Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Embroidered pet portraits, 4th grade

We tried a new media with our #petpARTners project, which raises awareness of the homeless pet population in our community - embroidery! Fourth grade learned to load an embroidery hoop with fabric, thread a needle, tie a knot, and sew a few stitches like the running stitch, back stitch and satin stitch. Managing needles can be tricky, but this tip from Art with Mrs. E on Instagram was a good idea - I ended up making six smaller boxes with five needles each, one box per table. It made for quicker collection and distribution.

We started by tracing our empty hoop on paper and drawing a "head and shoulders" portrait of a dog or cat from FurKids animal shelter - a few students wanted to make their family pet. I shared these examples from this Pinterest pin to get an idea of how the embroidered stitches might look. 

Then, we placed our muslin over the pencil drawing and very lightly traced it onto the fabric. Finally, we loaded the fabric and started stitching - the first day of threading needles and making stitches is very hands on for me, because it can be a little confusing right at first. By the next lesson, however, most kids are rolling along and solving their own stitching issues. This is a great lesson to demonstrate problem solving!I have Open Studio mornings a few times a week, and I get the biggest turnout from kids wanting to work on their embroidery - they really get hooked. It is a bit time consuming and I have interrupted the lesson a couple of times for things like getting ready for our upcoming art show. But the results are great and they love learning a new skill. For the paper frame, we trace the interior of the empty hoop on to a piece of construction paper, cut it out from the inside, and tape the fabric behind.

I share these on social media to encourage people to “adopt, don’t shop” or to donate to their local shelter. #petpARTners ties in wonderfully with our character ed program, 7 Mindsets. These are some from our first finished batch - will post more soon!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Toucans: trying out tools and techniques!

Toucans are colorful and beautiful creatures, and are exotic and mysterious to us in this part of the world. All of the colorful toucans you see in this post started out as mystery drawings - drawings created by listening to clues and drawing along with the teacher to discover what the drawing will turn out to be. Grades 1-5 experimented with this lesson using different types of media - it is interesting to see the different looks created by the variety of materials: black and colored sharpie, tempera paint used as a drawing medium, watercolor paint, twistable crayons, oil pastels, and water based markers.