Friday, July 31, 2015

Reclaiming Clay

As a potter and as an art teacher, it was inevitable that some day I would discover a box or more of dried up clay.  This summer I wanted to get back into my throwing because I have been so busy with school stuff that I have neglected it.  I used to make a lot of pottery and go to art shows.  I haven't done that in a few years.  Wouldn't you know it, just when I finally get into the mood of getting back into clay, I have discovered brick after brick of dried up clay.  What to do?  Naturally, being the computer geek that I am, I hunted for ideas online.  I knew I didn't want to do the hard work of breaking up that clay and putting it into garbage cans to recycle it.  Eventually, I came across a forum that didn't really help but I saw a comment in the forum, that made me think.  I decided to take the guy's idea because it sounded plausible, and give it a try.  Lo, and behold, I have something that works beautifully and I just have to share it with other art teachers and potters.  If you have a box of dried up clay just follow my directions and you will be pleasantly surprised!

 Take clay out of bag.
 Here is my clay and I must say it is hard as a rock!

Second:  Get a large heavy bath towel and soak it in water.

Third:  Wrap the bath towel around the dry clay.  Yes, I know this is messy!  Then bag it air tight into another plastic bag.  I just used good, strong garbage bags.
Fourth:  Patiently wait one whole week!

Fifth:  Take clay out of bag.  It may be a little softer on the outside but it will be perfect once it is pugged or wedged.
Pug the clay or have your students wedge it as they get it.  Just cut it like you normally would.
Seventh:  Enjoy your freshly pugged clay!
Eighth:  Now go out and throw pots!
This really works and that is why I am sharing it.  Thank you wonderful commenting guy on the Internet somewhere, where every you may be!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Reflection Statements Using Artsonia

I just want to give a shout out to for providing a good place for students to write reflection statements.  I teach sixth through eighth grade students.  I have uploaded student work to Artsonia for many years now.  It was always a tremendous amount of extra work for me.  Artsonia has made this easier by allowing students to upload their own work and even write reflections statements about their artwork.  I still have to set it up for the students and approve their selections but it has saved me so much time and it has been good for the students to learn the process.  Within this process, I can give writing prompts to students so they can hopefully think deeper about what they are doing when they are creating art.  Some students will continue to do the minimum amount of writing and some will not even get their uploads completed, so I may not have as many pieces on Artsonia as I would if I did my own uploads.  However, I think this ties in beautifully with the new standards and the ideas of thinking about thinking.  Here are some examples from my students this past year.  I have not corrected any errors in their writing and have simply copied and pasted their artwork and reflection statements, so you can see how they are thinking about their artwork.  I highly recommend this to any teacher working with middle school students that has access to computers, iPads, Chromebooks, or student phones.  More can be found at our Artsonia link.

tomeaka's chinese brushwork
Tomeaka1 said this about his/her artwork ...
my favorite part about this project would be the blue pedals.My lease favorite part about this would be the pink pedals.It was hard to paint with out drawing first that's why my painting looks like that.I like working with brushes like the ones we used.If i created this art work again i would use a thin and tiny brush for the out lines then color in the inside why because big brushes don't work very well for the out lines.Things i learned about this project was using big brush's don't work very well.One thing i learned about this art work would be not to use so much paint.
About Me
Stephanie5007 said this about his/her artwork ...
I think that the most difficult part at doing this assignment is putting on the Duck Tape because it was always hard to cut and it was always sticking to me. To be truthful I actually wasn't successful because I made it like you do in the Fashion Angles Portfolio. But other than that, yes, I was successful. Also I would not change a thing if I had a magic wand or something. I think it unified from page to page because, starting with the picture of me, I did it like what is my favorite thing to my least favorite thing. If I was working with collage material again I think I would create something about my favorite brother Derrick Freske. The thing that I learned while doing this project is that I love art.
Hannah10582 said this about his/her artwork ...
I liked drawing the peacock first then tracing it on the scratch paper. I chose to do a peacock because they are colorful. I learned how to use a tool . I didn't like how white showed up when I pushed to hard.

Pastel Fox
Emily13174 said this about his/her artwork ...
I absolutely love how this came out. If you cant tell i love foxes, this is the 2nd project I've done with a fox. It looks really cool,with how there looks like there's movement in the fur. It was actually very simple to create.

The zentangle tiger
Giselle412 said this about his/her artwork ...
My favorite part was the background. my inspiration was that I like tigers. if i created a tiger again i would change the ears and add more details.what I learn from doing this artwork was to be creative. I use lots of colors and shapes.
Manga Guy Drawing
Allen829 said this about his/her artwork ...
I liked doing this project because it turned out great similar to my manga computer one. I changed the color of his shirt just a little bit and I added a great background to this drawing instead of a plain blue background. This must have been the best similar drawing I have ever drew. I really liked it.
Haly3 said this about his/her artwork ...
The watercolor project was a new and interesting project. I liked my turtle design but I don't like the color for it. I thought It was gonna be harder. I would of changed the color of the turtle.
My Painting
Myah97 said this about his/her artwork ...
I chose to paint expressionism because I liked that style of art the best over all the other styles and because it expresses your feelings. The most difficult part of this project was coming up with an idea and trying to paint all the small spots in. If I were to change something I would probably change the grey color at the bottom and make it a brighter color. I think I was successful using this style because it expresses my feelings. I'm very satisfied with my final artwork.

Matisse Style Painting
Carma7 said this about his/her artwork ...
Drawing from a model was actually pretty easy except for getting the facial features. What I did with my earlier project made it easier to do this one. I chose the pattern for my painting because I wanted to keep it sort of like the model and her background. If I were to make this project again, I would definitely give it some more detail and put more effort into it. Honestly, I don't like painting like Matisse. I like to do expressionism art and painting in an art style.
random room
Jade1157 said this about his/her artwork ...
This is my first time drawing from a model and I think it look good. I used bright colors to express happiness in this painting. I think using acrylic paint made it easier because you can paint over it. If I could do it over I would use more patters in it. I already knew about color theory but this is a good project for teaching it. I like painting with expressively but my favoret stile is fanticy