Oh hello!

I'm Meg. I make stuff.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Order and chaos!

Two projects here:  Mondrian-inspired paintings and Pollock-inspired splatter art.  Be mindful that these projects will set the mood/energy/focus level for your group!  Choose them wisely :)

 We used electrical tape to help keep the black lines straight and defined.

Outdoors- obviously.  We used thinned tempera paint and flung it (in turns) with big paintbrushes.

We cut the final product into chunks so everyone could take home a piece.

We mixed glitter into these paints.  It was a smashing success!

IMPORTANT:  Remember to either take off shoes or have parents send in ones that are ok getting splattered!  I forgot this step.  Live and learn!

Collages with kids

The key to a good collage project is having good materials for the kids to look through.  I found that Real Simple, some yoga magazines, art magazines, and some family/parenting magazines tended to have images that kids could relate to and get inspired by- and images that weren't overly sexual or misogynist.  I put on some fun music while the kids made these, and then they took turns telling stories about each other's collages.  It was lots of fun, and was like two projects in one!

Wacky dioramas

I love giving kids unusual materials to work with.  They often become very careful and meticulous, and conscious of the special-ness of what they are being allowed to do.  For this project, I armed a few helpful adults with hot glue and lay out a table full of bunch of small fun stuff- recycled scraps, classroom leftovers, old toys that tend to go un-played-with, feathers, beads, fabric, magnetic poetry, buttons, etc.  Each child was allowed to take several turns through the supply table so that everyone had a chance to get some "good stuff."  These are some of the things kids made.  I think they're really interesting!

Andy Goldsworthy-inspired group art

This is one of my favorite projects I've ever done with kids.  My group of 6-8 year olds gathered in our little studio and looked at a few works by Andy Goldsworthy.  I brought in one colorful bouquet for us to dismantle and use, and we found a lot of objects to use on our own.  All ideas were kid-generated, and everyone participated in the construction of our pieces.  I took a few high-res photos and printed out a glossy copy for each child to take home, and hung one in my own house for a while.

My kids LOVED this experiential project, and talked enthusiastically about wanting to go home and make more art in their backyards.  (As always, click a picture to see a bigger version of it!)

Batik peacocks

This is the last of my series of around-the-world art projects with kids.  This one is really easy and really fun!  We learned a little about the process of batik, or wax-resist dying.  To do it in a kid-friendly way, we colored on printer paper with crayon all the way out to the edges of the paper and then crumpled the paper and watercolored over it with blue watercolor and let it dry.

So pretty!

Then we cut those pieces of paper into feather shapes and mounted them into construction paper peacock bodies!  We glued the whole thing to textured (read: crumpled) craft paper for structural stability.

So cool!  

Mandalas for kids

When I was in college, I took an incredible course from the Venerable Tenzin Yignyen in the meaning and making of Tibetan mandalas.  He taught us how to paint our own mandalas and build one together out of sand.
Our group sand mandala (based on Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion)

dismantling it 

pouring it, and our intentions, into the lake to bless all beings who use the water

It was a wonderful project.  I wanted to find a way to share the experience with my kiddos in my art class.  I focused on the ideas of symbolic imagery and the meditation of quietly drawing those things and pouring your thoughts and concentration into them.  We started by brainstorming things that we thought were important and symbols that might represent them.

lovely, aren't they?  I love kids.

Then I put on some quiet music and all of the kids made these masterpieces.  I was so proud of them!

The best part of projects like these is sitting in a circle and having the kids share their work and give each other supportive feedback.  As a childhood-enthusiast and therapist, I think it is very valuable to periodically ask kids what their values are and record them.  Not only is it an empowering and validating experience for them, it can really help ME to remember to simplify, be generous and kind, and to listen.

Art inspired by different cultures

This is another round-up of art projects from when I used to teach!  The theme for this set was "Art from Around the World."  Most of these are self-explanatory, so I'll be brief.  Here we go!

Salt dough animal totems

Build them on cardboard for easiest take-home-ability!

Mosaics made from cut up paper and contact paper
more mosaics
Aboriginal mud paintings made with tempera paint on crumpled brown paper

For paint brushes we collected our own sticks
I love the way these turned out!
Mexican paper flags
Chinese paper dragons made of paper cone cups, strips of tissue paper, and dowels.  These are so fun to "fly" and watch the streamers blow!  I have action shots but they all have faces.  You'll just have to trust me.

These are Adinkra prints are inspired by designs from Ghana.  My mom carved the stamps and graciously lent them to us!  Each of us printed one design and then shared them with everyone else, so we all made colorful, diverse banners.

More projects with more in-depth instruction coming soon!