Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fun at IUP

This week at IUP the students were given some collage materials and facial expressions. With very little encouragement and some teamwork, each group created a "face" with foam and also a word to describe the facial expression. Reading facial expressions in real life can prove a daunting task and to realize the expression of a student who simply does not comprehend or "get it" is very helpful for anyone.

After this simple exercise, we then went through magazines, picked our favorite expression and found words to create a collage and cinquain poem. Next week we are working in clay and creating tiles with words in our effort to get some practice in before working on our own mosaic collage.

New Metal Works from Waking Bear Studio

Monday, January 25, 2010

Works in Progress at Laurel Highlands

Here are some examples of the work the students are doing at the end of January, 2010!

Glass and Clay Mosaics at Laurel Highlands

As our work progresses in the mosaic areas, students are learning techniques of mosaic. The first three classes are strictly using the recycled glass and using basic cutting and nipping tools to shape their glass works. The art room has several stations set up with tools to use plus two very nice glass grinders. One aspect of this project that is good for the first three classes is the use of color combinations to suit their original drawings. Often there are changes in use of color from the drawing to the mosaic. Composition becomes key in the success of the pieces as well as careful and calculated placement of glass.

The three advanced classes are using clay in combination with the glass. Because these works are strictly decorative items, we have chosen to skip the bisque process and are simply glazing the greenware pieces. Some students, myself included, have chosen to make all their tile pieces match original drawings. Use of texture, shape and color will make these pieces quite different from the drawings. Again, composition and glaze choices will play a large role in the final success of each piece.

Mr. DeFazio (before my residency commenced) had initiated drawings with the early morning students incorporating graphed drawings that are then distorted. The quality and technique of these pencil drawings is shown on this site to show the diversity of the lessons that Mike initiates in his classes. Critique of the student work is encouraged and the student body is very accepting of this. We have no breaks in our day as our prep period and lunch are filled with students continually working on their pieces. This is just a testament to the enthusiasm the students have for their works!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wonderful Winter Writings

A cinquain from IUP:

white, fluffy
blowing, drifting, laying
a blaket of quietness

Slippery, clear
Melting, freezing, cracking
Make sure you don't slip

Fluffy, temporary.
Rolling, lifting, melting.
Sunshine is his worst nightmare.

White, Small
Falling, sparkling, freezing
Always falls on your nose

Snowy, Cold
Chilling, Blowing, Drifting
Keeps You Locked Indoors

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Artist in Residence at Indiana University of PA

This is already my lucky year for residency work. Not only am I conducting a 60 day residency with one of my favorite teachers, but I am also getting to work with newly appointed professor, Dr. Paula Purnell at IUP. My plate is full already for 2010!

The residency at IUP is a course taught by Paula entitled Creative Experiences to Enhance Literacy Acquisition. It is designed to provide teacher candidates with "art" experiences to use in the classroom. A daunting task to be sure.....most classrooms are so full of pre-calculated and necessary curriculum that providing an art approach is difficult to fit in the schedule.

However, eleven young and bright women are taking this course, so we will endeavor to provide them with the artistic resources that Paula and I both love. Today was an introduction day and we did paper collage work relating to "winter" and also wrote our own cinquain poems to relate in a language arts form.

I am excited to work with Paula and the students....I am hoping to include some of their writings here on the site.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January at Laurel Highlands School

It is another typical drab day here in PA. Most of our beautiful snow has melted off and now is gray and grimy on the sides of the roads. The lack of sunlight makes it feel as if it is afternoon time...almost feels like nap time:)

Here at school the residency day commences at 7 am and ends at 2:30 pm. Typically, I get up at 4:30 am, take the sleepy dogs out and head to Sheetz for a much needed cup of wake up java. The drive is a bit tedious but made easier with a car pool and pick up around Pike Run Country Club. Our arrival here is usually with no apparent daylight.

During the course of the day, while working on our mosaics, we have a total of 6 classes we teach. The first three classes are Art 1 and then others are Advanced Art and then Ceramics/Sculpture. Thumbnail sketches were approved by either Mr. DeFazio or myself and then drawn up on prospective boards.

The glass cutting and tile cutting has involved us with various cutting tools plus two very nice grinders. Usually we have no mishaps with the glass, but we do keep a ready supply of bandaids...just in case. The projects will take several weeks and the dreaded grouting process will be the final part of the mosaics. Most of the classes are about 18 students and a variety of designs have emerged.

The enthusiasm of the student body is always a delight. No one complains and most come in right away, grab their boards and get to work. We really have no free periods in the course of the day as students come in to work extra time on their projects. Most of the mosaics will be finished in time for our art show that will be set up during the musical of Guys and Dolls.

More photos later this week!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Some Images of Glass Mosaics

Here are just a few images (many more to come!) of the glass we collected, tiles we are making from clay and our beginning process for the mosaics.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Residency for Laurel Highlands High School

I am working for my 9th year with Mr. Michael DeFazio, this year at Laurel Highlands High School. The grant this year for the residency program was designated as a 60 day residency with stimulus funding provided through the PA Council on the Arts. Twelve schools in PA were selected for this program.

Mike did some of the leg work on collecting supplies for our first project finding scrap glass from Youghigheny Glass, located in Connellsville PA. Youghigheny Glass has provided us in the past with glass that we have used in large and small scale mosaics. Mike and several students volunteered their time to collect about 800 pounds of glass of varied colors and quality. I am sure that the suspension system of his van was buckling under the weight of the glass. Mike also pre-cut OSB board so that each student had a good surface to create their individual mosaics.

The first three classes in the morning are Art 1 and most of the students in those classes sanded edges of the boards and we applied Kilz paint for a workable surface. In our Advanced Class and Ceramics we approached the mosaics a little bit differently. All students started with thumbnail sketches and upon approval from either Mike or myself were then able to start selecting glass. The Advanced Class was a little further ahead since they had done a similar project last year.

In our Ceramics classes we actually made our own clay tile pieces and will use the glass intermittently in our designs. We used mostly Amaco and Mayco glazes along with white and mocha clay. To save a little time and since these are decorative and not functional, we actually single fired our pieces. We simply skipped the bisque process. In this process, the students worked in teams cutting and creating tiles that were more or less a community effort.

I am working at the school 4 days a week and will continue into the beginning of May. Upcoming projects after the mosaic works will include watercolor, drawing and our final HUGE projects will be metal sculpture pieces to be kept permanently in the newly renovated courtyard at the school. It is always a pleasure to work with Mike and I am sure we will make and install some wonderful pieces!