Friday, January 15, 2016

Adinkra Cloth

Third graders learned about symbolism and Ghanan Adinkra Cloth. They chose an Adinkra symbol and then carved it in easy cut linoleum to make a 3" square stamp. 

They used 12" square paper and printmaking ink to print their symbol 16 times on the paper, similar to how authentic Adinkra is created on cloth. 

See our gallery here (Houlton to come!)


African Dondo Drums

I found this post on Pinterest and was excited to try this project. However, upon more research I discovered that the image in the pin is not authentic to the shape of actual African drums unless the strings are added to make Dondo drums-also called Talking Drums. 
We started with two styrofoam cups that were hot glued at the bottom. I showed the students how to cover the heads of the drums with masking tape by putting one piece straight across the opening and then putting another piece right next to it, overlapping in the middle. The covered both sides of the drums and then covered the rest of the cups. Be sure to use small (1-2") pieces of tape or it will become lumpy. 

For the color, we used shoepolish, which I got from the post linked above. I LOVE this idea. Not only have the kids never heard of shoe polish, but it now comes in these handy tubes with a sponge on top so the kids could just rub it on and not have to buff at all. Plus, it smells really good and dries much faster than paint. They used permanent markers to add line patterns on their drums and then I showed them how to use a hot glue gun. They hot glued the string in a zig zag pattern across the drum until they had it glued all the way around. I gave them the option of adding some ribbon over their hot glue.

See our gallery here (Houlton to come!)

African Masks

This was a quick project for my kindergartners, but taught them a lot. We began by looking at a variety of African masks and noticing that they were all symmetrical. Next, each student got a mask template that was donated to me by the music teacher. I showed them how to fold the mask down the center and then paint on one side and create symmetry. 

The next class, I had all of the masks stapled into the mask shape and showed the kids how to use a hand held hole punch. I gave them the option of no hair, rope hair, or raffia for hair. The kids punched the holes and I walked around writing "rope" or "raffia" on the back of their masks. After class I tied all the rope and raffia for them. 


See our gallery here (Houlton to come!).

African Lions

I was inspired to do this project by this pin on Pinterest. 

The full project took us four art classes. The first class we talked about color and then used warm colors to paint a paper that would be cut up for the mane. I showed the kids how to use paint scrapers and/or the back of their paintbrush to make lines in the wet paint to add interest. 


The next class we created the lion faces. I used my document camera to show them step by step how to break down this complicated picture. We started with a medium sized circle for the main part of the head, I showed them how to use the natural curve of their wrists to get a nice curved line and turn the paper to make that curve continue until they had a full circle. They added a square with rounded corners on the bottom for the jaw. I had a completed example on the board for them to refer to as we drew. Next we drew the ears and then erased the parts of the circle that were where the square and ears were drawn. For the face, we began by drawing a large 7 on the left and a backwards 7 on the right. I reminded them how to use the curve of their wrists to make a nice curved line and showed them that I turned my paper to make the curve for the eyes. At the bottom of the 7s the added a shape for the nose and we talked about shapes that would make sense-rectangle, oval, or triangle came out of our discussions. They had the option of adding lines of a mouth or leaving it as is.

We then used chalk to add the color. I started by asking them if every single lion is the same color. They giggled and said no and we noticed that none of us had the exact same shade of skin either. I reminded them that the colors I was using to demo were not the only ones they could use, they just wanted to find "lion colors." We started with brown chalk and covered the whole faces except the eyes and tip of the nose. We added a little bit of darker brown in the ears, and on the cheeks to add definition to the faces. Once that was blended, we used oil pastels to color the eyes, tip of the nose, and important lines. They were also given the option of outlining their lion's face.

The third and fourth classes were spent collaging it all together. I had trays of precut colored paper and precut newspaper for them to use and they brought their painted paper to me to cut on the paper cutter. They cut out their faces and we talked about the reasons we think male lions have manes. They decided they have manes to distinguish male and female, to make the lion look bigger in conflicts, and to protect their necks in fights. (Such smart kids!) Whenever they asked me if their project was done I'd ask them if their lion's mane was thick enough to help him protect his pride.


See our gallery here (check back for Houlton's!).

Second Grade Egyptian Art: Clay Cartouche & Cat Mummies


Second graders created their name or initials in a clay cartouche. We discussed Egyptian written language and they practiced on a drawing of a cartouche. They learned that when looking at hieroglyphics, if they come across a cartouche it means the person whose name is inside the cartouche is royalty. I showed them how to neatly carve into the clay to make the image or sculpt it and use the Score-Slip-Squish method to add it. They also had the option of adding a border.

I typically don't glaze with kids, as my kiln isn't in my classroom and it's two elevators to get to my kiln. BUT, I decided these beauties deserved some glaze. 

See our galleries here and here.

While our cartouches were drying and firing we created cat mummies. I found this project on Pinterest and thought it was super cute. Add in that my paper towel rolls were getting a bit out of control, and we just had to make them. I cut paper towel rolls in half instead of using TP rolls because they were a little taller. The TP rolls were just a bit too short to give them enough space to use line on the body. 

After folding the top of the roll they covered the whole roll with masking tape and then painted them either gold, bronze, or silver. 

When dry, we looked at the heavily lined eyes of traditional Egyptian style and then used permanent markers to add the face and a line design on the body. 

See our galleries here and here


Egyptian Masks


Fourth graders just finished these amazing Egyptian masks. We used mask molds and plaster to create the face. They painted the whole mask gold and then added details with other colors of paint. 

To finish up their masks, they used construction paper to create a headdress. I cut up scraps of gold paper that the first graders used for their gold collars and let them cut shapes to add to their headdresses. 

See our whole galleries here and here.

Egyptian Collars

First graders looked at Ancient Egyptian collars. They noticed that the collars are symmetrical. We talked about color theory and focused on analogous colors. Students chose four analogous colors to work with and either made two of their shape or made their shape symmetrical. 

I made a template of the collar shape and pre traced them all on the back of the gold paper. I got a roll of gold paper from School Specialty but in hindsight, it was a thin as wrapping paper and if I do this again I'd just wait and buy gold wrapping paper after Christmas and save some money. The kids cut the shape out and then folded their paper in half. 


I show them how to glue one symmetrical shape on the fold to make the whole collar symmetrical. We talked about using two identical shapes to create symmetry and I showed them how to glue a shape on one side and match the second shape to the first. They added a bit of glue on top of the second shape and then folded their collar to make it transfer to the other side. 

When finished, students chose a color that fit with their analogous color group for the background paper.

Papyrus Painting

The fifth graders are finishing up painting Egyptian symbols on papyrus. They were given a sheet with a variety of symbols on it and practiced on scratch paper before starting on their papyrus. Some kids have a lot of knowledge of Egyptian mythology and choose a different image than what was on the sheets.

I showed them how to mix colors and how to blend on the paper and we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each technique. 

They were given the option of adding permanent marker once the paint dried and then were asked to mount them on colored construction paper. They chose the color that they thought made their artwork "pop" the most. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Egyptian Art: Clay Pyramids, Spinxes, and Scratch Art Ankhs

My third graders just finished these clay sculptures of pyramids of Sphinxes. We used watercolor and Crayola Texture Medium to create the sandy look.





I used my sample to show students what the clay would look like with each of the brown watercolors in our set and with the medium over or under the paint. 

The whiter look on the right was achieved by putting the texture medium over the paint. The left side has the paint on top.

See our galleries here and here. 


While our clay was drying and being fired we created scratch art Ankhs. The Ankh is the hieroglyph for eternal life and was often used in jewelry and decor in ancient Egypt. Students designed their image on scratch paper and then darkened each line. We taped the designs to the scratch art paper with the drawing facing the scratch art paper and scribbled hard on the back. The image transferred onto the scratch art paper so they didn't have to redraw anything. 


Students had the option of adding some paint details.

See our galleries here and here.