Halloween is coming and we have a real pumpkin this year thanks to Lucy and Ernst, who grew us two in their garden. My youngest carved his Halloween pumpkin today, and later in the week will carve one for the pumpkin contest at school.
If you could design your own bedroom, what would it be like? Would it have a swing set, a trampoline, and a hammock in it?
Maybe it would have a fancy, graphic bedspread and some grown-up furniture, like a sofa.
When you imagine your bedroom, are you floating up at the ceiling, looking down?
Or are you looking at it from the side, as though peering into a dollhouse?
Do you have a bunk bed with fancy finials on it and lots of pink linens?
Or a room with a teleport, a cool car bed, a slide, and a sign to keep your sister out?
Do you imagine filling your room with inventions and electronics, and even having a bed on a roller coaster?
Do you imagine having a pet, like a black cat, and a robot servant?
Are you outside looking in to your bedroom?
Or maybe you can slide out an escape hatch right into your pool from your room!
Perhaps your room has an all-important candy dispenser.
I wish I had found out about this magical bed. Are the different colored dots buttons into other parts of the house: the book room, the dream room, and the pet room? I wish I knew. It is all very mysterious and very wonderful. It is your room, in your imagination, and it can be whatever you want.
Oh, yummy! Quince jelly! I made it for the first time. First rub off the fur and wash the fruit. Then remove the stems and cores. Slice into pieces and cook on the stove in a pot of water until it is well cooked and mushy. Line a colander with cheesecloth, place it over a big pot, and dump in the mush. Let the mush drain overnight. Don't squish the mush or your jelly will be cloudy. Measure your juice, and add about 7/8 a cup of sugar for each cup of juice. Cook until it jells and can it!
Collect some fall leaves. Try not to get any that are too lumpy, like the sycamore leaf. When I rubbed over the sycamore leaf it almost tore the paper.
Paint your paper pale yellow and orange. Don't use watercolor paper, it's too thick, but do use strong paper...This turned out to be very important when we did the project with children!
Let the paper dry for a few minutes (you want it to be damp,) and get out your beautiful Neocolor water-soluble wax pastels. You need orange, yellow, brown, and red.
Now place your leaves under the paper one by one, and color over them with the pastels held on their sides, hard enough so that you can see the veins and edges of the leaves. Don't forget the stems! If you overlap the leaves, the pastels will blend a little bit.
It's magical to see the shapes of the leaves appear! It looks like a pile of leaves. Have you ever jumped in a pile of leaves?
Now look at the children's work. I got busy and didn't take a picture of all of them, unfortunately, but they came out well despite some unforeseen problems. When the children painted, the paper got so wet that their vigorous and enthusiastic coloring tore the paper! Help! We patched the paper as best we could with tape on the back. Also, the painting got tedious for some of them because of the size of the brush. So next time, I would do this project dry with young children, I would use better paper, and I would also show the children how to use the crayon on its side....something I forgot to do! But I still love the results. I asked everyone to start by using a sharpie permanent marker to draw some things you would see in a leaf pile, like worms and bugs!
Look at the colors and this nice beetle!
This child painted a leaf and pressed it on the paper...I didn't think of that.
Many of the pictures got some collage added to them! We love collage in our art room!
Look at the adorable bugs and this collage caterpillar! It was very clever of this girl to fold the paper to cut her symmetrical caterpillar out.
Cities are full of interesting shapes: bridges, buildings, towers, monuments, walls, people, dogs, lamp posts, mailboxes, cars, trucks, and trains. We looked at M. Sasek's wonderful picture book, "This is Paris," for inspiration.
This girl wanted to do a collage of Rome, though she had never been there. She is the same girl who was creating a church with interior columns when we did the cardboard architecture project.
We gave the children bowls of a watered-down glue mixture. They painted it on the white paper and positioned the tissue paper shapes which they had cut or torn. They then brushed over the tissue paper with more of the mixture. This makes the colors run, (which I think is fun!) so they needed to rinse their brushes before adding a new shape and needed to dry the brush well so their pictures and the glue wouldn't get watery. Layering the tissue paper is fun because you can mix colors. This girl did a garage with a car in it, some colored layered rocks on the lower right, and an amazing person!
Another wonderful person striding swiftly through a city! It is hard to cut detail out of tissue paper. I encouraged them to use construction paper for people if they wanted to.
We talked about how buildings which are farther away are smaller. I think this boy successfully created a plane between the buildings in the foreground, and the lime green shape in the back.
Look at this lively scene, with people, an arch, a heart, a tower, and some layering.
This girl created the Eiffel Tower in her scene, some water, and a person with hair.
This boy is working on shapes in math class, and was interested in doing a collage about that.
And this is an airport! What a great idea!
Next week we'll do a drawing or painting project. Some of the children have had enough of collage for the time being and are eager to draw!
The upper primary class made these colorful jellyfish last week. They started with a cardboard shape for the head which I cut out for them, and traced it onto a piece of colorful collage paper, which they cut out. They chose strips of fabric for tentacles, which they stapled onto the cardboard shape.
They glued their collage paper head onto the cardboard head, hiding the staples, and decorated it, in some cases, with more collage papers. After one child drew a Japanese anime-inspired face on his jellyfish, most of the children added a face.
Then it was time for thick lines and dots of glow-in-the dark-paint on the heads.
I wish we had better light in our art room. The lights are very feeble and as Autumn goes on it is going to get darker and darker in there!
Glow-in-the-dark paint needs to dry overnight, so we had to put the jellyfish up high to dry until this week.
I know some children who are very excited to hang their creations in their bedrooms!
I made this castle with half the bottom of a shoebox, colorful scraps of cereal and ice cream boxes, construction paper, and tissue paper.
It is inhabited by a flying elf made from a cork. Last week the early primary group made the flying elves for a game. This week we made castles so that their elves have someplace to live.
My youngest son showed me how to make crenelations when he made his recycled castle last month. He cut snips and folded down every other merlin.
I cut and glued the shoebox halves onto cardboard bases in advance of the early primary art class. The towers are made with paper towel and toilet paper rolls. The children cut two inch slits into the cardboard tubes and slid the tubes onto the castle wall. The child who made this castle is showing how she created a brown hinged door. She discovered some feathers in the supply closet and soon everyone wanted to use feathers.
This child is placing some cardboard scraps on the side of her castle wall to make a building. We used glue and tape to hold everything together. You can see that some of the bases are shoe box lids.
We made roof tops with a circle of construction paper, which is easier to cut than the cardboard scraps which I used for my castle. Cut a slit into the center of the circle and overlap the ends until you like the shape of your roof. Staple or tape it together. Small children might need help with this step. If you have a circle template the young child can trace and cut out her own roof. A little rim of glue on the cardboard tube will help hold the roof in place.
It was fun to watch the children embellish their creations with flowers, grass, vines, cork trees,
lamps, rugs and furnishings.
This child celebrated England and Lithuania with some special flags.
He also made his construction into a flying castle by adding wings.
This castle building project was more successful than the cardboard architecture class I did with the older primary group a couple of weeks ago, because the children had a base upon which to build, (the half shoe box.) The older children had to build from the ground up and it was too difficult in some cases. In other cases, children were able to prevail over the considerable challenges with ingenuity and creativity, and I would still want those students to have the flexibility to create from the ground up in any shape, form or size they want. I wish I had remembered to take pictures of the the chalet, the castle, the apartment building, the church, and more! I was amazed. For those who had a struggle, the frustration slowed them down too much and I think I will have some prepared bases handy next time in case anyone wants or needs them. But having a defined structure to build upon can limit some of the creativity and individuality of what the children make... That's part of the balance, isn't it? On the one hand, to present challenges which give students the opportunity to solve problems creatively, which is one of the great rewards of doing art, and on the other hand to provide enough help to enable children to be successful without limiting self-expression.