Friday, February 12, 2010

Recycle Old Crayons

In my Internet browsing session the other day, I ran across a posting written by Shannon of StalkerCreations. She had a wonderful tutorial for melting up crayons and cutting them into blocks to recycle broken and old crayons. She was glad that I wanted to link back to her post to share her idea with you. Thank goodness, because I sure need to do something with all the pieces I have in my art classroom after teaching 20 years!

Shannon's re-melted crayons remind me of a product I've actually seen in art supply catalogs called "Chunk O' Crayon". People pay money to get these! I really like the possibility that mine will have so much more color variety.
I really liked the part about cutting them like bars. Her hint was to cut them while the crayons are fully melted but still a bit warm.

Please take a look at her blog if you have the same need. I will melt up my crayons soon and take photos. I am anticipating many very creative crayon rubbings! We have several templates that have some famous art embossed into the plastic forms. Wouldn't those be nice done up in a randomly colored patterns from a good old chunk 0' crayon?

I hope you get inspired to do something similar.
My melted crayon chunks got quite a lot of attention by the kiddos in the classroom this week. I had them sitting in the foil pan and they looked like chunks of fudge! I had cut them with the crinkle cutter kitchen tool. I must say that I will try it again soon, because I think I let the melting go on too long. I would like to catch it in time to do a more marbleized swirl. Mine came out quite dark with only a little bit of a swirl. They were too far melted and the majority mixed too much making most of the pan black crayon.

Let us know if you get some nice results.

Collage and Scrap Fabrics

One of my favorite ways of working with children and the creation of art is to introduce collage as the process. I enjoy presenting a theme or topic and have the child create the image and then paint some of it, layer words in the art and paint over it, and add tiny mosaics of paper and scrap fabric. The layering works especially well in large and medium sized spaces and the collage of paper and fabrics often is most successful for the background areas.

This is the method I used when we worked on Wild Cat collages a few years ago. A little 3rd grade artist created this piece from torn paper squares, yarn and blue fabric swatches! I just adore it. The lion went to several local art shows that year. Her mother just loved how nice it looked when it was framed in a simple black frame under a piece of glass.

This fall around the end of October, my fifth graders were making Jasper Johns style flags. The students were able to layer words and song lyrics from the patriotic songs being sung at the concert right into their flags. It was such inspiring work! I liked the way this artist chose to use a variety of blue fabric wedges scattered in the field of blue!
I am so thrilled to have Wanda of Exuberant Color offer to send our school some of her finest trimmings from her quilt studio! She had written a post about cleaning up after a scrappy sewing session and I happened to comment to her on how we use fabric scraps in my art room. Thank you Wanda!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mall Exhibit

I took a sampling of work from my students of grades 3 - 6 to the local mall for our annual Catholic Schools Exhibit. The display boards contained 2 -D work that has been completed since this fall. I am saving the sculptures and the masks for an exhibit coming up in March that has an attendant.

These 4 display boards contained the Personal Art Series done by 2 fifth grade students and 2 sixth graders. Each year since 1st grade they have made a sample drawing containing the following subjects: people, animal, building, vehicle, and plant. They may arrange it differently each time or the same. They challenge themselves to come up with a slightly different version each year as their skills and talents develop. It is fun to see this series come together as the students reach the upper elementary grades.

The idea came from a colleague of mine. She got these 2 groups started with the pencil drawings back in first and second grades. Because of her encouragement, I decided to add it to my curriculum. The children have grabbed on to the idea very well and they are amazing me with such creativity. I am so glad she didn't keep the idea to herself.

Personal Art Series by MorganM. grade 5

Personal Art Series by Ryan S. grade 5

Personal Art Series by Kellan D. grade 6
Artistic Statement: "It was really fun to make these. I hope I can keep doing them!"

Personal Art Series by Courtney F. grade 6
Artist Statement: "I like drawing in a lot of colors."