Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lorax Tree

What happens when you mix branches, wiki stix, pipe cleaners and tissue paper?  Lorax trees of course!  We read the Lorax for Earth Day and asked the kids to bring small branches to school.  A lump of air-dry clay secured the stick to the table.  After that, the kids were allowed to decorate their tree any way they wanted. I think Dr. Seuss would be proud.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Favorite Artist

One of my favorite artists is Niki de Saint Phalle.  I  am inspired by the whimsical nature of her work, the bright colors, and the incredible 3-dimensional figures that she made.

A few years ago, the Garfield Park Conservatory had a traveling show of her work. I took this photo inside the conservatory.

Below is an example of one of my own drawings. As you can see , I have been influenced by Niki de Saint Phalle.
drawing by Abby H. Reish

To learn more about Niki, visit:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Face Jugs

Lanier Meaders face jug
 While growing up and studying ceramics in Georgia, I became fascinated with Georgia folk pottery and especially face jugs.  Some of them are quite funny, while some of them are meant to be scary. 

After looking at several examples the kids were ready to try making their own interpretations of the face jug.  Looks like they did a pretty good job!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Art in Everyday Places

I love taking pictures of ordinary things that strike me as anything but ordinary.  A few years ago we took a trip to Japan.  Here are a couple of "ordinary" things we saw in Tokyo.
Manhole Cover

Restaurant Sign     

Have you discovered art in any unexpected places?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Earth Day Art Project

We found some nature stencils in our supply closet.  I thought it would be great to have the kids pick a design and paint it onto newspaper as a recycled art project for earth day.  When they were done, I found a box of cork floor tile that we could use to mount their art. They look great hanging in our classroom!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Pinch Pot Rattle

The after-school art class begins this week.  For the first project we are going to make a rattle out of clay. Ceramic rattles appear throughout history in many different cultures.  They were used (and still are!) as musical instruments and children's toys.

To begin the project, all of the children will receive a baseball-size lump of clay that they will need to break into three pieces.  The easiest way to get kids to make the pieces round is to have them "clap" with the lump of clay between their two hands.

Next, have the children make two pinch pots.  The children should hold a ball of clay in one hand to form the pinch pot.  (If it is formed on the table they will end up with a flat bottomed pot.)  Then, slip and score the lip of both pots.  Here is the magic part - use small bits from the third ball of clay to make round "beads".  Wrap each bead in newspaper and put inside one of the pots.

Why put the beads inside paper?  To keep them  from sticking inside of your wet pot!  The paper will burn away during the firing and those little bits will make music.  Carefully put the two pots together, smoothing away the seam.

Now the kids have a hollow ball that can be lightly paddled into shape. The clay left over from their third lump can be used to add on features.  I am going to have the kids make an animal head.  For my example, I made an homage to Julius - I am a huge Paul Frank fan!
Make sure there the kids poke at least one hole in the rattle to allow air to escape.  

I am  looking forward to seeing what the kids come up with.  I'll post pictures of their work in progress.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Still Life With Preschoolers

We have an art show coming up in May. I decided to work with the kids on drawing a still life. I set up two vases filled with fake tulips and blue glass marbles.  Each child was given a small canvas to work on.  It was fun to watch them really thinking about the flowers and how to plan their design.

                    These drawings are great examples of different stages in development.

To have some cohesiveness  with this project, I first asked the children to do a line drawing of the vase and flowers with a black Sharpie marker.  I then asked them to color the flowers and marbles with oil pastels.  Lastly, I had them paint over the whole canvas with blue watercolor. 

I think their parents will be significantly impressed! 

Classroom Projects

Photos of Classroom Projects

Below are some photos of projects we have done this year:
watercolor and oil pastel

marbleized paper

paper weaving  

  The kids especially love the marbleized paper projet. Here is the method I used:

 1) Spray about an inch of foam shaving cream ( not gel) on a tray and smooth with a plastic knife or palette knife.

2) Have three different liquid watercolors in cups on the table for children to use. The kids use spoons to drip colors on top of the shaving cream.

3) Next, children use a plastic fork to swirl the colors.

4) Lay a piece of cardstock on top of the shaving cream and lightly push the paper into the shaving cream.

5) Lift the paper off of the tray and use a piece of cardboard to remove excess shaving cream. (the excess can be put right back onto the tray) The shaving cream can be used multiple times.

The watercolors stay vivid and the paper is almost instantly dry.  The chldren are amazed at the colors and designs that are on their paper!

Chihuly Inspired Art

It was time to spruce up the classroom for spring.  We looked at images of Dale Chihuly's glass work and we decided to use coffee filters to represent his art . http://www.chihuly.com

I had the children color coffee filters with magic markers. When they were done, the kids put the filters on top of a waxed paper cup. Next, they took a small spray bottle filled with liquid fabric starch and saturated the coffee filter. They dried nice and crisp and easily popped off the cups.
Here is our interpretation:

Preschool Chihuly Art

Play-dough Sunday

Pink Lemonade Play-dough!

Sunday has become play-dough making day at my house.  I like to surprise the kids with a different scent each week - just a little something to make Mondays fun.

Here is the recipe I like to use:
4 c. flour
4 tsp. cream of tartar 
6 tbsp. vegetable oil 
4 c. water
3 packs kool-aid mix (without sugar)
2 c. salt
Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Add the water and oil and stir into dry ingredients. Stir over medium heat several minutes until mixture forms a ball. Let cool in pot a few minutes, then knead until smooth. Store in an airtight container.