Sunday, February 12, 2017

Have a Seat: Making Chairs in Art

I was absolutely fascinated at an exhibit at The Tampa Museum of Art a few years ago. It was titled 100 Years, 100 Chairs. I was so glad that I went by myself, because I spent hours looking at and reading about the chairs in the exhibit. Click here for a video about the exhibit.

Shortly after that at my state conference I attended a workshop presented by Steve Miller on making chairs from recycles. Here is a photo of the examples he brought to inspire us.
 And here is the chair I made.
So I started collecting empty toilet and paper towel rolls. And I would end up using them for something else, so I would start all over again...... Just never getting around to doing the project.

This year I decided to pull out all the stops and just have fun with my students.
Over winter break I made this chair as a starting point for the lesson. I figured they would follow my example and come up with a theme to embellish it with.  I forgot about using the photos I took at the workshop. The chair I had made, I had taken apart for some reason. So I ended up showing my students the 100 Years, 100 Chairs video of the exhibit to inspire them.

I put out an crazy assortment of cardboard, bottles, cups, tops, empty rolls, paper, yarn, packing materials...... lots of STUFF in which to create a chair. My students did not disappoint. And after seeing the direction they were going in, I started another chair. I always wanted a hand chair, but could never figure out where to put it.

 I did this with my 4th grade and it took a few class sessions for them to complete them. In the mean time my younger students got very curious about what they saw at at the back of the art room.

They were so very curious that I decided to see if I could get them displayed in the media center. When everyone has finished I plan to take students on a gallery walk through the exhibit. I'm even thinking of having a closing reception with parents so that the chairs have a chance of making it home in one piece.

Check it out!


I wanted students to paper mache and paint the chairs, but the cardboard was not really cooperating when it got wet so some just left them the way they were and some used colored paper to decorate them. They assembled the materials with a low temp hot glue gun and white liquid glue.

Now I couldn't help but notice two different sessions at the NAEA conference next month that includes designing chairs.  I just love it when I'm relevant........

Check it out, I know I want to try to get there. So much to see, so little time!!

Thursday, March 2
11:00 - 11:50 am

Creating Designers Out of Today’s Art Students
Ninoshka Boylston Come and learn an art teacher and interior designer’s process of how to engage students in the design process in the art classroom, designing functional chairs and lamps! Lecture
Hilton/Gramercy West/2nd Floor

Saturday, March 4
11:00 - 11:50 AM AICAD Live Learning Lab
University of the Arts (Uarts) Presents: Enhance Your Art + Design Curriculum: Design Thinking Activities Rande Blank,  Barbara Suplee,  Karen Bannett
Teach students to use design thinking as a problem-solving process and cycle through two design thinking workshop stations including creating portraits using office supplies and creating chair prototype designs. Hands-On Demonstration Hilton/Bryant Suite/2nd Floor

It was a wonderful experience for me to have such an open ended lesson. It was also interesting to explore with students what would work and what wouldn't work. For starters the chair had to stand up on it's own. And no, we are making prototypes, I don't have room for life size chairs.......

It was also interesting to hear what they thought would be an important addition to their chairs, like cup holders, leg rests, etc. Some students insisted on putting a person in their chair. They were all so into it and animated about the lesson. Such a wonderful WIN-WIN!!

I would love to know if you have designed chairs with your students.... I also want to know if you are planning to attend the lectures on designing chairs at the NAEA conference next month.

AND if you have made chairs with your students, please share some photos!!!

Thanks for reading!!

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