Thursday, February 24

Photo "exquisite corpse"

In my student teaching placement, we have a visiting artist from the Print Center coming to work with 2 of our classes. They jump-started the project with an "exquisite corpse" style collage. Students were provided color copies of photos by Print Center artists to divide, swap, collage, divide, swap, collage, divide, swap, collage. Once the original images had been collaged, students individualized their pieces further with magazine collage- although using ArtNews magazine instead of the sports and fashion ones we usually have made for very different-looking images. Here are some of the more interesting ones:

These were all by 11th and 12th graders in an Art I class. I've scanned them all and hope to have them printed so we can work into them further, either cropping or drawing over them.

Sunday, February 20


Somehow between the class I taught Thursday night at Fleisher and home the little embroidery I was working on disappeared. I went to pick it up to work on and discovered it was missing on Friday night. It's put me in quite a disjointed state, since my fingers want to work on it and nothing else.

My creative balance is off.

Wednesday, February 16

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

Last Thursday we had a Valentine-making night in my Stitch and Surface. Everyone brought lots of bits and pieces, and I dragged out all kind of scraps, stuffing, and the sewing machine. Hopefully everybody got theirs done before V-day, but here some are in progress for your viewing pleasure:
This started off with a tracing in ink on graphed vellum from a photo. Scraps were found and cut to create an applique, but the pieces looked so lovely under the vellum with the line drawing wed decided to glue them down onto paper and stitch the tracing over top. Some final details, like a dotted line between the lovers' eyes were embroidered.

This one reminds me of a postcard. It's some lovely linen reverse appliqued back to a red handwoven fancy twill with french knots to tack down the applique. Simply elegant! I'm enjoying seeing this return student combine her weaving and embroidery skills once more.

This artist wanted to create a more literal "heart", so she cut the applique pieces out to match up with ventricles and aortas, stuffed the applique before suturing them closed, and began stitching veins and shadows for a very interesting relief effect.

From this view you can see the dimensionality!

No Valentine? Gotta love bacon! This has lots of experimentation with stitch styles and applique- even some more dimensional stuffing.

Some more 3-dimensionality over here with ribbons, rosettes, pearls, and charms. If you've been reading for a while you may recognize this person's work! She took my class last semester and came back for seconds.

Okay, seems like everyone must be itching for a sculpture class! This artist decided to create a padded cover for a store-bought scrapbook kit, proof that one can always innovate and individualize with a little creativity!

Saturday, February 12

Kentridge inspiration

 I've been in love with William Kentridge's work for a long time. A year ago I used a video of his to inspire a charcoal transformed drawing with my 12-13-y-o painting and drawing class. This time his porter figures have inspired another project. I'm thinking of calling it "Weight of the World". I'd like the students to work collaboratively on collaging a large silhouette figure, and then work individually on drawings to represent desires/fears/worries/objects-of-importance to pile on top of the figure.
Comparisons can be made to Atlas, to homeless and transient individuals, to the psychological weight of our thoughts.... Here's his Art 21 special and Here's a video of his shadow procession. Too bad youtube doesn't work at school!

Monday, February 7

overlapping geometric figure lesson

Remember this lady?

Well she inspired a whole lesson we're trying out with the high school students I'm working with. We're calling them action figures, inspired by sports-figures in magazines, traced, filled with geometric shapes, then repeated and overlapped for watercolor washes and transparencies. Here's the exemplar I made:
It's a pretty challenging activity for them, but I'm hoping it will help them understand how figures can be drawn through geometric shapes, and improve their watercolor technique. Lots of the kids work with the watercolors like gouache and don't exploit it's more watery nature.
Crossing my fingers!

Saturday, February 5


Next week I'm having my embroidery class do a valentine project... so I played a bit. There's some red printed fabric, some crocheted lace tacked down, black beads spelling out LOVE, and a printed ribbon. Everything was stitched and beaded, then cut out, sewn, and stuffed. My heart shape isn't totally perfect- but I like it that way. For a more perfect heart shape I would have drawn the outline to sew along.

This past week was my first full week of student teaching!! It went well, but don't expect too many posts in the near future.

Tuesday, February 1

Some more right brain drawing

In moments of waiting for other things to happen I've managed to squeeze in some more drawing exercises following the "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" book. I'm working on the "negative spaces" drawing section. You're supposed to close one eye to flatten your view and look for the space created by the negative spaces around an object rather than the form of the object itself. It's supposed to bypass our literal tendency to recognize, name, and symbolize things.
I had more than a few minutes in the car waiting for the Philadelphia parking authority to become helpful. Thus I explored the spaces around the barbed wire fence (above). The drawing method felt a little stiff to me, so I also did a version in my usual sketching manner (below).
 There was quite a long wait at the salon waiting for my daughter's hair to get cut, so I pulled out my sketchbook to draw an empty chair. This one really felt more like the "puzzle pieces" of negative spaces to assemble. The book recommends using a viewfinder to frame the scene. I found drawing a format rather than using the full page to be similarly helpful. 
 With all this negative space drawing, I altered one of the exercises that's recommended. The author tells us to cut a figure out of a magazine page and glue the background pieces to a black board. This results in a silhouette showing how the negative space meets right up with the positive space. Yin and Yang in a way.
I thought this might be a good exercise for helping students recognize how objects can be broken down or made up through geometric shapes. So I found an interestingly-posed figure, cut her out of the picture, glued the background to my sketchbook, and filled the positive space with various sized forms which make up the figure.
I have a lot of students who say "I can't draw!" I wonder if an exercise like this one might help them see the building blocks. What if this figure was made, then a second, mirror image figure was drawn copying the shapes, then fleshed out?