Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Clay Inukshuks

For the last few years the Grade 2's have been making these clay Inukshuk scenes.  Studying the Inuit is part of the social studies curriculum and this fits in nicely.  This year it is an added bonus that the Inukshuk is the symbol of the Vancouver Olympics.

You need to slice off a 2 inch slab from your clay block.  If you don't have access to a kiln you can make one out of air dried clay.  Roll your piece out flat until it is about 1 to 3/4's of an inch.

Taking a wooden skewer (best tool for cutting) cut out a nice egg shape approximately 8 inches long.

Dip your finger in water and smooth the edge of this cut.  You don't want a jagged cut because after it bakes in the kiln this edge can be quite sharp. (ouch!)

Take your egg and fold it up smooshing the back a bit to form a good supportive seam.  You can also turn up the corners a bit to give this shape extra support.

Using a cookie cutter, old tomato paste can , or in our case a small metal case that normally would hold beads..cut out a small circle for your sun.

To glue this onto your scene make sure you score the back of the circle as well as where you want it to go ...add a touch of water and stick into place.  The kids all know to "scratch, scratch, water, water" to glue pieces of clay together.

You can scratch in some rays for your sun.

The next thing to do is to cut out the rectangular shapes for your Inukshuk.  They will be glued (scratch,scratch,water,water) onto the back of the scene so you don't have to make them too thick.

It should look something like this.

You now need to start forming your Inuit hunter.
Make a body shape and attach to the base.

Roll a head between your palms and then roll a long snake.

Attach this to your head to represent the fur around the collar of the coat.

Make sure to scratch in your face.

Glue (scratch,scratch,water,water) into place onto of the body.  Roll a second snake to form the arms and attach as one piece onto the back of the body.  I usually have to remind the kids that arms come from the shoulders and not the waist as they always seem to want to attch them there.

You can start adding rocks to make your fire circle.  Just scratch the base and don't worry about scratching each individual rock.

Finally they can add some fish.

It should look something like this.

Put the completed scenes somewhere safe and warm to dry.

I usually have them loosely covered with a garbage bag for 24 hrs. (that way they don't dry out to fast leaving cracks)  I then remove the bag and let them fully dry out for about 2 weeks.  This ensures we have no mishaps in the kiln.

After they have dried out carefully load your kiln and bisque fire.

We decided to paint ours with acrylics to get a nice opague (dense) color but you can also use glaze and fire again.

The kids were instructed to paint the sky and snow first and then all the details.

After letting the paint cure for 24 hrs I'll seal them with a glossy acrylic medium or sealer.

That's it.  Sorry this photo is not the best...the skylights at the school always mess me up...good natural light to work under but washes out my photos.

Give it a try and I'll see you soon.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wash Off Technique

Well it's been an interesting week...on Friday my Laptop died...I tried to boot it up and it kept telling me it couldn't find a hard drive.  Luckily it's still under warranty so the man from Dell will drop by next week to fix it fingers crossed.  I haven't been able to get a lot of computer time so I thought I'd share a project describing a wash off technique.  Sorry but I don't have a lot of photos for this one. 
You need some heavy duty watercolor paper (140lb)....use that Michaels coupon and buy a strathmore pad.  Another good alternative comes courtsey of Costco for FREE.  Go to the paper products section...in between the toliet paper and paper towels you'll find large sheets of heavy duty paper that they put between the stacks.  It's usually lying on the floor or shoved to the side.  Pick up 1 or 2 or 3, roll it up put it in your cart..... they let you have it for free.

Take your paper and sketch out a design.  Now for my example I only used  2 colors... but you could use more.  I'm hoping to show you an idea in the next few days using more color so stay tuned.  Using tempera paint (water soluable) paint in all the sections you want to stay white.  I used a grey shade. Don't pick a really dark color as it might leave a bit of residue /staining behind unless you are trying to achieve that look.

When it has dried take ACRYLIC paint and paint over the entire surface. Leave to dry.   When dry take to the sink and wash under warm water.  Whever you have painted with the tempera will lift off revealing your design in white.  It also takes on this really nice weathered look due to the wash...almost batik like.
When you start washing you'll realize why you need the heavy paper....use your fingers to help scrub the paint off.
It's a really cool effect.  Let dry. That's it give it a try. A very interesting technique for the kids.

In other news...I've made progress on the dollhouse.  I put the roof on today and just have to build the tower room.  A lot bigger than I expected so I'm working from the floor.
My daughter and I have have narrowed it down a bit...we're thinking we'll make it into the Bennet house from "Pride and Predjudice"......

Already planning the room decor.
Hope to see you soon with a new take on the wash off technique as well as some great clay projects in process from Grade 2 and 3.  I'm taking my good camera to school so I hope to also bring you some photos of this year's rookery of the Grade One Penguins. 
Take care!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Interactive Olympic Art Project

Well here is an Olympic Art Project that has actual led to fights among my kids over who gets to play with it.
You make a sports venue and then an athlete which is able to move using a magnet.

The kids love it and have grand plans for making a bobsled run, skeleton, speedskating track, etc.

You need some popsicle sticks, glue, some coins (dimes and nickels work well) and some heavy duty magnets.  I got mine at the dollar store....8 for a $1.00.  You don't want to use the magnetic tape.  It is just not strong enough.

Glue your heavy duty magnet to your popsicle stick and set aside to dry. 
Find some cardboard to mount your background to.  A cereal box would work great.  You can test it to make sure your magnet will move a coin thru the cardboard.
I glued a piece of paper to my cardboard first as I needed to cover the colored cardboard...this was not my background.  The color was so strong on the cardboard I could see it thru one layer of paper.
I then took a second piece of paper the same size as my cardboard and sketched out my design.
I added some color with watercolor pencils but you can use crayon, pencil crayon, felts, whatever you wish.
I then made a little alpine skier. I sketched it out and then added color.  Make sure it is as big as your coin.
I then glued a dime to the back.  If you want you can just use tape.

Then glue your background onto your cardboard.
Flatten the best you can.
You can put some heavy books on top to help it dry flat.
And that's it an interactive picture....place your athlete on the background and using your magnet wand on the back you can make your athelete move thru the course winning Olympic Gold!
One last thing to show you after Maya posted about the "Sparrow Post" from Tasha Tudor's book she got me thinking about my dollhouse...which has been sitting in the box for the last 2 years. I finally started it this weekend...here I'm gluing in the floor for the second level. I hope to keep working on it a little each day.  It's a 3 storey and I hope to turn it into Jane Austen setting.  (just don't know which right now)
Take care and I hope you make an Olympic venue or two.  I'm sure we will be doing this activity at school.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Framed Valentine Art

Well....... I was in my favorite dollar store (Dollarama) on Thursday when I found these wonderful shadowbox frames for $1.25......I started thinking and next thing you know we had a Valentine craft for Grade One on Friday.
These are the Grade One's version...they were so happy that they got to use their new markers for it. We just have to glitter our hearts.
Sorry for the poor picture quality but I took the picture with my Blackberry.
(desperate times call for desperate measures) My husband took my good camera on his ski trip.

So here are the frames I purchased along with a 12 pack of Styrofoam hearts for $1.00.

If there are any rough edges you can sand them down. Save the insert for measuring your art work.

In honor of Valentine's Day we painted our frames red but black would look nice as well.

I stuck the hearts on skewers for easier painting and we painted them red as well.

You then can add a little glitter when the paint dries.

Using the insert measure a piece of cardstock or watercolor paper for your artwork.

Have the kids sketch out a picture of themselves. I traced out where the heart is going to go to help them compose their picture.

Using paint, markers, or pencil crayons add some color.

You can use a fine marker to add detail if you wish.

You can glue your heart on at this time.

Using stamps the kids stamped "I Love You" on their picture. I taped the letters together for "Love" and "You" so they only had to stamp once.

Glue your art into place and slide in the glass cover.

That's it....a very adorable Valentine gift all ready to hang on your wall and what parent or Grandparent wouldn't love one of these.
See you next time.