November 20, 2016

Horsing Around: BARDING

This week at the Art Museum, my 5 and 6 year old friends and I spend some time in that favorite spot of museum going children everywhere: ARMS and ARMOR. With this visit, we gave some special attention to the 500 year old Horse Armor of Duke Ulrich of W├╝rttemberg

We took in all the details of the barding (that's horse armor!), including decorative and functional elements. The kids picked out toy horses and took them to meet all knights in the gallery, looking for the bravest candidates with the best designed armor.

Back in the studio, each horse got named and developed special skill sets. Kids used Model Magic, foil, pipe cleaners, chain, pom-poms, feathers and jewels to create custom barding for each toy horse.

Upon completion, horses participated in a fashion shoot and then were recruited for a horse army march before heading home. See pictures: they were ALL. SO. GOOD.

(Wearing a medal for bravery.)

(Very ready for winter, "almost like wearing lots of blankets".)

Muy misterioso.

 This horse needed a pal (and now has one!)

So safe. So protected.

This one has very beautiful rainbow hair. Lots and lots of rainbow hair.

Teachers and museum educators out there: A+, strong recommend, high engagement and interest from all kinds of learners. Horses!

Philly friends: take a kid to the Arms and Armor gallery at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

November 12, 2016

All Eyes

In one of the furthest corners of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (gallery 296 for interested parties) lies a most fascinating collection of teensy tiny portraits of eyeballs.

These "Lovers' Eyes" were perhaps popularized by George IV in the 1700's. They're miniature size meant they could be worn clandestinely, a perfect way to celebrate your secret love. These tiny eyes were painted on ivory and decorated with pearls, fine fabrics, or jewels. FANCY.

My 5-6 year old students saw these and theorized about the provenances of each piece, noting the size, details, and settings.

Back in the studio, armed with mirrors, the kids made portraits of their own eyes on one of my favorite mediums: shrinky dink film! 

Once shrunk (a week later! Much patience from these jokers), students added felt, gems and jewels to make stunning necklaces and pins that (I think) anyone would be excited to wear:

November 1, 2016

Magic Beads

Ever since I first laid (internet) eyes on Ugo Rondinone's Seven Magic Mountains outside of Vegas, I've been itching to hear what kids had to say about it.

We looked at images, but more importantly watched drone footage of these SEVEN, THIRTY FOOT TALL, DAY-GLO STACKS OF ROCKS in the middle of the desert. Lucky for us, people seem to like to go to the desert and send their little flying robots around out there, making videos for us to show our students! (Thx, drone nerds. Really.)

My co-teacher and I knew we wanted to teach Seven Magic Mountains this year, and tossed around a whole bunch of possible ways to facilitate it. Obviously, our study started with questions (and loads of counting):

  • Where is this?
  • How big are they? How many?
  • Why are the rocks those colors?
  • How did they get on top of each other? 
  • How are they MAGIC?!
Our initial plan involved large, abstract, stackable, 3d shapes made from cardboard and papier mache. After some experimentation, it became clear this wasn't feasible in the week we had to complete this project, and so I instead turned to errybody's favorite, Model Magic (while my colleague went with airdry clay and neon paint, also beautiful).

My students mixed MAGIC colors using primary and white hues, and created roundish-but-not-perfectly spherical shapes that we turned into beads. 

A couple days of dry time and the beads were ready to be strung into necklaces almost as magical as the real deal.  (We used my favorite fatty neon yarn from Pacon. Get it.)

We indeed ended up with some special, magical totems that we LOVE.