Sunday, November 15, 2015

Final Workshop & Exhibition

Yesterday was our last workshop. If I had had much time to think about it during the workshop, I would’ve been kind of sad, but as usual, it was a busy, busy morning!

One girl was absent both last time and this time.  I had really hoped everyone’s stars would be on the constellation mural for today, but it was not to be. 

Even though this final and shortened workshop time was mostly used for catch up, we still had plenty to do in the one hour we could work before the exhibition for the families.  I was very pleased that the girls were ready and willing to work quickly on their unfinished projects. (I didn’t hear one complaint about wanting to do something new or not wanting to finish something.) Each girl that was there finished everything we had done thus far. 

The weaving was completed and put up on our constellation mural.
Follow the link below to read the awesome myths the girls wrote to go with their constellation pose.

Two girls completed over-paintings from last week’s shortened lesson.

The other three girls started their over-paintings! Even though they knew they wouldn’t finish it in time for the exhibition, they wanted to begin it so they could take it home and finish it later. Two girls said that the over-painting was one of their favorite projects, despite having only worked on it very little. That made me a little sad that we hadn’t had enough time to fit in properly.

I only got a photo of one of the over paintings, because as soon as parents started to arrive, the work that we had just completed and hung, was “oohed” and “ahhed” over for  few minutes, and then taken down. Which was probably the most difficult part of the day for me—watching the visible evidence of all the hard work and fun we’d had being dismantled and then disappearing.

The parents seemed pleased and impressed as the girls described what they had done and explained each piece. The girls seemed really excited to show off. I even heard a few mentions of artists we had talked about!

Later that day it hit me that I didn’t get a photo of all the girls together and that I’d probably never see them again. Of course I have photos of all of the girls working over the course of the weeks, but I really regret not getting a class photo of all of us. 

I’m so proud of all the girls! I feel very privileged that I got to meet each one of them and take part in their journey of learning about art. I absolutely loved seeing their spontaneity and creativity.
This has been a lot of hard work, but it’s also been an incredible experience and I’m sad to see the end of it.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Over-Painting & Catch up

Today was designated as our catch up time. I did have a lesson planned about over-painting, but for the sake of the upcoming exhibition I put completing our already started projects as the highest priority for the day.

I did show the girls the over-painting examples and explained the lesson briefly as an enticement to finish up quickly, if they could. 

The list of projects to complete included our papier-mache planets, our galaxy resist paintings, and our star weaving. Two girls still needed to complete their Starry Night on Planet X drawings, but those two girls were absent.

Even with the catch up day thrown off by the missing students, the girls still managed to get a lot done. Our mural started to come together as the girls finished their weaving. I typed, matted, and hung the girls’ myths next to our mural. They had fun reading each other’s myths and seeing their own on the wall. You can just see them hanging on the wall in the photo below.


We cut our star sun catchers.

And two girls finished painting their planets. 

At this point, most of the girls stopped what they were working on so I could go over my over-painting slideshow.
I showed them some examples from contemporary artists David Irvine and Dave Pollot to get the ideas percolating.

Here are my sample projects.

These were made by placing tracing paper over an art print, drawing something that is meant to be incorporated into the print, cutting that out of the tracing paper, gluing it to the print, and then coloring the cut out paper with marker and crayon. I also modge-podged over this example to make it all seem more one piece.

Two girls finished up all their projects and were able to start on the over-painting lesson.
Remember that wool we dyed as part of our very first lesson?
The girls had been asking what we were intending to do with it. Honestly, I didn’t have anything planned for it at all. But since they kept asking, and a few girls had mentioned tying it around their necks for a necklace, I thought I would show them how to make felted beads, so they could make a more durable wool necklace.

Here's the necklace made from the length of wool I dyed along with them.
The girls that were finished used the second half of the class to both start their over-paintings, and make felted wool beads.
I have a shorter lesson planned for the hour before our exhibition for next time, but I think we’ll have our work cut out for us finishing our weaving and over-painting and tying up the last few loose ends.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


This week’s topic was constellations.
The day started out a little chaotic. Two of my students had agreed to come in early for a chance to complete the pendulum painting project (it was a pretty fun one to miss out on). One of the girls arrived early-ish, one didn’t. So we were still working on girl #2’s pendulum painting when the class assembled. 

I felt a bit harried by all the activity that wasn’t related to my lesson that day, and the slight delay to getting started. I guess transitions can be hard for adults, too! But we wrapped up the pendulum painting and were able to get started mostly on time. 

To begin, I had a book I was going to read out loud to the girls. After assessing the noise level of the space (noise carries really well in the basement work area) I decided I would show them the book and tell them they could read it on their own if they were interested. It’s really a fantastic book.
"You Are Stardust" By Elin Kelsey

We moved on to the informational slideshow I had put together about constellations and myths. We talked about how constellations have been around for over five thousand years (also the difference between BC and BCE) and how many of them have myths or stories associated with them. We talked about Calisto, Jupiter, and Arcas—the story behind the Big and Little Dipper.

We also talked about muralists Diego Rivera and Banksy.
Then I explained that for this project, the girls were going to *write* a short myth about themselves and figure out a body pose to go with their myth for a large constellation mural.
I read the myth I had written about Athena turning me into a winged constellation for stealing her paint out loud, and showed them my example body pose (minus my body outline).

After the girls finished writing their myths (and they were so fun!), they chose their pose and lay down on the mural paper. I traced their bodies and then they decided where they wanted their constellation “points” to be. Then we connected the dots.

This project was more ambitious than I realized, even for a 90 minute workshop. I had planned for the girls to weave stars to attach to their constellation points. So while some girls were traced, other girls were working on their woven stars.

The girls need to make two smaller stars:

And one larger woven star:

During the weaving, I had the girls come two at a time to splatter paint our mural paper for an even starrier effect. They seemed to really enjoy doing this part.

We didn’t get the weaving done. But I’m planning on abbreviating next week’s workshop, or only having girls who are caught up work on something new, in an effort to finish our mural and wrap up other loose ends before the last day and exhibit. 

Meanwhile, I’m going to type the girls’ myths to be hung underneath the finished mural. I’m really excited to see it all come together and show off the girls' weaving and awesome creative writing!