Friday, January 16, 2009

What I did last summer

Cynthia Guajardo has some great blogs about her kids classes, so I thought I would put up some shots of some of my favorite class projects from 2007/2008 at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro. Usually my classes have a theme like a children's book, a particular culture, a holiday or working in the style of an artist that we study. I try to incorporate some learning with the clay projects instead of just mindlessly working away (like I do!) My two upcoming camps are going to be fun, not a lot of clay involved. Next week is Peace Arts and we will design peace sign posters and mandalas (thanks to Michael Kline's wife Stacey for the mandala lesson). Then we will go outside and create peace signs from found objects a la Andy Goldsworthy. I found a cool meditation for mandala work that we may do at the end of class. In February the camp will be about where artists find their inspiration and we will explore different ways of coming up with ideas, by looking at books about famous artists, looking at nature and our environment. Then we create using paint, clay and found objects. Should be fun!
I got tired of doing these big masks, uses a lot of clay and takes up lots of room in the kiln, so I switched to making the tiny ones below. They were so much fun to make. One week camps have firing constraints so I have started using acrylic paints and spray the pieces with a high gloss sealer. Much easier and just one bisque fire. Saves wear and tear on our poor old kilns.

These shots are from the Art Around the World camp. These lovely African ladies were just oval slabs of clay wrapped around with arms and a head added. We used metalic paints and spray sealer.
These huts were built to honor the people of Sierra Leone that lost their homes during the war. My partner at camp, Braima Mowai did the African drum/storytelling portion of camp and told stories of his village in Sierra Leone. The kids were very touched by this project. We put sand out on a long table and built a little village for family sharing day. Really fun!
The African village went so well, during the next camp I decided to construct a pueblo village. Not again! I can't even remember how many square slabs we cut for this construction. This was a HARD project to get through with thirty plus kids. And firing all of those little houses. What was I thinking!
It turned out pretty cool though. The kids took over, I lost complete control of the design. They built churches, schools, restaurants, a jail, little animals, etc. It took on a life of it's own. I brought in votive candles and put them inside all of the buildings for family sharing day. It was magical!

Art Around the World, Japanese Kimonos. Just an oval slab, stamped and then folded over. This was a big success, the kids liked this project a lot.
Halloween tombstones
Imaginary environments
For my toddler class we read The Sleepy Owl and then made our own owls. Oval slab folded and then we used the end of a trimming tool to make the little feather scores. These were hung in the gallery on a long stick during the ArtsCenter's student show. The little toddlers were so cute coming to see their work in a gallery!

These are really fun to make, just a ball of clay and the use of little thumbs.


Hollis Engley said...

Great stuff, Tracey. Sounds like the kids were lucky to have you. I love the RIP headstone.

cookingwithgas said...

wonderful projects for the kids! How lucky thet are to have someone who wil spend the time and come up with great ideas.
In another post you said you went to school in Asheboro?

tsbroome said...

Thanks Hollis, I liked the tombstone too. I have a thing for cemeteries. Yep, Asheboro. When I was in school it was known as Randolph Tech and was one of the best schools in the country for interior design and photography.It's now Randolph Community College and I think the design programs have dropped off a bit, but it was an amazing school when I was there. I got a job working for a furniture company the day I graduated and stayed with them for ten years. Gerry was in the photography program and was hired by the Greensboro News and Record even before he graduated. Great memories down that way for both of us. Especially the many meals we had at the Dixie Restaurant!

Patricia Griffin said...

What lucky kids! Great ideas! I'm going to forward a link to this post to a friend of mine who teaches kids clay classes in Hawaii.

claygarden said...

Your projects for the kids are terrific. Connecting their clay work to an event, culture, story really gives heart and community to what they make, and then continuing with a family sharing or show! Wonderful. I especially like the African ladies and the Sierra Leone houses, but what a great, easy, effective way to make kimonos! For a few minutes, it made me wish I was teaching again.

cindy shake said...

the tombstone is INCREDIBLE! thanks for sharing the images...I will be doing more volunteer work at my sons school and you have inspired me just in time :o) I just happened to have picked up a book from the thrift store today called "Art From Many Hands, Multicultural art projects for home and school" by Jo Miles Schuman for 25 cents!

Cynthia said...

Thanks so much for posting these projects! Already, my mind is spinning...

I meant to check back earlier, but needless to say, didn't get around to it because of something or another. But, when I suggested the project to the kids (the environments/African huts) they all wanted to do it, which is what we're doing today. Hence, the visit. I'm going to copy your post for future reference. The kids had wanted to do something on an Asian country and the Kimono is wicked cool! (as are the villages - WOWOWOWOW)