Archive | April 2013

Making Art and Memories

Image

We called it an art show but the gathering that took place on Friday at the Hanna Fenichel Center for Child Development could have been called a “Family Reunion” and the title would have been just as appropriate!

Image

For those of you who have children enrolled in the school or have visited the Garden Classroom, you know that my little bit of paradise is situated up a level from the other classrooms. The place was JUMPING and filled with many kinders, 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders and all siblings of our current students and thrilled to be swinging on “their” tire swing under the fabulous Mr. Tree, or roaming up and down on the slides. I had a throng of children in the Art Cottage and on the deck reliving their cherished memories of spending time at Hanna.

Image

Image

They used the same materials that their younger siblings have used to create our two rainbow pieces (still works in progress) and view the pumpkin plants (and sunflowers) that have sprouted from the seeds taken from the donated pumpkins left over from the Halloween pumpkin patch. (These pumpkins brought to us by KK and Eli are the pumpkins that “keep on giving!”)

Image

While not discovered by our older siblings, one little sister enjoyed “painting” with the slip (a liquid mixture of clay and water that is used to help weld clay pieces together) in our clay display. She was using it in the proper context as one child discovered while working on the sculptures that were featured. (After seeing how children began painting leaves found on the ground with the slip, I used Mod Podge to protect the clay covered leaf and punched a hole in it and created a mobile with them.) I eventually enticed several of the older children to paint some of the leaves so they could be added to our mobile

Image

Image

Another display featured our attempts (SUCCESSFUL!) to entice the birds to visit the Garden Classroom. Besides various artifacts I have collected and our beloved “bird family” (that gets played with almost daily), the Bird Journal that tells the story that started last year was also on display.  (I’m not sure what it means if the photographer is caught in a mirror while taking a photo. I certainly didn’t do it on purpose!

Image

Visitors to the Garden Classroom can view the beautiful  sign inviting the birds to “come and eat” created by several children and displayed at the Art Show. The story of how this sign came to be created can be found in the Bird Journal.

Image

Even after putting the art and displays away, the parents, who seemed reluctant to acknowledge that the “Art Show” was over, joined the children under our sheltering pepper tree and enjoyed the lingering sunshine and each other’s company while the siblings continued to play, laugh and make new memories of being together at Hanna!

Image

Please Peek! A Preview

Image

As the year winds down and each new day brings us closer to the Hanna Art Show, the children’s investigation and celebration of rainbows is culminating with two pieces of art. While both are based on the results of our nearly yearlong investigation, the one piece that is being featured in this week’s writing, is also the result of a generous gift and a serendipitous find.

 Image

While deciding to spend the year exploring “color” I had no preconceived ideas how to do that. After observing how children were creating rainbows out of every type of medium available, I realized an investigation of rainbows offered us the perfect forum for an exploration of color.  

Image

 

Early on in our rainbow investigation, one thing struck me. While listening to Israel “Izzy” Kamakawiwo’ole version of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” the most significant line that resonated with the children was the importance of “blue skies” and their knowledge that a rainbow comes out “after a storm.”  

As our discussion deepened,  I came to realize that each and every color was a “happy” color to one child or another. (Although blue represented sadness to one child because blue was the color of tears.) While the rainbow is universally viewed as a symbol of hope, I believe that all the information gathered up in our investigation of the rainbow adds up to the feeling that a rainbow represents happiness to our artists.

 Image

Although we started our final  project in the last week or so,,the process actually started a couple of months ago, after being initially inspired by our lovely collection of rainbow, hued yarns donated to the school. I wanted to use this collection in an age appropriate, yet engaging way. I decided that weaving was a technique that the children might find intriguing. The children practiced weaving by creating a “rainbow” on a metal piece I found in a thrift store. Once a child learned the technique, I asked them to teach another child the technique.

Image

Besides the yarn, my inspiration was a thick piece of wood I pulled out of the trash. This was going to serve as the base and sky of the project.Several of our artists worked with oil pastels and watercolors to represent a blue sky.After reaching a consensus, a tint of blue was chosen and the wood prepared for painting by sanding.

 Image

Several children participated in painting the wood block. Watching the transformation of the wood was glorious! I’m not sure any of the children understood where this was going, but all were on board for the experience.

Image

Image

After looking at pictures from our book, “The Colors of the Rainbow,” it was decided that it was important to have fluffy, white clouds be a part of our background of a blue sky.

Image

Now, I am sure you are all wondering how yarn, wood, and the  children’s fascination with rainbows will come together. The next step will explain everything and also offered an invitation to even more participants to the process.

ImageAfter a rainbow pattern was created by Luella, I traced the first arc on the block of wood. After donning goggles, the children were all very enthusiastic about hammering in the nails.

ImageI hope you can envision the next step of “weaving a rainbow.” We will start weaving the top row of red (Red is always at the top of the rainbow, unless it is a double rainbow, then it will appear at the bottom.) on our first day back after Spring Break and invite attendees to our Art Show to weave some of the other rows!

More than anything else, our project was a happy process and my hope is to leave everyone viewing our art piece in a happy state of mind.

Please visit The Garden Classroom while attending the Hanna Art Show and see this and other projects inspired by the children’s curiosity and interests!

With Joy! 

Francie 

PS 

“Like” The Garden Classroom on Facebook for a daily peek of each days activities and explorations. 

This entry was posted on April 8, 2013. 6 Comments