Arts and Crafts for Educators



     For for the last 10+ years I have enjoyed teaching a class at Lorain County Community College entitled Arts and Crafts for Educators.  It is a class taken by individuals studying to be teachers and by teachers needing  college credits to re-certify.  The overall thrust of the class is to learn different projects that enhance various academic areas in the regular classroom.  Then to write lesson plans that utilize these projects and  the Ohio Department of Education benchmarks and objectives.  
     The class is a lot of fun to teach and it forces me to keep my skills up in different craft activities that I might let slide if it wasn't for this class. As an example, recently I  taught basic  lesson on weaving.  I showed the students how to make a loom out of cardboard, set up the warp and the weft,  make a cardboard shuttle, and weave a small sample piece of cloth.  We also worked on some macrame knots (square knot and half hitches) for bracelets, chokers, and belts.  None of these things would I have done without being pleasantly forced into it. Generally I like to bang, cut, and use flames with metal. 
     If you're interested in exactly what is covered and done in class I've posted a syllabus on the left hand side of the blog below the "about me" section called "links to images and other information".  The photos below are a sample of some of the things done in class.  It really needs to be a whole blog unto itself.  But not today.




This is pretty much what class looks like.  Nice tables, 
tall stools, a couple of sinks and decent lighting.

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Folding and cutting a snowflake.  You probably can't see it real well but the snowflakes I teach students how to make have six sides.  You fold a rectangle in half the long ways then fold it into a triangle of approximately 60 degrees. 

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A student is working on a repeated overlap design.  Rectangles and a limited color palette  look to be shaping up nicely.
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The completed work!

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Mandalas are nice to teach.  You can easily relate them to cultural themes or math.

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Here a student has rolled out a piece of clay and is starting a tile.  I like to make tiles with younger and older students because I can fire a bunch easily, they don't break very often, and I can use the clay tile to teach and re enforce other educational objectives.  Oftentimes I'll do tiles right after teaching designs and mandalas. 

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Here the student has impressed a design into the side and is probably getting ready to do a mandala on the inside section. 

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Paper mache usually looks this way. A small group of people making faces and gathered 
around a pot of slimy goo.

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A still wet paper mache bowl.

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Painting a paper mache bowl.

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Hmmm...what is this for?

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It's paper marbling.  First you put some paint on top of the water. Then you swirl it around.  I usually use leftover oil based paint but a student just informed me you could use powdered tempera paint mixed with vegetable oil.  Seems like a good idea.

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After the paint is swirled around, you carefully place the paper on top of the paint 
which is floating on top of the water.

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Then carefully pull/lift the paper off the surface of the water.  It's nice to have a friend 
for an extra set of hands.

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Another student laying the paper on the water.

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...And lifted off to reveal a most beauteous marbled piece of paper.

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The marbled paper was used to make books with a sewn in binding.

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A book with a marbled paper exterior.  They are very pretty up close. 

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I can see printing ink, a brayer, and some glass plates. It looks like a  table of students working on some printmaking activities.

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A sponge printing of some ocean themed items.

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It looks like a nice coiled pot is taking shape.

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Some bisque fired items.  A penguin, and owl, and a ladybug, I believe.  I always encourage older and younger students to make somewhat stubby and/or objects with minimal protrusions.  Less likely to break.  Penguins are an easy choice.  I often read Mr. Popper's Penguins to my younger students, just to get the creative juices flowing.

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 Some students and myself pouring hot molten pewter.  Both
of the students made had some clay hearts and we made plaster
molds of them.  After that, we warmed the molds,
then melted and poured some pewter.  If you'd like more details
about casting metal look at making a pewter tiki .

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We do a couple-o-classes about weaving and macrame.
Her square knots look good, nice and flat.

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A table of weavers.

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Here a student is weaving on a cardboard loom with a cardboard
shuttle.  She looks to be doing a nice, very even job.


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This is where candle making starts.  You put new wax or used candles into
a hot plate of you choice, give it some time to melt and then dip the wax from there.

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To make dip candles, you dip the wick into the melted wax, pull it out, let it cool for
for a few seconds, then dip it in again. Repeat until it's what you want.

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Looks good!

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You can also make candles by making a mold out of clay

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Here's the clay molds filled with wax.

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Click her to see syllabus for the class discussed above.

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