Friday, June 20, 2014

Explorations in Art Cloth with my Students

Since my trip to Arrowmont I have been exploring dyeing, printing, stamping, and art cloth in my own work.
This has been so much fun that I knew I had to add this type of work to my classroom curriculum.
Through the help of DonorsChoose I was able to get a Thermofax machine and hoops so I could introduce printing and embroidery to my students.

I started with printing on blank muslin with thickened dyes in a screen-printing class at Lillstreet Art Center.
Each of my students wrote a positive word on a piece of paper that I made into a screen.
Then printed the image on several yards of fabric.
This was then cut up into rectangles so students could first stamp and mark make on their cloth.
 We used stamps and objects, such as bubble wrap and bottle caps, to create patterns

Next, I introduced printing with the thermofax screens.
These are small simple to use, manage, and clean screens that are
easier to work with in a classroom than tradition screens.

Students created a third layer using the screens

Next, I introduced embroidery and stitch to add the final layer to their art cloth
 Students got quit creative with their stitch work
 Every student was engaged in the process
 They enjoyed the meditative quality of working with stitch

Final pieces were beautiful and students had wonderful things to say
about the whole experience while gaining a new appreciation for fiber arts

I look forward to teaching this unit again and expanding it in the future

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Arrowmont: Three Incredible Weeks

This will be one of three posts about my three week experience at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee. This was generously supported by Fund For Teachers (an organization that allows teachers to create their own PD by designing a personalized program that can include international travel as long as your research relates back to your curriculum).

When I started my research for this I knew I wanted a hands on art making experience related to fiber arts. After three months of research I decided on Arrowmont and to use my research to create the first ever, online, contemporary fiber arts curriculum. This would include using an iPad to interview relevant contemporary fiber artists to create video segments for teachers to use with curriculum materials to help engage and stimulate young artists.

Part I: Peg Gignoux, Mapping Memories Class (one week)
First a little about the campus, this was my housing building
Arrowmont is set in the great smoky mountains just outside of Gatlinburg
My well air conditioned "dorm" room
The public screened in porch
Campus road, all studio buildings are along this hilled road

This is where the fiber studio is housed
There are several studios in this building, as well as the gallery and library
Class meets for the first time for two hours on Sunday evening.
This was a great first class. Peg gave us scraps from her pieces and as we got to know each other, we were given thread and fabric scraps to work with. We all dove right in.
Later we discussed them, then switched to finish up a new piece.
These were the finished pieces. Mine is top left.
The next day peg shared a wealth of antique lace and fibers from her personal collection.
It was a real treat to examine these pieces and think about the women who made them and their legacy that remains in the fibers of each special piece.
The fiber studio is amazing, it has everything you would need to work in any fiber genre. 
This is a view from the catwalk.

Here is the dinning hall where three square meals a day are provided for you
so you can focus just on making art.
Meals are always fun because you get a chance to talk
with a variety of artists from all over the country.
The campus is just lovely with beauty everywhere you look.
This was my daily view, the studio building, as I turned the corner for breakfast.
Peg covered a wide variety of techniques in her class, including how to sew, cut, and sew again.
Here she is discussing thermafax screen printing and stamping.
Here are some samples of my prints.
We also learned about dyeing, this was my first true dyeing experience.
It was a lot of fun, we dyed repurposed fabrics, lace, doilies, organza, silks,
and anything we could find.

Peg shared her personal work and the inspiring stories behind them.
She has a castle in France and teaches classes there in the summer.
This is the barn that is now living quarters for students.
Some lovely dyed silk organza
The view from the studio porch
Sewing of some lace onto fabric. One of the first projects was creating
with a neutral pallet of whites and tans.

Did you know that this part of the Smoky Mountains is an actual rain forest?
The dining hall.
Last day critique of work produced.
I was happy with all I learned and knew that I had started my next big project.
What a great group of people to learn with too!

There was a free Saturday between classes so I was able to explore the majestic beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Cades Cove was a perfect day trip.