Sunday, April 5, 2015

NAEA conference #2 - the workshops and the people!

The heart of any convention, no matter where it is, has got to be the people.  And certainly, a convention wouldn't be worth attending if it weren't for the workshops and the speakers and the vendors.  This convention had the best - a wonderful mix of terrific people attending, fabulous workshops and speakers, and a lively vendor area.  This post will touch on all three.
Above, a photo of me with new friend Melissa, previously only a gal I knew with purple hair in the Facebook Art Teacher group.  Glad we got a photo of our colorful hair together!  Melissa gathered a group of us together on a rainy evening to meet finally meet Facebook friends in person.  Thanks, Melissa, for taking the time to arrange that!  A national convention is the perfect place to meet people you've only previously encountered online. 

So... about the people - everyone at the convention was itching to have their picture taken with two celebrities at the convention - one being the incredible keynote speaker Tim Gunn: TV celebrity, educator, and author.  And the other photo everyone wanted was with art teacher/blogger/fashion marvel Cassie Stephens.  I feel very lucky to count her among my friends.  As much fun as it is to see what she's wearing each day, it's even more fun to spend time with her, because there's much more to her than just the fabulous outfits. I hope, between all the picture taking, she had time to attend a few workshops!
 Above is one of my only pics of Tim worth sharing.  I'm currently well into reading his book The Natty Professor and I am loving his clear and comprehensible teaching philosophy, and the corresponding stories in the book.  I'm a big fan.  On the right, above, is a photo of me with Cassie Stephens and new friend Lisa.  Lisa is one of those people I'd previously conversed with only in the Facebook Art Teacher group.  It was great spending time with her.
Above left, me and Cassie.  I love this photo for the unintended photo-bomber in the back.  I don't know who you are, but I adore the expression on your face, getting a glimpse of us crazies!   On the right, the vibrant lady in blue with the colorful Britto scarf is Laura Lohmann of Painted Paper.  The secret is out - she's fabulous!  More about her in a moment.

Below, me and Raine, who I bumped into on my way to a workshop.  I met her in Santa Fe last summer, for the Crizmac/School Arts Folk Art Extravaganza, and it was great to see her again.  I love her red hair and my blue hair together.  Wish mine was loose for this pic so you could see it better!

For my first time ever, I presented a workshop at a national convention!  My workshop, called 'Design your Art Program to Say YES to the Mess', is based on a very strong belief I have, that we, as art teachers, have a responsibility to give our students regular tactile, manipulative, and kinesthetic experiences in art class. They need to develop fine motor control, and they need the regular hands-on experience in art, because in our world of portable technology they are just not developing the manipulative skills they need.  If we aren't giving kids regular experiences using a variety of manipulative art materials, I believe we are not doing what we've been hired for.  It is our responsibility.
A handout, with many of the points from this workshop (but sorry, not the images from my PowerPoint) is available on the 'Documents Weblinks' tab at the top of this blog.  You don't  have to have been to the workshop to access the handout.  Help yourself. 

 Because this was my first time presenting nationally, I tried to be exceptionally well-prepared.  My only real concern, besides locating my workshop room, was that the technology wouldn't work.  I scouted out the room the day before, because I didn't want to take a wrong turn finding my way in time for the 8:00am start time.  (It was across 'the bridge to nowhere' in what I swear was so far away it was probably in a different zip code!  A different time zone!  And, as my conference friends will attest, I have a bit of a problem with getting lost easily...  So thanks and big hugs to those of you who rescued me and aimed me in the right direction, over and over.  I needed supervision, it seems.)
Anyhow, as per my one big fear, the provided projector wouldn't read my laptop.  HELP!  That's when my amazing friend Laura Lohmann, above, became my biggest hero.  She was able to project my presentation from her Mac while I presented from my Windows laptop.  The only problem, which I notice in the photo below, is that all my formatting changed in the switch-up, losing the fonts I selected so carefully.  So the text below shouldn't have just said 'Design Your Art Program to'.  I lost the rest of the text!  I did not realize this was happening, so hopefully the attendees were able to understand most of my slides, despite any text losses to the formatting change. 
Sometimes the silliest of practical tips are the things that people are most excited about.  Pre-drawing a frame on paper for painting, and doing all painting inside the frame, is such a tip.  What does the frame do?  It provides 'handles' for carrying the wet artwork, and keeps your thumbs clean!  It helps keep the tables clean since you don't paint to the edge of the paper.  If you have to put wet paintings on a hallway floor to dry, you won't get paint all over the floor.  It prevents the paper from curling.  And when you hang the artwork in the hallway, it provides a lovely white frame for the artwork or to decorate with another medium. A silly tip, but incredibly useful, especially if you like to have kids paint extra-large, like I do.
About 50 to 60 people attended the workshop, which seemed pretty good for the early morning hour in the remote location, and I hope that the people who were there found it worthwhile!
A couple of hours later, I was one of 5 presenters in a whirlwind 'carousel' workshop on blogging (above), organized by Nancy Walkup of School Arts magazine.  Each of us sat at a separate round able, and every 10 minutes the attendees rotated tables and we repeated our presentations.  So, in 50 minutes, we each repeated our presentation on blogging 5 times!!  It was like speed-dating, and it was exhausting!  The room was full to the max, and each blogger had something totally different to say.  I wish I could have seen the other presentations, by Laura Lohmann, Cassie Stephens, Jennifer Dahl, and Sheryl Depp.  It was an energized and motivating experience, and I wouldn't be surprised to see some new blogs cropping up as a result.  I understand some people were turned away because all seats were full, so maybe we'll repeat a version of the workshop again next year.  Again, a handout on what I presented in my segment is available on the Documents Weblinks tab at the top of the blog.

When I wasn't presenting, I also attended a number of workshops, including a colorful presentation by Laura Lohmann, and her friend Ginger of Paintbrush Rocket about the marvelous murals they both create with their students as an advocacy tool.  Here's a little about some other favorite workshops.

I attended a hands-on workshop called 'Bead Mosaics Louisiana Style' presented by the enthusiastic Virginia Berthelot.  Below is a sampling of her incredible bead mosaic work.  I haven't completed my piece yet, and when I do, I'll post in detail about it and show you images of what other workshop attendees created.  But that's all for another post. 
I also attended a workshop called 'Inspired by Islamic Design', presented by Lisa Crubaugh, that had an easy elementary printmaking component.  I wasn't able to get good photos to share with you here, but it was my favorite non hands-on workshop of the convention! Thank you Lisa for ideas I will definitely be able to use!

And I was one of the lucky people who attended one of Tim Gunn's Design Challenge workshops.  We competed in a fun group challenge, with only 1/2 hour to complete the task.  The session ended with a goofy fashion show!
 
And then there was the vendor area.  Below are straw relief sculptures from one of the vendor booths where there was a hands-on activity. I believe the paper straws had been painted first with Chromacryl fluorescent paints.  They look really fun to build with, thought I'm thinking that pre-painting the straws might have been a challenge!  Does anyone have an easy way to do paint the straws?  It was crowded at the  booth, so shorty me wasn't able to get close enough to ask the questions. 
In the back of the vendor area, I discovered the Youth Art Month exhibit.  Here's my favorite piece, by a first grader!!!  Wow!
The teacher was listed as Mary Sorrells from Brookville Indiana and if anyone knows her, I'd love to find out what the process of creation was.  It looks perhaps like it is woven, but I'm not sure.  I'd really like to know!  Please let me know if you have any answers!

And this layered piece below, created by an 8th grader from Wisconsin, was also a fave. 
The teacher's name is Kathryn Rulien Bareis.  It looks like printmaking of some sort, and it is on layers of either mat board or foam core I presume, but again, I'd love to know the process, if anyone knows this teacher or has info to help. I wish the tags on the exhibit had given more information.
Also in the vendor area, on the same day as my workshops, the Art of Education (AOE) invited bloggers for a meetup.  Above is a pic of us all.  I'm realizing, looking at at this photo, that somehow there were a couple of bloggers at the meetup that I never got to meet.  How did that happen???  And, Hope Hunter Knight, who blogs at Mrs. Knight's Smartest Artists, I absolutely LOVE your red clogs!  How did I not notice them when I was sitting next to you?

And how could I forget - on a lovely sunny afternoon, convention roommate/friend Rina who blogs at K-6 Art and I took the trolley to City Park see the outdoor sculpture garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art.  I'll close out this post with a few photos from the sculpture garden and one other final thing.
On my last morning in New Orleans, getting ready to fly home, I realized I had not yet eaten a beignet.  So Rina and I found a place just two blocks from the hotel where I satisfied my taste-buds with a mouthful of powdered sugar heavenliness!
And the bonus - in the lobby, when we walked in to buy our beignets, we looked up and saw this: three Chihuly chandeliers! 
Thank you New Orleans and NAEA for a wonderful convention, and 
thank you, readers, for getting all the way to the end of this long post! 
 

20 comments:

  1. Fun post! Thanks for sharing your insights with us Phyl.

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    1. Wow, so fast to comment! I was still editing!

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  2. OMG, I'm cracking up! That lady photobomber comment, haha! Poor lady, she had no idea what was happening in front of her ;) I'm also in the middle of Tim's book and loving it. He is definitely a truth teller! The man holds no punches, I love it! And, yes, Laura is amazing!! Love ya both! xox!

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    1. I couldn't crop her out; she is just TOO adorable!

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  3. Hi Phyl! It was a fabulous conference and it was great to once again enjoy it with you. Your sessions went really well - thanks for posting links to your notes. Next year in Chicago? Hmmm...

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    1. I want to try to present again next year, but I'm gonna have to get a different sort of connector for my laptop to the projector. I don't want that to ever happen again! So sorry I couldn't get to YOUR presentation. Too many things to do, too little time...

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  4. Hey Phyl,
    It was almost like being there! Your post was so informative and crackled with excitement. Your descriptions made me feel the materials and smell the beignets. I, too, would love to have lesson plans for the two projects you highlighted. I am so glad you had such a good time. I am requesting funds for Chicago as soon as school starts in September. I wonder who the Keynote speaker will be at that convention? No one could top Tim Gunn!

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    1. Ooh I hope you get to go to Chicago! It would be wonderful to finally meet you face-to-face. I feel like I've known you for a while now! Of course, my funds to Chicago... It's basically all funded by ME...

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  5. Thanks for sharing. I was so glad to see that you got to be part of the Tim Gunn Design Challenge. When someone else shared that a couple of days ago, I was so hoping that you (Unofficial Project Runway Diva), with your own sewing form and all, would get to participate!!!

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    1. Haha thanks! I signed up for a ticket to the Tim Gunn workshop the day it went 'live' on the NAEA website. But so many people got turned away, they ended up scheduling an extra session anyhow! But can you believe it? I had dinner with two gals one night who had NEVER heard of Tim Gunn!!! Neither one of them!

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  6. Thanks for sharing! You took so many amazing pictures....I can totally relive the convention through your posts! I'm stealing/borrowing the great pic of us to share on my blog, and I'm linking back to your posts. :) If you want to link to my blog it is kthru6arted.wordpress.com
    Talk to you soon!
    -Melissa

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    1. Thanks for linking me,and for sharing your blog. You. Are welcome to the photo, of course. I didn't know you had a blog - it looks great; I'll be following!

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  7. Great posts, Phyl! You were much better at taking photos than I was. So sorry I missed the evening FB meet up- would have loved to meet more FB friends. ( I actually ran into the beginning of Ian Sands presentation just to meet him- then ran out to another session!) This retired person also went to many great sessions (no luncheon), and loved conversations with young and preservice teachers. My complaint was lack of time! There were some time slots when nothing interested me- and others where i would have loved to clone myself at least 3 copies! yeah my fitbit was racking up the miles and I didn't get a hurricane or a cherry bomb (but did have Arbita-a local beer, New Orleans Mojito and a 57 Chevy. See you in Chicago?!

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    1. Lorraine, I basically am ALWAYS taking pictures. But the schedule was tough - I missed about 1/2 the workshops I had planned to attend, mostly just because of logistics. It was frustrating. But I'm willing to try again, so YES, next year in Chicago!

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  8. Thank you for the inspiration! http://minimatisse.blogspot.com/2015/04/naea-15-elementary-blog-carousel.html

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    1. Thanks for writing about the carousel! So glad you were able to attend!

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  9. Hi Phil, I'm so glad you enjoyed New Orleans. My husband was from NOLA and we reared our four children in his hometown. Much to my dismay, I was unable to attend the convention.
    I am inspired by your ceramic and weaving lesson. My students just recently completed a mud clay multicultural maskmaking lesson and are anxiously awaiting the final fired pottery with the glaze on it. We have created weavings in the past and I am hopeful to combine the two art processes during next school year. I would appreciate if you could send me information on the process of making the clay looms. For instance, how did you decide on the size and placement of the holes, the shapes of the forms, and any other info that would be helpful. I think this would be a great keepsake project for my students. Thanks in advance Phyl. Blessings, lizcalais@gmail.com

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    1. I believe I answered you via email, didn't I? The looms are not mine; they are the work of the person who replaced me when I retired.

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  10. this is another fantastic blog post. Who is it that keeps telling you to write shorter ones??? Tell them to pull their head in as I think your posts are fabulously entertaining and always inspiring! Your descriptions show us how excited you were to be there and how much fun you were having and I'm so glad you are making your documents available for those of us not lucky enough to attend such an amazing conference experience. That is very kind of you and much appreciated by me and others i'm sure.

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    1. Awww, thanks Shelley! It just seems like people like the more 'instant ' stuff these days. From Facebook, to Instagram, to Twitter, things are quicker, shorter, and less informative than what you find on blogs. But for people with short attentions spans, those alternatives seem to have grabbed their attention. I am on Instagram, but honestly, fail to see any real purpose. So I'm really glad to know there are people like you who are still taking the time to read 'old fashioned' blog posts!

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