Tuesday, November 9, 2021

It's Been a While

Hey readers, it's been close to two years since I've posted on the blog, mostly due to the fact that my business, DragonWing Arts, where I taught an after-school art class for elementary kids, has been on an indefinite hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.  I teach the class in a small classroom in a Jewish Temple where I am a member, and the Temple's current regulations for gatherings in the building, due to the infection rate in the local community, require social distancing, negative Covid tests, temperature/health checks, and of course masks. With the small classroom space, social distancing would make it impossible to fit a group of more than a couple of kids in a class.  And anyhow, I am not prepared to check temperatures or require Covid tests for my students.  I'm hoping that maybe, after the new year, with kids now eligible for vaccination, that the regulations will ease and I'll be able to re-start my business in some way and then of course have some new art projects to share here on the blog!  

 In the meantime, I've had to make one change to the blog.  In the past week, I've gotten hundreds of emails informing me that people have been trying to access some Google docs (lesson handouts and PowerPoint presentations and such) that I had provided links to on a blog page called "Document Weblinks".  While I'm flattered (and surprised!) that so many people are still using my blog as a resource and are finding stuff that is valuable to them, it has caused a problem.  Some sort of Google change/update made all the document links invalid, and in order to get these docs to the people requesting them, it appeared I'd have had to individually respond to all their document requests with the updated links, and frankly, I'm not willing to do that, just to give away content, that I developed, for free.  So instead I've taken the easy way out and removed the page with the documents.  Maybe I'll replace it again down the road, but currently I just don't have the time or will to individually deal with all these document requests.  So if you're one of the people who wanted one of these docs, I apologize, but... so it goes...  

So why is there a pic of a kayak and a peaceful lake on the top of this blog post?  No reason at all, except that's what I was doing on this beautiful November day, and I thought maybe the photo would intrigue you enough to entice you to read this post! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

DragonWing Arts Students 'Discover' Treasure!

Our theme for the fall DragonWing Arts session was Discover!  My five students (two 3rd graders, one 4th grader, one 5th grader, and one 6th grader) did three projects - the first was the creation of a treasure map.
And the second was a papier-mache project.  (I'll tell you about the third project later.)  I asked the kids what they'd like to build with papier-mache - perhaps a newly 'discovered' creature, a box of buried treasure, something from outer space, a discovery under the microscope or deep in the sea, etc.  My five students unanimously said "We want to make TREASURE CHESTS!"  So we did.
We began by constructing the boxes and their curved covers, out of cardboard (from shipping cartons).  We covered them with a coat of papier-mache, and when dried, we gave them a base coat of black acrylic.
The students painted their treasure chests and bedazzled them with some jewels.  They used a colorful air-dry clay and made some tentacles and such to be emerging from the their treasure chests, and also added felt and more jewels and strings of beads as desired.  We cut 'hinges' out of sparkly felt and such, and I hot glued them together for the kids.  I think they came out great!

For the treasure maps, I had experimented with dark brews of tea and coffee to stain the paper, but it just didn't 'take' the way I wanted, so we used liquid watercolors.  I mixed brown with green, with orange, with  yellow, and with black, and after they had torn the edges of their paper, they painted them with the watercolors, blotting and wetting as desired to get the effect they wanted. They discovered that dripping water on the papers looked really cool.
 The kids learned how to make a simple 'compass rose', and also how to make a scroll for a key on their maps.  I printed out sheets of typical map symbols and then let them go to work making their maps truly their own inventions. The started with pencil, and then used a combination of fine-tip black markers and India ink with dip pens.  They loved working with the pen and ink!!  Afterward they used tiny amounts of red, white, and gold acrylic ink to embellish.
Somehow I forgot to take pics of the third project, so here's some more views of the treasure chests!