Friday, April 29, 2016

An Art Teacher Vacation Day to Play!

We decided that we needed to get some regional art teachers together over the spring break (this past week).  After considering serious professional development topics, we decided that what we REALLY wanted was a relaxing art-making play-date!
 I suppose I should explain who the "we" are.  It includes me, obviously; I serve as region rep to the state board of our art teacher organization, NYSATA.  And it also includes my "partner-in-crime", our region chairperson Kathleen.  (You can see Kathleen in the photo below with the skeleton apron.)  We enjoy working together as a team to plan for our region.  Kathleen is a newly joined member of the Fiber Guild, and thought it would be fun to use this "play-date" to give folks a chance to try their hand at wet-felting, and spinning, and such.  At this idea, my spirit took a nose dive, because, well, I'm kind of sensitive to wool.  Being around a lot of it makes me itchy, and makes my eyes water.  So would this mean I couldn't participate in the play date?  I didn't want to be left out.  So Kathleen suggested that, in another room, I lead a workshop in embellishing usable/wearable items, with oil-based paint markers, acrylic paints, and more.
So we organized the day, free for our region members, and got the message out.  There was some skepticism among others we work with; they guessed that everyone would be busy starting their vacationing and wouldn't be interested.  But it turned out great!  I think, in the end, 15 people showed up, and all  had a relaxing fun day learning, playing, and creating. You can see some of the items people made, in this picture of the whole group, below.  That's me in the red apron. 
In the "wool room", people were making wet-felted flowers, and learning to spin batting (I think I'm saying that correctly, but I'm really not sure).  And also, dyeing silk scarves!  (I admit to sneaking in for a bit and dyeing a scarf or two...)
 In "my" room, participants were embellishing mostly tote bags, aprons, and shoes. Everyone got to experience everything, switching rooms after lunch.
The photos in this post are all from this fun, relaxing, artsy day!!  We invited our neighboring region as well, and one person drove three hours to come and play with us!!!  She's a blogger too; you can read her blog here.  That's her in the pic below, working on her tote bag.
 Did you get a chance to make anything fun over spring break?  Did you create alone, or did you get to have an art play-date too? It can be inspiring to see what others will create in a group setting!!  By the way, I worked on a couple of things - besides my scarves, I also embellished my Blick tote bag, and also a pair of  old clogs in desparate need of an update! Here they are!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Olympics of the Visual Arts 2016

Ever since I retired, I've annually volunteered as a judge at the fabulous Olympics of the Visual Arts.  OVA is a program/competition for students sponsored by NYSATA, the NY state art teacher's association.  *Note: The artwork in the first 4 photos in this post are from the sculpture category, and are each a sculptural interpretation of a piece of contemporary popular music. 
Styled after the Odyssey of the Mind model, OVA participating teams come from schools throughout the state, in elementary, middle, and high school levels, competing in both long term projects and a spontaneous competition.   The long term projects are based on tasks in selected categories. Students use research and brainstorming in their planning and are required to submit a portfolio documenting their work along with the final presentation.  The categories include sculpture, architecture, fashion design, drawing, painting, illustration, graphic design, and photography. You can see my previous annual OVA posts here (2015), here (2014), and here (2013).  To read more about the program, follow this link and this link to info on the NYSATA webpage;  to read this year's intriguing long term problems, hop on over to this link.
 The next batch of photos are from the photo category.  The theme had to do with reflections, and interpretations of the word were broad.  For example, the group creating the piece directly below was reflecting about toxic waste!  There were reflections on identity, and there were much more literal reflections as well. 
I was again a judge in the photography category.  We had more photography entries than in previous years, so we were judging and adding up scores until the last moment, including judging/scoring the spontaneous projects as well.  Unfortunately, this meant gobbling down lunch while we added up scores, and I had very little time this year to snap pics of the array of incredible work.  So forgive me if my photos aren't up to par!   Then I had to leave before the awards were given out, due to another commitment.  But at least I have a few fun photos to share with you!!
I was looking forward to seeing the Illustration category, since they were based on one of my all-time favorite poems from a favorite piece of literature: The Jabberwocky, from Lewis Carrol's Through the Looking Glass.  When I was in high school, my older brother gave me a copy of the Annotated Alice, and this book is still one of the most beloved books in my my personal collection.  Here's a few images from the student work based on this poem.
Here's a slightly better close-up of the piece above -

The painting category involved imagining a creative environment, an environment that would encourage creativity.

The fashion category is always everyone's big favorite, with the most entries.  The work is amazing!  Unfortunately, I didn't get to witness the catwalk modeling, which is the spontaneous portion of the fashion category.  But I did get to see some terrific pieces, still on their mannequins.  The theme was "Trashy", and the pieces are all made from paper products often found in the trash.  And no, the black dress is NOT made from duct tape.  Not allowed!!
 There were, along with the amazing outfits, several glamorous hats (like the one on the mannequin above, left) and this pair of adorable shoes below!!
I don't know if any other state has an event like OVA.  If not, you really should look at the model we've set up here in NY, and give it a try!  It's a phenomenal event, and it can be a pretty viable bit of advocacy for art education!