Saturday, November 2, 2019

Dale Chihuly


PowerPoint is under the Calendar~

 Today we going to talk about a world famous local artist who is also still alive!  Dale Chihuly was born on September 20, 1941 in Tacoma, WA. Does anyone know where Washington is? He received a degree (an MFA) from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked at a renowned glassblowing workshop in Italy.  Returning to the US, he established the RISD glassblowing program and founded the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, WA.  Notice the eye patch. In 1976 a car accident left Chihuly blind in one eye, and thereafter he was dependent on assistants to execute his designs.
Credited with elevating the craft of glassmaking to a fine art, Chihuly offers a simple explanation for his success in recasting glass as a popular artistic movement.  I think people like to look at something theyve never seen before, he says.  And thats what I try to do.
Chihuly began developing his glassmaking skills at the University of Wisconsin during the late 1960s, so he has been developing glass pieces for more than 50 years! He is credited for elevating the craft of glassmaking to a fine art.  His inventive sculptures – abstract baskets, colorful sea forms, lavish towers and extravagant chandeliers appear in permanent collections of more than 200 museums worldwide and countless private collections.
He once said; My work revolves around a simple set of circumstances: fire, molten glass, human breath, spontaneity, centrifugal force, gravity.  You will see from the slides a little bit of the glassblowing technique.  Basically, they gather the hot, soft, glass onto a steel pipe from the oven.  Then they shape the glass by rolling it over the steel table.  They add more glass by repeating the gathering step from the oven, and they blow into the pipe to create a bubble.

Looking at a map of the United States we can see the states where he established his career – Washington, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island.  Italy (referred to as the boot since it is shaped like one) would be east of Rhode Island, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean In Europe.

After time spent in Italy Chihuly learned the importance of working as a team.  Here we see the artist working with glassmaker James Mongrain in Chihulys Seattle hot shop.  Why do you think it is referred to as a hot shop?  Yes, it takes heat, an oven, to soften the glass so they can shape it.

Working at his studio in Seattle, here we see Chihuly giving directions to a fellow glassmaker and his team.  He now prefers directing the process instead of being the artist assisting or holding the pipe. How many men do you see in the shop? Yes, five men.  It does take a team!
Lets take a moment to observe some of the details of his studio. Can anyone tell me where the oven/furnace is? The molten glass which comes from the oven has to be 2,025 to 2125 Fahrenheit. Thats hot!!! What do you notice on the wall? Yes, there are several drawings hung on the wall. Chihuly has recorded his visual ideas on paper for his team to work from. In the past, he used chalks or colored pencils for his drawings, now he prefers to use acrylic paints in squeeze bottles.  He usually lays his paper directly on the floor and applies paint with vigorous gestures.  Does that sound like another artist you may know?  Perhaps Jackson Pollock – Action Jackson.  Finally, notice the steel table (Marver).  While holding the pipe, the artist rolls the the molten glass on the table to help shape it.  The artist is continuously rotating the pipe until he gets the shape and colors he wants to achieve.
Finally, why do you think they call it glassblowing? Yes, the artist blows air into the  steel tube at one end while the other end holds the molten glass which is being expanded and shaped.  Yes, kind of like blowing a bubble except here they are using molten glass instead of bubble soap or chewing gum!

Chihuly  started his career by creating small pieces such as glass baskets inspired by Native American baskets. Later, he made very large pieces like chandeliers or pieces known as installations.  Here we see a large installation he did.
The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a 500 foot walkway outside the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington – his hometown. He has taken thousands of sea-like shapes of glass sculptures and imbedded them in the glass ceiling of the walkway.  Notice all the various shapes and the colors. Light shining through the sculpture creates beautiful and pleasing compositions.  Can you imagine walking under this?
Chihulys work can be found in more than 200 hundred museum collections worldwide.  He has been the recipient of many awards, including twelve honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Chiluly has created more than a dozen well-known series of works, among them Cylinders and Baskets in the 1970s; Seaforms, Macchia, Venetians, and Persians in the 1980s;Niijima Floats and Chandeliers in the 1990s, and Fiori in the 2000s.  He is also celebrated for large architectural installations like we see here.

We are looking up at the Kirkpatrick Memorial Tower found in the Oklahoma Museum of Art. Fun facts: It is 55 ft. tall with a width of 7 ft 6 in.  It has 2,100 individually blown glass parts.  The armature, which holds all of the pieces and dictates the form, weighs 10,500 lbs.  The glass pieces weigh a total of 9,500 lbs.  Total weight is 10 tons (20,000 lbs).  It took 14 days to install.  It is hand cleaned once a year by a wall climber and takes 9 hours to clean.  It is illuminated for 24 hours a day.  This is one of many tower-type sculptures Chihuly has made since 1996, of which no two are alike.

 Chihuly credits his mother, Viola, for helping him appreciate the beauty in nature. Thats what she loved, and I loved her, he says of his mothers influence.  Here we see a picture of Chihuly with his mother taken several years ago.
Speaking of nature….here we see Chihulys The Sun, displayed at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif.

Chihuly has created many water sculptures.  Here we see a boat filled with glass balls.

Chihuly has had a lifelong fascination for glasshouses which has grown into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings.  Here the glass master stands amid his 2007 exhibit at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh.
I think people like to look at something theyve never seen before, he says.  And thats what I try to do. -Chihuly

 As mentioned previously, Chihuly spent time in Italy.  There he learned from the Venetians the art of glassblowing. Can you see the boot in this map? Yes, the boot shape is Italy.
Chihuly is not only a well known artist in the US, but he is also internationally famous. Here Chihuly stands in 1996 beside his Isola di San Giacomo in Palude Chandelier in Venice, Italy.  Chihuly created a number of glass sculptures that were later hung over the canals and piazzas of Venice, so if you traveled by boat in a gondola one could look up and see his beautiful sculptures.  A piazza is a place in the city where people gather - like we have in downtown Portland – the Pioneer Square.

Templeton Elementary School Art Literacy Program
Dale Chihuly Bio
Dale Chihuly is an American artist who makes sculptures with blown glass.  He is famous for his large, colorful glassworks, and the techniques he uses to create them.  He started out making all his glass himself, but after awhile he trained a team of workers to do the work as he instructed them.  He and his assistants have made thousands of pieces of art glass, some of which are used as artworks on their own, and many which are combined into large installations of glassworks, in landscapes, and inside public buildings.

Dale Chihuly was born in 1941 in Tacoma Washington.  He first learned how to melt glass in college, and after college he studied art and glassblowing at several US art schools and in Venice, Italy.  In the 1970s Chihuly started a school for glass artists.  He later had two bad accidents that left him unable to do the heavy work of lifting and shaping his glass pieces himself, so that was why he started to use a team of assistants to help him.  That is also why he wears an eye patch, and some people think he looks like a pirate. 

Chihuly is best known for his installations.  An installation is a work of art made for a certain place, usually a three dimensional sculpture or a group of sculptures, which is large enough that people can walk around it, or inside of it, and it changes the way people think about the space.  The picture next to Chihuly shows an installation he made called Persian Ceiling.  He made many large bright colored flower shapes out of glass, and laid them on top of sheets of clear glass.  When light shines down through it, the colors of the glass shine all over the room and the people in it.

Dale Chihuly went through quite a few periods of doing glass in different shapes, or styles.  He is very well known for the organic shapes he used.  Some of his work he called Seaforms, because it looked like creatures from the sea, and other work looked like flowers or fantastic plants.

  Dale Chihuly has made many outdoor installations in gardens and museums around the world.  Some of the work, like this one called The Sun, looks like one sculpture but is made up of many pieces of glass combined together.  Others are groupings of glass sculptures that go together, like a bouquet of flowers, or a pile of floats, a more beautiful version of the glass floats fishermen used to float their fishing nets on the sea.

Making blown glass sculptures is very complicated.  The artist has to melt a blob of glass in a furnace, then take it in and out of the heat many times to shape it while it is hot enough to be soft, but cool enough to keep its shape.  Artists add color to glass by mixing in layers of colored glass over clear ones, or by adding bits of colored glass during different parts of the process.  It is terribly hot work, next to the blazing furnace, and the large pieces of glass are very heavy.

Today we will be making small, colorful sculptures out of modeling clay.  We will try to use organic shapes, like Chihuly did.  Think of sea shells, flowers, and plants.  

Templeton Elementary School Art Literacy Program
Dale Chihuly – Colorful Organic Sculpture Project
-Getting ready
The tools should be waiting on the Art Lit carts, in the storage closet of the Maker Space room.  You can either reserve the Maker Space room to use during your lesson, or you can take a cart to the classroom.  Some supplies will need to be taken from the storage room and added to the cart.  These are the supplies you will need:

These should be on the cart:
Project folder
Plastic sculpting tools
Box of short bits of wire

These will be on the third cart in the closet, for you to take for your class:
1 baggie of Sculpy clay
Enough paper plates for your class to use (1 per kid)
1 cardboard tray / box for finished sculptures

This project requires some set up time, and some time at the end as well. 

Open up the bag of clay, and unwrap each color from the plastic.  Break each large piece into 8 pieces.  (They are marked to divide into 4, then break those fourths in half.)  Break each smaller, unmarked piece into 4 pieces.  Set out enough plates for each child in your class that day.  Divide all the clay bits onto the plates.  Every plate should have 6 or more pieces, in different colors (if I did the math right).  The kids don’t need a lot, as our sculptures will be small, but they should have different colors to use.  

Add a pencil to each plate and hand out the plates.  Set a selection of tools on each set of tables for the kids to share. 

 -The Project

(Things you might want to say to the kids are in purple.)  Try to think of questions to ask the kids as you go along.   Present Dale Chihuly’s work to the kids, then show them the samples of our project.  Please don’t hand the samples around as they may break if dropped or bent. 

Today we are going to create small, colorful sculptures out of clay.  We are going to try to make “organic” shapes like Dale Chihuly does with his glass.  Organic shapes mean shapes of natural things.  So we are going to try to make shapes that might look a bit like seashells, or plants, or flowers.  After the sculptures are finished, they will be baked in an oven to get hard, then you will be able to take them home before Winter Break to use as decorations or whatever you want. 
You have some bits of Sculpy clay to work with.  It will seem hard at first, but as you squish it around your hands will warm it up and it will get softer.  You can use the colors you got, or mix them a bit to make new colors.  Chihuly mixes colors of glass all the time.  Soften the clay in your hands for awhile before you try to mix colors together.  It’s okay to trade colors with other students as long as they want to. 
Once you have your clay softened up, and maybe have mixed some colors yourself, you can use the sculpture tools to cut and shape it if you want to.  Be sure to press the pieces together well to make them stick. 

This project is very open to what kids want to make, so there is not much instruction required.  Just circulate and keep an eye on what they are doing, and offer help.  Encourage them not to make the pieces too thick, as they take much longer to bake if they are thick. 
Give the kids a 5-minute warning to finish up. 
As the kids finish their sculptures, you will need to document which one belongs to which kid.  We can’t write names on them.    My idea was to write the kid’s name in large letters on the paper plate next to their sculpture, then take a picture of each with your phone.  You could do maybe 4 at a time.  (If you don’t have a phone, do whatever works for you.)  After documenting whose is whose, you don’t need the paper plates anymore.  Carefully place the sculptures in the cardboard tray together to transport them. 

-Afterwards / Clean up
Collect the pencils.  Collect the sculpting tools.  Collect all the un-used Sculpy in the plastic bag.  Recycle the plates.  Put the extra Sculpy in the box “Sculpy to be used later” in the storage room.  Put back un-used paper plates. 
Putting in the wire hangers
For each sculpture, you will need to bend a small bit of wire into a “U” shape, and stick it into the best place on the sculpture to act as a hanger.  The clay stays soft until it is baked, so if you are taking them home yourself to bake and bring back, you can insert the wires at home before baking.  If you are not able to bake them, please insert the wires and leave the tray of un-baked sculptures for us to take home and bake.  If you leave a tray, you MUST put a note in it saying which class it is from, and with your own name so we know who to contact to get them back to the kids before Winter Break.  (You are the one with the pictures of whose is whose.) 
Baking Instructions
If you are going to bake the sculptures yourself, this is how to do it. 
Have you stuck the hanging wires in yet?  You have to do that before baking.
Pre-heat your oven to 275 degrees.  (No hotter, or the clay may discolor.)  
Cover a metal baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Place sculptures on the pan, not touching each other, and place in the pre-heated oven.
Bake them all for 15 minutes.  Take the pan out of the oven.  Take the thinnest sculptures off to cool.  Continue baking the thicker ones (or ones with thicker parts) for about 15 minutes more per additional ¼ inch thickness.  (1/4” thick pieces get 15 minutes total, ½” thick get 30 minutes total, ¾” thick get 45 minutes total, etc.)
Confer with your teacher
Please discuss with your teacher what to do next.  Teachers may want to include the sculptures in paper bags going home as Winter gifts for parents, or not.  Teachers will need to know whose sculpture is whose.  (Perhaps you could tape paper tags around them with names?)  Please ask teachers what they want, and make sure you get them back to teachers in time to go home before Winter Break.  There will be sheets of pre-printed Art Lit labels in the storage area so you can take some and put them onto the package, or tag, or whatever, so parents know it was an Art Lit project.  The labels are really expensive, so if you have leftovers, put them back.  Thanks.
Please let teachers know we may have some Sculpy leftovers if a child missed Art Lit day and wants to make one to take home. (It would need to be baked, of course.)

Thank you!   Laura Cox                                                                                         November 2019

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh~1st artist in Art Literacy for 2019-2020 School year! 

(Calendar is at end of Post)

Please look at it before emailing or texting me to schedule a day to present

Here is the PowerPoint that will be e-mailed to teachers. They need to bring their laptops if you want to use it in the Maker Space. 

Note-You do not have to use the PowerPoint and maybe only show paintings and not go too far into Vincent's Depression, and his suicide. Although, years ago, the students thought it was very interesting that he cut off his ear. Which shows how mentally ill he was. 😉

 Vincent van Gogh was born in Holland in 1853.  By the age of 27, he had tried teaching, shop work and preaching, all without success.  Then, he decided to devote himself to art. But he struggled to make a living and managed to sell only one painting during his life. Today his pictures are worth millions.

 Vincent Van Gogh painted thirty-seven self-portraits, all but ten done while he was in Paris.

Vincent wrote to his sister that she would probably thin the study of his “empty bedroom with a wooden bedstead, the most unbeautiful thing of all.”  To Vincent, however, his room in Arles was important.  It was the only house he had for himself, the “yellow house” that would welcome Gauguin, Signac, and other artists seeking the sun.  Vincent carefully furnished the room and decorated them with his own personal paintings and framed prints.

 His pictures show a dramatic night sky with twinkling stars and twisting trees.  The scenes have been built up out of layers of paint so thick, you can see the brush marks.  Van Gogh liked to use strongly colored paint, often straight from the tube.  His intense colors and swirling brush strokes make his pictures vivid and full of movement.
Starry Night - SPACE:  The enormous cypress tree in the foreground helps the viewer understand the arrangement of space. COLOR:  The yellow highlights in the sky help move your eye around the mostly blue composition.  LINE:  Van Gogh uses spiraling lines to create the swirling night sky.  TEXTURE:  The artist uses visible brushstrokes to create areas rich with texture.

Sadly, van Gogh suffered from mental illness.  In one famous incident, he cut off part of his left ear after arguing with a friend.  By 1889, he was in a mental hospital.  He continued to paint furiously, but became more and more depressed.  A year later, he shot himself.
This is one of his last big canvases.  He painted this panorama only weeks before his suicide.  This is a straightforward painting about a coming storm.  Harsh winds have darkened the sky, churned the clouds, frightened the crows, and knocked the grass and wheat to the ground.

Vincent Van Gogh Bio, and discussion of 
The Starry Night

Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch painter who lived from 1853 to 1890. 

He only painted for 10 years, but he created around 2100 works of art.  He sold one single painting while he was alive, but later people loved his work so much that he is now thought of as an artistic genius, and he is one of the most famous artists of all time.  

Vincent van Gogh was a very serious child, and he had trouble figuring out what to do with his life.  He tried a number of jobs.  At the age of 27 he decided to try being an artist.  His brother Theo encouraged him and supported him the whole 10 years that he was producing art, since no one would buy his paintings.  
Vincent van Gogh’s work changed over time, from very dark early work to very bright, vibrant later work.   

 Fishing boats
Bedroom in Arles

His style used thick brushstrokes of many colors layered over each other.  The brushstrokes make swirls and patterns in some of his work, and make his paintings look very dramatic and lively.  He painted portraits of people, many landscapes, and many still lifes.  His sunflower and iris paintings are very famous.  


Van Gogh had poor health, and had mental illness of some kind.  It was hard for him to live with other people, so he was lonely, and sad, and he couldn’t take care of himself properly.  But some people who have studied van Gogh think that his amazing artwork was a result of his mental illness, and other physical problems he had.  He looked at things a different way from other people, and he may have even seen things differently.  
When Vincent van Gogh’s mental illness became too much for him to bear, he moved to an asylum so doctors could help him.  He stayed there for two years, and while he lived there he created many works of art, including the painting we are going to be thinking about today – The Starry Night.  

The Starry Night

Van Gogh painted pictures of the buildings, and the garden of the asylum, and the country outside.  He loved the tall cypress trees that grew in the countryside around the asylum.  He painted many pictures of the cypresses and olive trees, and the wheat fields, and the hills beyond.  The view we see in the Starry Night is actually the view he saw out his window, with a few creative changes, and from the time of year he painted it, experts could tell the brightest star in the picture is actually the planet Venus.  

Would the sky ever really look like the one in the Starry Night?  Or is the artist painting what he sees in his imagination?  Van Gogh actually didn’t like The Starry Night as much as other pictures of starry skies he had made.  He thought it was not realistic enough.

Many art experts have looked at the painting and seen it different ways.  The huge swirl in the sky could be a picture of a galaxy of stars, far away.  It could be wind, or turmoil inside van Gogh’s head.  The huge stars and swirls could be van Gogh’s way of showing that he thought there was tremendous power in the universe, and that people are only tiny in comparison.  The brushstrokes he uses to paint the town and the land are very straight and orderly, but the brushstrokes he uses for the sky are wild and swirling, like they are all moving at once.  You can see the tremendous feeling that van Gogh put into this painting.  

Vincent van Gogh – Starry Night Painting Project

Getting ready

The supplies should be waiting on the Art Lit cart, in the storage closet of the Maker Space room.  (Not in the kiln room, the other storage room.)  You can either reserve the Maker Space room to use during your lesson, or you can take the cart to the classroom.  There is an elevator to reach upstairs classrooms.  These are the supplies you will need:

*Plastic placemats
*Canvas boards (take enough for the class – keep extras clean and put them back.
There will be a cart full of them in the storage room.)
*Stencils (to share, and only if kids really want them)
*Sketches of the main composition elements in plastic sleeves, 1 per table
*Water jars, maybe 2 or 3 per table
*Plastic palettes, 1 for every 2 kids to share
*Paintbrushes, 1 larger and one finer for every kid
*Paper towels, 1 per kid
*Squeeze bottles of tempera paint
*Bucket with dish soap, sponges and scrub brush
*A couple of rags to dry with

If you do the lesson in Maker Space, use the new drying racks along the windows.  If you are taking the cart to a classroom, you’ll need to take one of the old drying racks, which we will keep in the storage room where the cart is. 

If there are paintings in the drying racks and they feel dry enough, carefully stack them so the racks will be empty.  There should be some clear plastic trash bags in the “finished artwork” box, along with tape and a marker.  Please bag the set of dry paintings, and if you can tell which class they are from, please write the teacher’s name on a piece of tape and stick it on the bag.  Then put the whole bag into the “finished artwork” box in the storage room. 

Set up the kids’ places in advance.  Each place gets a placemat, a pencil, a canvas board, and a paper towel.  Fill water jars maybe 2/3 full of water and set 2 or 3 on each table to be shared.  Put tempera paint into the palettes.  This may take some time.  Use half as many palettes as you have kids.  They will share.  (If there are kids who have issues that make this hard, they get their own palette, but don’t put as much paint on it.)  Use the squeeze bottles of paint to put a good amount of every color in the holes on each palette.  Don’t fill them too high to avoid spillage and waste.  Students can raise hands during the project to ask for more of a certain color.   Keep the palettes on the counter until after the kids have penciled in their picture, then hand them out. 
In the event that the squeeze bottles are running too low on any color, the large jugs of tempera are all on the shelves in the Art Lit storage closet, against the back wall.  You can refill them.   FYI – tempera paint is not permanent, like acrylic.  It will wash off the brushes fairly well.  However, it could stain clothing.

The Project

(Things you might want to say to the kids are in purple.)  Try to think of questions to ask the kids as you go along.   Present Vincent van Gogh’s work to the kids, then show them the samples of our project. 

Part 1 – Sketching

Today we are going to create our own versions of Vincent van Gogh’s painting called The Starry Night.  It doesn’t have to look just like his.  He painted 21 different versions of it himself. 

First we will sketch in the main parts of the picture with pencil, and then we will paint it.  

(If you want to let kids use the stencils to put in the main bits of the composition, you can tell them to pass the stencils around to share.  If you want them to do it all themselves, don’t even mention the stencils.) 

First thing, write your name and your teacher’s name on the back of your canvas.

Now, we’ll start by drawing in a horizon line from one side of the canvas to the other.  The horizon line separates the land from the sky.  It should have some bumps in it to show hills on the earth.  If you like, you can look at the sketch of the painting to make it easier.

Next, draw a tree shape in front of the horizon.  The tree should be large, to make it look like it is close to you.  It doesn’t have to be a cypress tree.

Now, draw the moon and stars.  You only need little circles for now.  You’ll paint them in later.

Draw the swirling shapes in the sky.  They may look like the letter “S”, or like a spiral.

Last, draw some little buildings on the land, to look like a town.

Part 2 – Painting

Hand out the paint filled palettes.  Tell the kids:

This is tempera paint.  It needs to go onto the canvas thick, so you don’t need to get the brush wet before you put it in the paint.  You only need the water to clean the brush between different colors.

You may want to start by putting color onto large areas of your picture, like the sky, or the tree, or the land.  Try to leave the spots for the moon and stars open until you paint them light colors.  If you paint them dark first it’s harder to make them light later. 

You can mix colors too, on the edges of the palette or on the canvas itself. 
 If you fill in large areas first, you can go over them later with more colors to make it look more interesting, or you can try using little brushstrokes of many colors, like van Gogh did. 

Don’t paint the details until the end.

Make sure to give the kids a 10-minute warning to finish up, and save a few minutes at the end for clean up. 

Afterwards / Clean up

Collect the pencils.  
Have the kids put their finished paintings into the cardboard drying racks (if they can reach).  
Then have the kids throw away their paper towels, put their dirty paintbrushes in one bucket, and the paint palettes in the other bucket.  Please use the deep sink in he Maker Space for all messy clean up like paint. 
Once the kids have left the Maker Space room with their teacher, do the rest of the clean up.  (Or take it back to the Maker Space to do if you are in a classroom.  Use a bit of dish soap in the bucket to clean the brushes well.  Leave them standing on end in the jars on the cart for the next class. 
Scrub out the palettes with the scrub brush and put them back on the cart.
Wipe any paint off the placemats with a damp sponge, and put them back into the carrying bag on the cart.  (You can wipe them with a rag if they are too wet, then please spread out the drying rag to dry a bit.)