Posts Tagged ‘paper’
Friday, November 2nd, 2012
My order of finger paint arrived from Discount School Supply in time for last Friday’s Materials Play for toddlers. To get the kids started I put dollops of warm colors in a tempera cake palettes and invited them to paint on the windows. As they needed more paint I offered a few more colors. A couple of children preferred painting in large white trays placed on our low table.
Finger painting paper was available for making prints from the paint if desired.
Everyone enjoyed their experience! To those who are thinking “no big deal, people have been finger painting since forever,” here is my confession: For YEARS (a decade) I have been avoiding finger paint. However, now that I have my own 19 month old, I see what I’ve been missing!
My previous rationale for avoiding finger paint stemmed from my view of children, my approach as an artist/educator, and honestly just not having many extended experiences with 12-30 month-olds under my belt.
I believe that from the start, children are learners, capable of making sophisticated meaning of their experiences and the world. My goal as an artist educator is to craft approachable creative experiences that help people:
discover how the visual world works
observe like artists
solve problems like artists
explore ideas through materials
My thought was that if young people think like artists and are capable of discovering that red mixed with blue equals violet, why would I not give them materials that operated like ‘artists’ materials? Somehow, painting with fingers seemed beneath my students. Beneath me. I perceived finger paint as cheap, producing dull colors, and too basic. In other words, not a ‘real’ artist’s material.
I have successfully offered “more sophisticated” painting experiences for older toddlers with brushes and either liquid tempera, tempera cakes, or watercolor paint in a limited palette of colors. Creating the right physical setup was important in those experiences too. While they weren’t wrong, those experiences weren’t designed for a young toddler who’s sensory interests don’t always mesh with brushes and a palette of paint.
A few times I’ve tried making homemade finger paint. The recipes I tried were inexpensive and offered a nice sensory experience, but proved not ideal for discovering how color works. The color was faint, they got chunky if I cooked them too much, they separated in the refrigerator and stained my daughter’s hands. Not impressed.
Then, a little while ago, I saw pictures by my daughter and her classmates on the wall in the toddler room at daycare. The colors were bold! There were areas where the colors were light, and areas with intense, saturated color. There were areas where colors mixed, and areas where they weren’t. Surprise, surprise. They were made with finger paint!
Sure, other non-toxic water-based paints could be and have been used as finger paint, but toddlers can really get messy! This is something I of course knew and experienced, but didn’t actually KNOW until I started painting with one in my own house. With white walls.
Many of the teachers I’ve worked with know that I’m the last educator to choose paint for its washability. Often the pigment in washable paints becomes pale when it dries. I’m generally a process over product person, but I do want colors to be satisfying, so I’ve usually chosen non-washable paints for my classes. As a parent, however, I’ve come to realize that washability in some of our home supplies allows me to relax and be in the moment with her. I’ve learned that finger paint can grant many of my wishes!
I’m still a finger paint novice. So far, I like Discount School Supply’s Colorations Finger Paint but I’m interested to try Crayola’s because I like their tempera paint. I’m also willing to give this homemade recipe a whirl. I’m not excited about finger paint paper, so different kinds of paper need to be tested.
Are there other brands of finger paint or types of paper you’d recommend? Any recipes you’re happy with? My daughter and I have lots of experiments to conduct!
Friday, August 31st, 2012
Hey! We just realized we’ve shared 100 posts since we started this blog last June. To celebrate, I’d like to share some a small percentage of the many beautiful things made in the Studio since then . These images represent ideas, problems solved and not-yet-solved, imagination, experimentation, conversations shared, and yet more work which wasn’t kept by the creator but was still worthy of creation nonetheless. For those of you who have started or are about to start a new school year next week, I hope these images help you begin the year on a happy note. Enjoy the weekend and here’s to the next 100 posts!
Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Yesterday we started the new Public Art Project, Create a Cityscape in The Studio! Take a look below at what guests are making.
This project is inspired by the busy urban neighborhoods in the illustrations by Ezra Jack Keats, currently on view in the exhibition appropriately titled The Snowy Day and Ezra Jack Keats.
We gathered up egg cartons, colorful file folders, chipboard, paper towel tubes, paper cups, chopsticks, coffee stirrers, wine corks, paper bags, junk mail envelopes, packing peanuts and more, to work with for this project. I ordered our supplies through The Web Restaurant Store or they are donations from Museum friends and staff.
Found paper and fabric materials provide a great variety of scale and favorable drawing surfaces, so details can be added to buildings and their surroundings easily with markers or crayons. Read my post about helping children with found materials construction techniques, here.
This past spring we made Very Hungry Caterpillars with found materials to celebrate annual Very Hungry Caterpillar Day. View the fabulous photos here.
Speaking of celebrations, The Eric Carle Museum’s Tenth Anniversary is just around the corner and we have some fun plans in the works to involve fans from around the world in our year-long celebration here at The Museum. (Vague enough for you!?) Here’s a hint: The project will feature our favorite Caterpillar and LOTS of found materials. . .Stay tuned for more information about how your family, classroom or community can participate!
Saturday, August 4th, 2012
A few weeks ago Diana told you about a bookmaking workshop she facilitated as part of an institute The Carle co-hosted with Smith college, and yesterday I promised that I’d go into more detail about my Thread & Paper workshop with you today.
I’m a sewer, so the idea of combining thread and paper is exciting to me and I wanted to see what other artists have done. A quick search on Pinterest uncovered many interesting examples, and I made a board called Paper, Needle, Thread to organize the images.
I wanted to limit the types of papers available. After a few experiments by me and a couple of studio volunteers, I decided on white tissue paper, white card stock, cardboard, and embroidery floss.
Participants were first invited into free-association small-group conversations about paper and thread. Then, I made my Pinterest board images available to each of the small groups via printouts and a couple of borrowed iPads.
Next, they explored the properties of the embroidery floss and the 3 kinds of paper. To do this, they first manipulated one kind of paper with their just hands. Then, they played with ways to combine that paper with the floss. I also made embroidery and tapestry needles available.
After the participants gained some familiarity with the materials, they were invited to create a composition that combined two kinds of paper with the floss.
At the end of our creation time we discussed what we had done. I asked if seeing the images of artists’ work was helpful or inspiring to them. Some commented that it was intimidating to see ideas prior to playing with their materials, others thought the opposite – that the images excited them about getting to work with materials. The conversation then turned to our work with young children and whether or not we should show our students examples of artist’s work in connection with materials explorations.
Some interesting thoughts were shared, and I’ll share the studio’s approach to this another time. I’d love to know about your class or home. Do you show examples of artists’ work to children before a specific materials exploration, or not? If so, in which circumstances? Please share!
Friday, August 3rd, 2012
On July 14-16, The Carle, in collaboration with Smith College, hosted an institute for educators. Learning through the Arts and Literature: A Collaboration Celebrating Innovation and Inspiration in International Education featured presenters from Pistoia, Italy, the University of Florence, and local educators.
On the third day of the institute, attendees heard from Lella Gandini and Cathy Topal about materials as provocation and inspiration. Reflecting on the roles of teachers and children as researchers, their presentation shared images of children exploring paper napkins from the book Children, Art, and Artists (Reggio Children) and words from Vea Vecchi. Setting the tone for the 3 concurrent studio sessions (paper was the theme) directly following, Kathy said this about exploring materials:
“Its not about making something, but about how it looks here, how it looks there. (Working with materials is about) the pleasure of moving things around.” With that we all split off into various spaces of the Museum.
Cathy Topal facilitated a session around exploring the possibilities of white copy paper then engineering it into a bridge spanning 18″.
Colleagues from Pistoia invited their session attendees to fashion imaginative garments and accessories from many different kinds of paper.
and I facilitated an exploration called Thread & Paper. Check back tomorrow to see what happened in my session!
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
Our studio space is blessed with an entire wall of windows on our South side. That means, in the months of short days, the sun’s glorious rays stream right in…to our eyes. That kind of direct light is great for feeling like a cat- relaxed and drowsy, but sometimes tricky for working.
As you can see, we’ve turned the slight architectural inconvenience into opportunity! Every November we break out the tension curtain rods and dream up aesthetically pleasing ways to shade our worktables. I’ve been a little obsessed with rainbows and the spectrum lately so with lots of help from our volunteer, Cindy, and more help from other volunteers we put this together.
The papers might remind you of Eric Carle’s pictures. Most of them were made in one of my Eric Carle Tissue Paper Workshops. The workshop goes over the nitty gritty of adapting Eric Carle’s processes and techniques to create unique collage papers with students or just yourself. Learn more about my workshop here.
You could make similar papers yourself or with kids using with paint, tools like our Silly Brushes, and tracing paper. We put the papers in plastic document sleeves and then used a 3-hole-puncher to make holes for the 1″ binder rings that connect the sleeves together. We’ve used this display method before and have noticed teachers and parents taking pictures and talking about how they would use the idea in their class or at home.
Is this idea inspiring to you? Tell us about how you might or have used tension rods, document sleeves, and binder rings in your home or classroom.
Thursday, February 9th, 2012
Last spring The Studio ran the Public Art Project Circle Circus, when visitors could use an array of geometric shapes to create a collage or three-dimensional assemblage. To mix things up a bit from a typical collage project, visitors could change the shapes any way they wished, but without the use of scissors. (Sneaky challenge, huh?) We prepared TONS of shapes ahead of time for the project: squares, rectangles, triangles and circles and arranged them on trays in labeled baskets.
Geometric shapes with straight sides are easy to prepare in advance with a paper cutter, but prepping lots of circles can be more challenging to cut by hand. After testing (and wearing out) several paper punches over the years, we’ve come to depend a couple of the best brands and styles whenever we need circles for the Public Art Programs and Workshops.
Our first favorite (shown above) is the adjustable Circle Cutter by Fiskars. The blade arm cuts circles between one and eight inches in diameter. The cutter locks in place as you twist the blade around, preventing shifting and cutting mistakes. Also, because it’s clear, it’s easy to position it anywhere to avoid wasting paper. The blade is sharp enough to cut through at least two sheets of construction paper at once. You will need a self-healing mat when using this cutter or you could slice right into your table.
Another one of our favorites for cutting circles is the Fiskars Squeeze Punch Round’ and Round’. We use the extra large 2-inch size, but this style punch is also available in other sizes. For this new design, Fiskars flipped the cut-out to the front so it’s easy to see exactly where you’re punched. Our volunteers love this style because it’s very easy to squeeze the handle without tiring out your hand. If you only have the budget to add one style to your arsenal, this in the punch you should own!
For very small circles we’ve recently been using Martha Stewart’s 1-inch punch. We prepare circles on strips of paper and hang on to them for future projects. Play with the spacing between each punch and the negative strips will be just as much fun to use in a collage as the shapes themselves.
Above are a couple of solutions to our “no scissors” challenge during Circle Circus. Do you have a favorite paper punch style or brand? Let us know, and maybe we’ll test it in The Studio!
Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
Erin helping a visitor.
January’s Special Sunday was designed by Erin Christie as part of her final internship project in The Art Studio. She planned the activity, sorted and prepared the materials, and introduced visitors to the project throughout the day on Sunday, January 29th. Continue reading below for a full description of the day, documented by Erin.
One Sunday a month we have an additional art activity in The Studio for visitors to try. This month, the project I designed allowed visitors to explore the process of building with paper.
Visitors started with an array of colored construction paper, newsprint, coffee filters, and cardboard. They created by folding, bending, crumpling, and taping them together into sculptures.
The final part was a collaborative effort to construct a city with their creations. I covered a long table in black paper and drew a road. The rest of The City’s design was up to the visitors!
One little boy shared his sculpture, a row of connected houses, as he explained. They were from all over the world, an igloo made from an upside down coffee filter and a taller tree house with a rope ladder.
The project created quite an experience, producing a deeper understanding of manipulating paper and an eclectic neighborhood (including a miniature Eric Carle Museum!)
For more information about upcoming Special Sundays click here. For more information about the Art Studio internship click here.
Monday, January 30th, 2012
If you stop by the Art Studio in the month of February you’ll notice a fantastic splash of color on the back wall we created after a trip to the office supply store*. This will be a space for visitors to share their most important memories during our project Telling Our Stories, starting this Wednesday. Here’s how we made the pattern:
Last week, Studio volunteers Jenn, Nancy, and Sarah worked tirelessly creating a giant grid of 4″x4″ squares using a ruler and a laser level (best invention ever!).
Next, Cindy and Jane, also Studio volunteers, filled in each square across the grid with Post-its following a pattern I drew with colored pencils on some graph paper.
Little by little throughout the day…
The pattern began to take shape…
The grid was finally complete and is ready to be filled with memories!
Telling Our Stories
February 1 – March 13, 2012
Free with Museum Admission
Timelines are records highlighting significant events and journeys in the past. Create a personal timeline with drawings of your most memorable life events. During school vacation week help honor the important people in your life on the Art Studio’s memory wall.
Can’t make it to The Carle in February? Take a look at the list of questions below. Answer one (or more) in the comments section and I’ll add it to the wall for you.
- WHAT IS YOUR HAPPIEST MEMORY?
- DESCRIBE A MEMORY SHARED WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND OR A FAMILY MEMBER.
- WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO GO? WHY?
- WHAT IS THE BEST GIFT YOU’VE EVER GIVEN? RECEIVED?
- WHAT IS THE BEST THING YOU’VE EVER LEARNED?
*We used 4″x4″ Super Sticky Post-its in Tropical.
Monday, December 12th, 2011
Last Thursday I taught a handmade cards and books workshop here in the Studio, just in time for the holidays! We discussed several bookmaking methods including accordion folds, pamphlet stitching, Japanese stab binding, and non-traditional techniques.
In addition to their stack of books, participants created handmade cards, envelopes and a colorful set of papers for future projects.
Below are a few books to help inspire you to create handmade books and cards this holiday season!
The Booklyn Education Manual compiled by The Booklyn Artists Alliance *currently out of print, but you can download the contents of the manual for free here.
Handmade Hellos: Fresh Greeting Card Projects from First-Rate Crafters
by Eunice Moyle and Sabrina Moyle
Collage Lab: Experiments, Investigations, and Exploratory Projects by Bee Shay
Print & Stamp Lab: 52 Ideas for Handmade, Upcycled Print Tools
by Tracy Bunkers
Painted Pages: Fueling creativity with Sketchbooks and Mixed Media by Sarah Ahearn Bellemare
Books without Paste or Glue by Keith A. Smith
For more information about upcoming Professional Development Workshops at The Carle click here.
We can also bring workshops to your site! For more information click here.