Friday, February 22, 2013

Easter Art show at the Abbey--Homeschool kid art!

image found here

I don't think I can adequately express how excited I am about this.

I have been talking with Cheryle Isaacson since last Fall about the possibility of an art show at the Abbey for homeschool families/kids, and just yesterday we wrangled out the details.

We will have the Big Wall for the show--that's the premiere show space you can see in the photo above!

If we need to, we can overflow into the bathroom hallway (which is also a great space, and the pieces there get more close-up viewing, so it's all win-win).

I don't know how many pieces we will be generating--that is one of my first goals now, to have families commit to the number of pieces they plan to put in the show.  Families may either submit one collaborate piece, or individual children in the family may submit their own pieces.  So if you know for sure you want to participate, and know how many pieces you want to commit to, please email me at blesseday at gmail dot com.  I am inviting first you Vintage Homeschool families and the parents on the santacruzhomeschooling yahoo group, because you are the parents who have shared excitement with me about a show like this. : )  If I think there is still room, then I will open the show up to homecruzers on facebook. 

*If you commit to the show, you are also committing to adhering to the thematic and display guidelines of the show, so please read the rest of the information carefully and be sure you understand the three required elements.

We have three elements to the show that should not only create visual cohesion, and provoke thought, but hopefully will also result in richer art:

--The subject theme of the show is "New Life."  Each young artist may interpret this as he/she likes!

--The constructural theme is "layers."  This means that each piece of art should be made with the idea of "layers," but again, each artist may interpret that to suit which ever medium s/he will be using. 

Some of you families are really into art and have lot of experience with different mediums--to you, I say, take the layers theme to whatever you think is its most fun and beautiful extreme. Some of you families are still pretty much in crayons and markers mode--while those can be absolutely fine mediums for this art project, I highly recommend you think about how you can take what your kids already know and take it one step further.  For example, layering watercolor over crayon.  If you want to be inspired, or need ideas, I would recommend image searches on the web.  Just now I googled "childrens art projects layers" and saw some really neat pieces and projects. 

Some examples of how this constructural theme might be interpreted:

Scratch-away art

Layered punch-art mosaic

three-dimensional pop-up paper cuttings

Matisse-inspired paper and crayon mosaic

printmaking, with more than one layer of prints

layered paper arts

visual layers within a painting

horizontal triptych

photograph of layers (scroll down post to "Layers" art photograph)

Now, please realize I posted these as examples of layered art, not as examples of pieces that go along with the theme of "New Life."  The creative marriage of the two themes will be up to your artists!  Also, please keep in mind your children's pieces will still need to be overall two-dimensional, since they will be wall-mounted.  In fact, that brings us to the third unifying element of the show:

--Each fnished piece must be mounted with black matte board. This last element will really give visual cohesion to the overall collection, and should also really make each piece "pop."  The specific matte board you will need can be found at Palace Arts--it is black on top with a white core.  Please visit the store before starting your project to see the matte board so you know what is available to you.  For example, there is at least one size of pre-cut board you could use, but then you would need to make sure your art was the right size to fit its window. 

The final pieces may be either undermounted, through the cut window (like you would see in a picture frame), or may be top mounted.  You can choose which ever "framing" is most appropriate for your child's finished work.  The overall visible matte border should be approximately 3-4 inches in depth, but of course you should tweak that depending upon what is most suitable for your child's piece.

We do not have specific size constraints for the pieces--as long as they are matted per the above directions, whatever size of work your child creates is fine.

Also, because this will be child-generated art, I don't think I need to specify that whatever they make should be suitable for all-ages public viewing.  But just in case--there you have it. ; )

The completed, appropriately matted pieces must be brought to the Abbey no later than 8:00 on Wednesday, March 27.  That night the Abbey art director will install the show!  They might also appreciate a few parent helpers with the installation--I'll share details about that when we get closer to that event.

If you have any questions, please leave them here in the comments on this post, so everyone may benefit from the dialogue.

found here

More on Book Project 2013: Our Big Backyard Writing

Ok, everybody.  I shared a few weeks back about our topic for this year's Author's Fair book project, Our Big Backyard.  Now I'm excited to tell you that I have settled on the writing style for the book--riddles! 

So each child/family who would like to participate in the project will come up with a topic--like redwoods, or sea stars, or the Sierra Nevadas, or constellations, whatever they are interested in or whatever you are already learning about as a family--and then they will write a riddle "poem" to accompany it. 

Best of all, I found a great interactive online that will help in the riddle-writing process! 

ReadWriteThink riddle interactive

Write your riddles using the interactive, and you will be set!

More details on the size of the art and how you should format your writing for the book will come in later posts. : )

Questions?  Please leave them here in the comments so that everyone may benefit from the discussion.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Another Excellent Book of Months Example

When I made the post the other day about books your family might want to read to get ideas for our 2014 Book of Months writing project, I forgot to share one of our favorites:

The poetry in this book is wonderful, and while you can find it in many editions, the one illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman is our favorite.  Her watercolor and ink drawings are beautiful, and really draw the reader into to the "feel" of each particular month, as much as Updike's words.

Just a taste:

(click on the image to embiggen)

The facing November page, illustrating the "beauty of the bone."

I highly recommend this book for your family's bookshelves!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Old School Valentine's Party! YOU are needed!

Hello Vintage Homeschool Moms!

So, after our last gathering, many of you told me how much your kids enjoy the annual Valentine's Day party.  So, yes let's do it!  I have reserved the room for Friday, Feb 15 from 12:00 to 2:30, as we discussed last time. 

BUT I am really suffering from allergies this year, ladies, and am feeling pretty stretched thin.  I just don't know if I have the reserves to plan and execute another party so soon after the last one.  SO this is the chance for some of you other moms to step in!  Does anyone want to plan and lead the party?  Or do several of you want to take turns leading certain parts of the party?  Please, everyone, jump in with your excellent ideas and leave them in the comments below, so others know your intentions and ideas. : )

In the past we have had Valentines-ish party food, a reading of a book something about love, and some kind of craft or activity.  (Often some kind of holder for valentine's day cards.)  And then we have the traditional passing out of the valentines at some point near the end. : ) 

I look forward to hearing whatever you come up with!


Friday, February 1, 2013

And now the Vintage Homeschool Kids' Book Project 2013: Our Big Backyard

If you read the last posts, you know we are starting the annual book project for 2014 a little early.  But that does not mean we are not doing a project for this year!  No, so many of you told me how much you and your kids enjoy this annual tradition of making a collaborative project and presenting it at the Author's Fair in May that I got up the gumption to do it again. ; ) (Seriously, though--thanks ladies for your encouragement. It is nice to know you are not just joining in the book projects because you feel like you would be a bad friend if you didn't, or because you would feel guilty or something.  No one ever has to participate, but I'm glad to know those of you who do actually are glad to do so. : )

So here's the project for this year, to be completed in Feb and March and presented at the Author's Fair in May:

Our Big Backyard

The theme of this book will be God's grand creation.  The world is our classroom!  And it is also our big backyard, so your child can write about anything at all in nature--with one caveat:  the child must be able to engage with that thing with his or her senses.  So, this means your child probably should not choose to write about the Sahara desert. . . but of course he could write about Death Valley if he's been there recently and can remember it well.  And exotic animals like Golden Lion Tamarins would not be the best topic. . . unless your family gets to observe them at a zoo.  The best topics will be those that your children can experience as fully as possible, with as many of their senses as possible--tide pools, or banana slugs, or erosion, or mushrooms, or Salinas valley farms, or babies, or weather. . . you have so much room here to be creative with your topic, and choose a subject that fits your child's interests and experiences and your family's recent homeschool studies.  

You can choose something you want to learn about with your kids for this project, or you can piggy-back this project with something you are already studying.  Make the project fit with whatever works for your family and your homeschool schedule.  

This year we will not do the art all together, so you and your child can decide what medium best suits his/her topic. 

I'll write more on the specifics of the project later--this was just the heads up to get you all thinking about possible topics for your child's page.  

But in the meantime, here are the important deadlines for the project, so you can figure those into your planning:

April 22, noon - 2:30: All pages complete, bring to Old School Monday gathering for binding party

May 4 : Author's Fair at Capitola Mall 

Inspiration for The Book of Months project

I'll tell you how this project got started:  my own Meredith decided about a week before the Author's Fair last year that since her older sister had two books to enter, she would like to write another book to enter as well.  And the child labored for that whole week on detailed pencil drawings and pages of text--all her own "book of months" inspired by this family favorite:

Well, she barely got it done in time for the Author's Fair--no, really, I was sitting there after the fair had started on the mall floor with my back against some shop windows trying to shove her pages (some done vertically and  some horizontally of course, and with text on  both sides) into the clear plastic pages of a photo album our dear ES Terry had brainstormed as the solution to her binding dilemma.  But she had put so much thought into it, and it was such a sweet idea, that I decided we would "do it right" for the next author's fair.  And decided each girl could do her own.  And then though, hey while we are at it, maybe the other Vintage Homeschool kids would like to join in the fun!  

It really is a fun way to record not only the passing of time and the rhythm of a year, but also your own kids lives at this stage.  I have a feeling if you and your kids do a really good job, you will end up with a book you want to hold on to and bring out year after year. 

Here are some other books of months that you and your kids might enjoy reading while getting into the mood for this project:

We love this first one--gentle story about a little girl remembering with her mother what happens in a year's time.

This series has a book for each month, although I have not read them.

Ok, this last one won't be all that helpful with the project.  But I loved this book when I was a kid! ; )

If you know of other books that are similar in vein that you could recommend as creative thinking fodder for this assignment, please leave the titles in the comments.

Our Vintage Homeschool FAMILY Book Project 2014--A Book of Months

Some of you remember that I was brewing up a book project for the annual Author's Fair that could be completed by families or individual kids, but would not be a collective project as we have done in the past.  Well, I have finally figured out how we can do it and make it logical, easy, a great learning exercise for the kids, and potentially a great keepsake!  (Even a great Christmas present for a family member!)

Our project is a Book of Months.  The idea is for your child/children to capture the rhythm of a year in your family.  Each month will have one page describing what your family traditionally does in that month, with one page of illustration (or your child can make more than one page for eventful months--that part is completely up to them/you).  Some things that could be included are holidays, birthdays or other annual family celebrations, typical weather, favorite activities for that season, whatever you and your child(ren) think best captures your year.

Since we are just now starting the new year, and have completed our first month, this is the perfect time to begin this project.  So anyone interested can make a time in the next week or so to talk about January and what they did as a family that month, what is special about that month, etc.  Then have your children write/draw about it while the memories and sensory elements are fresh.  Then at the end of each month, look back and do the pages for that past month.  If we all do a little at a time, the project should not really impact our other schooling, and the kids will have time to get as involved with the writing/illustration as they would like.  Ideally, the project itself will end up being part of the rhythm of this year! 

Of course this project does not have to be done so systematically.  There is absolutely no reason why you can't just do it whenever you remember, when you have room in your school schedule, etc.  I could even see someone doing this project in two weeks--completing one month every day.  So I am just setting out the project the way it could most organically be done, and those of you who want to participate can do the pages and art however/whenever you see fit.

My gift to you will be a reminder here on this blog at the beginning of each new month to look back on the past month and write about it while the memories are fresh. : )  The final goal will be for all the books to be completed this same time next year, and we will have a binding party at one of our Vintage Homeschool gatherings! 

Since each family will be doing this project on their own, but we hope to show them all together at the Author's Fair in May of 2014, there will be certain simple parameters we will use to give overall cohesion to the project. 

--Each child's writing and illustrations should be completed on 8 1/2 x 11 inch white typing paper. 

--Only use one side of each piece of paper.

--The text and its illustration will be on separate pieces of paper.

--I strongly urge you to figure out in advance if your child(ren) wants to have the pages horizontal or vertical--we have learned already from experience with this project the sadness that occurs when some illustrations are one way and some are the other!  Your author(s) can choose which they want--either is completely fine for this project, as long as their whole book is done the same way.

--The text will be typed out in black ink (unless of course your child believes there is a need for colored text).  You can choose the font, but the size should be 14 pt (as long as that fits well on your page--of course you can change it if you think the text length warrants it).

--The text for each page will be centered on the page (both L to R and top to bottom).

--The style of illustration used is entirely up to you and your child as well.  You could even practice different mediums on different pages, if you choose; however, I would recommend you choose one style and use it for the entire book, to keep the months having the same visual "weight."  So if your child chooses watercolor, encourage them to use watercolor throughout the book.

--You may choose to make the book as a family and have different children do different aspects of the project, or each child may do his/her own book.  This too is up to you and your children.

--Be sure to have a safe place to store this project over the year, so the pages are not bent and damaged.  Our family started this project about 8 months ago, and some of the pages that the kids were storing themselves have been creased, a little wrinkled. . . not really a big deal, but if this ends up being a beautiful "keeper" book, then in the long run they may be sorry.

Remember, you should not worry about binding the book--we will do that all together next March or April.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below.  I hope you are as excited about this project as I am!

Happy Writing, all!