April 7th, 2013

On Masks, Costumes, Ritual, and Performance

I recently started a lesson on Masks with my 8th graders, when an article in National Geographic Caught my eye.  It’s called Europe’s Wild Men, and documents the continuing traditions of personification of seasonal “beasts” throughout the region.  That was Yesterday.  Hours later I saw a photograph of Nick Cave the singer along side of Nick Cave the Artist.  Being unfamiliar with the artist, I did some digging, and found his Sound Suits eerily familiar after reading the NG article.  I’m not sure how I can tie this in to my masks lesson, but it will definitely be happening.  Perhaps spinning off into a group lesson making whole suits out of…  something found?  ;)  Regardless, Please enjoy.

March 25th, 2013
Yes, it’s an American Express ad.  But what struck me is that this is an acknowledgement of creativity in many different areas, even some outside of “the box.”  This is also a reminder that I need to work harder to figure out how to get the idea across to my students that you don’t have to be able to draw or paint realistically to be creative.  Art is life!

Yes, it’s an American Express ad.  But what struck me is that this is an acknowledgement of creativity in many different areas, even some outside of “the box.”  This is also a reminder that I need to work harder to figure out how to get the idea across to my students that you don’t have to be able to draw or paint realistically to be creative.  Art is life!

May 23rd, 2012
In response to Homage to Bleriot by Sonia Delaunay (1914), a 7th grade student writes, “It’s a parade without people, full of colors.  The colors are swirled to show that being bland is boring and being colorful is different and being different is amazing.”   This is what I love about teaching.

In response to Homage to Bleriot by Sonia Delaunay (1914), a 7th grade student writes, “It’s a parade without people, full of colors.  The colors are swirled to show that being bland is boring and being colorful is different and being different is amazing.”   This is what I love about teaching.

January 21st, 2012
architekturdesign:

Pixel / studio505
I want to know more about this image!

architekturdesign:

Pixel / studio505

I want to know more about this image!

(via )

Michael Kenna’s photography could be seen as a visual counterpart to Haiku.  Looking at his breathtaking images recalls centuries of Japanese bush painting.  Exquisite.

Michael Kenna’s photography could be seen as a visual counterpart to Haiku.  Looking at his breathtaking images recalls centuries of Japanese bush painting.  Exquisite.

January 20th, 2012

"Calder Dragons," take 2.  I needed a 3D project for my 6th graders, and this fit the bill.  I got the idea from a picture posted by a teacher in PA who got the idea from another teacher who runs the Blog "There’s a Dragon in my Art Room."  I have no idea what the original lesson was, but I liked the look of the things.  We looked at Alexander "Sandy" Calder hand his mobiles/stabiles, as well as Dragons in myth and legend (traditional and contemporary). 

After an introductory engineering challenge with the cardboard, students were paired up and got to choose a pile of pre-cut (by me) cardboard pieces.  They all got the same number and roughly the same size pieces.  I was worried that this would be too constraining, but my first attempt allowed all manner of pieces which gave them a bit too much freedom.  I learned (the hard way) that the pieces should be painted flat and prior to assembly.  This way, the paint ends up strengthening the cardboard instead of making it floppy.  Plus, if they paint first, they can go right from assembly to hanging with no need for storage!  Much  better.  I think I’ll keep this one.

December 10th, 2011

Read about the movie bikes built for heroine Lisbeth Salander to ride in the US adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium trilogy.”  I love the original movies, personally, but this is an interesting behind-the-scenes look into custom vehicles in film.

November 23rd, 2011

The thing that bugs me about blogs

It’s be gnawing at me for a long time: what is it about blogs that repulses me at some subterranean level?  It’s always been there.  And it’s not the content.  I often find myself glued to the screen following links, checking references for some awesome thing or amazing artist that I’ve just been exposed to through the minimal efforts of some other person who saw it somewhere else first.  I love to dig down to the source and find the root of my own awe.  Of course, I also follow a few blogs by friends that are 100% original material, as well as professional blogs about experiences int he world of blacksmithing, design, or art education. 

It was while reading one of those relics of the past, a real made-from-trees magazine, that I realized what it is that keeps me from checking my favourite blogs every day, or even every week: it’s that I can never finish them.  Not even temporarily.  With a paper book or magazine, or even a digital periodical, book, or PDF, you eventually get to the end.  There is a conclusion, a finale, and an accompanying sense of accomplishment, a sense of having worked through something, gained from it, and come out the other side. 

I wonder how the growing Juggernaut of endless media is affecting our psyche.  I imagine that this must be what it is like to be in the middle of the ocean… except that at least in the middle of the ocean, there is always the surface.  Is this the best way for us to learn?  I wonder.

September 11th, 2011

An interesting article on turning the student/teacher question/answer method on its head, and the benefits that students gain from this upside-down approach.  I’ll have to try this… eventually.

July 24th, 2011

Frank asked 3000 people to send him a postcard anonymously with a personal secret written on it.  Since 2004, he has received about half a million postcards, and counting.  All anonymous, most with original artwork, and many that are deeply personal.  Click on the image and take a look at his blog.  Then send him a postcard.