Thursday, May 26, 2011

Finishing at C-L Elementary

I have finished at C-L Elementary and feel inspired after working at and for such a great elementary school.  My last few minutes at the school as the students left to catch their was a great way to end my time there with lots of hugs and good wishes for a great summer.  To say we got a lot done on the last day is frankly an understatement.  We finished the last kiln load that morning, grouted all the landscape pieces for the tree pieces, cleaned up the glass and finished the Chinese Dragon too.  All the classes helped in numerous ways from helping us grout, clean up work, cleaning glass with tooth brushes and cleaning a room that looked as if a tornado had struck!

At one point, Dr. Wolf came into the room dressed for work and I warned her about the condition of the room.  What room would not be a disaster when 9 tables are covered with glass, mosaic boards and grout!  How about having 24 eager fourth graders helping in the process?  I suggested that the principal might want to come back after the room had some serious cleaning.

Our designs really came out well and I hope that my additions of the metal sun and moon will be a good match for the work already there.  I felt reluctant to leave because the energy level was so infectious and invigorating.  I truly hope this is a school where I can return......

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Work Progresses at C-L Elementary School

I am feeling like an old hand calling Clarion-Limestone....C-L Elementary!  For such a small school they certainly come up with some ingenious programs included in their classrooms.  Liz and I had a busy day but also had time to take a real look at The Living Wax Museum.  This is where the fifth grade students chose a person to study in terms of a biography.  The students then wrote about this person, dressed up as them, had portraits drawn and historical information about this person.  Observers would then stand in front of a child and that child would recite all the information they knew about their person.  The kids were super excited and did a great job with information and also handled themselves well when the rest of the school came to see them also.  I took photos but I want to wait to make sure I can post them on this site without any privacy issues.

We finished glazing works, painted with K, made clay pockets with 6th graders and worked hard as usual.  Liz bought wood for the mosaic over the weekend and we sanded and prepped pieces for the next few days work.  I am excited about the after school programs on Wednesday and Thursday.....should be lots of fun!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Clarion-Limestone Elementary Residency through Arts Path at IUP

To end my school year I am conducting a residency that has energized me and allows me to realize what it is like to work at a great school with great faculty and staff and terrific kids. Often at this time of the year I can feel a little burned out and tired from trying to remember names, places and people. However, this time I an rejuvinated by the enthusiasm and terrific amount of support offered by this small elementary school. The greatest asset so far has been working with the art teacher Liz Huwar who has such a positive rapport with the entire school and it is so obvious she loves her job. Her enthusiasm spills over to everyone around her.

My core group this time is first grade students. The entire school is working in clay and the other classes are making pieces from clay beads with symbols of themselves while the sixth grade classes are making wall clay pockets. Back to the first graders who I get to see every day for over an hour. We have used gray and red clay and work in teams to create sculptures of things you might find in a garden. These pieces after being fired will be incorporated this coming week into a wall mosaic that exists in the school hallway. Liz had conducted a mosaic project with tiles to create two awesome trees. We also have tile leaves with insects and nature pieces from a former class to incorporate as well.

This next week will be a busy one with unloading the current kiln which has about 300 pieces in it currently. We will then fire the remaining works, conduct two after school workshops/collaborations and start putting our mosaic works together. We are using recycled glass from Youghigheny glass, broken tiles, glass beads and of course the wonderful work of our first graders. On one delightful day we even had a fifth grade class join the first graders to help them finish their work and glaze it too.

I can't begin to express how much joy this project has brought for me personally. I feel like an artist and teacher with boundless energy! It is wonderful to feel this way and I hope the students feel the same.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Busy Busy Hands

Hands and hearts hard at work on my last day of the residency with Hollidaysburg Elementary Schools.  Longer School had a spring concert and art display on Friday night so some of the mosaics were viewed by many.  Students at both schools for such a short time period did well with using equipment and materials safely and with no accidents.

I am hoping to also participate later this summer on another project as a volunteer depending upon the time frame of the playground project.  The bonus of this residency was making a new friend in Greta Halbritter and having an opportunity to work for Hollidaysburg Elementary Schools.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Language Arts with 5th graders at Longer Elementary

Today we spent in starting on the mosaics, cutting glass, unloading the kiln, loading the kiln and passing out small personal tile pieces.  If I were to do things differently it would be to have more than one day with each class to have time to perfect their tiles and glaze their works.  Since that is not the case, we will work with what we have and rely on good teamwork to make our mosaics a success.

Fifth grade students today worked with me on a Language Arts assignment I love with Cinquain poems from their hearts.  Posting a few indicates the extent to which a child realizes the importance of the Arts on a higher level than we know on the surface.

wet, messy
painting, imagining, coloring
having fun on paper

sticky, wet
bonding, gluing, scratching
makes all clay stick

abstract, original
wrting, sculpting, drawing
anything you can imagine

runny, colorful
painting, drawing, doodling
making wonderful paintings of people

colorful, wet
creating, making, drawing
makes you imagine things

"art helps me express my thoughts and feeling....without it I would not know how to express myself."

"art is important to me because it lets me express myself.  Art is important to me because there are no rules.  Art is important to me because it helps me learn."

"art is important to me because it makes you smart.  Art also teaches you history from way back when.  You can be creative with art.  You can use real life experiences in art."

"art is important to me because it gives you video games for me to play.  art gives me tv for me to watch and enjoy.  Last, art gives me art class for me to make art."

Monday, May 2, 2011

More images from Hollidaysburg


Hollidaysburg Residency Spring 2011

My residency in Hollidaysburg at two schools is going well.  The art teacher Ms. Halbritter had loads of clay, tools, two gorgeous Skutt kilns, glazes and eager students!  What more could an artist in residence ask for at this point?  I am working with K-6 and each school also has a core group of students.  All the students have had a chance to dabble in clay.  2-6th graders each made two small hand formed tile pieces, one to keep and one for the final mosaics.  The core groups worked in teams and created the central tiles that are larger.  Each of these tiles represents a word of their choice.

In the meantime, we have fired about 1100 pieces single fire, worked on sanding the mosaice boards, painted the boards and will commence to make about a dozen smaller mosaic pieces for each school.  I have also contributed recycled glass and glass beads to add to the works.  We keep talking about the past Earth Day motto of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Also present for one of my residency days was artist and sculpture Michael Allison an installation artist from the area.  All of us worked with the first grade students to make fiber glass tiles that will be included in the final huge trees that will be installed for a playground at the school.  The entire project is for a student named Zach who passed away who had debilitating health.  I am hoping to volunteer some of my time this summer to go back to the area to help with this huge installation.