Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guadalupe at St. Therese in Aurora

My sister is the art teacher at the elementary school St. Therese in Aurora.  She began painting a mural of Guadalupe with her students who graduated yesterday.  I spent the day painting with her and was completely happy to not only be painting but to be with my sister.  It was further a delight to be in a small and happy school with enthusiastic students, and it was surreal to be standing in the halls where my parents went to grade school.  The building hasn't changed too much since then, and I felt a definite connection to the past.  I might be able to paint another day next week in an attempt to finish the project before the end of the year.  I feel privileged to be a part of this project.  Thanks Lisa!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Carnival Game: Treasure Island

I remade a carnival game for Abe 's school fundraiser. The base is styrofoam and the carnival chair preferred a more durable surface. So I consulted my creative department, brothers Nick and Jeff, and they recommended doing paper mache over the surface.  I did two layers, then gesso, paint, and finally shellac. The game will have for treasure chests on the x's. Sometimes it's fun to have a challenge that's outside your normal making and doing.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Many Moons Weaving

About 8 years ago my parents traveled with my high school Spanish teachers and their students to Peru.  My sister was pregnant with her 3rd child, and I had just found out that I was expecting Abraham.  After a great trip they returned with gifts.  Among them was an old crone doll and a scarf.  The doll sits in my studio--her hair still in two braids and her hands perpetually rolling cigarettes to sell.  My scarf is wound around my neck the majority of year.  It is the perfect weight and warmth.  It's never itchy and goes with just about everything I wear.  If my house was ever on fire, it would be the one thing I'd rescue from the flames.  My mom gave similar scarves to my sisters and my grandma.  The latter would wear hers as faithfully around her shoulders just as my crone doll wears her shawl.  The beautiful reds would show off her white hair.  

Ever since, I've wanted to recreate this scarf, but my lack of knowledge and skills has hindered my efforts.  I'm afraid this project may become my white whale, and if that is the case, please bury me in my failed attempts.
This piece that I wove on Martha's loom is one such failed attempt.  It took me many, many moons to complete it considering I sort of abandoned it for other things after I began it.   It was the first time I had worked with such fine gauge wool and the delicate quality of it caused many problems. I either need to take more classes and instruction or just make more pieces. Unfortunately its an expensive medium to experiment with.   Perhaps one day, I can travel to Peru and learn from their long tradition of weaving.  For the time being, I'll be returning to cotton and repurposed jersey tees.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Postage Stamp Pillows

These pillows turn out great every time.  Kids love to give their drawings and paintings a good squeeze.  I don't know if it is detectable here, but this batch is a bit smaller in dimension and together with their crimped edges they make me think of postage stamps which I think would be another idea for this project.  I can imagine older kids drawing portraits of famous people, painting them, and sewing them up.  Oh whimsy . . .

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Emma's Pillow

This kitty cat pillow is for Emma who is a fellow student at Penelope's preschool.  Her parents won it at the gala fundraiser. I hope she likes it!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tie dye bandanas!

My inner hippie was happy to hang dry Messy Business bandanas this afternoon. Someday I want to make a quilt using dyed bandanas.  It could be a good class project.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

EAM: I like this stuff!

It was another day making messes at EAM. We tie dyed, finished our bugs, glazed, and read "Pete the Cat". Somehow I forgot to take pictures of it all except these three guys whom I really love.

Day 4: US Map

 Fifty nifty fruity pebble states are painted at Lincoln Elementary!!!  Our destiny as hard working parents, well invested in our children's school, was made manifest this past Saturday as Faith, Nathalie, and I primed and painted our remaining states.  Exhausting our primer, we decide to return for the Great Lakes, sea creatures, and touch ups.  I wonder where in the U.S. is Carmen Sandiego?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 3 On The Map

I love this mermaid
Faith and I spent the entire day painting Wednesday which means that we had several audiences of curious students and passersby during recesses and really sore knees.  It was chilly, windy, and grey, but the rain stayed away until late last night.  Hopefully our work was dry enough to hold.  Faith had the brilliant idea of having the kids draw chalk images that would be in the ocean--submarines, mermaids, and pirate ships.  We took photos of them and may paint a few of them in our oceans. 

I think the colors look great.  We have two more to use.  This whole project reminds me of a similar exercise in middle school geography where we had to color in a map using four colors--the minimum required so that no two of the same color touch. Anyone else remember something like this?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Painting Pillows, Bugs, and Rain

Buggy Eyed
We worked on lots of fun projects today including painting our pillows, painting some bugs which we will do more with next week, and making rain pictures. I loved seeing the kids get messy today, and I can totally relate to their affinity for a rainbow of paint.  Painting days are always fun.  I was especially impressed with students who took the projects beyond my conception.  That's the best!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Project US Map on Blacktop: Day 2

 Schedules and weather cleared up this Mother's Day.  So, Faith and I began working on the US map project at Lincoln.  We began by stenciling the dotted outline.  This was hugely changeling until we ignored the included directions and figured out a more effective method.  We were supposed to lay out and tape all of the stencils and then spray the dots, but the wind was literally tearing our stencil apart.  So we sprayed as we unrolled the stencils re-rolling as we went along careful to not expose too much surface turning our stencil into a kite.  We managed to prime most of  our first group of states (which will be painted green eventually) before the thunderstorms began.  How does it look so far?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Long time no post

Wall of Art--or---Kitchen Gallery
It's been awhile since I've posted but not because there haven't been things to post.  At risk of sounding like a broken record, it's been one of the "going in lots of directions" kind of times.  I think with school wrapping up for my kids, preparing to spend the summer abroad, and getting ready to start school myself in the fall, things are piling up like the varied items in a Dagwood.  And while my list continues to grow, I've been feeling an overwhelming compulsion to get things in order at home first.  I need to de-clutter, makeover, renew, etc.  In addition,  I've finally gotten around to packing away the winter which I hope won't return for a few months.  It feels good to have a freshly arranged studio space complete with a new desk which I hope to mess up shortly, and I'm in the process of organizing a study corner in our bedroom for Pat and I to do work and school work.  
On the teaching front, we finished our mono-print books, glazed, and began a collaborative mural. I thought these books turned out great.  One student told me his prints were of tornadoes.  I love it!
And, you're not going to want to miss the next big project to come out of the Art in the Classroom committee.  I'll be documenting our process of painting the map of the US on our school's blacktop.  First step--cleaning!   We scrubbed the pavement with dish detergent, water, and lots of elbow grease.  Faith was clever enough to make a game of it employing the vim and vigor of our children and some others we met on the playground.  Brilliant!
Accordion Books with mono prints
Tornado print second from right
Scrubbing the deck--or pavement
new desk and work space