Monday, August 8, 2011


As I researched different techniques for the eco-art exhibit at Cleveland's City Hall, I was reminded of repoussé, a French term meaning to "push back." This technique involves pressing and hammering a piece of metal from the back, using various sizes of punches and tools, to form a design in relief. Here is a visual:

When brainstorming a material to use for this technique, keeping in mind the theme for the art show was eco-art, my mentor and I came up with pop cans. The students brought in pop cans and we cut the tops and bottoms off and cut a line down the can so that the aluminum could be flattened. The students then proceeded to practice the technique of repoussé.

This was a collaborative piece and the students divided up the piece up into smaller sections and created different designs per section. When the repoussé was complete, they covered each individual piece with black ink to provide more contrast and to make the images pop. They then attached each section by drilling holes in each corner and tying them together with red wire. Here is the piece: 

The students stood by their piece at the art show so proudly. They were asked if the piece was for sale several times. In fact, someone offered to pay them $300.00 for this piece. They were thrilled! 

Radial Symmetry/Mandalas

Another art form I explored with my students at John Hay School of Architecture and Design was radial symmetry. Radial symmetry is: "a symmetrical arrangement of constituents, especially of radiating parts, about a central point."  Some examples I showed my students were wheels, sea stars and forms in architecture. Here is a visual:

The other example of radial symmetry I showed my students was mandalas. Mandalas are "any of various ritualistic geometric designs used in Hinduism and Buddhism as an aid to meditation" Here is an example I showed my students, thanks to my mentor's student archives:

After learning about radial symmetry and mandalas, some of my students created their own mandalas. Going in line with the theme for the art show at Cleveland's City Hall, these pieces were made from all recycled and found objects. Here they are:

FYI: The middle part of this piece kept sliding down. Darn that gravity!
Technically, it should be in the center of the piece. In the future, I will
make sure something like this is put together more securely.
*Definitions taken from 

Eco - Fashion

Upon request, several of my students worked on dresses made from recycled materials as they were interested in fashion design. I quickly agreed to say, "Yes!" as the intrinsic interest and motivation was already present. My mentor had two dress forms in her storage closet - which was very convenient. The students had a really great time creating these dresses. Both of them were on display for the student art show at Cleveland's City Hall.

Here they are:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sculptor, David Smith

While at John Hay School of Architecture and Design, I taught a unit exploring the elements and principles of design in sculpture. I introduced my students to the sculptor, David Smith (March 9, 1906 - May 23, 1965), who was an American Abstract Expressionist artist best known for creating large steel abstract geometric sculptures. Here is an example of one of his works:

David Smith Cubi XIX, 1964 
Stainless Steel
Tate: Purchased 1966 
© Estate of David Smith/ VAGA, New York, DACS 2006

Knowing it would be difficult for my students to create a scuplture using steel of such a large scale, my mentor came up with the idea of starting with small scale sculptures using toothpicks and colored paper. This idea than translated into creating larger sculptures utilizing long, wooden 1" x 1" pieces of wood found in my mentor's basement. This piece also incorporated frozen orange juice lids to add an element of movement.
Here is the final product that was displayed at the City Hall art show:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Louise Nevelson

One of the artists I introduced to the high school students at John Hay School of Architecture and Design was Louise Nevelson. She was an American artist (born in Russia) who lived from 1899 -1988. She created art from cast-off wood parts and transformed them into intricate forms grouped within box-like frames and then painted them with a monochromatic spray paint. She was one of the first artists who created recycled art! Here is an example of her work:

Sky Cathedral, 1958 Wood, painted black,
115" x 135" x 20"

Five of the students prepared a Louise Nevelson-inspired piece made from recycled and
found objects. They chose to paint their piece red. 
Here is the piece they created:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Art Show at Cleveland's City Hall

I had the great pleasure of organizing two art shows during my student teaching...
one at the high school level and one at the elementary level.
Both of these art shows took place at Cleveland's City Hall.
The high school art show featured student work made from recycled materials.
This show was complete with an official opening featuring two professional artists
and a visit from Mayor Frank Jackson. My students loved meeting the Mayor and
 talking to him about their artwork.

Above is a picture of my husband, son and me with Mayor Frank Jackson.

I will post photos of the students' artwork soon!