Sunday, January 31, 2016


clay, glazes & oxides

We are seeing my beginning clay students first experience at rolling out the perfect slab.
Not so easy without a slab rolling machine like they have at the big schools in the sky,
just a plain old baking rolling pin.
It's hard to get them perfectly even.
The kids have a tendency to get one area too thick and the other too thin.
There is a trick,
 with pieces of wood on either side of the rolling pin that I haven't shown them yet,
 because I want to teach them to use their eyes to check slab thickness.
I don't like teaching my beginners to take the easy way out.
A bit of struggle is a good thing,
Builds character  LOL
Like in the good old days!!

So I don't usually let my kids copy characters 
but this one was so well crafted by senior Tarun Desai,
that I didn't have the heart to tell him to start over.

This is more what I want the students to strive for,
there own designs like senior Casey Yoon & junior Gary Liu.

But it was junior Nathan Lam who really impressed me with his sculptural piece.
Note the subtle texture under the bowl area,
& the tiki men as feet?
Super cool piece Nathan!

Friday, January 29, 2016


wire, hand dyed handspun yarns, various recycled ribbons, yarns and laces 

So many wonderful works to show off from this group.
My extremely talented and motivated 8th graders have set the bar extremely high as you will see.

Let me give you a tease with this first nest by 8th grader Sydney Eng.
Remarkably crafted,
beautifully designed,
and clever as well with her "Happy Times" felt made pillows.

Syd was one of many 8th graders who wanted to come back to art this year,
who signed up for the Beginning 2-d course,
got in,
but then was removed to make way for the seniors 
who procrastinated taking their Fine Arts requirement for graduation till their senior year.
These seniors who didn't even want an art trumped my 
8th graders who might want to be Art Majors.
A revolting situation I say,
life isn't always fair.
So Syd and several other 8th graders were put into my Beginning 3-d class
because it still had space.  
Sadly a couple others were sent to other classes they didn't want.
these 8th graders who got to stay in the 3-D class are doing AMAZING work,
as you will see.

Let's see a couple of them getting started.
First we have Maia Calanoc.
She is the first,
 in the last several years that I've been teaching this assignment,
 to think to alter the 
foundation spokes of her nest.
What a clever girl!

I give them inexpensive re-bar from Home Depot to work with.
It's not easy on the hands,
but it's affordable since we go thru a lot of it.
And it's strong and holds the shape well.

Next is Micah Yim.
Since the re-bar is difficult to work with,
check out he ingenious idea to hold it in place
 and transport it so it doesn't move until he gets it built!

So here we go,
more of the finished nests.
This first one was created by 8th grader Malia Pulido.
One of the things that Malia and a couple others did this year
 was to turn their nests into something else that was recognizable.
They've inspired me so much that I think I will make this a new requirement next year.
There were other ideas as well as you will see future down the post.
I really like when assignments evolve and don't remain static.
So thanks young ones for this great idea.  :)

Malia's idea of a tea cup and tea bag was so very clever.
Plus as  you can see,
so beautifully executed.
Look at those tiny & perfect stitches on the tea label.
Also noticeable was her handspun yarn from the previous Unit (the grey-blue yarn)
Weaving with their hand dyed hand spun was a requirement in this assignment.
Love it Malia!!

And let's take a look at what English teacher extraordinaire,
Mrs. Deliana Park came up with.
She has thought outside the box to create a whole environment to house her nest,
this festive and seasonal wreath.
So much creativity from this group of students.
A much closer look-see
 of the copious amounts of time and effort young Deliana has put into her piece
to impress her teacher and please herself.
And yes,
she even made her pompom chic-a-dee,
paper collaged her eggs,
sewed on her buttons,
the list is long!

Another favorite of mine was this very soft & sweet nest made by 8th grader Elliana Lee.
I adore how delicate it is,
 and how she has gently moved the color from peach to lime greens.
Small but mighty as they say.

 8th grader Iris Lin,
another student with impeccable craftsmanship did this lovely nest above.
The piece of eyelet she has added and the bow along with her pretty needle felted eggs inside,
give this one a very special feel.

The class favorite was this next one by junior Helen Park.
We were all so impressed
 that she thought to turn her nest into a holding area for the planets and stars,
resting on a cloud.
Of course Helen spent hours making all those origami stars that she filled her nest with.
And again, 
check out the perfection in which she is weaving her weft.
I gave the kids a short demo. on needlefelting,
and many of them used it to create goodies for the inside of their nests.

I love, 
that junior Insha Khan thought to incorporate a branch into her very cool elongated nest.
And then to string and dangle beads .

And we don't get thru a Beginning 3-D post without seeing the work of senior Hapshiba Kwon.
Even though Hapshiba doesn't want to believe it,
she is a very special young woman to all of us teachers here at Whitney.
We adore her for so many reasons.
She is a terrific writer,
 a thoughtful designer and fabulous craftswoman,
a good & dear friend to many on our campus,
a qentle leader amongst her peers,
and smart as a whip.
She's such a hard worker,
knows how to manage her time,
which then gives her time to give back to her community thru church functions and organizations here on campus.
You didn't think I knew all that about you ,
did you Hapshiba.  hee hee
I get around, 
and always have my ears open.  LOL
I love you sweet girl,
 always have (since the 7th grade when I met you)
always will.
back to our topic on hand,
 her nest.  
This in large part is a recycle assignment.
All the yarns are leftovers, 
same with the raffia, 
the jute,
 and whatever else the kids can find in my classroom to weave with.
Including newspaper,
as Hapshiba has though to do with.
And just like Hapshiba,
not wanting too much attention (sorry Hapshiba),
but there like a shining star that you have to look closely for,
the tiny seed beads that she has spent hours sewing onto the bottom of her nest.
Didn't think I'd notice this either ,
did you?
ha ha

we are back to 8th grader Maia's nest that we saw her building at the beginning of this post.
Look at the cool movement she got by twisting her spokes.
And then the topper,
those angelic fishes swimming underneath.
What a great idea,
and how pretty Maia!!
Where do these young ones come up with such cool ides??

Frequently inspired by Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas,
is the work of senior Elias Rodriquez.
We've seen many years of work on this blog by Elias,
and as you may have noted,
most of his work is very "dark"
And now that he's a senior and feels very comfortable working with me,
he enjoys interpreting the assignments in ways no one has thought to do before.
For instance, he asked me if I minded that he used more wire then the other kids,
knowing what a tight budget I have to adhere to.
He also asked to have permission to have some of the wire showing,
 and to enclose his piece rather then keeping it open at the top.
Over the years I have learned that it pays off  to be more flexible with the kids when they ask,
it often leads to new ideas and inspiration for projects,
like Elias' piece has done here.
What a cool work his sculpture is,
so that maybe next year we will weave a non-objective form that's enclosed.
Love it!
Here is Elias getting his foundation started,
and then the weaving begins.

A close up of the finished top.

These next two furry nests were woven by close friends and seniors
 Clarissa Gutierrez and Eileen Wang.
Both are so tactile and yummy.
A knitter donated that fun furry yarn for the kids to use.
It's super thin,
so to weave with it 
the kids had to quadruple it to get it thick enough to fill the weft space.
Lots of extra work and effort involved here.
I thought it very clever of Clarissa to use the seed pod to fill her nest with.
Then both girls did sweet needle-felted eggs.

And speaking of yummy,
check out this last one by junior Cheryl-Mae Alvarez Mallabo.
Like all my favorite candy colors mixed together.
Cheryl will spend copious amounts of extra time outside of school perfecting her pieces.
She is super smart and creative,
 and always thinks of original ideas.
In this case,
a jelly fish mounted on reflective water.
This one was also the class favorite!
It is now on display in our Principal's office.
Some close-ups of all her time consuming work.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


My students are dropping like flies around me,
sucking in their noses, sneezing and coughing.
But we are in Finals, 
so they have to come to school regardless of how they are feeling.
Including yours truly.
It's the second time I've been hit this school year,
highly unusual for me.
I'm usually tough as nails,
and never sick or absent.
But this is Finals Week,
I have to be there for my students,
so I apologize for not posting for the past couple of days.  
Every available moment has been spent sleeping.
I slept on the couch in the Art Lounge after school yesterday,
too exhausted to drive home. 
When I finally got there I was in bed by 9:00
verus my usual 12:30 a.m.
So I was able to get a wooping 9 hours of sleep
and am feeling so much better today.
Still ill, 
but on the mend.
So hopefully I will be able to get back to my posting schedule tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


I love this!!!
That my boys,
juniors Manav Gandhi, Brian Hu, Anand Parthiban and Nathan Lam,
from Ceramics I actually took my advice 
and studied for their written final on glazing.

I'm thinking this might be worth a couple of extra credit points
 that they thought to take this pix and send it to their teacher.
Too cute!!
This is the stuff I live for  :)

Monday, January 25, 2016


Come to visit their favorite art  teacher at lunchtime,
to show me their newest tricks.

7th graders Emmanuel & James Lara are frequent visitors during lunch.
They are so adorable,
and I love when they stop by.
They are best friends here at Whitney.
James was in the 1st Quarter Art Wheel and now Emmanuel is in the 2nd.
Whenever they drop in together I get the biggest smile on my face.
I hope I stay around long enough,
 before I decide to retire,
 to see them all grown up as seniors.
This is the newest game at Whitney,
it's all the rage.
Trying to get a ball onto the stick,
then flipping it off,
turning the stick to another side and trying to get the ball to sit in a tiny cup.
I see it as a stress reliever here at this most competitive of high schools.
Plus it's so nice seeing children be children 
instead of playing on their stupid phones all the time.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


I find a revolting development.
This last week I found several.
I find that in their haste to put things away,
my students seldom take the time to do it carefully like they know I'd like them too.
Is it upsetting?
Do I get mad at them?
Do I stop the entire class and lecture them?
You bet  LOL
Do they try to do better?
but then they forget and it's something else.
I need the patience of a saint.
That's what I keep telling myself.
ha ha

Saturday, January 23, 2016


clay, sawdust firing, metallic rubbing compounds, wood & paint

I so enjoy sharing these every year.
The kids work so hard on them,
and besides working in clay they acquire wood working skills as well.
Let's see who made what. 

This first one is the creation of senior Klyne Madayag.
This assignment began as a Pinch Pot review 1st Quarter,
 and ended with the kids mounting them for their Final.
Pretty amazing,
I love so many things about this piece.
That Klyne thought ahead to add holes so she could string beads at a later date,
the visual flow between mount and sculpture,
and the limited color palette.

This next one was made by senior Sitara Puliyanda.
 great visual flow between sculpture and base thru color choices.
And I really like the smooth quality she was able to achieve with the gold metallic.

Senior Sandhya Raghvan is the artist of this next piece.
Love the colors she was able to get with the metallic rubbing compounds.
And how fun are all those dots on her base.
What patience!

Speaking of fun,
look at this tricky base made by senior Efrain Quintero.
Gonna try to get a side view for you,
even trickier from that side.

And senior Celeste Zambrano really jazzed hers up thru her mount. 

And we end with senior Eryn Burnett's sweet moonflower.
Looks like someone plucked one of it's petals.
Ahhhh :(
She has also created a lovely mount.

Friday, January 22, 2016


clay, glazes & oxides

We are taking a peek at how the beginning clay students are doing today.
This is a real diverse group of kids,
some that I have worked with before in their 7th and 8th grade years,
but many that are new to me.
And some that are only taking the class to be able to graduate high school
 because they need a Fine Arts course credit.
These are the kids that are the most challenging,
and they are almost all boys which makes if even more of a predicament  LOL
But they are slowly coming round,
even beginning to enjoy the clay experience.
I'm hoping to hook them for life  :)

Let's start with Nathan Lam,
a junior.
I had Nathan in the 7th and 8th grade.
He is highly creative and can draw really well,
so of course all of that translates into the 3-D arena.
Love how he has turned his pinch pitcher into a crawling crab,
and glazed it beautifully as well.

And check out the great texture that newbie junior Anand Parthiban
 has paddled onto the sides of his snail mug.
Also note his impeccable craftsmanship.

Next is senior Archana Vancheswaran.
I worked for many years with Arch's sister,
who was quite gifted in the arts.
Come to find out her lil' sis is too.
Arch has both great design and craftsmanship skills.
Also note the texture you see thru the glaze
 and how it creates movement across the piece.

Here we have senior Francis Lee and junior Sarah Chang with these two lovely mugs above.
Both girls have dipped their pots in glaze,
then brushed oxides over top to bring emphasis to certain areas.
And Sarah has also used wax resist to aid in her design.
She brushed it on the leaves and twist so that no glaze would stick there when she dipped
into her turquoise glaze.
Pretty tricky,

Also new to me this year is senior Casey Yoon whom I'm really enjoying getting to know.
He brings deep focus skills to all his pieces, 
taking great pride in his craftsmanship.
Below we see a little bits of glass shards he has melted inside for a special treat.

Senior Jonathan Hsu is a returning art student.
This year he is in both my third year drawing/painting class as well as here in ceramics.
I really like that he is bringing in his 2-d skills into his sculptural face on the side of his mug.
In the center,
 junior Benjamin Barnetton has cleverly turned his handle into a dolphin.
And high energy senior Tarun Desai has expertly applied glaze to his leaf pinch bowl.

I like both the glazing and multiple handles on this next piece by junior Edward Malacon.
He's taken great care in his glazing 
which really highlights all the design work & effort he has put into this. 

And we end with junior Jessica Andres and senior Lily To.
Both are doing some lovely things with their glazing.
Jess has stained several oxides into the walls of her clay before applying transparent glaze
for a really cool look.
And Lily has done some overlapping of glazes along the inside edge 
giving the piece a lot of depth.
She has also brushed Rutile oxide over top her handles
which brings even more interest into her pot.

Pretty darn impressive all you beginners!!