Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

eco-bundled & dyed scrap fabrics on cotton, line & silk, eco-dyed embroidery cottons, twigs & misc. embellishments

One of the most important lessons in art that I can teach my students is to get back at a distance to see how their work is coming along.
Some of the kids stand on chairs,
 some hang their work on the walls and walk away then spin around to see it fresh and from far away.
Only then can your eye measure things like proportion, balance and unity.

And junior Joshua Bok is doing exactly that so I couldn't resist taking his pix.
I love when the kids actually listen and apply the things I teach them.
Makes my heart so happy.
You can see in this pix how the kids are laying out all their fabrics to arrange them into their compositions.

Let's see what Josh is checking out on his piece...
a super cool ship made from bamboo scraps,
and a beautiful embroidered snowflake.
Go Joshua!!!!

Very rarely do I showcase so many pieces from one class, 
but these works were so exceptional that it was difficult to make my cut in the selection process. 
So here we go,

I want to begin with senior Anna Lee's banner because she executed this assignment so beautifully
 and with so much sensitivity.
She gave me everything I was hoping for and so much more.
Her leaves and bows rock!
A close up

These banners were done for their 1st Quarter Final,
right after they learned to sew, 
put on a button and embroider.
We used only donated, 
recycled fabrics,
 bundling them with windfall and foodstuffs.
Then we steamed them in various dye baths.
In mid November I posted my students bundling up their fabrics in case you'd like to take another peek.

The kids scavenged the school and my stash for interesting twigs and branches
 to hang their banners from.

Love, love love senior Adhora Islam's rich looking colorways,
and how she's used her branches and beaded her safety pins.
A close up.

Here is junior Joann Chung's sweet piece.
I wish I could blow it up larger so you could see all her amazing details.
Lot's of great stitching.
I really like how she thought to turn that bottom piece of grey fabric on the diagonal.

Junior Ashwath Karthik Manivannan,
 known to me as A.K.,
has found and re-purposed these wonderful orange crochet covered buttons from the 70's 
that I found at an estate sale.
And love how he thought to fold over his fabric like an envelop and stuff it.
Many of the kids also incorporated nails as embellishments in their works.

Junior Amber Wu's banner is as lovely and sweet as she is. 
Look at the cool way she has captured her twig under the embroidered piece of fabric.
And the dyed fabric she achieved was gorgeous.

My student observer from Cal State U. Long Beach's Art Dept. ,
made one right along with the kids.
She even U-Tubed how to pleat fabric to make it more interesting as she put it over her twig.
And all the beading she did was exquisite.

I really like the contrast that junior Chirag Bisht has achieved
 thru the layering of light and dark fabrics.
Again, this creates a richness for the eye.
I also like that he chose to use a piece of bamboo instead of a twig.
 It's the perfect compliment to his banner.

Senior Evelyn Padilla has really impressed me
 with her design and work ethic in all her assignments.
This banner is so beautiful,
and I especially like the beading she has put into the top area,
and the cool stitching she did around the bottom button.
Notice all the threads she is stitching with.
Each child eco-dyed their own threads within their fabric bundles.

As you are looking at all these pieces,
perhaps you've noticed that a lot of the students are incorporating bird feathers.
Many of these feathers I collected at my cabin this last summer
 knowing I wanted to share them with these kids for this new assignment.

Sophomore Shreya Sheth,
who I highlighted in the last post on the woven bird's nests,
has really outdone herself again in this banner.  
Love the text she has brought in REINVENT
the ripping of fabrics, 
the double hanging device.
She has an incredible design sense.

And junior Antoniette Jabat went to town on her banner.
First of all I love her hanging device,
the double branches,
the elongated format,
and the lovely flow of color all the way down the cloth.
Really wonderful Antoniette!!

Then lastly,
 check out senior Sunny Kim's piece,
So many interesting layers, 
lots of  stitching, beading and fringing,
clay birds and feathers from the cabin,
and those sweet little tassels she made.

What a joy it was to display these unique pieces in the school office for all to see,
and to get so much positive feedback on a new assignment.


  1. Wonderful work from your students Deb. They are so inspiring. I have been wanting to create a long piece with my eco-dyed fabric. These kids are so lucky to have you and you are so blessed to learned from them too. I have an eco-dye workshop coming in March. My daughter asked if I could teach her friends to dye. I'm so excited to share my love of eco-dyeing with them. Thanks for sharing these with me. Hope you are keeping well. Love Nat

  2. Amazing and gorgeois work! You have really taught these students well. They are sooo very lucky for this opportunity!

  3. "Beginning 3-D art" -- this blows me away. You really have a gift of drawing out the creativity of your young students. You are truly an amazing teacher. These pieces are amazing!

  4. These are brilliantly beautiful! So much to love about them- the layering, folding, beading, etc… the beaded safety pins are fabulous. Congratulations to all of the artists- students & teacher!

  5. Wow! How did you inspire these students? What was the background? What was the "lesson"? These are beautiful!!!