Monday, December 31, 2012

My Work

Inspired by the work of Susanna Bauer I began my hunt for the perfect magnolia leaf.  I found it in the shape of a heart on my mini magnolia we planted this spring on our patio.  My craftsmanship needs work, my holes I punched are a bit shaky, but I really enjoyed working this out.  

I pressed the leaf under pressure for a couple of days then used an awl to poke my holes.  I've been saving some cotton string that I indigo dyed in our Glennis Dolce workshop last school year, found my grandmother's smallest metal crochet hook and crocheted around the leaf.  Then I looked for another string that would compliment the piece and did a bit of edging.  You are looking at the back above and the front side below. 

I also tried working on a rubber tree leaf.  I pressed it flat as well but after I hung the finished piece on our Xmas tree at school it really started to dry up and wrap.  I actually really liked the effect.

I tried one more leaf since, using another small magnolia leaf and actually cut this one into the shape of a heart, so that I had a crocheted heart ornament for each of my children this Christmas.

Thank you Susanna for your inspiration!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Susanne Bauer - Mixed Media Artist

Another new inspiration that I found thru Art Propelled is mixed media artist Susanna Bauer.  Again, her work is right up my alley.  She finds leafs, twigs and rocks and turns them into intricate works of art with her fibers and needle skills.  I recently purchased a leaf from her very much like the one above.  It also arrived from Fed Ex in a similar condition to the piece I posted yesterday after paying an enormous shipping and handling fee, for Susanna lives in Cornwall, England, and the package had to travel a long, long way.  Fed Ex, let's get it together!  
I borrowed these excerpts off Susanna's website with her permission:

"I go walking

I find a leaf, a piece of driftwood - or sometimes it finds me.

I take it home and its new life begins.  
This website is about the work that started alongside my career as a modelmaker.
I have worked for the television and film industry for over 16 years, making objects like King Arthur's chalice, cheeses for Wallace and Gromit, miniature buildings, robots and spaceships.
I have always been driven by a great love of making and working with my hands and over the years have acquired a broad knowledge of materials and techniques.
Most of my pieces are small sculptural objects often based on found natural materials. I like giving time to the inconspicuous things that surround us and often go unnoticed, paying attention to small details and the tactile quality of objects. Appropriating traditional craft techniques like weaving and crochet as a means of sculpture brings a contemplative element to the development of my work. I am interested in unusual combinations of materials, the experimentation with fragility and strength and the individual stories that evolve and shape themselves in the process of making.
I was born 1969 in Bavaria, Germany, and have lived in England since 1996 where I used to divide my time between London and Cornwall.
Since 2010 the West Penwith area of Cornwall has become my permanent home and inspiration for my work."
Susanna Bauer

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fed Ex - Shipping Isn't What it Used to Be

I'm constantly on the look-out for new artists and ideas for my students.  Two recent new finds are Art Propelled.  It features artist Robyn Gordon, a wood carver from KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.  And thru her blog I discovered Deeann Rieves.  Deeann was having a sale of several of her works, and I purchased the piece below. 
Now mind you, shipping and handing on a piece this large is astronomical.  Thank goodness Deeann packed it as well as she did because above is how Fed Ex delivered it to my door.  I think I should get my money back from them.  This is the second time in a month that something has arrived from Fed Ex in this condition.  Shameful!
Deeann's work is right up my alley.  She combines all the media I love; watercolor, vintage fabrics, and stitching.  Please take the time to visit her site.  My camera does not do her work justice.

"Deeann Rieves received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Memphis College of Art in December 2007 with an emphasis on painting.  She works full time in her studio and her mixed-media paintings have been featured in numerous solo exhibitions and juried group shows across the United States. Her paintings combine fabric, machine embroidery, and fiber techniques that disrupt and distort the surfaces, which become their own organic forms of sculptural painting."
My students were fascinated with her work and I could totally see trying something similar with my 3rd year 3-D kids. 
Thank you Deeann for your inspiring work.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

7th Grade Felted Soap Scrubs

These beauties were created by my 1st Quarter 7th graders, and boy oh boy did they have fun making them.  I think one of the funnest aspects are the kids choosing their colorways from the numerous choices I gave them.  I usually buy this wool for felting at the Annual Handweaver's and Spinning Guild's Show in early November at the Torrance Civic Center.  Several of the vendors there have really great selections of colors and prices.

I give each student a cake of soap and show them how to felt with hot water and agitation.  Then I send them outside on the picnic benches and away they go!  I make them work in pairs, so there is a helper to fetch hot water and to help with the soapy clean-up.  The results are always spectacular.

Above we have Scott Lee Jr. and Tyler Aquino, and below are Mira Modha and Anjli Gandhi. 
Beautiful job all of you! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

But Mom, it was my first time on the Potter's Wheel!

This is how senior Kevin Luong went home from school not to long ago after trying the potter's wheel for the first time.  Senior Brendon Lim, also looked pretty similiar when he finished.  What I love is that the both of them were brave enough to try their hand at a very difficult global skill.  So kudos to the both of you plus a bit of extra credit as well! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Polymer Clay Knots - My Work

Every Holiday Season I love to make something special for my Art Techs, my student helpers, to go with the gift cards I give to each.  I have six T.A.'s this year; Brianna, Gisel, Phoebe, Joyce, Emily and alumni Alyssa.  All of these young ones have or did have classes with me and know the ropes in my classroom.  There is no way that I could do all I get to do without them.

I made these polymer clay knots with the leftover scraps that the kids gave me back at the end of the polymer unit.  I marbleized different combinations together and rolled each into a very long coil with tapered ends.  Then I tied them into knots.
I have to give credit to Art Tech Joyce, who picked out beads to go with each knot and strung them for me.  She had no idea that she was helping me with her own gift, he he.  Sorry Joyce.  But I did give her first pick  LOL

Thank you ALL so much for the endless things you help me with, for your patience with me, and for your constant positive attitudes that you bring to me everyday.  Especially you Joyce, I always give you the most tedious jobs, you are an angel.  You have saved me hours and hours of work sorting and putting away all the donated items we received this year.  I will be forever grateful.  
Happy Holidays to you all, I love you!!     

Zentangle Mask

Adi Jahric, one of my 1st Quarter 7th graders, surprised me by showing me his mask he had decorated after our unit on Pattern, Texture, Line and Shape, known these days as Zentangling.
I was so impressed he had taken what he had learned and done such a remarkable piece on such a large scale.
Notice that each side has different designs going on.
So proud to show this off Adi. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Clay Pendant - Student Work

Senior Eddie Ponce is working on producing several varied clay pendants to sell at Open House time.  They are lovely and garnering a lot of attention from the other kids.
So stay tuned, you might see one you like in the coming weeks.

Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 Holiday Festivities in my Classroom

First I wanted to dress up our dye garden outside my classroom door.  I bought cyclamen  begonia  and a poinsettia plant to dress up the existing planters. 
You can see the giant scroll bulb is really coming on strong during it's growing season right now. 
I also tried to dress up the spider plant and trellis using recycled cotton string from our shibori unit.
I crocheted a chain stitch and added buttons along the way.  I actually made these in my car at stop lights to and from school.  I placed a button at each light then chained while I drove.  I know, pretty crazy, but that's how I roll.
My students asked for a live Xmas tree, so Jim and I went to home depot and bought this beauty.  I placed it atop my Lockerbee potter's wheel so the tree could be spun around and admired from every angle.
I offered extra credit to all for homemade ornaments.  For many of my students this was the first live tree they've ever decorated.  I told the kids that I considered the tree an empty canvas and that it's all about surface decoration to turn it into a piece of art.  One of my favorite pieces that came in was senior Tiffany Lee's reindeer antlers complete with it's own battery pack for the top of the tree.
The first ornament that came in was made by senior Kevin Tang.  He knitted a very cool bow, and below junior Anne Allen brought in her hand painted bulb.

Senior Sheila San Agustin also knitted a bow and trimmed hers in silver.  And below senior Halah Elsahhar made a glitter banner at senior square during their festivities to add to our tree.
Also showing in this pix above are senior Sally Chou's amazing glitter ball, sophomore Reis Misaka's origami bird and senior Rita Labib's chopped up dyed Popsicle sticks glue ball mix.  Pretty darn creative there Rita  LOL.  I love it, already have it on my tree at home.  Thanks for the gift  :)
Senior Eddie Ponce crafted this wonderful snowman from clay and glaze, and that's my hand edged crochet leaf inspired by UK artist Susanne Bauer, whose work I will be showcasing this next week.
7th grader Ananya Raghavan made this magnificent paper ball from recycled Xmas cards, and junior Deena Younan made the lovely cloth beaded pouch above.
And I had saved this puppy that my own girl drew when she was 5, it was missing a tail and ear.  Senior Phoebe Liu was kind enough to make new ones that blended well with the old, then laminated it for me to preserve it.  Thanks Phoebe!
We also managed to save one of Danielle's old snipped eraser pieces from when she was 7 years old with a bit of Mod Podge, then backed it with posterboard so we could hang it from the tree.
All in all, it was a wonderful season with my students.  I wish all of you a Happy Holiday, and relaxing time off.  I will miss you and be thinking of you as I celebrate with my family.  

Here's to good food, lots of chocolate, and making great memories with family and friends.  
Thank you all for the heartfelt cards and gifts you sent me home with yesterday.  Looks like I will be able to afford my favorite Starbucks's drink for a good while, as well as see some good movies and get my nails done thanks to you and your family's generosity.  Lot's of love to you all, Mrs. A/S  xoxoxoxo

Thursday, December 20, 2012

7th Grade Collage Boxes & Pendants

Yes, I still have a ways to go with my 1st Quarter 7th graders before I can show off my 2nd Quarter younguns. As this assignment is repeated the kids are coming up with new solutions for the tops of their lids.  I really like that Maansi Shah added buttons to her top and Kristina Theam a pretty black bow to hers.
Let's take a peek and see what Maansi has inside her box.  She chose to wire wrap her favorite pencil as her pendant.  Very cool!
 Jackie Kan has made a delightful bow from tissue.  Check out her twisted flower core.  Love it!
And here is Jackie's gorgeous pendant inside.  Wow!!

And Mira Modha has used some great graphic tissue from Chico's and incorporated it into her lid, along with some zebra stripped paper.  And let's see what her pendant is all about.  How cute, a scrabble piece with her initial.  
Great job you sweet little ones, you make me proud!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More of My Pinch Pots

Just found these pix so I thought I'd add them in.  The top one was my demo piece from last school year and below from probably 2 years ago.  I do a lot of glazing using red iron oxide as a stain first over the whole piece then wipe it off with a wet sponge, then I like to put transparent glaze over top some areas for a nice contrast.  These pinch pots will be found in my shop as soon as it opens, or you can e-mail me if you are interested now. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Clay Pinch Pot - My Work

As I age and get more comfortable demonstrating in front of my students,  I find that my work is becoming more fluid and spontaneous like this little pinch pot here.  Mistakes don't bother me anymore, I just go with them instead of trying to repair them.  So if something rips, I rip the piece in even more places.  I'm also really enjoying using hardware store items in my clay work; nails, staples, washers and such.  When fired with the clay they expand, bend, look old and tarnished.  Kinda like me.  I like that.  So here's to growing old, but thank goodness the students keep my mind young and current!  LOL  I will miss that when I retire.