Sunday, August 6, 2017

Henna Tattoos

Been super busy the last couple of weeks getting my head wrapped around the concept of returning to school! And while I have managed to accomplish many of my goals for the summer, I didn't do everything....... I did DO a lot of reading, relaxing and sleeping. I also succeeded in completing over 300 levels of Cookie Jam. Redecorated a few areas around the house and went on a mini retreat with the FAEA to Ocala.
Part of the retreat was at the Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, Florida. Which was pretty exciting for me, as I've never been there. It's a beautiful place. We got to explore the museum for a bit and had 2 workshops. One of which was Henna Hands given by Griselle Gonzalez.

 The photo on the left shows the stages of Henna. The Henna ink comes in cones, the point of the cone has the opening in which the ink comes out. It is very paste like and is raised up on the skin. It needs a good 30 minutes to dry and 4 hours later you can crumble off the dry ink. The design will darken over the next 12 hours and stay on for little while. You can still see some of my design even though it is 2 weeks later!

 I really didn't know much about the history of using Henna for tattoos. I was surprised to see how many cultures use a variation of this art. I have found different lessons online to do with students and I'm looking forward to sharing this with them. Will do a blog on that in the future!

Above is our instructor Griselle Gonzalez, the power point she gave was excellent. The other photo is the box the the Henna Cones came in. Henna ink can be found online. Try Etsy or Amazon.
This is me with my buddy, Glenda Lubiner (she writes the Tried & True Tips for Art Teachers in Arts & Activities Magazine). After trying out the ink on Glenda I got the nerve up to try it on my arm.

Check out all the wonderful designs on some of the other art teachers in the workshop!

The retreat was a nice way to spend the weekend. I met new people, which is always fun & caught up with my buddy Glenda.  All in all a great time!

In addition to preparing to return to work, I will be presenting at the FAEA conference in October. Registration starts tomorrow August 7. I will be doing the workshop Start with a Story, sharing how I use literature to inspire students and a presentation titled Grant-tastic about how I applied and received grant money for my program.

Turns out I'm also on the ballot and might be the next Elementary Division Directer. Voting on that starts tomorrow and will be open until 3 pm on October 20th. Check it out!

Thanks for Reading! And let's all enjoy the new school year!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Interplanet Janet, a Summer Project

Totally have this song stuck in my head from Schoolhouse Rock about Interplanet Janet who is a galaxy girl. Click here for a you tube video of the song, caution as it might get stuck in your head too.

The reason this song is stuck in my head is because I was asked to create a doll of Interplanet Janet for a production of the musical to be performed at my local community theater. The president, aka my dear friend Kathy, who is an awesome person, asked me if I would paint this picture on some white fabric for her to make a doll.

As I thought about this I decided painting it would make it stiff and hard to sew. Meanwhile I sketched it out on a large sheet of paper that had been used as package stuffing. (Yes, I save weird stuff.)

Also, decided it should be made on unbleached muslin and instead of painting it I could baste down Smart Fab for color. (Yes, I totally took over the project.) I traced my pattern onto the fabric, (fabric was a double layer to have and front and a back) then I drew another line around, about 1/2" away to create seam allowance for sewing it together.

Then I used different parts of the pattern to make the pieces for the hair and body parts out the Smart Fab. With the Smart Fab you don't need to worry about frayed edges, kind of like felt but thinner.

I used a Sharpie for the eyes, nose, smile and some lines on the bottom shape.
After I pinned it right sides together, I realized I had no idea where exactly I should be sewing it. Yes, I had added seam allowance, but I wanted to make sure I was sewing it in the right place. So I just traced the pattern again so I would know where to sew it.

To add the flames at the bottom I sewed them first to a strip of Smart Fab so they would all stay together and be easier to sew.

Next it was time to turn it right side out and stuff it!

I had planned to stuff it through the bottom but the neck area was just too tight. I had not basted the hair down on the back of the doll so that the performer could put her hand under the hair to hold it up. So I went under the hair and slit a hole to stuff the doll through the top. Now I had 2 areas in which to stuff it from.

Because I didn't want the head to flop over and the neck is so thin I cut a toilet paper roll and placed it inside the the neck area. The roll was tightened up first and able to expand inside the doll.

When it was finished I couldn't wait to drop it off at the theater. And as luck would have it, it was perfect timing, as the troupe would be doing that song next! I was invited to stay and watch! And what a fabulous performance! And the young lady holding the doll did the number on ROLLER SKATES!

And that is how the song got stuck in my head!

Can't wait to attend the performance next month with my husband & grandsons.

Thanks for Reading!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Proposal to Present

Since attending my first NAEA conference back in 2011 I decided it was important to me to be involved with both the NAEA and my state's association the FAEA. To me one way to be involved is to give a presentation. That involves writing a proposal. I have been very fortunate as all of my proposals have been accepted. I presented at NAEA in San Diego. I was part of a Carousel of Bloggers with Nancy Walkup in New Orleans and I've presented in Florida a few times.
At the FAEA Elementary Division meeting, during conference last year, members wanted to know how to put together a proposal. I thought it would make for an excellent session. One in which I would like to be able to do, however I really don't know what is expected...... Sooooo when Jennifer Dahl, the NAEA Elementary Division leader asked for session reviewers for the upcoming Seattle Conference I decided that would be a perfect opportunity for me to learn and later be able to share.

I participated in an online training session given by Kathy Duse, Executive Services and Convention Manager and Dennis Inhulsen, Chief Learning Officer.

Turns out there were 1756 session proposals submitted for Seattle which is actually up from the last time the conference was held there. There were 180 people who volunteered to blindly review and score the proposals. Each proposed session is reviewed and scored by 3 different people.

This year a new proposal form was implemented to streamline the process. I also learned that while a session may get high scores from all 3 reviewers, there may not always be room in the schedule for it. My take on that is if you submitted a proposal and it was not accepted, try not to take it personally. And by all means try again!

You can see from the photos that there are 4 different categories that are scored and I will tell you from having read through the batch I was given it was easiest to read the ones that actually started their paragraph with Statement and Outcome........., Organization of Content......., Relevance of Topic......., and Impact on Practice...........

As I mentioned earlier in the post there are things that have changed or are new to the process this year. If you are considering submitting a proposal you might want to check out the guidelines here.

I shutter to think of what this process was like before e-mail and online portals. Our Association works hard for us and for that I am very grateful!

And as a side note, I will be presenting in Florida at the FAEA conference. I have 2 presentations.
One is a workshop titled: Start with a Story, how to use literature in the art room. The other one will be a Art Forum titled: Grant-tastic, you will find out how I managed to get thousands of grant dollars for my art program over the past 11 years. 

I'm curious as to grants you have received over the years, I would like to include that info in my presentation!

Thanks for Reading!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Socially Engaged Art, SICA 2017

Socially Engaged Art was the theme for the Summer Institute of Contemporary Art or SICA 2017. I attended SICA 2015 and I enjoyed it so much that I couldn't wait to return to Penn State to enjoy it again this year. It did not disappoint. Before I get into all the wonderful knowledge that I gained I want to say just how friendly and accommodating everyone was. I was given rides to and from my hotel by people attending the institute and by a dear woman who I met last time I was there. There's a special camaraderie among art teachers that just can't be beat. I am glowing and feeling super intelligent at the moment!

I gotta say I really didn't understand what I was getting myself into with the theme Socially Engaged Art. I thought is was about getting more social through your art, okay really clueless here. But I remembered how nice everyone was and how they fed us breakfast and lunch and paid for my hotel room and the institute was FREE. AND I really like learning NEW things.

So it turns out that one example of Socially Engaged Art is the melding of art and social work. In other words as an artist working in a community, one needs to be aware of what can help that community to thrive. An example of that would be the water filters we made on the second day of SICA.

I was stunned to learn that there are many people in the United States that do not have access to clean water. With that in mind using just clay, sawdust and water we learned how to make ceramic water filters.

First we sifted wood shavings (from the campus woodworking shop) through screens to separate the sawdust from the larger pieces.
Then we measured out equal amounts of sawdust and clay onto a large tarp and mixed it together. This was done by sifting the contents within the  tarp back and forth a few times. 

Then that mixture was gently poured into a wheel barrel along with some water scooped up from the ground. (It rained earlier.)

After that was all mixed together we used a plaster mold in which to make the water filter. (The mold was made using half a football nerf ball. As that was a perfect shape for the filter.) 

 We started out making a small pinch pot with our clay mixture and pressed it into the bottom of the plaster mold, then continued by adding coils until the inside of the mold, through to the lip of the mold, was covered in the clay mixture.

 When the clay is hard and dry it will be fired in a GAS kiln as the sawdust will burn out and not be kind to an electric kiln.

The finished water filter can then be placed on the lip of a bucket with a spout. Dirty water goes in the top and clean water comes out the bottom into the bucket. This process will clean the water by 95%. 

Now, we did not hide ourselves in some basement art studio, we did this outside accessible to people passing by. And people were curious and stopped to talk to us and find out what we were doing. And by talking to them, we were educating them as to a community's need for clean water.

So there you have it-artists socially engaged making art to help people. Okay, now that was just ONE example another example might be to make people aware of something you might not agree with. Sort of getting the word out, being an activist on a cause that’s important to you. But that my friends that is a whole another story!!

I want to give a shout out to both Dana Carlisle Kletchka and B. Stephen Carpenter II for ALL their hard work. Without them, I'm not sure there would be a Summer Institute.........

 Thanks for reading! 
I would love to hear about any fun summer professional development you have planned for the summer!