Archive for the ‘In the Studio’ Category
Friday, June 14th, 2013
We’re about to wrap up our current Public Art Project, From Found Materials to Flowers!, but before it closes, I wanted to share with you a new light table activity I collaborated on with Lydia, one of our student workers. Lydia graduated from Hampshire College last month and has since gone back home to the West Coast, but she was an amazing person to teach and learn with for the past three years.
I wanted to have a light table activity that connected with the flower-making project in the Studio and had also been wanting to use some brightly colored vellum samples we received from Canson paper. I suggested we make flower parts that could be combined and re-arranged. After researching flowers and viewing drawings of some flower cross sections, Lydia came up with 3 drawn designs each for petals, stamen/pistil/ovules and calyx.
After a little resizing on the copier, she used her drawings as stencils for cutting the vellum. Layering the vellum under the drawings she cut through both at once using an Exacto-type blade. Then, she laminated and trimmed them a little, being careful to leave at least 1/4″ of laminating material around each shape.
The last thing I added was a spread from the book Sow and Grow by Tina Davis, diagramming the parts of a flower in beautiful line drawings. I copied the spread onto acetate sheets so they could be placed right on the light table.
If you want to create a similar activity for your classroom or home, look for colored vellums in the scrap-booking section of the craft store. You could use diagrams of flowers from a Google search to inspire your shapes for the flower parts. Better yet, invite your students or children to disect flowers and draw flower parts that can be used as stencils.
We limited the selection to three shapes for each of three parts of flowers, (9 shapes total) but you could do as many as you wanted. Since our shapes are somewhat abstract, we made all 3 pistins/stamens/ovules green and the 3 calyx teal to create some visual order. Copy shops have laminating services, ask for a heavy-weight film if your shapes need to hold up to heavy use.
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
We love The Studio’s large, southern-facing wall of windows and often use them as a creative display space for visitor art work or interesting materials. This winter, Diana and I have been brainstorming ways to reuse old marker caps and at the same time have been wanting to introduce a few new hanging displays. Here’s how I created our new plastic cap window screen that’s hanging in The Studio’s entryway:
Any plastic lids and caps from drink bottles, glue sticks and old markers
Colorful wire (We purchased ours from Home Depot)
Two tension rods that fit your window (We purchased ours at Target)
Hand drill or a hammer and nail
Scrap board or surface to drill the caps on
In order to string the caps onto the wire you will need to make a hole in each cap. We used our drill with a small drill bit to make the holes, but I also found that hammering a nail through the cap will make a hole if you don’t have access to a drill. For some of the larger lids we drilled holes on the short sides so that the lid could be strung sideways. Always use hand tools safely with adult supervision and protect your work surface with a scrap board to avoid drilling into your table or floor.
Once you have a set of caps with holes, put the first tension rod into your window and start stringing the caps onto the wire. We used the colorful cable wire available for sale by the foot at the hardware store. It comes with a thin plastic casing that can easily be removed to reveal the colorful wires inside. Unwind the wires and select how long you want your shade to be. Our shade is about 58″ wide and 43″ long.
Cut your wires to the desired length and loop attach the wire to the rod by looping it around and twisting the ends together. Wire is easy to work with because it’s more forgiving if you have to change the length or tension. String your assortment of caps and lids onto the wire. I mixed and matched the directions of the caps and clusters of each strand to make it look more random and fun, but arrange them any way you want.
After I had several strands hanging down from the top rod I attached the second tension rod at the bottom. Just like I did at the top, I looped the wire around the rod and twisted the wire back on itself to secure it in place. The bottom rod isn’t necessary, but it does help keep the strands from swinging around. The caps are fairly lightweight but we still used duct tape to secure the tension rod to the window frame.
I’d love to hear your ideas for reusing old marker caps in your classroom or at home, leave a comment below!
Search keyword “window” to view our different window display tutorials.
**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. Submissions must be postmarked by May 31, 2013.**
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.
Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
Reid, our January-Term intern, designed and hosted a really fun special Studio activity last week for Museum guests. Here is her report on the planning process of the project and her reflection on the day.
When brainstorming for my Special Sunday activity, I knew right off that I wanted to experiment with the way we use light to make images. In the studio, our large windows provide so much beautiful natural light, and I wanted to utilize this feature in the activity. Meghan and I were bouncing activity ideas off each other when we came up with the idea of tracing shadows. Upon further elaboration we came up with the idea of using found objects to make shadow collages, tracing the lines, and finally painting over the drawn images. Initially I was having trouble deciding between collaging and painting, and this project combined the two!
Once I knew what I wanted to do, I began to plan out what materials we would use. I played with different kinds of drawing tools, paints, and paper to find the perfect combination of supplies. In the end, I decided to use Staonal crayons with tempera cake paints on large pieces of watercolor paper. I found the paint appeared bold and bright on the paper and didn’t smudge the Staonal, so the tracings remained intact.
We put out baskets of found and natural objects that would cast interesting shadows. Each visitor could choose up to 4 objects at a time, and when they were done with those they could trade them back in for different pieces to trace. We had natural objects like stones, pinecones, and seashells, along with found objects like ribbon, bottle caps, and mesh. It was important to have a variety of different shapes and sizes available.
On the day of the project we were lucky enough to have gorgeous sunny weather. Of course, because of New England’s unpredictable weather, we were prepared to use an overhead projector as a back-up plan in case the sun wasn’t out. We arranged the back of the art studio so that the tables were pushed to the right side; this area was set up as the painting area, complete with paintbrushes, water, sponges, and of course paint!
The left side of the studio was the tracing area. This is where visitors would put down their paper on the floor or sit on a chair and trace on a stool to arrange their objects and trace the shadows. We had cool shades that had previously been crafted by staff members on the windows already, and we moved these so there could be some interesting shadow patterns on the floors for the visitors.
The cool thing about this project was it could be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be, depending on age level, ability, and interest. I didn’t want something where the guidelines were super stringent. If a child didn’t want to draw on the floor, they could just paint at the table. I made sure to emphasize that when talking to the visitors. There were no rules to this project; the point of it was to allow the materials and the environment to inspire and to create.
I would say this project was definitely a success. It was exciting to see the families collaborating with each other and having fun with each other’s work. This activity was able to engage visitors of all ages. I was delighted to see how creative the children (and adults!) were with this project. Some visitors were very abstract with the images they made, while others used the shadows to create scenes out of their objects. All in all, it was a very fun afternoon in the art studio!
Saturday, January 19th, 2013
Here is a sneak peek at one of the new things our January Intern, Reid, is making for the light table.
Wednesday, December 26th, 2012
The past few weeks we’ve been saying our goodbyes to all of our fabulous student staff members as they finish their semesters and head home on winter break. Recently our fall semester intern, Gabby Rosenberg, completed her final project, The Face Game, an interactive display for Museum guests in the Art Studio. Below she shares documentation on her progress creating the game this semester. Great job Gabby!
The Face Game was a chance for me to design an engaging activity for all ages. The goal for The Face Game was for guests, primarily children, to create funny faces on their own or collaboratively.
The Public Art Project running while I was designing my final project was Face It, making portraits with colorful cut papers. I wanted to create a humorous and open-ended activity to match the personality of the Studio space and the art project. The features I created are all intentionally outrageous in shape, color and proportion to lessen any pressure for realism or perfection.
In addition to being silly and having fun, The Face Game helps young children learn the names and shapes of different facial features, their correct placement, and identifying different facial expressions: happy, sad, angry or surprised.
The first step in the creation of the face was making a big oval from brown paper, about two feet wide by three feet long. Diana and I discussed how to make the face more sturdy and our solution was to attach the paper to cardboard with spray adhesive.
I struggled with which facial features to include and which to leave out. I ended up using eyebrows, noses, eyes, and mouths. I created multiple variations of each feature with different colored and patterned papers. To make each feature easy to recognize, I attached the parts to the same larger background shape that can be matched to an area on the face. For example, all of the eyes are glued on to larger circles, eyebrows on rectangles, and noses on triangles.
Some of the Studio staff helped me finish mounting the features to their brown paper backings and get them laminated. For the back of each piece I made a label with what part of the face it was (i.e. “eye”, “nose,” etc.) and a small strip of sticky-back Velcro so it could be easily rearranged on the large face shape.
Before having guests play with the game, we did a little test attaching and detaching the face parts. We realized that the brown paper face might tear if a child pulled hard on the Velcro. Diana suggested brushing acrylic matte medium around the pieces of Velcro on the face to help strengthen the paper and prevent it from tearing.
Once all the parts were complete, Diana and I made an area on the front bulletin board in the Art Studio to hang The Face. We hung it at a height so even littler children would be able to reach and interact with the game. Here is a photo of me talking with two little girls playing with the game shortly after we hung it on the wall. Instead of making traditional faces, they had a lot of fun mixing up the parts and putting them in an unusual order: noses instead of eyes, mouths instead of eyebrows and eyes instead of noses!
The idea of The Face project started because I wanted to make something that could stay at The Carle beyond my internship session. After discussing possible ideas with Diana, we came up with The Face Game. Personally, I was interested in designing an activity that was all about the face because faces and people are primarily what I focus on as an art studio major at Hampshire College. I think people of all ages can learn a lot from practicing how to document and represent other people, or just creating a made up character to strengthen their imagination. This project is a chance for people who don’t normally feel like artists to act like one, by designing a face and having fun while doing it! BIG thank you to everyone who helped out!
Friday, December 21st, 2012
There are a few new additions to The Studio recently! We have an over-sized print from the last page of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar hanging on our back wall.
As you can see, it makes a fabulous photo-op for kids or adults! (As Studio staff members Megan and Sabrina demonstrate above)
In honor of the newest exhibition Some Book! Some Art!: Selected Drawing by Garth Williams for Charlotte’s Web Sabrina and Megan wove a Charlotte-like web on our front wall.
Using references from E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web and Eric Carle’s The Very Busy Spider they pinned pieces of yarn in place on the board and completed it with the special message in the middle
Stop by The Carle this week to see the beautiful Charlotte’s Web exhibit in the Central Gallery and then pop in the Studio to weave your own 2D or 3D web using colorful strips of paper, glue, tape and staplers. You remember the clever catchphrase SOME PIG! Charlotte wove into the web above Wilbur’s pen? Well this project is called Some Weaving! and just like a spider web it won’t last forever, so hurry over and weave webs with us!
Friday, December 14th, 2012
Four Easy Pieces © 2011 by Eric Carle
Hello educators! I’m really eager to tell you about a new Professional Development workshop I’m developing as a companion to the Museum’s exciting exhibition: Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle.*
Eric Carle is primarily known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar and over 70 picture books done in his colorful collage technique.
This exhibition, dedicated to what Eric himself calls his “ArtArt:” paintings, sculptures, and personal sketches that he has been making privately for more than 60 years, offers a view into another side of Eric’s life and work.
© 2000 by Eric Carle
Having heard from Eric about the motivation and process behind his “ArtArt,” I began to think more and more about the relationship between work and play and where the two merge with children and materials. This relationship is one we try to cultivate through much of what we do here, so this exhibition provides a great opportunity to share our ideas and experiences!
© 2011 by Motoko Inoue
In the workshop on January 26th 2013, we’ll get our hands messy painting a variety of surfaces such as paper, vinyl, and cardboard. Then we’ll view the exhibition and a video of Eric reflecting on his independent art together. After, we’ll sculpt our painted surfaces into window hangings, mobiles, and more as we discuss Eric’s inspirations as an artist. Participants will leave with ideas for the classroom and an understanding of how his creative process might inspire students to think “off the page.”
Educators will receive 4 PDPs, but you don’t have to be an educator to participate. All participants receive a 10% discount in our Shop on the day of the program.
Here is the essential info again:
Beyond Books: Art Inspired by Eric Carle (4 PDPs)
January 26, 2013. 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
$50 (Members $45) Registration is required. Please click here for more information.
I hope you can join us! If not, check out our other upcoming professional development offerings here or learn how this or other programs can come to you, here.
Learn more about Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle, in the West Gallery through February 24, 3013, here. Support for this exhibition has been generously provided by Peter and Helen Bing.
Friday, October 26th, 2012
The other week after observing a tentative toddler at the light table in the Studio I wondered if I had ever really looked at this room from the perspective of a toddler- 25 inches off the ground. I’ve gotten on the floor probably hundreds of times in the past 10 years here, but had I ever really experienced all the corners of our space as a toddler might?
Having my own 18 month old at home has uncovered new questions in my work. Maybe I’ve said this before? No longer do I see what I do from strictly an educator’s perspective- I now see it work through tired, freshman-parent eyes. These eyes are now learning just how real it is to parent a willful, exploratory, energetic toddler. In the hope to tie new connections between work and home I grabbed the camera and got on the studio floor.
From my observations over the years I know that while pleasant and vibrant, our space is large and therefore overwhelming for some small people.
My time on the floor offered me more questions than answers . Is our entry welcoming for toddlers? Do we provide the right visual engagement at their level? Is our furniture conducive to toddler and toddler/parent participation? Do parents of toddlers feel at ease here? Does how I focus the camera match how a toddler sees our space?
As I explore these questions with Diana and our volunteers, I want to hear from you. Have you seen your space – be it your home or classroom, from a young child’s perspective? Did it lead you to make any changes? If so, what was the reaction?
Saturday, October 6th, 2012
It may be gray outside but its bright in here!