June 16th, 2013
To celebrate The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art’s 10th anniversary year this year, we welcomed friends, families, schools, and other organizations throughout the country and abroad to create 3-dimensional caterpillar sculptures out of found materials. Photographs of the caterpillar sculptures are currently on display in the windows of The Art Studio on sheets of transparent vellum in document sleeves and connected together with 1″ book rings.
All of the submissions in the display are inspired by Eric Carle’s most beloved character, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and constructed from recycled or found materials into 3-dimensional caterpillar sculptures.
Photographs of the caterpillar sculptures will be displayed at The Carle through August 2013 and featured on The Carle’s social media websites.
Congratulations to the random winners of this year’s Call for Caterpillars Contest and thank you to everyone who sent us a submission!
Special thanks to Studio Educator Sarah Johnston and Summer Studio Intern, Hannah Fiske for compiling all of the wonderful digital submissions and assisting with hanging the photos in the windows.
Stop by this summer to see the collection of over one hundred clever caterpillars in the display!
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.
June 11th, 2013
by Sarah Johnston
We are very proud to announce the three winners for our Call For Caterpillars Contest! We chose three random winners from over 100 entries and here they are:
Hannah Reed Coates from Belchertown High School
Hannah’s art teacher, Lori St. Pierre, sent in this entry along with a number of amazing pictures from many of the high school art students.
David Whelan from Worcester, MA
David made his caterpillar at the Worcester Public Library where Librarian Dorrie Karlin organized a special craft for our contest.
Nadia Santiago from Springfield, MA
Nadia made her caterpillar at Sixteen Acres Branch Library in Springfield, MA. Many thanks to Doris Madsen for sending in a variety of creative caterpillars from the library.
Our three winners will be receiving their very own Eric Carle doodle and we are pleased to also mail a doodle to each of the schools and libraries that sent in the winning entries. Those six doodles will be mailed out soon! We want to thank all of the participants for a fabulous caterpillar contest.
We received so many creative photos and we are working hard to organize them and showcase the caterpillars at The Carle. If you sent in a photo we will be displaying them very soon so that everyone will get to see all the creative uses of found materials that the artists came up for their caterpillars. Check back later on our blog for more information about when we have the caterpillars on display.
June 3rd, 2013
Apparently May showers bring June flowers! With all the rain we’ve been getting these past few weeks here in the Pioneer Valley, folks are busy working in The Studio and lots of flowers are now ‘in bloom’. Here is just a sampling of all the creative ways guests are using the materials to create mini flower gardens for the current Public Art Project, From Found Materials to Flowers.
The green garden bases are sheets of insulation board from Lowe’s painted with acrylic paint to look like grass. We’re using wires, chenille stems, chop sticks, popsicle sticks, coffee stirrers and toothpicks as stems, and lots of other things for branches and flower petals.
Did you know this weekend is The Carle’s annual Children’s Book Festival? This year’s theme is “A Fairy Garden Celebration” On Saturday, June 8th from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, join a host of authors and artists for a day of enchantment. Be inspired by the world of fantasy, the magic of fairy tales, and the natural world. Build fairy houses in the orchard, experience a garden of delights in the galleries, and bring your own magic to this fun-filled day for fairy- and nature-lovers of all ages. Events include art activities, guest artist presentations, demonstrations, an exhibition, book signings, and more. All events free with Museum Admission.
Fairy, gnome, and other nature-inspired costumes welcome! For a detailed list of scheduled events that day visit: carlemuseum.org/Programs_Events/Upcoming/A_Fairy_Garden_Celebration
Hope to see you here!
May 30th, 2013
Last Sunday, Raul Colón, illustrator of many celebrated picture books visited The Carle to present “Art is a Mind Game,” a talk on the creative process. A few of Raul’s books include, As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Amazing March Toward Freedom; Tomas and the Library Lady; and Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops. During his talk, Raul shared original works of art from his portfolios and sketchbooks and told the story of how he got his big break into the illustration world.
A page from Raul Colon’s sketchbook
Some of Raul’s illustrations from his book Sugar Cane: A Caribbean Rapunzel are featured in the current exhibition in our East Gallery, Latino Folktales: Cuentos Populares – Art by Latino Artists. This remarkable exhibition features sixty-three original works of art from bilingual Latino folk tales published in children’s picture books. A dozen talented, award-winning artists focus their lively imaginations, distinctive styles, and colorful palettes to bring the stories alive. The illustrations enhance stories collected from many Spanish-speaking regions including Mexico, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central and South America.
After his talk, Raul took the time to sign books, including The Carle’s guest book, where he used his unique “scratching” technique. First he put down a soft yellow background with colored pencils, then he used an oval metal tool with different sized grooved teeth on the ends to make his scratches into the paper.
Then he went over the scratches with other colored pencils to make the marks stand out. The finishing outlines are with a Sharpie marker.
Close-up of Raul’s scratching technique
It was great to see his artistic progress in person since for six weeks this spring the Public Art Project was Latin Landscapes, an adaptation of Raul’s illustration style. In The Studio, we used combs and plastic forks to mimic Raul’s signature scratches layered with oil pastels, colored pencils and watercolor paints. Thanks for visiting Raul!
The Carle will be hittin’ the road this weekend for the Asparagus Festival in Hadley, MA!
Be sure to stop by and say ‘hello’ at our activity booth at the Asparagus Festival on Sunday, June 2nd from 10am-12pm. We’ll be making colorful tissue paper collages and there will be information about The Carle’s upcoming summer classes and events. All ages are welcome and the festival is free! For more information about the Asparagus Festival, visit their website: wgby.org/asparagusfestival
May 24th, 2013
by Sarah Johnston
Did you know about The Carle’s Call For Caterpillars? We are having a special contest to celebrate Eric Carle’s beloved caterpillar from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. You are invited to create a 3-dimensional caterpillar using any found materials and send us a picture of your caterpillar.
You may send us the pictures by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you may send a CD of pictures to us by mail at: Call For Caterpillars, The Carle, 125 West Bay Road Amherst, MA 01002
I have enjoyed seeing all the entries as they come in and wanted to share some of the creative caterpillar pictures that we have already received.
Three entries will be chosen at random at the Museum’s Children’s Book Festival on June 8, 2013 and will receive an original doodle by Eric Carle!
The first Caterpillar in my post was a group effort from Amanda Schloemer’s class in Red Hook, NY and you can see the artwork in progress in the above photo. Her students made their caterpillar out of 260 toilet paper rolls and 22 paper towel rolls! The entire school helped make this caterpillar by donating rolls from home or rolls they found in the school bathrooms.
These next four Caterpillars are just a few that we received from Lori St. Pierre’s class at Belchertown High School. The students did such a great job making whimsical caterpillars with such a variety of found materials. Each caterpillar really has a personality of its own.
We also received another amazing group effort entry from Keya Hunt’s Lil’ Peeps Playschool students in Shaftsbury, VT. This is one long caterpillar and it is hung so beautifully in the classroom so that it can be enjoyed from all sides.
Dorothy Karlin is a Children’s Librarian at the Worcester Public Library and she sent in many creative caterpillars that were made at the library. I enjoy seeing all the different textures and colorful materials that the artists used to make their unique sculptures. Here are just a few of the fun entries that came from the library.
We enjoyed seeing this next entry because it was made right in The Carle with our stools. Creative twins, Tilly and Lola Mullen Colaizzi, came up with this idea on their own during their visit to The Studio. We never thought of using our stools to make a sculpture!
We hope you can participate in our contest. Our Call For Caterpillars ends on May 31, 2013 so please send in your caterpillar pictures soon!
May 20th, 2013
This month I’ve been saying a lot of ‘goodbyes’ to student staff members as they leave for summer break. It makes me realize how fortunate we’ve been to work with such a stellar group of student employees over the years and see them move on to careers in art, museums and education. We invited our very talented former Studio intern, Anna McNeary, to share this marbling paper activity she taught recently to children at ArtSpace Charter School in Swannanoa, NC.
Anna McNeary working on her final Studio project, fall 2010
I spent a very fruitful semester interning in the Art Studio during autumn of 2010, while I was attending Smith College. Since moving on from both the Carle and Smith, I’ve continued to pursue opportunities in art education. After I graduated last May, I moved to Asheville, NC and began working in the after-school program at ArtSpace Charter School. ArtSpace is an arts-integrated K-8 public charter school in Swannanoa, NC.
ArtSpace is a great learning and teaching environment for any person who accepts art as a universal teaching tool, since the philosophy of the school is based on a belief in creative learning across academic disciplines. The projects that I tried with ArtSpace students were directly informed by my experiences at the Carle. Visual Thinking Strategies and the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching were often on my mind, and I gravitated toward open-ended, process-oriented projects intended to let the kids explore materials and experiment with technique. This approach to making art with children is, not surprisingly, very compatible with ArtSpace’s culture of learning.
I’m a printmaker, so some of my favorite projects drew on printmaking concepts. The transfer of images is perhaps the most central concept in printmaking, and it’s really what made our paper marbling activity so surprising and exciting. For those unfamiliar with the medium, marbling is the process of creating designs by floating pigment on the surface of a liquid substance, like water or oil. When you gently press a substrate like paper or cloth to your colored surface, you’ll get a swirly, psychedelic transferred design. Here’s an accessible and kid-friendly interpretation of marbling that I found and adapted for AfterCare.
containers with seal-able lids
forks, spoons, skewers
sturdy paper, such as card stock
In a few containers with tightly seal-able lids (mason jars work well), I combined about 1/4 cup vegetable oil with a generous amount of food coloring. I shook up my “dye” vigorously enough to get it looking pretty homogenous. When I arranged our workspace, I put down plenty of newspaper over two long tables, and then put our supplies in the center. I set out two rectangular cake pans filled about halfway with water, our jars of colored oil, spoons, forks, wooden skewers, and a stack of light-colored card stock. I knew this activity had the potential to be messy, so I put the marbling station in the center of the workspace so that kids could surround the materials from all sides, and then quickly transfer drippy paper to the newspaper at either side.
I had a few eager marblers right off the bat, and once we got going, more inquisitive kids joined us. I had them start by spooning drops of oil onto the water. For the sake of keeping our designs from getting too muddy, we had a pan for warm colors (orange and red) and cool colors (blue and green). After they had added enough for the surface to be fairly crowded with colorful blobs, we used the forks and skewers to stir the oil into swirly patterns. Then, one by one we each touched the card stock to the liquid for about three seconds. It was such fun to see the kids’ thrilled reactions to their beautiful marbled prints–their enthusiasm was palpable, and soon we had a quick-paced marbling factory running at the back of the classroom!
The kids were responding to one of the most captivating things about printmaking, which may be my favorite part of the process: the small moment of suspense before you see the print you just pulled. Will it be beautiful, weird, unexpected, perfect, or all of those things? It’s a joy to watch kids have that experience, and it’s a great reminder of why art education is so important.
For more information about The Art Studio Internship Program, CLICK HERE.
There’s still time to submit your caterpillars to our CALL FOR CATERPILLARS contest! CLICK HERE for more information and how you and your child can enter.
May 17th, 2013
Two weekends ago, an exhibition of original art by Robert Zakanitch for his book A Garden of Ordinary Miracles: An Alphabet Book opened in the Museum’s Central Gallery. To celebrate the exhibition and the fact that it was finally spring here in Amherst, MA I made a flower-drawing station in the Studio.
We need a new display in the Studio’s entry window, one that doesn’t block the view into the studio, so I chose permanent markers and clear acetate squares as the drawing tool and drawing surface for this activity. When we have about 50 drawings, I plan to start stringing them into garlands with with fishing line to create a friendly welcome into our space.
Some guests have drawn the flowers we have in the vases realistically, others are drawing flowers from their imagination.
Some guests are more interested in studying (very closely!) the flowers’ textures.
Spring is a great time to draw from nature. Head outside with your kids and look closely at the new leaves and budding flowers. Study them again in a few weeks when they bloom! Read a flower related picture book, such as Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, and if you’re in our area, come and see this amazing exhibition.
In fact, if you’re in our area why not come tomorrow, May 18th? It happens to be a very special day with Robert Zakanitch.
He’ll be giving a gallery (or should I say garden?) tour at 11 am. At 1 pm he will be here in the studio to inspire guests to create big designs, visual surprises, and pleasing patterns using the shapes of one or more letters in their name. Learn more about these events here.
And then… visit the Studio sometime between May 22 and June 18th for our next public art project: From Found Materials to Flowers!
May 15th, 2013
I’m just back from a trip to Syracuse, New York area, where I worked with the students at Manlius Pebble Hill School. I taught 2 bookmaking sessions with 3rd graders in the morning and 2 printmaking sessions with 4th and 5th graders in the afternoon. Fortunately, I remembered to pull out my phone and snag a few shots at the end of the last session of the day! Here are some of the beautiful and diverse monotype prints by the 4th and 5th graders.
We used Crayola brand Artista II washable tempera in magenta, turquoise and yellow. Any additional colors on the paper students created by overlapping different colored plates. The students worked in reductive monotype, inking the whole plate and using tools to remove select areas of the paint.
To make the colors more transparent I mixed the paints with a good amount of Speedball brand Screen Printing Transparent Base. This is the best brand I’ve found to make tempera paints more transparent for printing or painting.
Thank you to the art teacher, Linda McGinley for all her help, and to the students at Manlius Pebble Hill School!
April 30th, 2013
I thought you might be interested in seeing what Museum guests are up to in The Studio lately.
The current Public Art Project is Latin Landscapes and guests are invited to capture the beauty of any outdoor space and create a picturesque panorama adapting the textured drawing style of illustrator Raul Colón. The project is inspired by one of our current exhibitions, Latino Folk Tales: Cuentos Populares–Art by Latino Artists, on display now through June 9th. On the tables are oil pastels, colored pencils and watercolor paints, as well as plastic combs and forks for scoring the paper and making textured marks in the creamy oil pastels. Below are a few different interpretations of landscapes by some of our talented guests!
It’s hard to see the scratched texture details in these photos, but close up the overlap of the paints and pastels makes a really beautiful effect.
Illustrator Raul Colón will visit The Carle on May 19th for his presentation, Art is a Mind Game. Doors open at 11:45 and the presentation starts at 12:00 pm with a book signing to follow. It’s free with Museum Admission.
For more information about upcoming events at The Carle, click here.