Leave a comment

Clay Every Day (for a week anyway)…

Here I sit on a Friday afternoon with my feet up and my heart happy. I’m looking over the photos I barely had time to take during the Clay Every Day workshop that ran from 9-12 Monday through Friday this week. We had a lot of fun yet worked very hard. For the first 2 1/2 days we focused on hand building using slab techniques. Everyone made a drape bowl and an inset bowl, a textured mug, a clay hand, and a clay plaque. We went through 50 lbs. of clay on the first day alone! That’s a lot of clay for just seven hours or so! And throw in the random spontaneous dance party and well, you know…busy, busy!

IMG_7112

We went through 50 lbs. of clay on the first day alone!

IMG_7115

Clay hands…

During the second half of the third day we cleaned up all the clay tools and broke out the glaze and brushes. We painted manufactured bisque items while the hand built clay pieces had a chance to harden up a little bit. Each artist painted a plate and cup using a common theme and the next day continued the theme on their drape bowl. We all envisioned breakfast served with juice in the cup, toast on the plate, and cereal in the bowl. That was super motivational!

IMG_7120

Working on the bisque pieces…

IMG_7121

Breakfastware on a theme…

IMG_7117

Happy to be glazing…

The next day, Thursday, was pretty much a glazing marathon painting the drape bowls, the inset bowls (to look like a flower or sun), the splatter painted hand, and the textured mug (3 color minimum).

IMG_7146

Justine’s Phases of the Moon cup…

rory

Rory lost in glazing her hand…

Our last day, Friday, was reserved for exploring glazing techniques. The first project was a tie-dyed tile. We used pencil to draw shapes on the tile and then painted them with 3 or 4 colors. Once three layers of each color were applied, we put an extra coat of the lightest color around each boundary and dragged a fine brush through it making spikes of color. This was a pretty fun project…

kiln

The kiln loaded with tie-dyed tiles, bisque plates, and cute little mice…

Which is a good thing because the Mishimas technique we did next was a little more challenging. We had coated the slab plaques with three coats of glaze before painting the tiles. When the tiles were done, we used needle tools and fettling tools to scratch away line designs on the plaques. Keeping in mind that the glaze might melt and fill in the cracks, we had to scratch away a pretty thick line. Personally, I love Mishimas because it reminds me of scratch-art, which we do during the school year, so it’s easy for students to understand the concept. Once the plaques were complete, the last order of glazing were these simply adorable teeny tiny bisque mice. They were so cute they stole our hearts!

IMG_7158

A closer look at those heart-stealing mice…

Throughout the week, near the end of the day, as some artists finished while others were still working, we held plastiline modeling clay challenges. This clay doesn’t ever dry so it can be used over and over again. Challenges included making the tallest tower that would stand independently for 30 seconds, crafting the longest coil noodle, and creating four-legged animal. This was a fun and often intense way to end the day – especially when the competition heated up! At stake? Starburst – two for the winner, one for everyone in the room. And don’t forget prestige!

Susie

Susie with her beret wearing French elephants – winner of the 4-legged animal challenge…

Gathered around the plastiline modeling clay...

Gathered around the plastiline modeling clay…

In all, it was a fantastic week. Here is a little slideshow of some of the artists at work or pausing to smile for the camera:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As I look back at the week from my comfortable chair in a cool room, I will say it was hot and muggy on Monday and Tuesday. We took frequent water breaks and everyone tolerated the heat just fine. On Wednesday, Mr. Gentili brought in a big, giant fan that sounded like a jet engine when you walked by it. It moved a lot of air and helped us cool down tremendously. We were so cool, in fact, we decided to take a group picture:

nice

At the end of the week: Front row: David, Ben, Keri, Tessa, Susie, Katie, Madeline, Sydney Middle row: Sophia, Kara, Shea, Emily, Paige, me Back row: Isabelle, Rory, Bret, Andrew, Grace Missing from photo: Justine and Lucie

And then we just got goofy: naughty

And goofier still… (click on the photo to see the video):

Conga Line dance to Pharrell Williams' "Happy"…click on the photo to let the dancing begin!

Conga Line dance to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”…click on the photo to let the dancing begin!

Thank you for another terrific week of Clay Every Day! All the pottery will be fired before we return to school at the end of August. I promise to post photos of then of the amazing work these artists did.

Art teachers who may be reading this – every project except the manufactured bisque items are single fire projects. The items are hand built at about 1/4 inch thick. We let them dry a day or two and then glazed right over the greenware. An important asset to this process is setting them on squares of cardboard so the clay is touched by nothing but the brush. As you know, greenware is fragile and will crack under even the slightest pressure. Holding the pieces by the cardboard helps a lot. My fingers are crossed, but I am feeling pretty good about the outcome, expecting minimal breakage. As I said, fingers crossed…:)

Leave a comment

Clay Every Day is FULL

I’m happy to report that for the second year in a row, the Clay Every Day summer workshop enrollment has reached capacity and we have to close registration at this time. Thank you, everyone, for your interest. I’m looking forward to greeting all of the clay artists in the Miscoe lobby on July 7!

 

Clay Every Day Full 2014

Leave a comment

Transformed By Art: A Multi-Grade Collaborative Installation By Mendon-Upton Students

 

Click on the photo to see the post

Click on the photo to see the photos and videos on Storehouse.com

In October 2013, the Mendon-Upton Educational Foundation granted $1000 to the art departments of Miscoe Hill School and Nipmuc High School. Rather than dividing the money and going our separate ways, we decided to collaborate on a project – a multi-grade collaborative art installation. Because our discipline is primarily consumables oriented, we wanted to make sure the collaboration resulted in something physical to take away. Both schools host annual art shows for which, it seems, display units are always needed. With that in mind, we decided to work together to build display units from scratch. We enlisted the help of Miscoe Hill maintenance man, Dick Gentili, and staged a build event on February 26, 2014.

The Miscoe Hill Art Clubs, under the direction of Alice Gentili and Jon Hansen, met after school and worked with Mr. Gentili and Nipmuc art teacher, Kevin Campbell, to build display units. Mr. Gentili had pre-cut all the pieces of wood, we spent our time assembling the display units and attaching them with brackets.

At the end of the “build” session, we had made four display units for each school. Six of the units had walls of Homasote, 2 of them had chicken wire walls. Mr. Gentili made carts with wheels, which hold four units on each cart.

On the morning of April 29, sixteen art students from Nipmuc High School arrived at Miscoe Hill School bringing with them the piles of recyclables that both schools had been collecting for months. And this day of creativity, communication, and collaboration was underway!

The display units were positioned according to the shared vision created by the high school students. The theme of the installation was “Surrealistic Garden”. The task was to fill the space in such a way that the theme was realized and the space was transformed. The challenge was to collaborate to realize the shared vision.

And after just one day of working together – our school, our gym, our day, and our spirits had been TRANSFORMED BY ART!

To see the photos, video, and post on Storehouse.com, go to: www.storehouse.co/stories/j7og-transformed-by-art

To see the video of the finished installation, go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs5L-2xlWNo

We are grateful to the Mendon-Upton Educational Foundation for funding this collaborative and creative experience for our students!

Leave a comment

Clay Every Day Summer Workshop

Just a few openings remain for my Clay Every Day Summer Workshop. Enrollment is first come/first served and we are nearly full. Get your registrations in today!

Clay Every Day Color_Page_1

 

 

Leave a comment

Transformed by Art !!!

I have to share something exciting with you. Right after vacation, on Tuesday, April 29, Miscoe Hill art students will be working with Nipmuc High School art students, who will spend the day working with the middle school students on an installation in the upper gym. By the end of our day spent collaborating across the grade levels, our upper gym will have been Transformed by Art! The resulting exhibit will be an amazing display of collaborative installation art, as never before seen in the Mendon-Upton schools.

The Transformed By Art! exhibit will be open for community viewing later in the evening on April 29 from 6 – 8pm. Please stop by and experience the transformation for yourself.

We are grateful to the Mendon-Upton Education Foundation for this grant and the opportunity it provides for a creative experience for our students and community.

3 Comments

Miscoe Hill Art Show – Pretty Much the Coolest Thing Ever

How do you exhibit the work of 1000 art students? That is the question my colleague and I ask ourselves every year! Starting in September, I squirrel away student artwork with the annual spring school art show in mind. Just about a month before the show, the piles of artwork, fragile clay pieces, and 3D work begin to encroach on the general workspace in the art room. And in my mind the clutter grows as well: 1. How will we choose what to show? 2. Will there be enough room? 3. Do I have enough time to get this together? 4. If I ask for parent help, when will I meet with them? 5. Will I survive another school art show? Loudly and clearly, the answers are as follows: #1 – #4: We’ll see! #5: YES!

This year, our art show took place on Wednesday, April 9 from 6pm – 7:30pm. We were also open during first block the next morning so teachers could guide their classes through the show. Together, my colleague and I exhibited hundreds of works on paper, hundreds of clay pieces and thousands of images of digital artwork. This year, with the help of our maintenance staff, we erected a “projection booth”, to show digital art from a iPad camera roll as well as the artwork posted on our Artsonia online gallery. This is a great way to ensure that every student has art in the show and allows for us to show digital work without the added expense of printing. I appointed a few “Online Gallery Guides” to staff the projector, asking families which gallery they would like to see and connecting them to it.

Our maintenance staff setting up the "projection booth"...

Our maintenance staff setting up the “projection booth”…

The "projection booth" in action...

The “projection booth” in action…

 

IMG_3048

Online Gallery Guide badge…insert name…

I also invited the MiscoeMakerCrew to show the 3D printing work they have been doing. We have been meeting once per week after school and have created many design-to-build models with our MakerBot Replicator II 3D printer. The MakerCrew arranged a table with the 3D printer actively printing and a video showing our progress since receiving the printer through a grant. Needless to say, it was a huge hit!

MiscoeMakercrew 3D Printing table...

MiscoeMakercrew 3D Printing table…

MiscoeMakercrew badge…insert name...

MiscoeMakercrew badge…insert name…

These two technological additions to our art show rounded out the display and in fact, represented more and more of what we are doing in the art room today. This is not your grandmother’s art show!

Here are some photos from the night:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a comment

MiscoeMakerCrew – Our 3D Printing Journey

Wow, am I proud of the MiscoeMakerCrew! Last Saturday we presented as part of the Student Showcase at the New England 1:1 Summit in Burlington, MA. We left Mendon bright and early and carpooled to the summit. Once there, we carried in our equipment and set up the comprehensive table display which included our actively printing 3D printer.

Ready to go to Burlington!

Ready to go to Burlington!

The MiscoeMakerCrew table...

The MiscoeMakerCrew table…

IMG_3187

The Student Showcase started at 9:30 and for the next hour, our table was swarmed with interested educators from across the state.

Owen and Mr. Larkin...

Owen and Mr. Larkin…

Our table was swarmed...

Our table was swarmed…

Everyone wanted to watch the printer, touch the models we had printed, follow the video about our journey, and ask the MiscoeMakercrew to show them how we design models with our iPads using 123D Design.

Everyone wanted to touch the models...

Everyone wanted to touch the models…

And ask the MiscoeMakercrew how we design our models with 123D design...

And ask the MiscoeMakercrew how we design our models with 123D design…

We even met a Miscoe alumni, Mr. Patrick Larkin, who asked to have his photo taken with the MiscoeMakerCrew:

Mr. Patrick Larkin - former Miscoe student...

Mr. Patrick Larkin – former Miscoe student…

After the Student Showcase we listened to Burlington students sharing their iPad experiences, ran around the track for a while, and then it was time for lunch. We were happy to relax, eat, and enjoy each other’s company now that the pressure was off!

Liam with his double cheeseburger...

Liam with his double cheeseburger…

If you would like to know more about our 3D printing journey, watch this video. It shows everything from writing the grant for the printer, to getting the printer, to learning how to design models and print them. Go ahead, click on the photo:

Click on the image to play the video

Click on the image to play the video

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 946 other followers

%d bloggers like this: