"Are there any parents who would be interested in working on the class auction project this year?"
I am usually the first one to raise my hand when a teacher asks for help with an art project. I love working with the students on group projects. Last year we made two beautiful quilts (which you can read about here and here) which raised over $1,000 for the school. It was a great project, but it was also a huge time and a bit of a financial investment. This year I was determined to figure out something that was cost-free and didn't take time away from the students -- or my -- work. This project was practically free to make: the students used class supplies (colored pencils and white card stock) and I bought the birch frames from Muse Art+ Design, a local art store.
The students were studying ancient cultures and I worked with their dynamic core teacher, Christie King to come up with a project that was in line with what they were learning about. Her students had just finished a mandala project and their pieces were stunning. I recalled an exercise I had done in my foundation year at Otis Parsons where we made a small 1" window to find an interesting design element on a piece of classic architecture. We then redrew it to create a new design (and in the original lesson there was a mess of plaster ice cubes and pigment that I won't go into now...)
We asked the students look at their mandalas through a 1 1/2" square "window" and draw the area that inspired them four times. Additionally, Christie asked the students to each create a mini mandala using the same 1 1/2" square and choosing two colors that were next to each other on the color wheel. The students drew during class time and the results were stunning.
I worked with Portland artist and professor Sarah Wolf Newlands to finish the pieces. She patiently taught me how to finish the smaller pieces with a wax coating and after I understood how difficult that was we decided the best way to finish the large piece was with an acrylic matte medium.
I shared this quote with the students when I presented the project to them:
'The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.'
The pieces are up for auction this Friday and will raise money for da Vinci Arts Middle School. I have no doubt they will be well received. Great work everyone!