Archive for May, 2012

My brain runs away on me.  despite all the positive comments I get about my work with the elementary school kids, I had myself convinced that nobody was going to want to do these projects again with me.  Caused me no end of stress and what’s the end of the story look like?? Both schools had some minor changes to request and then said, YES, yes, yes! please, we’ll do this again next year.  Which feels so very excellent.  The weight has lifted off my shoulders and I again feel validated and valuable. Proud of myself for putting in the work and making art education a bigger part of my life.  I have been looking forward to the kids by the time the summer is over. I get excited to start working with them again.

This is what we did today – a continuation of the abstract art from an earlier post. the project that uses aerial river pictures to create abstract wall art.  The work these students completed was really quite cool.  I even remembered to take some pictures today!

Even the teacher got in on the fun this time ’round.


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I’ve done it!!

I have successfully integrated an art project where the finished product is abstract art – And the kids love every minute of it!!!

They have a section of social studies where they learn about mountains, rivers etc.. as well as different points of view – for example, an aerial view of a river.  This type of image has been my favorite for, well, forever.

The project goes like this: I give each student a picture of a river taken from above.  They in turn decide which parts to use, trace them and cut out this pattern piece. (it turns out that when you’re 9 years old, it’s necessary to decide first, trace the line and then cut.  cutting without decisive lines becomes confusing, scary and frustrating – at least from my experience with them).


These pattern pieces are used a unit for their final image.  They trace the unit multiple times to create a complex picture.  Some of them go straight to symmetry, some really dig the long, windy, river type shapes you can get by joining the units end to end, some to radial patterns, borders are common…. all sorts of things turn up.  I do my best to facilitate more drawings, I always ask them what they like the most and least, and to use that info to inform their next picture.  This tends to be a one on one process, which is excellent.


I do my best to impress upon them that there is no right or wrong way to go about this.  I get lots of questions like this ” Is this right? Do I have to do it this way? Do you like this? Can I do this?” To which I answer with my own set of questions “Do you like it? would you like to? It doesn’t matter if I like it, do you like it? OR I’m not answering that question, what’s important is if you like it. Would you like to do that?”

It seems they’re searching for the ability to make their own decisions, but should check just in case.  They are often very happy with being able to make up their own minds.

I go back for two more days to finish this project, we’ll make stencils and print the positive and negative of their images, then practice putting lines in there and then finally adding these lines to the final product with needle and thread.  I’ll post more pictures when I get them.


I love facilitating this kind of project. Don’t get me wrong, it’s exhausting answering 25 little questions every 5 minutes – to which my answer is almost always – do you like it – or some form of this. We practice problem solving a lot, and their personalities definately come out in their work.  The teachers tend to be blown away with the work their students do with their time with me.  Also, I’ve been taking the time to volunteer to hang the work in some of the schools, and this has made an even bigger impact on the staff and students in the school. Which feels really really good.

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