Tag Archives: art

3rd and 4th Grade Reflections on Art

As part of the art that the 3rd and 4th graders made with me in Coshocton, each group was asked to write about the body part they had constructed and the materials they had used, kind of like I do with my art. In response, they wrote many wonderful things.

Here’s a great selection of the kinds of things that they thought to include in their reflections. In case you can’t read them well, here’s a translation (with corrected spelling for ease of reading):

The head came from the Salvation Army, so it has a lot of story behind it. The hair we found in a bucket in art class. The flower was right beside the hair so we KNEW it was a perfect match. The hood was made from a very special fabric. It actually has a lot of story behind it too.

Lane’s shirt that Mom won’t let him wear.  Emily’s nice, cozy gloves. Brandon’s ring. Colton’s great sewing.

The pink pants is when I first went to the doctor to get my shot. –Tatum.  The jeans are what I wore on my first day of 2nd grade.–Arianna.  The jeans is when I went to first day of 1st grade.–Tatum. I used the jeans for the pocket.         I cut some of the designs.–Shalcey

The pants I brought in was my favorite pants I ever had. Now the pants are going to be a fake person.

Patchwork Neighborhood

Several pieces of my art are on exhibit at the Pomerene Center for the Arts in conjunction with my residency. In the gallery next to the one showing my art is an exhibit  by an artist named Melissa Vogley Woods.  This is a piece of her art. In a third gallery there is an exhibit of quilts by local quilters.  I enjoyed the combination of all three galleries and their variations on art involving fabric and memories.

I liked Melissa Vogley Woods’ art reflecting on empty houses, including photos like the one above where she has mended the empty house with old quilts. I like her process as a way of interacting with a neighborhood like the one where I live in with its empty houses that disappear to the demolition crew in a day. How do you heal the houses? How do you heal the neighborhood? What memory does the neighborhood have after a house is gone after having stood for more than a century?

Little Girl on the Porch

Here’s another one of the people I made with the 3rd and 4th grade classes in Coshocton. Remember each limb was constructed by a group of 3-5 kids working together. On this one, I love the Hannah Montana legging that became an arm, the goalie glove hand (with ring!), and the fact that you can see the buttons on the shirt that got wrapped up and stuffed in a stocking to become the head.

It was up to me to figure out how to put all the pieces together and, like actual people, these people are all wired together in different ways. On this one’s shoulders, you can see the exposed “bones” made out of cable donated to the Pomerene Center by a phone company. On this person, I drilled through it and tied the bones together.

Words of Wisdom

As part of the art that the 3rd and 4th graders made with me in Coshocton, each group was asked to write about the body part they had constructed and the materials they had used, kind of like I do with my art.

In response, they wrote many wonderful things. This is one that I particularly like. The group decided to make a particularly ambitious torso by cutting three shirts apart and sewing them back together. It was a lot of sewing for a bunch of kids very new to it.

I love the result and I love their commentary:

“This is my sister’s shirt and Brayden’s shirt. It was hard to make. Sometimes life is creative.”

People at Rest

I’m just back from an artist residency at the Pomerene Center in Coshocton, Ohio. I love getting to share my art with kids, challenging them to see unusual materials as art, and helping them to make their own art.

During this residency, I worked with about 250 3rd and 4th graders to help them make fabric “people” using their own cast off clothing. The kids worked in groups of 3-5 to make body parts for the figures. Then I assembled all the parts into complete figures. The kids also got to see some of my work in a show that’s up in one of the art center’s galleries.

We made a total of 10 “people”. Here are two. You can see photos of the works in progress here.

Prodigal

My friend Jane Case Vickers and I have both been working on art for a local exhibit. The theme is the Prodigal story in the Gospel of Luke. We’ve been discussing her artist’s statement to accompany her art and she was curious what my artist’s statement said. Here it is:

I took as my inspiration the two brothers, their struggles, their interplay, and their shortcomings. In the parable, neither brother plays the role of the exemplary son. One leaves his father, squanders his inheritance, associates with prostitutes and then pigs. When he returns home, the other son angrily and bitterly refuses to join his father in the celebration that his brother has been found and his place in the family restored.

In my sculpture, the two brothers appear as two golden figures suspended in the mechanics of the piece. One hangs from the upper section. This section is actually the rotor of a whirligig, and you can activate it by blowing on it. When the whirligig spins, it carries this figure in endless, unproductive circles. Through a series of wires and strings, the second figure is also connected to the spinning whirligig. In this way, as one brother spins around and around the second brother is jerked back and forth, suspended just above the ground.

The piece is a metaphor for the very human and very familiar actions and reactions within this parable. It illustrates the ways that we, as human beings, fall short and the way that these shortcomings impact our relationships with each other and with God.

Separately, I enjoy making art that celebrates found objects in all their beauty, and I particularly enjoy the way the found materials in this piece resonate with the parable of the Prodigal/Two Brothers and its place among several parables illustrating God’s rejoicing that the lost is found.

Found objects in this piece include: rusty bed springs, a coat hanger, pop/beer cans, twist ties, shower curtain rings, Mardi Gras babies, old beads, old jewelry, gold leaf, cardboard, sewing machine bobbins, a beater I found in the street, half an ornament I found in the street, a ballerina cake decoration, an old needle case, odds and ends off some Christmas crackers, fabric leftover from another project, a star from a stuffed animal, a Barbie leg, and wire.