Showing posts with label cassie stephens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cassie stephens. Show all posts

Friday, March 24, 2017

Field Trip! Doris Wasserman

I'm so excited to share the latest artist in my Field Trip! series, Doris Wasserman. Doris is a Canadian artist who lives in Nashville. I discovered her when I was searching for local artists and her beautiful paintings popped up. I absolutely love the air, space, color and radiating light that seems to shine thru her work. On a whim, I sent her an email to see if she'd be interested in taking part in this series. Not only did she agree, but she hosted me both at her showing and invited me back to her beautiful home studio. How wonderful is that? Below, you'll find the video. Art teachers, feel free to share this with your students. Doris does a wonderful job of explaining her process and sharing her journey as an abstract painter. 
Doris was originally a medical illustrator. She decided to take an abstract painting class...and the rest is history. Well, that makes it sound like the journey was an easy one. If you've ever tried your hand at abstract painting, you know that it really is a journey full of ups, downs, self-doubt and discovery. Doris likens getting into the grove of painting like meditation. When I look at her work, I can sense that peace and calm that comes from mindful breath. 
Doris and I share similar painting backgrounds in that I was once a representational artist. In fact, my degree is in painting (which got me real far working at Pizza Hut, lemme tell you). Over time, I found that style of painting to be very constrictive and I lost interest. During my college years, abstract painting was looked down upon by my professors and it was ingrained that the only real painting was realistic painting. What a pity that I missed out on learning just how incredibly rich abstract painting can be. 
Listening to Doris talk and witnessing her process was very eye-opening to me. I love her method of hanging a wall of canvases in varying shapes and sizes. How fun would this be for our students? How freeing would it be for our kids who struggle to get things "just right" as I used to do? Would't it also be great for our wiggly friends? 

Doris' method is to put a color on her palette, a heap of white and some medium that give the paint more viscosity. Working in acrylic, she applies paint with one hand and scrubs with the other, using inexpensive house paint brushes. 
As she works, Doris also will collage bits of paper into her work. Sometimes the paper is so subtle, you have to look for it and other times, it has more of a voice in her work. As Doris paints, she also uses the back of her brush to scribble and sometimes write onto her canvases.
 Over time, the paintings take on layers of color and texture. As the paintings draw closer to completion, Doris adds delicate lines and designs in a deep gray. 
Her process and her work inspired me to look more closely at abstract paintings. When I was in her studio, Doris asked me if I miss painting and if I think I'd ever get back to it. Y'all know that I piddle with painting and create silly pieces to hang around the house. At the time I told her no...but after visiting her studio, chatting with her and editing this video, I have to say, I'm feeling very inspired. 
Thank you so much, Doris, for allowing me (and my students) to get to know you, your artwork and learn about your process. You are an inspiration! 
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

DIY: All Things Needle Felted!

Hey, y'all! I'm currently on this magical thing called Spring Break. It's divine. Everyone should try a week off to unwind and unplug. One of the perks of being a teacher, y'all! I've decided to take this evening off from Facebook LIVE (I do hope you'll forgive me) to drown myself in clay project prep. I'm going full blown Clay Week next week with the kiddos and I need to wrap my mind around just what it is we will be creating. I'll be certain to share. Until then, I thought we could talk about All Things Needle Felted!

In case you've not heard I'm offering a FREE felting class right here! During my Facebook LIVE chats, I'll be walking you through several weeks of felting. Check the project listing below. With my friend Sue Bunch over at Back to Back Fiber, I've created a felting kit that contains all of the supplies you will need for four weeks of felting. Sue is offering the kit at $24.95 with free shipping for friends in the continental U.S. You can pick you kit up here.
Here's a little listing of what we'll be creating as well as the supplies included. 
And here's a little peak of what you'll receive. 

Just a reminder: You don't have to purchase the kit to participate! If you have the supplies at home then feel free to join the fun and use what you have. Also, you can purchase the supplies at any time, there is no deadline.

All videos will be archived! If you can't make the felting sessions LIVE, no worries. They will be archived on my Facebook page as well as my YouTube channel

I do hope you'll join the fun. Until then, I thought I'd take y'all on a walk down my Needle Felting Memory Lane (it's a long walk...I didn't realize I'd created so much).
My very first needle felted attempt was this sweater. I was so excited by the results that I quickly started stabbing just about all of my sweaters! 
Next up was this Put a Bird(s) on It sweater. Again, this was just a thrift shop sweater that I decided to bird-dazzle. 
I do recall this one taking FOREVER. All those little bits of flowers and things, whew! This was my first time to use yarn and I was really pleased with the results. You don't have to use 100% wool yarn for needle felting as I had originally thought. This sweater was inspired by an Anthropologie one that was way outta my budget. 
My sweet cat Asha was the inspo behind this sweater. Again, I just used an old sweater from my closet for this one. 
I had a dude awkwardly ask if he could join the "Naughty Kitty Club". Um, no. Needle felting on this lace material proved to be no more difficult than stabbing away on this jacket...
I'd had this jacket in my closet for some time...I thought it needed an artsy update. 
One of my favorite sweaters is this one...and it was so easy to make! In other news, when is Crayola gonna ask me to be an endorser? Between this sweater and that bag, I'm a walking advertisement! 
 Not all of my needle felting projects take hours. These quickies were made in a matter of hours over a weekend. I wore them during test taking week. 
I forgot about this sweater! This is how you know you've needle felted one too many items in your closet. 
I always feel foxy when wearing this faux fox sweater. See what I did there? I know, you don't have to tell me how punny I am. 
This sweater was another one inspired by Anthro. For the first time, I included wet felting (the buttons) and felted applique with the flowers. I also used yarn to create words for the first time. Check this post to see what is written on the back of this sweater. 
This sweater also included felted pieces from a sweater!
Now y'all know that I do get a lot of inspiration from artwork. Check out these fascinators inspired by famous works of art. 
One of the first dresses I needle felted was this van Gogh inspired one. Sadly, the lights have gone out on Starry Night as the lights no longer work but it was fun while it lasted! 
Oh, yes, the dress that MADE me wanna scream. This one took forever and turned me off to all things needle felting for a couple of months. It was worth it tho, I love this dress! 
The Kandinsky-inspired dresses were created when our local art museum, The Frist had a big showing of his work. I was so inspired that I made two dresses after his paintings.
My dream is to wear this dress to Giverny one day, how fun would that be? 
Jim Dine was a fun artist to explore when creating this simple dress after his heart-themed artwork. 
When el hubbo got me a needle felting MACHINE, that changed everything. Suddenly I could work on bigger projects with even thicker fabrics like this splatter paint coat
And this number. I love this coat but it was rather boring to create. I was glad to have the machine to help me tack everything in place. 

Whew! Believe it or not, I actually left a handful of other needle felted pieces off this here post just to save your fingers from scrolling. They're gonna need all the energy they can get for your own needle felting adventure. I'll be starting that free needle felting series here in April...and you can pick up your kit full of supplies right here. Thank you for letting me share (just about) all of my needle felted faves with you!
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Sunday, March 19, 2017

DIY: The Crayon Tote

Hey, friends! I'm coming to you from the magical land of Orlando with free time provided by the amazing gift known as Spring Break! Hence the big smile and bright sunshine...tho you may have to wear sunglasses to view this post as the sunlight reflecting off my pale legs is blinding. 

Usually when I have a break, I spend the first half of my time off ignoring my To Do list and binge watching junk on Netflix...which is then followed by the end of my break where I am scrambling to accomplish at least one To Do. This time around, I decided to flip flop: before we cut outta town, I managed to edit a couple of videos (which, if you've not seen our school talent show vid, y'all are missing out. Catch me getting roasted followed by my uke debut at minute 47 here) and finish off this here Crayon Tote. All before cuttin' outta town for a few days. I'm mighty proud of my procrastinatin' self. I'd say that perhaps this is a sign of me turning over a new leaf...but I'm willing to put money on it that this is a one time dealio.
But, let's return to the subject at hand, shall we? This here Crayon Tote!
 So I started this tote MANY moons ago. It was a weekend, I'd had this idea for a crayon-themed bag in my head and without much of a plan, I started sketching, creating a paper pattern from my drawing, pinning the pattern pieces to fabric from my stash, and stitching it together. By the end of the weekend, I had completed the front and back of the bag. And I had no idea of how to proceed from there.  
And so it sat in my sewing room for months and months. Finally this past Saturday, I decided I was going to figure it out and finish it. I recalled that one of my very first sewing projects I created about 7 years ago, when I first started stitching, was a tote. I had used Lotta Jansdotter's book Simple Sewing and, following her directions, churned out a bag that I got quite a bit of use out of. The boxy nature of that tote lead me to believe that the concept just might work for this bag as well. So I cracked up the book and followed the directions once again. 
 Now, you can purchase that book used and on the cheap over on Amazon. The pattern is simple really. Create a front and back panel, a bottom panel and two side panels. With right sides together, stitch the side panels to the front and back panels creating a tube. Flip inside out and pin the bottom panel to the bottom of the tube and stitch. That part is a pinch tricky...just remember to turn those corners and you'll be fine. 
 Because I had already created my front and back panel before settling in on this pattern, I did not follow the measurements in the pattern. Instead I used my pre-created front and back panels to determine the size of my end and bottom pieces. 
For the lining of the bag, I was just going to use yellow fabric...until my art teacher friend Michelle suggested I use this vintage Crayola fabric. I've had this fabric in my stash for some time (it was gifted to me by a sweet art teacher) and had recently shared it on my Instagram. I had planned to use the small stash of fabric to create a top but when Michelle mentioned that it would be great for the lining, I couldn't have agreed more!
The lining was created in the exact same way as the bag itself. From there I stitched the handles. The pattern calls for short handles...but I knew I'd want something I could throw over my shoulder so I doubled the length. 
By the way, the first bag I created was very slumpy. In the pattern, it doesn't mention adding anything to stiffen or firm up the fabric. So whenever I would set my bag down, it would kind of dissolve like the Wicked Witch getting water thrown on her. I def didn't want that happening with this bag. I wanted it to stand up and look adorbs even when it was empty. So I sandwiched some thin quilting batting material in between each part of the bag...even the handle. And I'm so glad I did. Not only does it make the bag look more like a box of crayons but that cushion in the strap makes it much more comfortable on my shoulder.
Just a fun side pocket for pens and random other things for me to misplace and lose. 
 I love me some applique. It's so perfect for creating graphic imagery with hard lines. 
 Ah! That peak of lining! 
Of course y'all know I had to wear every color in the crayon box to coordinate with my bag. 
Whew! Another thing off my spring break To Do! Now back to my usual program of watching mindless telly. Toodles!
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 32 CLEAN UP

Ah, yes. Clean up. You know, everyone dreads clean up: the kids because they are so into what they are creating and me because I have a different idea of clean up than my students (ahem). I've come up with some things that work and I've slapped 'em together in this here Art Teacherin' 101.

Also in this video, you'll see a clip of my students participating in something I've been calling The Clean Up Contest. This has been working fabulously with all of my classes, grades kinder thru fourth. My room is left spotless, the kids all clean, working together to make their table look the "even better than how you found it". My big rule is that they must do it silently...which really cuts down on the silly and helps them focus on tidying. 

I'll also be sharing with you how I do the Smartest Artist. This is a simple game that all of my students love.

Please share your tips and tricks on Clean Up Time! I know I'm always looking for ways to make this process more streamlined. 
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