Goin’ Someplace Special Project

This semester, on top of teaching two classes at RCBC (Intro to Art and Photo 101), I had another opportunity to do a teaching residency through Rutgers – Camden Center for the Arts. For 9 weeks, once a week I’ve been visiting 4 3rd grade classrooms in a Camden charter school. Whenever I get an opportunity like this, I always want to lead the kids in a project that they would never be able to do if I wasn’t visiting, and since my wife is a k-3 art teacher, I have a pretty good idea of the range of projects that elementary students typically accomplish.
So, the project I led them in was a 3 color reduction print-making project of their self portraits. Week by week I led each student through the process. Some of the steps are fairly advanced for 3rd graders to be doing together in a group setting, but I think the final results are awesome. To finish it off, I digitized each of their prints and combined them into a 3×13 foot banner displaying every student that did the project. The text, “we are going someplace special” relates to the book that went along with this project “Goin’ Someplace Special”.
I’m proud of these students for sticking with it even when it got tough and I think this banner will make for a great addition to the school.

Below I’m including some of the best individual prints.

Dreaming Big

I’m neck deep in quilting together the project from my residency in Camden (a combination of new technique and less-than-ideal materials are making for some slow work) Together, the images are looking really good, and I’m proud of how the final product is shaping up, as should all the students. But I also like the individual squares by themselves.  I pulled some of my favorites aside after the students had transferred their images but before they drew or sewed on them. At this stage they were still much more “photo-centric”and the play  between the student acting out a dream with the cloudy, distressed technique make for some beautiful moments. I thoroughly enjoy looking at these.

I hope you enjoyed them. I’m looking forward to the big reveal of the finished product hanging in the school.

An Accidental Quilter

working on the final layout

I’ve been steadily working on my residency project (the class visits are done, now I’m working on the final assembly). Pretty much this whole time I’ve been thinking of it as a photography project that involved fabric, drawing, even some sewing, and I normally referred to the final product as a wall hanging or tapestry. I am here to inform you today, that it is officially a quilt. I spent hours today making sure that each piece of fabric was a nine and a half inch square with straight edges (with hopes of taking it easy on my modest sewing skills). Then I spent a good amount of time figuring out and laying out the pattern I will use. So there you have it. I didn’t intend it to happen and I don’t even know when it did. But I have officially become a quilter… of sorts.

rotary cutters really can be an artist’s best friend

Residency in a Camden School

So, I’ve been working away in my residency at a North Camden elementary and middle school. I really didn’t know what to expect going in. I had heard accounts of similar public school experiences from other artists, but nothing can substitute direct interaction. So, I made plans as best I could, knowing that things would have to be altered along the way, but hoping that at least some of the intent of the project would make it through to the final piece. That intent was to have on display in the school, something that not only showed the student’s handiwork, but also the students themselves. In a way having the students take ownership of the space on a longer-term basis than even their own enrollment. And so, the project I generated in collaboration with the two art teachers in the school involved photographing the student’s acting out what their dream was. It could have been a job, an accomplishment, or just something they wanted to learn, but the hope was that in thinking about their futures, they would in turn be lead to think about what steps they would need to take to actually accomplish their goal.

The project isn’t quite finished, so I’ll have to post more photos as we go, but I wanted to first share with you some of the raw photos of the dreams being acted out, before we worked on them as a part of the project.