ezra Jack Keats Book Awards’ New Illustrator Honor for Lola’s Fandango. Its so fitting that an EJK honoree would be teaching at The Carle this summer because an amazing exhibition of Keats’ work is now on view (here!) through October 14. You can call me a nerd, but these kind of connections truly give me goosebumps.
Above is a spread from her book The Wise Fool: Fables from the Islamic World.
Students in her class here will experience the process of putting words and pictures to page by creating unique collage papers and using them in the creation of a communal picture book. Scans of the final art by each student will be turned into a printable book, with the original art kept by the students. Learn more about the class here and registration info is here.
Tuesday, December 20th, 2011
Months ago I reported out on a new class that happened in the galleries and studio here at The Carle. Making Art and Dance Together was such a success that we’re offering it again, but this time as a series! Here are the details:
Making Art and Dance Together
January 14 – January 28, 2012
Saturdays, January 14, 21, 28
9:00 – 10:30 am
$90 per pair (Members $80), $36 each additional child (up to 2 additional children per adult)
Ages 3 – 7 with caregiver
Join dancer and choreographer, Laura Pravitz as she explores art through creative movement in the galleries followed by creative art-making through materials in the Studio with Artist/Educator Meghan Burch.
Laura and I have some great ideas for our current exhibitions so I hope you can join us or help spread the word!
Thursday, September 1st, 2011
A few days ago one of our blog followers, Meg, posted a comment asking for more information on the foam printing activity we do every year as part of our four-day program, Animals, Art and Imagination here at The Carle. Check out the original post here (last photo). Keep reading below for steps on how to make your own.
Even if you don’t own a traditional printing press you can create small foam prints using a pasta machine at home or in the classroom. Foam printing has been one of our most popular activities over the years in classes and for special events. Since we go through so many plates here in The Studio we buy 9”x11” white styrafoam trays in packs of 50 and cut the foam into circles using a sharp X-acto knife*. A circle makes it easy for kids to carry and match up the edges of their print if they want to overlap multiple colors. No matter what shape you choose, just make sure the foam plate you cut fit through your pasta machine.
To etch marks into the foam we use ballpoint pens, clay modeling sticks, wooden dowels and bone folders. Light surface scratches will not show up so the trick is to make marks deep into the foam but don’t go all the way through the foam to make holes or cracks.
Carefully roll block printing ink or tempera paint over the surface of the foam plate. Avoid over-inking by counting 2-3 passes over the surface. More than that and you may gunk up your print or the pasta machine.
Press the plate onto a piece of drawing paper slightly larger than the plate but still narrow enough to fit through the press.
Crank the print through on the pasta machine’s widest setting and be sure to guide your plate and paper as it passes through the bottom. If the plate goes straight into the table it could crack or break. Young children can work together with an adult to print. Older children can print by themselves with help the first couple times.
Peel back the paper and you’ve got a print!
Try overlapping your original print in a contrasting color, or go back into your plate to make additional lines and marks before reprinting it.
Wet prints will dry quickly on a temporary clothes line strung below a table or have students stack their prints on a table to keep work organized.
I recommend this project for ages 3-5 yrs. with one-on-one help rolling and printing. Ages 6 + can roll and print by themselves but should have an adult supervise their rolling and printing technique. If you have several children doing the project at the same time setup two pasta machines and two inking stations on opposite ends of the room to prevent crowding.
*Note: Once the pasta machine is used with paints it should not be used with food. Instead of purchasing foam trays you could recycle trays from the grocery store. Make sure they’re properly sanitized before use. Of course if you don’t have a pasta machine prints can be hand printed instead.
For a similar printing activity, check out The Carle’s Activities page and click on “Printmaking with Foam”
Happy printing everyone!
Friday, August 26th, 2011
Its hard to believe the summer is nearly over. For the Studio, the season goes out with a bang in our annual four-day program Animals, Art and the Imagination. This year’s program concluded yesterday, so we need a few days to process some of the significant moments, but I couldn’t start the weekend without sharing a few images from the week:
Each day started at The Carle where we looked at and talked about art, . . . (The newly installed Imaginary Garden by Leo Lionni pictured here)
and books, . . .
met Author/Illustrator, Ralph Masiello, . . .
and imagined new plants and animals together.
After lunch we hiked to Hampshire College’s farm center, stopping to pick apples and make observations.
At the farm we met chickens, pigs, goats and rabbits, …
and made more art.
It was a fun week!
Sunday, July 31st, 2011
It’s the end of July and we’re in the thick of summer programs for children here at The Carle. It’s always a lot of fun to think of new ideas for classes; selecting art materials, choosing picture books to read, and art work to visit in the galleries. Children remind me to look beyond what’s right in front of me, wonder how and why, and imagine a world of endless possibilities. My job is to listen to their questions and encourage their discoveries.
Below is a wonderful quote from the article “The Teacher as Researcher” by Carlina Rinaldi where she sums up the joys of working with children:
“All children are intelligent, different from each other and unpredictable. If we know how to listen to them, children can give back to us the pleasure of amazement, of marvel, of doubt. . .the pleasure of “why.” Children can give us the strength of doubt and the courage of error. They can transmit to us the joy of searching and researching. . .the value of research, as an openness to others and toward everything new that is produced by the encounter with others.”
Carlina’s full article can be found on p.3 of Innovations in Early Education: the International Reggio Exchange, Spring ’03 issue.
What does this quote mean to you? Share a time when a child has changed your perspective or taught you something new.
Thursday, July 7th, 2011
There are still spaces in the Studio’s upcoming class for 8-12 year olds: Meet the Artists: An Illustration Series for Kids. Each week features a chance to learn about the processes, techniques and methods of illustration from published picture book artists while experimenting with your own ideas and stories.
Next week kicks off the series with Jeff Mack and a focus on comics and cartooning, July 20th brings David Hyde Costello to share his process for imagination into ideas for images and stories.
To wrap things up on July 27th, Melanie Hope Greenberg will demonstrate how she creates 3-d illustrations. Sign up for one, two or all three sessions! Registration is required so please click here for more on that.
The details once more (can also be found by clicking here):
Wednesdays, July 13, 20 and 27, 3:00-5:00 pm
Ages 8-12 (class size 6-10)
$30 for one session, $45 for two, $60 for all three (Members $25, $40, $55)
These artists will also be special storytime guests in the Reading Library at 2pm and signing books on the day of their class. Storytimes are the Museum are included in Museum admission and do not require registration. Click here to learn more about storytimes at The Carle.