Thursday, June 24, 2010

Macrame Owl Project

Only 3 days of school left and one last project up on the bulletion board.

Grade 4 was studying this Farley Mowat book in Language Arts and the teachers and I decided it would be a good tie in to have each Grade 4 student macrame an owl.  Each finished owl ended up being about 14 inches long.

Before I could teach the kids to do an owl we needed to learn our square knot.  I gave each student these instructions.....I color coded mine to help them along. CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LARGER AND PRINT FULL SIZE.

I then cut 4 lengths of yarn about 30 inches long...1 blue, 1 red, and 2 yellow.  Those of you in the states could easily do red, white and blue if you prefer.  I took the four lengths from the middle and tied them onto a key ring.  Looking like this.
 I then took some sturdy cardboard measuring around 9and a half  by 11", poked a hole near the top with a skewer and tied the ring onto the board with a pipe cleaner.  This gives each student a portable and neat way to keep their work organized and can easily be stored in their desks.

We then tied a square knot in the first 4 cords (1,2,3,4) and another in the second 4(5,6,7,8).  I then had them put the first 2 cords off to the side as well as the last 2 and we tied a square knot in the middle(3,4,5,6) alternating square knot.  We then strung a bead on cords 1 and 2 as well as cords 7 and 8.  An easy way to string the beads on is to lay the ends on top of a length of pipe cleaner, fold the pipe cleaner over the cords once and then push the whole thing (cords and pipe cleaner) thru the bead hole.  Having the whole thing color coded worked great!  The student continued with the 2 square knots and then the alternating center knot all the way down leaving about 3 inches left on the end with which we tied a tassle knot.

They were able to get about 7 to 8 rounds.

Now we were ready to try our hand at the owls.  I printed off a set of instructions for each 2 students from this link, UPDATE: old link was broken but this one is pretty good  : Macrame Owl Directions.  We also had these directions on the overhead and smart board for the kids to follow along.

I found some nice bulky yarn at Wal Mart...a huge ball (480 metres) cost about $7.00 and I only needed 3 balls for 38 students.  Mrs. G at school cut all the lengths of yarn using a table length (about 1 metre) as her guide.  You need 10 for each student.  We used natural bamboo plant stakes from the garden centre cut into 8 inch lengths and tied on our yard.  We then secured this to our piece of cardboard using 2 pipe cleaners.  Your  set- up should look like this.

We then completed our owls over several sessions.  In the beginning we followed along as a class but as the students got the hand of it they could work at their own pace.

Some kids choose alternating colors for the wings for some extra interest.

Here is the final display.  The kids had a great time...very proud of their Owls....and the adults had a great time remembering our macrame experiences as kids in the 70's.

Why not try incorprating Macrame into your art program...see you next time.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Coffee Cozy for Father's Day

Wow, 3 posts in 3 the midst of the Father's Day rush!

Here is the Father's Day project Grade 4 completed.  An embroidered coffee cozy.

Pretty straight forward.  I went to a local coffee shop and grabbed a cardboard cozy for my pattern.   I made a pattern out of posterboard.  I then traced out the pattern onto wool felt in a selection of colors...(I was going for masculine colors).       For tracing I used either a pencil on light colored felt or a white pencil crayon.

I gave each student a tapestry needle....tapestry needles have a blunt edge and although it's a bit harder to push thru the felt we did not have any needle sticks.                                                           I asked each student to trace out the word DAD in the center of their felt...the top of the pattern is the arc type curve.  Then using embroidery thread straight from the pkg. we pulled our thread thru the needle and knotted both ends together giving us a double strand of full thread.  This prevented the kids having to worry about pulling their end out of the eye.  We used a back stitch to embroider DAD and then they could add other designs.

One class decided to blanket stich their long sides while the other class focused on decorations.  Because it's wool felt you can finish it either way and it won't fray over time.  I then just stitched the ends together on the machine in minutes.                                    For presentation we slid each cosy over a recycled cup with a packet of gourmet instant coffee inside as well as a Father's Day poem.

That's it.  It was a quick and easy Father's Day project. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Windsocks for Father's Day

Grade 1 completed Koinobori Windsocks for their Father's Day project this year.

I have posted the instructions for this project before here but I wanted to give you a few hints when working with a larger # of kids.

Before doing our glue batik I had each student to a practice version on paper.  We folded it in half and practiced keeping our heads at one end and tails at the other.

We also made sure if we were writing in words that that they were not upside down once the fish was folded over on the center line.           The fabric has a layer of wax paper underneath and then is placed on an art board.  This year I was fortunate to find a nylon sportswear fabric on sale so these windsocks should hold up quite well in the Canadian weather.( Incidently the one my son made 2 years ago still looks as good as the day he brought it home lasting thru all kinds of weather) 

I drew a line down the center of the fabric to keep the kids on track.         Once they completed the side closest to them I flipped the art board around and they worked on the other side. 

When they had finished applying the gel glue we put them to the side to dry overnight.

The next day we painted them with acrylic paint which was thinned out with a litlle water.     I asked them to cover the entire area so no white was showing.

Set these aside to dry.

I then soaked all 44 windocks in a wash tub of hot water for an hour or so.  I scrub each windsock a little bit  with a nail brush to make sure the glue has released and to take off any excess paint the kids layered on.  Place in the dryer to dry.            This year instead of using wire in the casing to form the opening of the windsock I used large plastic ties.  Don't know why I didn't think of this before!

With the help of a trusty parent volunteer (thanks Ruth!) we strung the socks on natural bamboo plant stakes (extra long ones) from the garden store.  We used a little duct tape to ensure the sock will stay tied on to the pole.   That's it....great job Grade 1!...every person walking down the hall had to stop and admire these windsocks and I'm sure all the Dads will be thrilled.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Clay Trays for Father's Day

I thought I would show you the clay project Grade 5 and 6 have completed for Father's Day. These trays are to hold every Dad's assortment of coins, keys, phones, etc.

Now I know it's too late for you to do this for this Father's Day but it's something you can keep in mind for next year or you can do a variation of this project anytime.

We completed this project as a class.  Sometimes I set up clay out on tables in our large pod hallways but for this one we did it in the classroom.

I give each student a piece of heavy cotton material to work on.  As well they each get a small cup of water and a wooden skewer as well as tools for imprinting.
For this project they were asked to come up with their own unique design. 

After each tray was completed I set them out of the way on a drying shelf.  I let the trays dry out for a good 2 weeks.   This is always the hard part with clay...planning ahead for sufficient drying time.

I then bisque fire them (cone 4) in the kiln.   In preparation for glazing I brush on a wax emulsion on the bottom of each piece.  This stops the glaze for dripping onto the bottom and eliminates me having to stilt each piece.   You can also use wax emulsion to create interesting resist patterns when glazing.

Before the students start glazing I set out paper towels to work on.  The glazes are placed into paint trays that I use only for glazing with the color written beside....the color you see in the liquid glaze is not always the color you end up with.   I also set out a selection of brushes and water to clean them with.

I then let the students glaze asking them to do 2 - 3 heavy coats.

Depending on how much time I have I may also add a coat of clear glaze after each piece has dried.

I then fire it at a cone 6.  I have another set in the kiln tonight with glazing set for tomorrow...another fire tomorrow night and we'll have made it in time for Father's Day! Whew!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"Night and Day" City Skylines

Here is another project that Grade 2 has done in the last skylines.

I have another skyline lesson here which is more of a mixed media design.

 The one I am showing you here is a bit simpler using paint and very applicable to the younger (k-3) grades.

On watercolor or sketch paper have the kids draw a skyline in pencil from one side of the paper to the other.  We did not use a ruler..... going for a free form design but by all means have them use one if you are developing those ruler skills.

This picture is from the other skyline post.  You can have them outline the picture in marker or in white pastel which is how Grade 2 did it.

Using disk tempura have the kids paint their skylines in bright colors.   Leave the painting to dry and then cut out.

The kids now have a choice of making a daytime background or a night time background.

For a daytime picture we took a blue piece of posterboard and sponged on some white clouds with white liquid tempura paint.
For a night time scene we used black posterboard and using a splatter box hit a brush loaded with white paint against a dry paintbrush to create stars.  The student here is creating some large constellations!

When the background has dried we glued the skyline into place.

I placed each finished skyline between artboards with wax paper on top.  I then weighted it down so they would dry flat.

That's it.  Amazing skylines Grade 2!
Great project with terrific results and very easy to execute. Give it a try!