Friday, August 31, 2018


milk carton, plaster of Paris, carving tools, sand paper, wood block, paint

For many of my Intermediate students this is probably their least favorite assignment.
Carving away or Reductive Sculpture is extremely challenging,
and depending on which materiel you use,
may break half way thru and not be fixable.
Using clay is the easiest reductive method but we used plaster.
This year I'm going to first have the kids do a mini piece in clay to be able to see their boundaries
before carving into the plaster.
Every year the kids get to choose their subject matter.
It's usually a choice between Abstraction or Non-Objective.
If they choose to abstract then it's usually a figure sculpture.
Senior Rachel Kann chose the last.
If you look back thru the blog over the years and put into the search engine Abstract Figures,
or Plaster Sculptures,
you will see that Rachel has put in far more detail then the others
like waves in the hair, arms & legs.
Rachel was very frustrated about losing an arm and leg
as she was carving,
but I told her it was fine the way it was,
like a piece from antiquity. 
She has also chosen a dynamic pose rather then a static one,
which makes sculpting even more difficult.
She might be the first one to do this as well.
All of us really loved her wood base too.
It came out so like-like.
I believe she painted it with multiple layers using a sponge.
And then of course using a toothbrush with paint to spray those fine dots over.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


wool roving, coat hanger hooks, cake dyes,
microwave (to set the dyes with)

Learning how to spin your own yarn is an extremely difficult global skill to conquer.
But once there,
it can be relaxing and quite enjoyable.
Every year I teach this Unit,
and every year the kids struggle thru it.
But then one by one they have that ah-ha moment where it becomes fun,
and then they want to make more extra credit yarns for their weaving projects.
Above is junior Angelica Luza and below 8th grader Yusuf Karan.
Poor Yusuf had no idea I was taking his picture.
Next to him is senior Simran Ranjit
 who has finished hers and is dyeing it with a lovely shade of green.

Next we have 8th grader Alaa Melabeh spinning some extra credit hand dyed roving
donated to me by dear friend  Fiber Artist Lori Lawson of Capistrano Fiber Arts.
You can find her under Artists I Follow in the right side column of blog.
Below is a very happy senior,
Vivian Shi,
showing me her finished plied yarn.
Her next step will be to dye it her favorite color to be used in her next assignment,
the Dream Catcher.

Here are seniors Ricky Gallardo and Sophie Yang having way too much fun.
And below is 8th grader Annie Nguyen
 spinning up a batch of extra credit.
What a cutie!!

Best buddies juniors Kareema Mohamed and Kiana Hernandez
 are having a wonderful time bonding over their yarns and dyeing
while senior Lauren Gammage is helping Ricky undo some extra twist in his yarn
 before plying it up. 
All 34 of the kids were able to learn to spin,
and it was fun for me to see their ah-ha moments.
Way to hang in there young ones!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


A fun look back in time when I first started my teaching career at Whitney.
I don't have an exact date 
but I would definitely say the very early 1980's when I was around 26 years old.
I would pay big money if I could get my waistline back to that size
and weight all of 112 pounds!
Ha ha
Maybe when I retire,
With lots of gym time.

Check out the 80's haircut,
bangs going into feathered wings over the ears.
A Dorothy Hamill cut but with long hair. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018


clay, glazes & oxides

who remembers the T.V. show from the 60's whose main character was Ralph??
Answer at the end of post.

Hello again my lovelies.
Today's clay assignment is called Moonbabies (tiny abstract figure sculpture).
It is the second assignment for the beginners,
but what I don't tell them is how very difficult it is on many levels.
They just think it's learning to push and pull the clay out.
But oh my,
it's so much more then that.
Because accidents happen.
Like how the arm fell off from the piece below.
Or maybe the head snapped off,
the list is long here.
But what I'm trying to get them to see & accept from the get-go,
is that these can be "happy" accidents
 that will turn your piece into something so much better then you had anticipated.
Not buying it, huh?
Let's see.
I'm guessing that this super cool piece above made by  junior Dustine Amboy
originally had another arm and perhaps a head.
But because these are beginners and they don't get yet how fragile clay can be,
they accidentally break pieces off as the clay dries out, 
or perhaps it broke it as they were still shaping it.
And they had not been taught yet how to reattach clay to clay.
That is in the next lesson learned called Pinch Pots.
But don't you just love this piece without the arm & head?
It reminds me of a piece from antiquity.
And check out the way Dustine stained it with Red Iron Oxide.
Instead of brushing it on and wiping it off with a sponge which was suggested & demoed.,
she bravely brushed it on then put it under the water faucet for who knows why,
and wella!
 What a "happy" accident!!!!

These next two are also missing several body parts,
but who the heck cares,
They are so very perfect just the way they are.
Red Iron Oxide staining on left and Cobalt Blue on right.
Both pieces were made by junior Lina Kim.

And what do we have here?
Wow, this is a really dynamic human form.
Junior Richard Montes has created so much movement with his piece.
And check out how cool he glazed it.
Loving the White glaze overlapping the Black.

But it was this last one that was my favorite.
This piece is also by Richard,
again he is bringing in a whole lot of movement.
And the glazing is lovely.
Showing off two different views.
I'm delighted to say that I own this wonderful sculpture,
and will be teaching with it in a couple of days.
Thank you Richard for this beautiful gift.

The answer to the question was The Jackie Gleason Show.

Monday, August 27, 2018


This past month we've had several raccoon sightings thru our cabin yard,
and last night our neighbor was able to capture the entire family on his camera
as they were headed our way.
I love how each of their tails looks a little bit different.
I believe this is mom and dad and their two teenagers.

Sunday, August 26, 2018


clay, glazes & oxides

I just ran into this pinch pot last night and felt I needed to include it
even though I've already posted Pinch Pots from this last school year.
It's a sweet piece for several reasons.
Firstly it was made by senior Catheine Lu who created marvelous pieces all thru the school year.
Most of the kids made bowls for this assignment,
but another option were mugs.
Catherine developed a very pleasing "S" curve for her form,
a nicely shaped handle that flows with it,
and then her glazing was well thought out.
The blue glaze on the inside is balanced by the Cobalt Blue Oxide
 she painted on over top the leaves on the outside.
And the Jade glaze (which is very difficult to use),
was applied perfectly.
Bravo young Catherine,
I will miss you.

Friday, August 24, 2018


dryer lint, wool yarn scraps, dyed wool roving, felting needles, old nylons

The old assignment Felt Balls was to wet felt a ball by hand, 
shape when wet then stitch to embellish when dry.
We used them as ornaments.
The kids were ok with them but not super excited.
But over last summer I experimented with recycling dryer lint & wool scraps,
and really liked what happened,
plus it was really cost effective.
So I tried it out on the kids this year and they loved it! 
And I loved the recycling.

We started off by taking a bit of dryer lint and crunching it lightly into a ball shape.
Then took multiple pieces of scrap yarn
 and loosely wrapped them around the lint until none showed.
You can use only one color or keep switching colors as desired.
Or like the one above,
work a bit of design into the wrapping.

Next we stuffed each ball into an old nylon with knots separating each one,
and I threw them in the washing machine with my other laundry.
The first time round I wasn't satisfied with the felting of the balls,
so I threw them into another load.
They were much better.

Here they all are complete with their new needles and pins.
The kids used these all year long for the many projects that required a bit of stitching.
And it kept so many of them from loosing their needles.

But then in 3rd Quarter,
 after they went thru "the real" feltmaking unit and learned the craft of both wet and dry felting,
we revisited these balls and needlefelted them into something recognizable.
We then continued to use them thru the end of the year as their pincushions.
(sorry about the little pieces of paper on top each one)

Here is a close up of several.
They were absolutely wonderful!
From left to right we have 8th grader Heer Patel, junior Kiana Hernandez,
 and 8th grader Sophia Oporto.

These next ones belong to senior Sophie Yang, junior Angelica Luza and junior Ann Luong.

And grandma here was done by senior Inna Sikar.
Adorable right??

Thursday, August 23, 2018


prismacolors on black construction paper

I am so very pleased with how this piece photographed.
Without the right lighting it was a bit on the dark side
because of the night scene.
Senior Samantha Tun,
my only 3rd year 2-D student this last year created this work.
But first she had to learn to work with the Prismacolors.
They are a bit waxier then regular colored pencils and require a special touch.
But as you can see below,
Sam handled them beautifully.
Her value ranges and blending them together are seamless.
The assignment was to morph two unlike objects.
Sam chose balloons and faces.
And then to figure out an environment to put the morph into that made sense.
The entire work was done in Prisma after Sam did several practice pieces.
I was so pleased with how it came out and how it has a story
that the viewer gets to figure out
Another terrific work Sam!.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


paper collage, misc.findings, mounted on Bristol board

These are so tiny but very powerful Self Portraits that my 2-D beginners created
for their First Quarter Final.
They were required to jump thru so many hoops,
incorporating the Design Elements & Principles we had studied.
Yes, we study in art.  Ha ha
Yes, there is a book,
Art Talk,
 in this class & Quizzes 
Oh no!!!!
This is the foundation class for all my others,
and it's the class I recommend the most for my Art Majors so they will be competitive in college.
And it's definitely my most difficult class.
But the learning is FUN!!!

Note:  There is a slight chance I might have gotten a name or two
labeled incorrectly here.
send me a shout-out if that's so.

The theme that senior Jessica Mones worked to on this first well thought out piece 
was about rewinding time. 
Love the Monochromatic & Neutral color scheme.
So many kids do not feel confident about not incorporating color into their works.
I adore the pieces of rust found to help balance corners (a Principle).
You can find pretty much anything you need within my room or gardens 
since I am the ultimate dumpster diver!

This next precious and delicate piece was made by junior Stephanie Reyes.
She is working in a Cool or Analogous color scheme.
The winding pathway adds Movement to the work,
a Principle of Art.

In this next delightful one by 8th grader Summer Lee,
she has used tremendous energy going thru all the nooks and crannies of the bead drawers 
to find buttons, sequins, cording, etc.
For some of the kids going thru these drawers is somewhat intimidating
or just requires to much damn energy.

I really enjoyed the silhouettes that senior Alyson Tam used
So many of the kids think they have to draw in every single detail of the face & bodies 
when all they really need to do is use a silhouette.
This is so much easier,
especially since we hadn't started the drawing unit yet.

But then there was junior Maniska Ranjit,
who enjoys a good challenge.
She also came into the class with technical skills in place and she loves to draw women.
In that tiny area of 2" by 4" she has managed to put in all the details of this very elegant woman.
Plus her message is simple yet conveys a powerful message.
And check out how she designed the tissue collage backdrop,
gorgeous movement and precise craftsmanship!

Talk about powerful,
man oh man,
junior Ellya Gholmieh
packed a punch and grabbed our attention with this outstanding piece!
Can you tell that the figure is projecting out into space?
Another requirement and Element of Art.

In this very telling Self Portrait by 8th grader Madison Plotkin,
you can really see how she is pushing parts of her work into space.
Notice how she achieves Balance as well with those black curved silhouettes. 
They also help your eye move around the work.

Oh my,
check out the interactive portion of this next work by 8th grader Sophia Matthews.
She built a hinge system so that a section opens to revel the works' meaning.

And this next timely one is so important in terms of message,
and how senior David Tung feels deeply invested and concerned about our futures.
It involves China, Korean and the U.S.,
 and our conflicts with each other.

We end with this last soft & atmospheric piece by junior Esther Ahn.
She also chose to make it interactive by actually making two parts that overlap.
Clever girl! 
She calls this Behind the Screen.
Simple yet so powerful.

Thank you young ones for these remarkable and personal pieces.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


clay, glazes, oxides

I apologize for going a bit out of sequence with assignments.
This summer I'm kind of all over the place with this blog.

This was the very first assignment for my Intermediate clay kids last year.
It was their first time to work in Porcelain,
and their second time to build with slab wrap construction.
But they didn't thump and drag this time, 
they used a roller to thin out their slabs.
We wanted them almost paper thin because these are tiny and delicate in person.
I also had them use decorative paper scissors to cut the clay with 
along all the seams.
Let's take a look.

Once again,
I cannot find the paperwork that tells me who made which piece.
I apologize and hopefully one of my students will chime in and set me straight.
And they did!
Thank you Chloe & Julia  xoxoxox
We have junior Julia Ruiz and senior Sarah Oh.

My guesses on these 3 were right on.
The back pieces are senior Ylia Madayag and junior Chloe Chang.
With junior Eugene Ho who created the tiny cutie in the front.
In fact, 
I loved Eugene's piece so much that I purchased it at Open House.

Here it is on the left on top of my bedroom dresser at the cabin.
I use it to hold my jewelry.
Told you I loved it Eugene!!
Complimentary colors with a very fluid form and great surface design.
It's got it all!

Saturday, August 18, 2018


porcelain clay, oxides, glaze

In my clay classes I continually stress Surface Design.
Anyone can make a pot,
but it's what you do with the form and the surface design that sets it apart.
When I was in college, 
I really enjoyed learning these two very lovely Japanese techniques,
Mishima  (inlay) & Sgraffito (overlay).
 it's time consuming and takes impeccable craftsmanship & patience,
but the results are so worth it.   

I felt this first one was quite remarkable in both form & surface design.
And sadly I can't remember who made it.
Once again the kids just came to the rescue!
Thanks Julia & Chloe.
This brilliant work belongs to junior Julia Ruiz.
On the first side above
 she put a lot of Cobalt Oxide into her slip mixture, 
that she used for her over & underlay work,
 resulting in a very dark blue.
On the back side below
 she added a bit of Red Iron Oxide to grey up that Cobalt mixture. 
Exquisite piece!

By the way,
the kids were required to only make two sides vase forms with asymmetrical sides.
my guesses for these next 3 are from right to left
junior Chloe Chang, seniors Sarah Oh, & Ylia Madayag.

And I have absolutely no clue on this one,
but it was my favorite because the design turned out so wonderfully Non-Objective.
So I'm really taking a shot in the dark and guessing Sarah Oh again.
Each student was required to make two.

I appreciated that these kids were able to pull off this very difficult assignment.
Bravo young ones.
And please comment or email me the right names.