Thursday, June 14, 2018

Jim Dine inspired heARTs by Linda Hess

In my roll as an art teacher I love to expose the students to new artists as well as materials.  Ask any of my students (no matter the age) what is the favorite medium and you will get a resounding "CLAY!".  What better way to introduce my 3rd graders to the work of Jim Dine than with a mixed media project that includes Delight™ Air Dry Modeling Compound!  Let's get to work.

I have my 3rd graders once a week for 45 minutes.  This project took a total of 3 weeks to complete.  Today's blog post shows the first week of creation: the heart 💜

Delight™ Air Dry Modeling Compound
watercolor markers (my classroom is stocked mainly with Crayola⌐)
texture tools (plastic texture sheets, wire tools, toothpicks, etc)
damp paper towel

Step one:  I opened each package of Delight™ clay and cut the block of clay into 8 pieces.  Each student received a piece of clay with instructions that the entire piece of clay had to be used during classtime to create a heart.  The piece of clay needed to be divided into however many colors each student wanted for his/her heart.  Once divided, the clay pieces can be placed on the damp papertowel and the towel folded over to keep the clay moist until ready for use.

The really cool thing about the Delight™ clay is that it accepts color easily.  I demoed how to dab the marker onto the clay and then fold/mix the color in.  Deeper color saturation can be achieved by dabbing and mixing multiple times. (PLEASE NOTE:  Colors will dry lighter than they appear while "wet")

Many of the students were so into the mixing process that I had to remind them to start creating a heart!  Others only heard the "dab color and mix" ignoring the separate colors instruction (ooops).  Thankfully I only had one or 2 who ended up with "mud" clay.

Step two:  Begin forming the heart.  
This (of course) is a freeform project.  I demoed how to take a ball and roll it to form a teardrop.  The teardrop was then flattened and then top dented in with the back of a plastic knife to create the heart shape.  If working with children you will need to give helpful hints such as "Do not flatten it as thin as a piece of paper!" "Use gentle pressure" and "make sure it does not stick to the table!"

The students quickly got into layered hearts much to my excitement.  2-3 hearts were stacked (in different colors), snakes of clay were wrapped around, dots of clay embellished...we had a whole lot of creativity going on!!

  Step three: texture and embellishment
I am all about embellishment!  A plain, colored heart makes more of an imact with the addition of texture and design.  We looked again at pictures of Jim Dine Hearts.  They are so vibrant in both color and design.  The 3rd graders immediately started using wire tools, texture sheets, toothpicks and pencil tips to bring the hearts to life.  Oh My Goodness, so gorgeous!!

I always tell my students "Your piece is not going to look like mine or your neighbor's or your best friend's.  It will look like Yours and that is the way it should be". One of the students who ended up with "mud" during the mixing process was much happier with his heart once the detail was added. 

Step four:  Set the hearts aside to dry
I have stackable wire racks (a clearance find a few years ago) that I placed the hearts on to dry.  The wire rack lets air circulate around for more even drying.  If left on the wax paper (seen above) the top will dry, but the bottom may stay damp.  Since I only see my 3rd graders once a week, the hearts had plenty of time to dry by the next class.

Next up:  More pattern and texture!
craft sticks (I used the thinker tongue depressor type)

Step one:  Craft stick crayon resist
Next class I had each student retrieve his/her heart.  Then they chose enough craft sticks to create a surface large enough for the heart to be mounted on without overlapping (most took 6-7 for the base and 2 more for the sides).  FYI for teachers: Have students write names on the back of every single stick!  Trust me, it will make life much easier if anyone doesn't not complete the "backing" in one class!
We talked about crayon resist and the need for a firm pressure when creating the patterns on each stick.  Students were instructed to add patterns to every stick, leaving space between the patterns for paint.  Of course I had a few friends who decided to just color and not paint (gotta love those "dare to be different" friends 💜).  Once the patterns were completed, they began to watercolor.

 We let the sticks dry before arranging them to form the backing. (NOTE:  I used 6 sticks,side by side, for the backing and then glued one more stick along each edge to hold the frame together.  Students decided if the glued pieces would become the top/bottom or the sides of the frame.  Once complete, the hearts were glued in place.
Art by Olivia M (left) & Angelina O (rt)

Step two: Wire & beading
This step was completed during the third class.  I predrilled holes, one in each corner and one in the center of each side and the bottom.  Beads and wire were put out. 
As you will see from the pictures, some of my students do not understand the term "less is more" (haha).  They definitely had a great time embellishing.  I sadly had a substitute for this final day, but she sent me process pictures and I got to see the finished mixed media hearts upon my return.

I think Jim Dine would be amazed at how the children were inspired by his art.
 Art by Olivia V (left) & Paige E (rt)
 Madison C (left) & Kendra (rt)
 Jasmine D-V (left) & Isabelle G (rt) 

 Diego R (left) & Alexis C (rt)


Unknown said...

What a wonderful project for anyone to do and i love the colors too!

Kat Anderson Studios said...

They all turned out beautiful!!!

LaLa said...

What a cool project! Thank you for sharing their work with us! This is a project that my grand daughter would really love to do! Also, great idea to use the markers for adding color to Delight. Does it damage the markers at all?

Linda Hess said...

Not that I can tell. The kids were able to free draw with them after coloring the clay