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Re: Whoops, I got trigger happy! Our Chair Show Is Now Online!

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From: linda (lwoods_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri May 03 2002 - 19:49:31 PDT


We talked about art cars, funky houses, classic and modern chair designs,
mixed media, and even the chairs at the Oklahoma Memorial, as chairs are
such a vessel. The kids started out by brainstorming for about ten
straight minutes...enforced with a stopwatch! lol. They were to write
down every thought that trickled through their little brain, no matter how
random. Then they picked their three favorite ideas, the ones they
thought they could have the most fun with. Then they brainstormed for
those ideas individually, writing down every little minutia detail,
thought, etc. to go with each idea. Then they picked their theme and
wrote a draft of a poem about them. Finally, they were allowed to start
sketching their ideas. I told them to incorporate various aspects from
their poem, brainstorming list and any new thoughts that trickled in into
the design of the seat, back, legs, arms, and so on. They drew from three
sides. The next week we began consruction...12 inch seats for everyone,
but they could be trimmed if they wanted to change the shape. They could
go as tall as they wanted, or out a bit on the back, but because of floor
space, they were all somewhat limited in size. We used mailing tubes...so
much stronger than paper towel rolls, or mailing tubes. I told the kids
that they could use either, but that they mailing tubes were definitely
stronger. They all opted for the tubes and bought their own. They also
brought in a roll of masking tape. We put the legs on the seat first, and
used paint stir sticks (free from Home depot) to brace the legs. Some
made three legged chairs, others four. A few were throne like (see God as
a chair and the garbage chair, and the cat throne) and used no legs, just
boxes for the base. I told them that they were to avoid just a
rectangular back...do SOMETHING interesting with the back. SOme put
secret compartments in their backs. Some built slide out drawers to stash
candy in. Some used lights, one year I had a kid buy a metal faucet and
paint the wall to look like a tile bathroom. THe seat of that one had a
little pond on it with real water and a floating rubber ducky. The seats
that look thicker is what I kept telling all of them to do, as it looks so
much better. But, there were a few who just wouldn't listen...imagine
that. To make them look thicker, we just taped a 1 or two inch strip of
cardboard around the perimeter of the seat and paper mached them on.
Gives the effect of a real seat. Some even padded their seats with foam
and covered them with fabric. I had mothers come in for a long time to
assist with the utility knife/miter saw/drilling area. (I have SO MANY
THANK you notes to write this weekend...for our 60 member art a la carte
parent docent taught art appreciation program that is taught in history
classes throughout the year, my sewing helpers for the third grade stuffed
animal project that I'll post soon, and our 1/2 day sculpture field trip
drivers/docents...I need a secretary). ANyway, we made notches in the
mailing tube for the seat back to add support to the back legs that were
taller than the front legs. THat REALLY helps to make it more stable.
Following the cardboard construction phase, we taped the whole thing off
to keep it from warping with the papier mache. LONG process...taping and
papering. Really long. But in the end, I think worth it. THink of what
all they get to do...writing/art, see folk artists for inspiration,
design, measure, new tools, new techniques, continuity, mixed media,
painting techniques, design an invitation to the art show, and celebrate!
Our school uses these as table decorations for several major fund raising
functions in the spring. On the day of the art show, parents all come for
lunch and we picnic on the grass (92 degrees this year!!! ack.) Parents
take them home in their cars after lunch, so the chairs are not at carpool
where they could be damaged. We display them for a month in our library
all over the bookshelves before the parents all come. This year a mom had
the invitation put onto a cake that they supplied for the festivities.
Stay tuned for the third grade soft sculptures...you won't believe how
CUTE they are!!
I'm going to photograph all of those as well. Summer can't come fast
enough. I have no life right now.

   

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