Building on Experiences
At UpCycle, we plan explorations and experiences to expose children to new artistic media. As we create together, we find it important for children to have experiences where they become familiar with materials and build on work from previous days. We also believe that when we work in groups everyone's work is enhanced through the exchange of ideas and skills.
As with many camp sessions, we have opened with a group experience around clay. Working with two 25 lb. hunks of clay, our friends have molded and changed the clay in many ways. We have worked together to create fairy houses, an elephant with cookies, a bunny house, a snake hospital, cakes, pancakes and even "Twenty Kinds of Dipping Sauce."
In our small groups, we have had experiences that yield product that will be incorporated into several projects this week. In one group, we printed with found objects on paper and fabric. Then we painted the spaces on the fabric to create a warm, original composition.
In another group, we used glue to mask areas of the fabric before painting it with fabric paint. We are excited to see the results after washing the glue off.
We also have been learning about Matisse's cut out collages, doing observational drawings and preparing painted paper for a large collage project.
One of our most popular small groups has been the take-apart group. We are having great fun using tools to pop keys off of keyboards, and open up telephones, cameras, a stereo and more.
After lunch each day, the rooms are open for free exploration. We have one one set up with open-ended play materials and balls & tunnels. Each day there is a new story evolving from the play, from pirates to ninjas in submarines. Many have tinkered with the materials in the studio or used materials in our message center. Our week is off to a great start!
We wrapped up another awesome week with our middle school campers. But, we heard our session wasn't really like camp--it was so much better!
This week, we created our own design paper of repeated objects and used it to customize a desk set: a box, binder, folders and more.
Another popular project this week involved creating with aluminum cans. We cut cans with scissors, punched shapes with paper punches and added textured designs with a press. Everyone was invited to make a design on a board and some decided to make jewelry.
We also put the finishing touches on our paintings that depicted a "secret message," a meaningful place. And, we did observational drawings of our sculptures and painted them with watercolor.
We staged our work and welcomed guests to our art show on the last day!
At UpCycle, materials that are no longer useful for their original or intended purpose are considered a resource for creating. It's our goal that participants in our programs adopt this perspective on materials and continue to look at discarded materials for the abundant and unique resource that they are.
We opened our second week of middle school camp this week with Demo-vation, taking apart discarded items and creating something new from the parts we discover inside. Our campers delighted in taking apart a hair dryer, router, curling iron, trophies and other appliances that had been donated to UpCycle. We sorted the spare parts by material and brought them into the smaller studio for use.
In our small groups, we have begun project work that will span several days. The kids have been given a small aluminum tin to incorporate into a work of art. First they filled the tins with found objects and ephemera pertaining to a concept or idea. Then, they continued to decorate the tin or integrated the tin into a sculpture or scene.
In another small group, we are working on a painting inspired by an alternative perspective of a favorite place. We first selected color palettes of one light, one dark and three medium colors. We then reclaimed canvases and panels by painting them with one color.
Our gathering activity on the second day of camp was to draw objects from two perspectives, an activity to warm us up to return to our paintings. It was fun to push ourselves to draw from difficult angles and we laughed a lot at the results.
Then, in one of our small groups we looked at Google maps to find satellite images of our special places. We began painting the places using our pre-selected color palettes, starting with the dark and light areas and then adding more details.
After lunch each day we have a little time to return to the projects we have started, explore other areas of the studio or get a head start on future projects. Stay tuned!
Piecing Together Patchwork Pouches
What do we do at UpCycle when we have a surplus of fabric and a donation of extra long zippers? We think of a way to use our abundant resources to make something new. And, we find ways to elevate the materials and make them our own. That's how our patchwork pouches came to be this week.
Throughout the week, the girls experienced ways to customize plain white fabric. We used found objects to print designs on fabric. Then we painted the spaces with a cool palette of diluted fabric paints.
We also invited the girls to doodle on fabric with sharpie markers. We used our pens to make designs, symbols and images.
In another process, we used glue to mask areas of the fabric before painting it with fabric paint. When the fabric was washed, the glue came off revealing that everyone's designs were preserved.
To create the pouches, we cut large rectangles of sturdy fabric to serve as a base. We also cut the printed and doodled fabric into smaller strips and pieces. Then the girls planned their designs by selecting pieces of the colorful and doodled fabrics and placing them on them on the base pieces of fabric. Girls found doodles that spoke to them, cut them out and placed them on their designs. Many decided to keep their glue designed fabric intact.
Susan worked with each girl at the sewing machine to tack down their designs. The girls pressed the button on the pedal while Susan controlled the action at the needle.
On the last day of camp, Susan worked with everyone to install the zipper and create finished pouches. The girls took great satisfaction from being part of a project from start to finish: creating their own materials and finished products that were individual and beautiful.
The girls were also involved in several other projects this week: found object sculpture, tissue textured boards and found object prints that were embellished with floss and beads. We had a lovely week with your girls!
Building on Explorations
At UpCycle's camp, we start with experiences and explorations that build to final projects by the end of the week.
We gather around clay on a daily basis because it's an exploration that allows us to share techniques and ideas and to build our class community. This week, coils, balls and spikes have been combined in elaborate designs. One was named "The Beautiful." Other friends made cubes that were stacked into steps and eventually evolved into water slides. We have also created birds, nests, and ponds.
In our small groups, we have mixed our own palette of paints. We added texture to boards with tissue paper and used our custom paints to color the boards.
We also explored the marks that found objects can make by printing with them. Once we knew the marks the objects would make, we used them to make personal compositions on card stock as well as group designs on pieces of fabric.
In another small group, we are filling aluminum tins with items inspired by an idea, quote or joke.
We are also exploring other ways to change fabric, including doodling designs and using glue to mask designs before adding color to the fabric.
After lunch, our studio is open for exploration. We have been working at the message center and at the easels as well as returning to previous project work.
Stay tuned to see what we do with the custom fabric; colorful, textured boards and tins!