Friday, January 13, 2017

The latest from DragonWing Arts!

Yes, my sweet students evidently can dab and paint at the same time...  I'm still not quite sure what it all means, but it seems like a harmless fad and everyone is smiling!
Anyhow, a new 8-week session of DragonWing Arts (my after-school art class business) has been underway for two weeks now, and I've got a lively and fun crew!  After a couple of years of classes with just three or four students, suddenly I find myself at my max enrollment with 8 kids!  Half are boys, half are girls; half are 3rd graders, half are 4th graders; three are repeat students, and the other 5 are all newbies!  Luckily, a former favorite student of mine from kindergarten to 6th grade (yes, I admit to having a favorite) is now attending the local community college and is serving as my weekly'helper'.  I'm so glad my schedule and hers jived together, at least for this semester!  She is able to provide a second set of hands, plus, with no sink in the room, she's able to follow kids down the hall to the bathroom and make sure they are being safe and well-behaved.  And I'm so glad to be able to give her this opportunity.  She's a sweet-hearted wisp of a girl with a cheerful spirit.
Anyhow....  Our theme for this 8-week session is POP and OP, and my goal is for it to be a bright and colorful time in the gloom and cold of winter.  So for POP, we currently have two projects underway.  One, pictured above and below, is making food sculptures.  We looked at the work of Claes Oldenburg.  Each student is making, with papier-mache, a slice of pizza, a doughnut, a slice of cake, and an ice cream sundae! 
The shapes are being assembled with cardboard, tin foil, and newspaper, and covered with a variety of papier-mache materials. 
The cakes were covered with Activa Celluclay instant papier-mache, which I had never used before, even though I have substantial papier-mache experience.  I had seen other cake slices on the internet made with this product or Claycrete.  Frankly, I'll never buy the Celluclay again.  It is incredibly dusty when you are mixing it, and we had a hard time making it stick.  I ended up mixing the 2nd batch substituting some Art Paste (School Specialty brand that had been previously mixed) for some of the water, just to make it stickier.  Once it dries, it's rock solid, but keeping it on the sides of the cake while working was a challenge.  Have you ever used the stuff?  Do you like it?  Any hints, since I still have some that is unused/unmixed? 
We also used the Celluclay on the pizza, and used traditional newspaper strips dipped in "dragon drool" (the mixed Art Paste goo) for the doughnuts.  Then, based again on something I'd seen online, we covered both the doughnut and the pizza with a layer of toilet paper and goo.  Again, probably not something I'll ask kids to do again.  The toilet paper formed a terrific surface that looked like doughnut glaze or melted pizza cheese, but using it was tough.  It wanted to stick to everyone's hands instead of the projects!  We haven't started the ice cream sundaes yet but they are gonna be cute!!

And we also looked at Roy Lichtenstein paintings, and are doing some pop word paintings.  Because this is an after-school activity, I tend to be much less directed in the choices I give students.  I suggested they either do their names, or an action word , but most have chosen differently.  Nevertheless, they are doing a great job and you'll see the paintings when they are all done! 
As you can see, the kids are definitely enjoying working on them so far! 
If you'd like to see a video of the kids working on these paintings, click HERE
on the DragonWing Arts Facebook page.  And yes, lest you worry, I have permission to include the faces of all these kids in my photos posted on social media. 

I have another pop art project and a couple of fun op art projects we will be working on soon, too, but I'm not ready to share!  Busy, busy! 

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