Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Mail Art

I had participated in Artist Trading Card swaps through the mail before but never thought about swapping bigger artwork until I watched a video session on Mail Art at the 2020 Virtual KAEA Fall Conference. Since most of my high school classes are graphic design mixed with traditional media, it seemed like a great opportunity to touch on mixed media and text.

I was home with one of my kids in quarantine when this lesson was introduced so having a recorded demo embedded in the slides presentation worked great.

The rest of the images are my examples. They are all either 4x6 or 5x7 inches made on a tag board base.
I posted in the Kansas Art Teachers facebook group and found another school to swap with! Their art teacher and I also swapped so that was really fun. I would totally recommend doing a mail art project!


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Ice Dyed T-Shirts

One of the workshops at the 2020 KAEA Virtual Fall Conference was about how to ice dye. I had wanted to give my graphic design students to make an actual product they could use and knew they would like the look of ice dyeing, so this lesson was born!

For the first part, the students designed a logo for the Heart of Jackson Humane Society that could be used on a t-shirt as a client project. 

Next, they had the chance to design their own t-shirt. The theme was open and the design was limited to one color- black- because that is what we had available for iron-on vinyl. Art Club paid for the shirts and we got a great deal since a local t-shirt shop offered to order plain white tees for us at cost. This worked out really well since I didn't have to worry about students bringing their shirts on time or bringing shirts that did not have enough cotton to accept the dye.

While students were designing, we started dyeing shirts. The ice took so long to melt that I had to ask what colors the students wanted and start sprinkling the colors on in the morning. Now that I know how long it takes, I will plan my timeline differently in the future so students can apply the powdered dye themselves.

1. Soak the t-shirts in soda ash water for at least 15 minutes
2. Ring out the shirt and arrange bunched up on a cooling rack, wire basket, etc. so the water can drip through
3. Pile ice on the shirt, trying to cover everything- this can take a little practice to get the ice stacked up
4. Sprinkled on powdered dye- we used jacquard procion dye, about a tablespoon total per shirt, so if you use 3 colors, a teaspoon of each. We did not measure this precisely because I didn't have measuring spoons at school and the spoons borrowed from my clay tools wouldn't fit in the little jars. We stuck the handle of the spoon in and scooped some out, sometimes sprinkling a bit more dye if it looked too pale as the ice melted.
5. Wait until the ice melts
6. When ice is totally melted, rinse the shirts until the water runs clear. Ring it out and rinse it again to be safe.
FYI- if you use a blow dryer to melt the ice the colors don't seem to be as vibrant as if you let the ice melt on its own.

Students created their designs in Photoshop then turned in a jpeg so I could import it to Silhouette studio and cut it out with my portrait on heat transfer vinyl. I learned to order the easy weed vinyl in the future and to do a small test cut to check the depth and number of passes required. The default was not enough for the HTV I ordered so it took some testing to get the right combination.
There were two shirts that the student and I both looked over and didn't notice small missing words like the "in" that should be before affliction. We won't make that mistake again! We ended up trying to match the size and patched it in.

Some students went with just lettering while others went with illustrations.

The students were pretty pumped about their shirts. I asked everyone to wear them on the same day so we could take a group picture. Here is one class:

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Veterans Day Mixed Media Poppies

Here is an assignment my 8th graders worked on for Veterans Day. They ended up working on this while I was teaching remotely with one of my kids in quarantine so I was glad I had created the slides presentation and made a video to demonstrate the steps of the service art project. The students learned about the history of Veterans Day before creating mixed media poppies to present to a veteran that they know or one in our community. 

To make the poppies, students chose a small piece of matboard as a base and drew a stem with colored pencils. They tore red tissue paper into petal shapes and glued those down before adding a black button in the center. I think this could be done with a wide range of ages. It took my 8th graders about two class periods since we took the time to watch videos and participate in the discussions.

Next, the students used Canva to create graphics to share something they learned.

Friday, March 12, 2021

8th Grade Animal Collages

Last fall was a doozy. Groups of students in and out of quarantine. My two older kids in school were both quarantined at different times so I taught remotely more than once. I had a large 8th grade class for the size of my room which made social distancing impossible though we did our best with sneeze guards, assigned seats, sanitization of tables, and individual supply bags. Students did a lot of drawing because I was never able to get an order of watercolor in and my trays were given to the high school students. Finally at the end of the semester we did a collage project, which the students finished while I was once again teaching remotely!
I found that students needed more structured choices than in previous years so we went with the theme of animals since everyone loves animals! This is the slides presentation I made to introduce collage and show different styles.

The students had a lot of different papers to utilize in their projects. There were construction paper and painted paper scraps, magazines, and a big stack of scrapbook paper that was donated. The scrapbook paper had lots of texture and patterns so it was a nice addition.

I was so pleased with how the animal collages turned out, and though I didn't get to interact with the students a lot while they were finishing up, I'm sure they had to be proud of their work too!