Friday, August 26, 2016

The Ultimate Slab Project

Here are some slab faces...
We are going to hang them on our outside bulletin board...
These are practice for the upcoming small busts...
These kids have some skills...
The parent helpers made faces, too...
Winston grinned, and helped me to unload them from the car...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Busy Saturday.

Finishing off the totem with a dark wash...

And, now it's ready for a last trip to the kiln...

Want to make more of these, with structural corrections...

Started applying gesso to a future mural panel...

Love this compote...

Are We Ready?!

Wrapping up the work in my classroom...

The back table, with the turtle tank...

Percy sitting in the chair that he thought was a rawhide chew...

Class rules on the game cupboard...

Sets of books, for book club and for centers...

The science cupboard, and more reading books...

The escape route to recess and lunch...

My desk is in the middle of the room, part of a seating group...

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Classroom Crunch

Why are there leftovers? The books mated during the summer...

Our school has a pretty wonderful work day, where parents volunteer and help to get the school ready for the start of the year. There were parents raking leaves, and pruning shrubs. I saw some parents also scrubbing the spider webs off of the fronts of the classrooms, and the eaves, using dry brooms. There was a painter doing touch up work on all of the classroom doors, inside and outside. The benches and picnic tables all got a lick of paint. Because several classrooms at our school luckily received new carpeting over the summer, we had to move all of our furniture and belongings out of storage. I moved most of the furniture and all of my belongings, with a great deal of help from our wonderful custodian. Today, parents helped me to put things away, and moved all of my student desks and chairs back into my room.

I think my favorite part about the work day, was that kids can come and help, too. They move things and unpack things, and paint. Watching all of this industry makes me understand why the regular school system is flopping. There is very little parent buy-in. Kids and families feel disconnected from their schools. Here, our school is a small community. Here's my favorite part. No one was crabbing or complaining. A man cheerily washed my filthy windows, and cleaned all of the spiders out of the window sills. Seriously, he was smiling.

I am still gobsmacked. As a hearty complainer, it just amazes me. In our family, we are stubborn and we insist on being self-sufficient. It is very difficult for me to ask for help. That's why this is so lovely. Parents kept coming in today, and asking ME if they could help. My burden was lightened, and I didn't even feel too guilty about not doing it all by myself.  People felt useful, and I felt pretty good, too. Although a bit sore from moving a lot of boxes of books last week!


A cavalcade of short reads...

Chapter book headquarters...

Sets for reading groups and for book clubs...

The art cart looks stunning and well-stocked... 
Parents unpacked all of the boxes from the game cupboard...

The desks appeared from the room next door...

Things are starting to come together a bit more...

All of my teacher books need to be unpacked...

These boxes are now back at home...

Brought this home to start on Uncle John's mural...

A friend brought Ted and Bianca by from a summer yard sale...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

New Carpet

All that was left in the room was my old desk... 
The custodian and I started moving in the furniture...

Winston was sitting at home, worrying...

I finished loading in the rest of the boxes...

Started putting away many, many books...

This is going to be the parent table...

Part way through unboxing the books...

Feeling sore and tired with Percy...

Friday, August 5, 2016

Comme Ci, Comme Ca

The bowls I was going to make, turned into compotes...

Because I was skipping Open Studios this year, I had high aims for experimentation this summer. Did I meet my goals? Well, sorta.

My classroom is going to enter an exhibition that happens at the end of October. This exhibition is held at the Pajaro Valley Arts Council Gallery annually. Groups from the local community are invited to build altars to celebrate "Dia De Los Muertos". We are going to build an ofrenda, or altar, dedicated to loved ones, human or animal, who have passed away. Each student is going to make two small busts. And, then they will write a paragraph about one or both of their loved ones. In July, I worked on some component parts of the ofrenda. I made experimental busts of different sizes, so that I could learn how to fire them. There are 30 students in my class, so that will be 60 small busts. I will also be contributing some busts. There will be vases with flowers. So, much of that work is complete, which will cause less of a mad scramble in October.

One thing that I learned about my work, is that I'm loving coiling right now. I've always kind of considered myself to be a slab hand builder. Slabs are my preference. But, there were many projects this summer which allowed me to use coils for construction purposes. I like to not see the coils too much, so I bought a special rib that smooths out the clay after joining the coils with a serrated rib.

During the past few months, I didn't make a huge quantity of work, and there is no consistent theme or style. I just took the time to play around. Weirdly, I didn't stamp my name on many of the experiments that I made. I've always hated claiming work (even back when I was a painter, I never signed my work). I just like doing.


I did a bit of visual research...



The Last of the Busts

Starting the bust base...
Then, building up coils...
Poking ventilation holes and adding a neck...
Working on some heads...
They are way too big, especially with added hair...
I cut them off, and started some smaller heads...
The components need to stiffen outside...
Some more proportional heads...
Cleaned up the forms and added attire...
Here they are, firming up outside...
This grandma will be on our class ofrenda...