Thursday, November 22, 2012

NYSATA conference - all the juicy details

OK, so maybe the details are not so juicy, but I got your attention, right?  So now I can tell you all about my state conference! 

The photo to the left was me with a fellow blogger, 'Mrs. Impey', who blogs at Art Room 104.  She's been posting a lot of really valuable information on her blog, especially for other NY art teachers.  It was a real pleasure to meet her!  If you haven't visited her blog yet, stop in and see what she's up to!

Meanwhile - I've had a lot of questions about my workshops and my handouts.  I taught three workshops, all wonderfully successful.

The first workshop "Great Ideas with Recycled Materials" was jam packed - I had made 65 copes of my handouts, and I didn't have enough for everyone in the room!  So if you are one of those people who didn't get the handout, please email me or leave me a comment on the blog with your email address and I'll get it right out to you.  (If you leave your email address, I suggest you write out 'at' and 'dot' to prevent getting spam.  I unfortunately can no longer give out my email address on the blog, because I have become a big spam target. I have also had people ask if they can 'have my PowerPoint presentation'.  To that request, I will have to say NO.  My PP was mostly images of student artwork from my classroom, with a few students appearing in the slides as well.  I spent many hours assembling and editing the presentation, and I want to retain ownership of the images.  Sorry, but I hope you understand. 

 This workshop was not rocket science, or some miraculous innovation. I talked mostly about uses for cardboard shipping boxes, and cereal box cardboard, though I touched on several other materials (old CD's, shoe box lids, assorted junk, magazines, etc) as well.  If you are a regular reader of my blog, you've already seen many of the projects that I talked about in my workshop, and can find them here on my blog by scrolling through my labels on the right, and clicking on 'recycled art'. 

My 2nd workshop was called "Get Stuck on Papier-Mache", and, like the prior workshop, I had an image-based PowerPoint, handouts, and also many physical samples of the various projects I discussed and demo-ed.  I would say about 50 people attended this workshop.  Sorry these photos below are sideways, but I'm trying not to argue with  Blogger these days, so sideways will have to do.  On the left I am demo-ing my unique papier-mache process, and on the right discussing the construction and painting of an ice cream cone.
My final workshop, titled "Time to Play with Papier-Mache" was later the same day.  My goal was to give people a chance to try out the stuff I demo-ed in the morning, so that they would have at least a partially completed sample to take home.  I think there were about 25 people, and about 1/2 had attended the morning workshop.  Participants made a wild assortment of papier-mache cats, pigs, ice cream cones, and masks, as well as some unexpected things that I will show you.  Here's some of their work.

A couple of gals made really cool tree structures, which was totally unlike ANYTHING that I had discussed or demonstrated.  I hope they will send me photos of them when they are done!  Funny thing, last time I taught a hands-on papier-mache workshop I also had people doing unexpected stuff - that time, one gal made a papier-mache paper bag structure (in other words, it looked like a slightly crumpled paper bag when it was done), and another made a giant lizard. 

And this one guy made a super-awesome huge fish, beginning with a structure of rolled newspaper tubes.  Again, this was something totally different than anything I had shown.  Kudos to the wonderful creative people who attended my workshop!  It was so much fun - I'd love to see all the creations finished.  

The best thing ever was to have people walk up to me toward the end of the conference and tell me that my workshops were their favorite workshops of the whole conference.  I put a lot of time into prep, and it is so nice to know that my efforts were appreciated by attendees.  For those of you who have never presented at a conference, let me tell you, it is so worthwhile.  While my organization doesn't have the finances to pay presenters, I believe I get paid back many times over by all that I gain by presenting.  I've met people that I might not have met otherwise, and people will recognize you and talk to you when they see you later in the conference. You make new friends.  You also will professionally gain, because you will have to figure how to present the best workshop possible, and therefore it will refine your presentation skills. It is extremely gratifying.  Believe it or not, I'm actually kind of socially a bit reserved, and teaching workshops has totally brought me out of my shell.  Give it a try!

By the way - while I don't have photos, I did also attend some really nice workshops.  Since I am not an active teacher, I only attended hands-on fun stuff; I totally skipped out on workshops about the Common Core, and SLO's and assessments, etc.  Lucky me!  I attended a workshop on making paper beads - though after the fact I can tell you I will NEVER do this again.  UGH.  Tedious!  I also attended a fun workshop where we experimented with painting using the edges of cardboard triangles.  And I attended a 'Friday After Dark' workshop where we explored using chalk pastels with some under-painting on textured paper.  I guess I had never used really GOOD pastels, because I was blown away by the intense vibrant colors.  And the teacher was the wonderful person who gave me the Art Teacher Barbie last year - my best gift EVER!  (totally not kidding!!)

All in all, it was a fantastic conference!

Finally, here are some photos from a couple of keynote speakers, both of whom wowed me with their bodies of work, and the deep thought processes behind the work.  Very impressive.  Keep in mind they were shot from way back in a crowded theater presentation, so there are people's heads at the bottom of the photos.  The first two pieces are works by Jennifer Heckler.
And these luscious jelly donuts are the paintings of Emily Eveleth.


  1. When I read your art conference posts I always wish I lived in New York!! Do you suppose my family would mind too much if I stopped making my apple pies for tomorrow night's dinner (the crust is chilling in refrig. right now:)) and made a paper mache tree instead?? I love the look of those!!!

    1. Come to NY! I'll make a papier -mâché tree with you!

      Meanwhile - are you having a late Thanksgiving? Is that why you are still making pies?

    2. I had 2 Thanksgivings. Spent the real one out of town with my mom at my college roommate's celebration. She always has a huge group!! Then Saturday I took the pies to my brothers for that Thanksgiving -- it worked better for their kids to have it on the week-end. I was exhausted after all that driving and slept 12 hours straight when all was done!!!

  2. Hey Phyl!

    I think when I retire, you and I should travel the USA attending as many state conferences that we can! Wouldn't that be fun? Sounds like you had a blast at yours and your attendees learned a lot from you. I am 100% fine with my tootsies and my Dad is doing well in the long term care home. Life is good!


    1. Fabulous idea, Pat, seriously! Now if we could just find a way for someone to PAY us to attend all those conferences!

      Glad to hear your feet are doing well and your Dad s as well. Hope you've has a lovely thanksgiving.

  3. Wow. Looks like you are having an awesome retirement. It was nice to see the bones of your paper mâché projects.

  4. CONGRATULATIONS. I really like your work.
    You´re also kindly invited to know and to follow my work at:
    Best Regards,

  5. those paper mache things were really cool. i once did a paper mache pig project with kindergarteners. everyone had paper mach all over them, but the pigs turned out great. thanks for sharing all the cool things. if you are interested, you can check out my blog,
    Do Art Imagine Explore Create

  6. Edna,I already follow your blog; I recently left a comment on a Matisse post! Glad you like my papier-mâché - it's my favorite thing! Did you post your papier-mâché pigs? I couldn't find a listing of labels on your blog to find posts on specific topics. Ou were very brave to do this with kinders. Wat did you make the armatures out of?