Apr 222015
 

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This year’s recycled art project involved smashing soda cans, reusing cardboard boxes and transforming the combined pieces into a unique work of art. Students explored the contemporary work of French artist Didier Triglia, before coming up with their own original designs based on his style and techniques.

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Lots of sketchbook work and planning helped students to envision how they might transform the irregular 3-dimensional form of a crushed soda can into something new. Next came their favorite part of smashing the cans! After my first period made a noisy racket, I got smart and required that students do the smashing part outside.

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Some students chose to reveal parts of the original can label within their design, while others covered up all the aluminum with acrylic paint. Do you see where the can is in each composition?

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The background of each artwork includes heavy pattern, outlines and borders. Many students also incorporated extra can tabs, bottle caps and other recycled material.

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An article titled 11 Artists Doing Amazing Things With Recycled Materials by Jill Harness complemented this lesson by exposing students to other styles, materials, and ideas.

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Finally, we looked at portraiture from one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century- Pablo Picasso. Students readily identified stylistic comparisons between Didier Triglia’s “can heads” and Picasso’s stylized and abstract faces.

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 Posted by at 9:33 pm
Mar 302015
 

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What could be more whimsical than a hand-crafted miniature castle? After studying medieval castle architecture, terminology and function, students came up with their own creative designs.

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Beginning with clay slabs draped over newspaper armatures, each student created a “motte,” or earthwork mound on which to build their castle. Next they constructed a number of cylinders that would become tower structures with spires or crenelation at the top. Most of the castle pieces were built using slab construction to maintain hollow forms.

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Once the towers were formed and attached, students carved out windows and doors and added stone or brick texture. Walls and walkways connect the towers and allow the viewer’s eye to wander through the sculpture, going in and out of doors, across bridges, and up winding staircases.

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Although students started off with a general plan mapped out in their sketchbooks, the process took on an organic and spontaneous nature. Generally students worked from the center moving outward, adding details and improvising along the way. A final detail included each student’s family crest (or last name) carved into the wall of the castle.

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After bisque firing, the castles were finished with an iron oxide stain and the addition of selective glaze colors. The reddish-brown stain creates an earthy natural look and highlights texture by creating contrast. The limited color palette enhances unity and allows students to experience the magical glaze transformation that happens during firing.

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The three views of my example above shows a variety of sculptural detail that can only be witnessed by moving around the castle and looking from all sides. While the photos can show the general idea, these creative artworks are best viewed in person!

 Posted by at 12:44 pm
Mar 242015
 

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This tile project was made possible by a generous donation from local ceramic artist, Nanette Butler. After retiring from her tile business, Nanette decided to share everything from bisqued tiles, colorful glazes, kiln furniture and even shelving with our school. Mahalo nui loa, Nanette, for providing us with such high quality ceramic supplies and this amazing opportunity!

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The floral and plant designs for this project were inspired by the Garden Isle’s tropical foliage along with Art Nouveau style from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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The history of ceramic tile is ancient, involving utilitarian uses along with regional and cultural decorative styles that span the globe. Art Nouveau tiles happen to be one of my personal favorite styles that also was easily adapted for our Hawaiian plant designs.

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After several practice thumbnail drawings in their sketchbooks, students selected a flower or plant of their choice for a final design. Some popular designs included plumeria, hibiscus, haleconia, lotus, orchids, monstera and taro.

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Students imitated Art Nouveau style by simplifying shapes, integrating curvy “whiplash” lines, adding a border or frame and making their designs symmetrical. Before applying glaze, a thin layer of wax resist was applied to all lines to create a white outline. Finally, a minimum of 4 glaze colors were applied to all unwaxed surfaces before the final glaze firing.

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Each student brought home an original tile that can serve a variety of purposes. It can be used to protect furniture from a hot serving dish or glass, or it might be incorporated into a tile wall or backsplash as a feature design. Some may simply want to display it on a shelf for aesthetic enjoyment.

Thanks to Nannette, we still have some leftover tiles that I plan on using for a more collaborative project in the near future. Maybe a tile mural for our classroom is on the horizon!

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The collaborative design above was created by six ambitious eighth grade students who had some extra time in class. They worked out the overall “outer space” composition together, and then each glazed her own tile. This will be an inspirational example for next year’s project!

 Posted by at 4:57 pm
Oct 012014
 

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The addition of a new 7th period literacy-focused class to my schedule inspired this folded book project. Luckily I had freedom to interpret the meaning of “Literacy” for myself and design my own Art-based curriculum. For our first project, each student folded a 3 to 4 letter word, and then wrote a blog post to explain the artistic process and choices.

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Drawing inspiration from artist Isaac Salazar, students brainstormed a list of inspiring words. Many also selected a word that related specifically to reading, books, or learning. We discussed how certain books (specifically encyclopedias) are now being replaced with tablets and online technology. What better way to recycle old obsolete books than to transform them into a new sculptural art form?

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Our school librarian donated a two sets of old encyclopedias for our project that worked perfectly! It helps to have a sturdy hard cover and lots of pages for folding, and I’m happy that these discards won’t be added to Kauai’s growing landfill.

 Posted by at 7:53 pm
Jul 012014
 

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During the month of may, a few KMS Art students created an extra painting inspired by Lei Day (May Day in Hawaii) and Memorial Day. The flowers also resemble the colorful radial patterns of fireworks, which is why I’m making this post in July. Happy Lei-Memorial-4th-of-July Days!

 Posted by at 11:36 am
Jun 302014
 

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The final project for Kapaa Middle School Art students this year was to fold and decorate a large portfolio to carry a year’s worth of Artwork home safely. With only a few school days left, I decided to squeeze one more foundational drawing lesson in and teach the kids 2-point perspective.

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Students used rulers and pencils to map out two vanishing points set on a horizon line. Together we drew a small group of cubes to which we added roofs, doors, shingles, and other features.

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After sketching about 3 different house structures, we incorporated the tree and branches that support the treehouse. At this point students broke free from my step-by-step tutorials and added their own creative and unique details such as rope ladders, lanais, zip lines, hot tubs, and slides.

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Due to the rushed nature of this last assignment, I don’t have many finished examples to share. Several students promised to finish what they started over the summer break. I hope they follow through on that promise because these tree houses are Treemendous!

 Posted by at 3:17 pm
May 052014
 

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This year Kapaa Middle School Art students experimented with a variety of surfaces and display options for their paintings. While some students worked on canvas and wood for their ACRYLIC LANDSCAPES, others opted to create a 2-way painting called an Agamograph.

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The examples pictured here show 3 views of the same project:
- The center view shows two separate images converging.
- From the angled views on either side, the viewer sees only one image.
The complete composition comes to life only as the viewer physically moves from one side to the other.

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To accomplish this magical illusion, students first created two acrylic paintings on paper. The first painting was a stylized landscape using analogous colors, while the second included a close-up detail from the first landscape in a different analogous color scheme.

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Once the paintings were complete, students measured, numbered, and carefully cut both paintings into 2″ strips. The strips were then glued to an accordion folded board. While our final Agamographs became two-way paintings, instructions for a 3-way version can be found on the Art-Rageous website.

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Agamographs are named after Israeli artist, Yaacov Agam, who was a pioneer creator of the kinetic art movement. Students were intrigued by his large-scale sculptural work and abstract style. By following in Agam’s footsteps, students learned a new way to actively involve the viewer in their artwork.

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For anyone who might want to replicate this project, it can be accomplished with a variety of 2-dimensional media, including photography, ink drawings, colored pencil, or oil pastel to name a few. I recommend selecting a subject for each image that relates in some way or creates a duality. Visual contrast between the two images also enhances the transformative effect. Feedback is always welcome! Comment with any questions and let me know what you think!

 Posted by at 4:52 pm
May 012014
 

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I was so thrilled when the 8th grade team invited me to lead a craft activity at the 8th grader’s annual Camp Sloggett excursion. Mr. Sanderl and I packed up our tent and prepared for 2 days of Koke’e camping with 120 middle schoolers! Check out Mr. Sanderl’s 2014 KMS KOKEE TRIP video on Vimeo for highlights.

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The craft I chose is one that I remember from my own summer camp days at Miracle Ranch in Gig Harbor, Washington. In fact, that was probably the last time I made knotted friendship bracelets! Breathing the fresh mountain air, sharing a fun craft from my childhood, and bonding with the kids made camping one of this year’s highlights.

 Posted by at 2:40 pm
Apr 012014
 

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Copper Tooling has become a favorite medium that I bring back every year due to popular demand. Although the same techniques are employed, I always change the project theme to keep things interesting. In past years we explored abstract designs with colorful borders, and Hawaii’s endangered species. This year’s theme involved exotic animals from lands far away.

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This art teacher believes in research and planning before launching in to any major project, and copper repousse is no different. We spent two full lab days exploring various animals, sketching ideas, and taking notes on common names, species, habitat, and interesting facts.

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Once a basic contour of the exotic animal face was established, students filled it in with designs and textures. For ideas I had them enter “zentangle animals” into their search browser. Stylizing the frontal image and adding additional texture to the face resulted in a much more complex and interesting design.

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A final drawing on paper followed the sketchbook planning activities. This drawing was transferred directly onto the copper foil, leaving a slightly indented image. The longest and most labor-intensive part of this project involved tooling and chasing techniques to create a 3-dimensional relief using wooden tools to rub and stretch the copper.

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Final steps included antiquing the copper with liver of sulfur, polishing with steel wool, and protecting with a high gloss acrylic varnish. For display, students used colored pencils on black railroad board to finish the composition with a creative border.

 Posted by at 12:26 pm
Mar 012014
 

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KMS Art students each created two acrylic paintings this Spring. The first painting was a landscape of their choice, while the second included a close-up view of one small detail selected from their original landscape. Each painting was designed with a different analogous color scheme that needn’t resemble real-life.

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The paintings above and below demonstrate the analogous color study, which involved selecting a group of 4 colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel. Aside from one small highlight color outside of the analogous scheme, students were limited to this small range of hues to which they could tint, tone, and shade (creating value scales from dark to light by adding black, white, and gray).

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Additionally, neutrals such as black, white, gray, and brown were used to accent the more vivid hues. The color scheme for this project required students to become very familiar with their color wheels, encouraged A LOT of paint mixing, and invited a unique perspective of the landscape.

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Students were introduced to the work of artist, Heather Brown, who’s signature style includes simplified shapes, bold black outlines, and Hawaii’s local surf spots. Like Heather Brown, students simplified and stylized their landscape on 9 X 12″ canvas board.

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Students were also inspired by Spencer Reynolds, who often paints seascapes on surfboards and driftwood. For the detail painting, students used acrylic paint on a scrap of wood. Some chose to leave part of the woodgrain exposed and unpainted to incorporate the texture and linear wood patterns within their design.

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The landscapes students chose to paint ranged from their favorite spots on Kauai to far-off destinations that they hope to visit one day. Before settling on a design, students spent time researching various landscapes including urban environments, forests, mountains and beaches.

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Analogous color schemes generally create serene and comfortable designs, are often found in nature, and are harmonious and pleasing to the eye. Students began with one dominant color, selecting 3 others on either side of the color wheel to support.

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Painting guidelines for the landscape included:
1. Stylize, flatten and simplify shapes
2. Add extra details to the edges and corners for framing and interest
3. Use layering and scale to create a sense of depth
4. Include black outlines to separate many areas of color value

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 Posted by at 2:54 pm
Feb 222014
 

Kapa’a Middle School’s Art students finished their tiki sculptures with either a pure white or natural brown glaze.  By limiting to one glaze color, the emphasis of this 3-dimensional work remains  the carved textures, modeled form, and sculptural details.

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In addition to expressive tiki characteristics, some students chose to include added symbolism to represent a specific hawaiian tiki god or their own special meaning.

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While mainly decorative, the tikis can also serve a variety of functions, from garden art, candle holders, incense burners, or creative containers to hold knick-knacks.  Melted colorful class at the base adds a colorful surprise when you look inside!

The sculptures pictured here are only a few samples to represent a range of students from 6th, 7th, and 8th graders selected from all of my classes.  In all there are 170 tikis that required a total of 500 lbs of clay, 5 gallons of liquid glaze, a number of kiln loads, and 4 months to complete!

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 Posted by at 11:29 pm
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