First “Week” Fun

You would think that with the first week of classes being just two days long, I wouldn’t have much to write about. We’ll see about that!

I am happy to have seen all of my classes once each during these two days. The focus has been on “getting to know you”, especially with my fifth grade students. With all fifth grade classes, I welcomed them to the Miscoe Hill art program with my Prezi presentation, Oh, Mona. Here it is for you to peruse; the only thing you’re missing is my narration. Simply click on the image to follow the link through to Prezi, and once there, click through the presentation using the arrows at the bottom of the image.

Click on the image to see the presentation

Click on the image to link through to the presentation

Sixth graders returned to art this year to see a short video of famous artist, Chuck Close, reading a letter to himself at age fourteen (click on the image to see the video):

Click on the image to see the video

Click on the image to see the video

I chose this video because of the lessons within it. In one sense it is sobering, on the other hand, it is incredibly inspiring. The sixth grade classes have had some wonderful discussions about perseverance, risk-taking, and problem solving after viewing the video.

This week we have also been playing “Two true, One false”, which is a game where you write three statements about yourself and the others have to guess which statement is false. This has been a lot of fun, a terrific chance for our fifth graders to get to know one another, and a chance for the sixth graders to get to know each other even better.

As always, the first days of school are a time when most teachers distribute class letters, and I am happy to have written one for you add to your pile as well. I’m including it here in case your copy has not made it home yet with your child and the link to the attachment follows as well:

Visual Arts note 2014.5

Back-to-School letter:  Visual Arts 2014.15

Stay tuned for a list of apps and websites we’ll be using, which I hope to post next week. Enjoy the four day weekend!

Leave a comment

Look Who’s Driving The Bus!


Welcome back to school! I hope your year gets off to a great start!

Leave a comment

365 Days of the Every Day Drawing Challenge PDF

Mrs. Alice Gentili:

Back-to-School time is a great time to introduce the Every Day Drawing Challenge to art students! Whether using sketchbooks or iPads, it’s a handy resource. And it’s free!

Originally posted on Mona Lisa Lives Here:

This document has all 12 months of the Every Day Drawing Challenge drawing prompts combined into one PDF. Happy drawing in 2014!

Click on the image to view the prompts:


Click on the image to view the prompts

View original

Leave a comment

They’re Fired!

All of the Clay Every Day clay work has been fired! Please plan to pick up your clay work on Thursday 8/21 or Friday 8/22 between 8:00 and 4:00. Here are some shots of the beautiful work:

clay 1

Clay 2 clay 3 clay 4 clay5 clay 6 clay 7 clay 8

Leave a comment

Clay Every Day (for a week anyway)…

Here I sit on a Friday afternoon with my feet up and my heart happy. I’m looking over the photos I barely had time to take during the Clay Every Day workshop that ran from 9-12 Monday through Friday this week. We had a lot of fun yet worked very hard. For the first 2 1/2 days we focused on hand building using slab techniques. Everyone made a drape bowl and an inset bowl, a textured mug, a clay hand, and a clay plaque. We went through 50 lbs. of clay on the first day alone! That’s a lot of clay for just seven hours or so! And throw in the random spontaneous dance party and well, you know…busy, busy!


We went through 50 lbs. of clay on the first day alone!


Clay hands…

During the second half of the third day we cleaned up all the clay tools and broke out the glaze and brushes. We painted manufactured bisque items while the hand built clay pieces had a chance to harden up a little bit. Each artist painted a plate and cup using a common theme and the next day continued the theme on their drape bowl. We all envisioned breakfast served with juice in the cup, toast on the plate, and cereal in the bowl. That was super motivational!


Working on the bisque pieces…


Breakfastware on a theme…


Happy to be glazing…

The next day, Thursday, was pretty much a glazing marathon painting the drape bowls, the inset bowls (to look like a flower or sun), the splatter painted hand, and the textured mug (3 color minimum).


Justine’s Phases of the Moon cup…


Rory lost in glazing her hand…

Our last day, Friday, was reserved for exploring glazing techniques. The first project was a tie-dyed tile. We used pencil to draw shapes on the tile and then painted them with 3 or 4 colors. Once three layers of each color were applied, we put an extra coat of the lightest color around each boundary and dragged a fine brush through it making spikes of color. This was a pretty fun project…


The kiln loaded with tie-dyed tiles, bisque plates, and cute little mice…

Which is a good thing because the Mishimas technique we did next was a little more challenging. We had coated the slab plaques with three coats of glaze before painting the tiles. When the tiles were done, we used needle tools and fettling tools to scratch away line designs on the plaques. Keeping in mind that the glaze might melt and fill in the cracks, we had to scratch away a pretty thick line. Personally, I love Mishimas because it reminds me of scratch-art, which we do during the school year, so it’s easy for students to understand the concept. Once the plaques were complete, the last order of glazing were these simply adorable teeny tiny bisque mice. They were so cute they stole our hearts!


A closer look at those heart-stealing mice…

Throughout the week, near the end of the day, as some artists finished while others were still working, we held plastiline modeling clay challenges. This clay doesn’t ever dry so it can be used over and over again. Challenges included making the tallest tower that would stand independently for 30 seconds, crafting the longest coil noodle, and creating four-legged animal. This was a fun and often intense way to end the day – especially when the competition heated up! At stake? Starburst – two for the winner, one for everyone in the room. And don’t forget prestige!


Susie with her beret wearing French elephants – winner of the 4-legged animal challenge…

Gathered around the plastiline modeling clay...

Gathered around the plastiline modeling clay…

In all, it was a fantastic week. Here is a little slideshow of some of the artists at work or pausing to smile for the camera:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As I look back at the week from my comfortable chair in a cool room, I will say it was hot and muggy on Monday and Tuesday. We took frequent water breaks and everyone tolerated the heat just fine. On Wednesday, Mr. Gentili brought in a big, giant fan that sounded like a jet engine when you walked by it. It moved a lot of air and helped us cool down tremendously. We were so cool, in fact, we decided to take a group picture:


At the end of the week: Front row: David, Ben, Keri, Tessa, Susie, Katie, Madeline, Sydney Middle row: Sophia, Kara, Shea, Emily, Paige, me Back row: Isabelle, Rory, Bret, Andrew, Grace Missing from photo: Justine and Lucie

And then we just got goofy: naughty

And goofier still… (click on the photo to see the video):

Conga Line dance to Pharrell Williams' "Happy"…click on the photo to let the dancing begin!

Conga Line dance to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”…click on the photo to let the dancing begin!

Thank you for another terrific week of Clay Every Day! All the pottery will be fired before we return to school at the end of August. I promise to post photos of then of the amazing work these artists did.

Art teachers who may be reading this – every project except the manufactured bisque items are single fire projects. The items are hand built at about 1/4 inch thick. We let them dry a day or two and then glazed right over the greenware. An important asset to this process is setting them on squares of cardboard so the clay is touched by nothing but the brush. As you know, greenware is fragile and will crack under even the slightest pressure. Holding the pieces by the cardboard helps a lot. My fingers are crossed, but I am feeling pretty good about the outcome, expecting minimal breakage. As I said, fingers crossed…:)

Leave a comment

Clay Every Day is FULL

I’m happy to report that for the second year in a row, the Clay Every Day summer workshop enrollment has reached capacity and we have to close registration at this time. Thank you, everyone, for your interest. I’m looking forward to greeting all of the clay artists in the Miscoe lobby on July 7!


Clay Every Day Full 2014

Leave a comment

Transformed By Art: A Multi-Grade Collaborative Installation By Mendon-Upton Students


Click on the photo to see the post

Click on the photo to see the photos and videos on Storehouse.com

In October 2013, the Mendon-Upton Educational Foundation granted $1000 to the art departments of Miscoe Hill School and Nipmuc High School. Rather than dividing the money and going our separate ways, we decided to collaborate on a project – a multi-grade collaborative art installation. Because our discipline is primarily consumables oriented, we wanted to make sure the collaboration resulted in something physical to take away. Both schools host annual art shows for which, it seems, display units are always needed. With that in mind, we decided to work together to build display units from scratch. We enlisted the help of Miscoe Hill maintenance man, Dick Gentili, and staged a build event on February 26, 2014.

The Miscoe Hill Art Clubs, under the direction of Alice Gentili and Jon Hansen, met after school and worked with Mr. Gentili and Nipmuc art teacher, Kevin Campbell, to build display units. Mr. Gentili had pre-cut all the pieces of wood, we spent our time assembling the display units and attaching them with brackets.

At the end of the “build” session, we had made four display units for each school. Six of the units had walls of Homasote, 2 of them had chicken wire walls. Mr. Gentili made carts with wheels, which hold four units on each cart.

On the morning of April 29, sixteen art students from Nipmuc High School arrived at Miscoe Hill School bringing with them the piles of recyclables that both schools had been collecting for months. And this day of creativity, communication, and collaboration was underway!

The display units were positioned according to the shared vision created by the high school students. The theme of the installation was “Surrealistic Garden”. The task was to fill the space in such a way that the theme was realized and the space was transformed. The challenge was to collaborate to realize the shared vision.

And after just one day of working together – our school, our gym, our day, and our spirits had been TRANSFORMED BY ART!

To see the photos, video, and post on Storehouse.com, go to: www.storehouse.co/stories/j7og-transformed-by-art

To see the video of the finished installation, go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs5L-2xlWNo

We are grateful to the Mendon-Upton Educational Foundation for funding this collaborative and creative experience for our students!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 975 other followers

%d bloggers like this: