Monday, May 25, 2009

The Last Art Masterpiece of the Year

I just finished my second year of teaching art masterpiece to the children in Lillian's class. In case you don't know, it is a volunteer program to supplement their art classes. We bring in a huge print, discuss it, and do an activity based on the artist we are talking about. I've really enjoyed teaching the kids and have tried to emphasize that they should enjoy the process and not be afraid to make mistakes.For the last class, I wanted them to play with clay and decided to showcase artists that are alive today and make their living with this medium. I brought in pictures of cute clay creations by Jenny of Polka Dot Pixie, Jenn of Noodle and Lou, and Dani of Ambitions Design.The morning of the class, a light bulb went off in my head. How GREAT would it be if the children could actually interview one of these fantastic women?! I knew they would be blown away by their art, but to talk to one of them would be like talking to a celebrity! I sent out an email to them to see if anyone was available and willing on such late notice.

You have to love blogland, you really do. All three artist were so sweet and supportive in their response! Dani was available to call in during my time with the kids and generous enough to offer her time and knowledge as well.

As expected, the kids loved all the whimsical creatures and people I showed them. Just as I was passing out the clay, the phone rang in the classroom. We put it on speaker and when Dani said her name, there was a series of gasps that swept over the room! They could not believe it! It was so long and such a shock to them that we had to laugh. :)Dani prepared a little speech for them and I hope she doesn't mind if I post it here. I think it's great advice for everyone, not just first graders! :)

I would explain how I make my living from art by sculpting..mainly Halloween characters (of all all year long. It took me years to realize that I could make money on what seemed like a silly idea. The point is you never know until you try.

My love for Holiday arts also inspired me to start SpookyTimeJingles an online website where we sell Halloween and Christmas handmade arts all year long!

Also...often in art we can be hard on ourselves b/c we may think what we are doing is never quite good enough. We often think it should have been better.

When the truth is we are right where we are supposed to be. Art is a process just like anything else we learn to do. It can take us many tries to learn how to ride a bike or tie our shoes. It is the same with art, except the fun part is we can always learn something new to do in art. So you can never get bored!

Finally, the next time you are working on an art project and you think you messed it up or made a mistake. I say don't start over! Use that so called mistake and make it part of your project. Every single time I have made a "mistake" I have not given up but instead used in my work and it has always worked out and most times made the piece even better! So the next time you think you made a mistake-turn it into something else... Paint drops can become -polka dots or clouds. Smears can become mountains or even faces...whatever comes from your imagination!

Never feel like you have to color in the lines. Only do that if you want to. Those lines are only a guideline not a have fun!!

Afterwards, the children got to ask Dani questions. Lots of them were asking, "How do I make a ________?" Such patience Dani exhibited as she went through each creature...her best advice being to start with the belly...I'm going to try that because I always start with the head. As she talked about armatures, they nodded in their understanding...they loved her tips! One girl asked why her favorite holiday is Halloween...Dani replied because it's the one holiday that you can be as silly and free as you want to be...what a lovely answer.

I can't THANK Dani enough for taking the time to help me out this way. She definitely made a difference in their lives that day. Art isn't just something you do to pass the time, it's an everyday part of life and a wonderful outlet for all the little things going on in their little brains!

I'm posting some of their clay creations...check out the cat! I see a future Spookytime Jingles artist!

Here's a video of them saying thank you...they are always a bit on the quiet side because they've been taught not to disrupt the other classes, but they loved it! Thank you Dani! :)


Anne said...

Hi, Mere! What a fantabulous story! I hope both you and Dani continue to inspire young artists for many more years to come! :-)

NeereAnDear said...

Oh how I loved this story.... it must have been so much fun to teach the children.... their inquisitive minds and their innocence and sense of freedom... Fantastic!!

Thank you so much for stopping by and for your well wishes.... getting a bit better but truly not up to snuff as yet....


Leticia said...

Thanks Mere for visiting and leaving a comment. Great story and how wonderful to have Dani take part in the lesson. I too spend time in my children's classrooms for art activities and I love it. Take care.

Lisa Lectura Creations said...

Hi Mere! What a cool subject for you to teach! Looks like the kids had so much fun. I would have loved to be in that class when I was their age...okay any age:) And to have a special speaker too! That's fabulous!

Thanks so much for coming to visit! I really appreciate your sweet comment! Have a wonderful week!

Lisa :)

~dani~ said...

You are just tooo sweet! I LOVED talking to the kids, they so made my day-gosh my week!. I cannot begin to explain how wonderful of an experience this was! I love that the children challenged me to make a "hot dog-dog'!

Thank you Mere, You have left me with such a wonderful memory I will never forget! The video made me teary with joy!!

MagicMarkingsArt said...

What a wonderful way to inspire those children. Kudos to you and your inspiration to request an interview.