Thursday, February 24, 2011

Week 15-16: African Kente Cloth

As a project for the school's annual International Luncheon, they study a region...this year was Africa. Parents prepare African food and they spent a month or more studying it.

For art, we did "kente cloth" placemats. Kente cloth is a Central African specialty and uses strips of intricately woven cloth in bright colors. It is a ceremonial cloth and well known outside of Africa. Each color has a meaning.

To do this with paper, I used a large brown paper that they folded and then cut slits so it resembled a comb. Use a ruler for spacing.  Your goal is to ufold the paper and have it look like a venetain blind but stay in one piece.  Then you take 2-3 other colors and cut strip with a ruler. Decorate this strips with a geometric pattern.

Alternating colors, weave the colored strips into the brown paper. When this all done, you can also decorate the brown parts as well. The finishing touch was "laminating" this with contact paper.

Week 14: Pointilism

Back to the late 19th Century we went with a lesson on Pointilism...Suerat and Signac namely. I showed the kids examples of this French Impressionist approach, emphasizing atmosphere, color mixing and lots and lots of little brush strokes!

I had the kids create their own with q-tips and watercolor. This minimized the inherent want to swipe the brush and gave them a fun new utensil to try.  While it seemed a bit exhaustive for some, most really embraced the limitation and did a great job.

Week 13: Optical illusion 'Op' art

The first art class of the New Year was a departure from the Christmas crafts!  Black and white optical illusion Op Art. I told the kids about the late 20th century artists who created these very geometric, often monochromatic pieces.

We used a rule to find the center of a page of paper. Then I had them draw radiating line outward from that center.  Connecting the lines with spider-web-like lines. The most visually interesting onces alternated curving lines so that it almost looks like rippling cloth.

Then they colored every other area black like a warped checkerboard.  The kids seemed to enjoy the meditative challenge! Even the younger kids did a good job.