"A Faithful Attempt" is designed to showcase a variety of K-12 art lessons, the work of my art students, as well as other art-related topics. Projects shown are my take on other art teacher's lessons, lessons found in books or else designed by myself.
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LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I acknowledge, with deep respect, that I am gathered on Treaty 7 territory. I acknowledge the many First Nations, M├ętis and Inuit whose footsteps have marked these lands for generations. I respect the histories, languages and cultures all the Indigenous peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our community.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Leaf Print Weaving

This is a nature weaving lesson I found on the Crayola website (they have lesson plans!) called "Weaves of Gold". which I've modified a bit.  You essentially paint some paper, then paint the underside of leaves to create leaf prints, then weave twigs or grasses through the painted paper.

So we started off with a sheet of heavy/sturdy white paper. 
Fold it in half both ways so you have 4 equal sections.
Paint the sections whatever colours you like. We used tempera cakes. Any paint will work.

Gather some interesting leaves of various shapes and sizes; make sure they have strong veins on the backside, otherwise you won't get a decent print off of it.

Paint the underside of the leaves with a thin, even coat of paint- we just used tempera and it worked fine. Just make sure the paint is not watery. You want it nice and opaque. Have students practice on scrap paper first until they get the hang of it. I like to use black for the dramatic contrast, but students chose whatever colours they liked.  Make a leaf print in each section.  I encourage the students to keep it fairly symmetrical or at least have the opposite sections match.


Let this paper dry. Once it's dry, fold it in half and cut some thin strips through it.  I draw a line across the top, about 3 cm thick, that I don't cut through.  This keeps the paper all together. You can measure the strips with a ruler or not- it's up to you. It doesn't have to be perfect. 
The thinner the strips, the longer it takes to weave, FYI.


  For the nature weaving part, I gathered some long, dry grasses (I think they're decorative landscaping grasses) that were outside the school.  You could have the students gather twigs or grasses outside as well, of course.
We used about 15 'blades' of grass (weeds?) per artwork. You may need to cut them down to be just slightly longer than the width of your paper.

Then weave the grass through the paper: over, under, over, under and alternate for the next row.
After it's finished, we paint the back with white glue for extra strength and to keep the grasses all in place. You can trim off any ends that are too long or leave it au natural.

Here are some Grade 7 results. Ta da!

See my newest version of this lesson HERE.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gyodan: Japanese Fake Food

For our final project in our "Art of Japan" unit, my Grade 7 students looked at the art form of "gyodan" or fake food.  This is super realistic food that is displayed in restaurant windows throughout Japan in order to visually advertise their menu and to entice the customer inside. 

Originally they were made out of wax but now it's made from plastics. They are carefully sculpted to look ultra-realistic and artists may study up to seven years to be considered a master. This is a good article that explains the fake food industry in Japan.

We watched a video on Youtube showing the process, which is super fascinating!! 
Here's how they make wax tempura.

So we made ours using white polymer clay.  You bake it in an oven and then paint it.

I provided the kids with an assortment of plates and bowls.

We used placemats (shout out to Ikea) to protect the tables as Sculpey is a bit oily.

Once they're made, I baked them in a toaster oven I have in the art room.  It was a huge hassle baking these as I had so many (2 classes) and the toaster oven would only hold maybe five at a time.  It took FOREVER. Just so you know in case to try to do this.  I was considering using the oven in the staff room, but baking polymer clay does give off a chemically/plastic-y type odour and I didn't want any other teachers to freak out. 

Once they're baked they're really hard.  Paint them with acrylics. Once they're dry, you can varnish parts of the food- anything that needs to look, er, moist, I guess.

Ta da!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Folded Paper Japanese Kimonos

This was the second project I did with my Grade 7's during our "Art of Japan" unit. They designed their own kimono using a version of a bookmark template found here on the Crayola website.

Kimonos are the beautiful traditional floor length robes worn mostly by Japanese women on special occasions. They are very expensive (often exceeding $10,000!) and beautifully patterned. I showed students examples of kimonos and then had them sketch ideas for a pattern in their sketchbooks.

Image Source

Image Source

Each student got a blank template (which I modified from the one on the Crayoyla site) showing a very basic kimono with the robe, body and Obi (the sash). 
There were lots of Obi-Wan Kenobi jokes during this demo...lol
I drew my own simple template and then photocopied it onto regular paper. When I do this project again, I would copy it onto cardstock, as the regular paper was too thin, really. 
I mean, it worked, but cardstock would be better (more sturdy).

Draw your design/pattern in pencil then colour in with colored pencils or markers or watercolours.
Students could do any type of pattern they wanted- not only traditional.
Here's a camouflage pattern below, for example.

Draw a little face.

Colouring with markers.....

Then cut all the pieces out...

The Crayola sheet shows how to fold it all together- I also walked around and helped the kids individually fold it. It's quite simple. Here they are lined up and chilling out against the whiteboard. If you have a laminator, I would laminate them to make perfect bookmarks (and to make them sturdier).

Ta da!



On display with their 'Cherry Blossom' paintings.

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