Category Archives: Art

Children’s Day!

Children’s Day in Japan is May 5th. While we celebrated it on the actual date, we have been slow to post our project!

It is a day of celebration in honor of….you guessed it – CHILDREN!  In Japan, cloth carp with streamers, called Koinibori, are flown on poles outside. It is supposed to bring good luck and fortune to the children inside the home. Koi Carp represent strength, and determination and are used as a symbol for the hope that children will also become strong and brave!!

 

We made our own Koinobori. Super fun and easy to make!

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Move It!

Yesterday, we went to a STEAM exhibit at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. It showcases some of the work by Sarah and Jon Vanderbeek of Sweet Spot Studio.  In the room there were many dinosaur toys, cars and airplanes, and many work-in-progress toys. The intent of the exhibit was to show the development process and how Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) work together to bring products to life. In the middle of the room, stood a giant word, STEAM and on it was a obstical course for a large orange ball, which once you turned a wheel the ball traveled down a ramp, through a loopy loop, up another ramp, around a large M, down through a large tube and using air under high pressure, rolling across a trigger which made a small foam rocket shoot to the ceiling! Finally, the ball rolled back where it originally started. We did this several times yipping and jumping up and down every single time! It was SO fun!!

Although fun, we only saw gender specific toys, so we would’ve appreciated just a touch of diversity! As you might know from our blog posts, we love science and building and art and math, so this was the perfect exhibition for us!

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Cinco De Mayo…

As most people know, yesterday was Cinco de Mayo {or the fifth of May in English}. It also happens to be our Aunt Nancy’s Birthday! According to the internet many think Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican independence day but actually it’s a celebration of winning the war against the French, which started when Mexico couldn’t pay the debt they owed.

So it ended up that the war lasted 3 hours, Mexico didn’t have very good quality weapons… the French did…Mexico had only a small fraction of the soldiers France did, but it turns out Mexico won.

For us, it seemed odd that it was considered a ‘win’ when they were unable to pay their debt in the first place, which prompted the attack from France. Is that really winning?

Regardless, of the beginning and the end of the story, we learned how to make the papel picados known to decorate many fiestas around Mexico. Easy and fun to make!

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Yayoi Kusama

Just yesterday we learned about an artist named Yayoi Kusama. She is a Japanese artist and she also writes. Her artwork uses endless dots, bright contrasting colors, super cool designs and a boatload {maybe even more} of serious patience and focus! Super impressive!! She is known for her installations as well as her Mirrored Rooms. Check out the short videos below to see 2 of them.

Inspired by her artwork, we decided to do some focused painting, which is surprisingly hard to do when you are in a group! After doing several layers of paint, we added our own little twist which strangely had nothing to do with Yayoi’s art, we added melted wax and dimensional Mod Podge for added texture! They turned out awesome!

We found her work to be as inspiring as her story. Even with mental illness, she worked relentlessly to make her mark on the world.

These were the paintings we created….

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Pysanky Eggs!

We tried our hands at making Ukrainian Pysanky Eggs which my Mom got a kit for. You can order your own here if you’re inspired to try it after reading this post!

The things we needed for this project were blown eggs of any sort, wax, kiskas {the tool you use to make the lines}, some dyes which come in the kit, a candle, loads of time and patience.

The first thing that happened was my Mom emptied out the eggs by making a small hole in the top and bottom and blowing then we left them in the oven on a super low temp to dry for 15 minutes. Then, we made template lines with pa encil before we began drawing with the wax and whatever layers we put on first would come out white because the eggshell is {most likely} white. We made sure that we plugged the blow holes with wax so the dye didn’t fill up the egg. We had to remember to work backwards with color in mind, starting with the lightest color (yellow) and moving on to subsequently darker colors. There is a video at the end of this post so you can see how it’s done.

We loved the smell of the beeswax. We loved drawing the lines. We loved the colors of the eggs. I think it is fair to say that we LOVED this project! We only dipped 3 colors for each egg, but there were many more to choose from. I am sure that we will make more of these little beauties since we were so happy with how ‘egg’celent they turned out!

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Alexander Girard!

Yesterday we were given a tour of the exhibit: TEXTILE PLAY: The Magnificent Eye of Alexander Girard, currently up in the gallery space at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts in Michigan. A special thank you to Jackie Simpkins (the gallery curator at the SCA) for being our tour guide and sharing so many interesting details about his life and work! These were some of the most interesting things we observed:

Alexander Girard uses lots and lots of bright colors which were very unusual  for his time. During his career, he worked at Herman Miller adding color into furniture. All of his work is completely graphic, he uses very simple names for his artwork like: international heart or knots, and here is the most outstanding one…. HE USES PINK! Amazing.

We were very inspired by Girard’s dolls he created, so this morning, his work inspired our own art project to create 2D dolls with his influence. Towards the bottom of this post you can see how they turned out –  I think they look pretty good, for people who have never done this type of art. We started with cardboard cut into the shapes of some of his dolls, then we began to paint. Just as a little tip, for the faces, we recommend a sharpie marker for the eyes and all those little black details.

So try it! It’s really fun, that’s for sure. Check out his other work and you might just get inspired! He is amazing in so many ways from his art to his craftsmanship, let’s just say he has definitely made furniture more approachable because of their patterning and colors and his textiles make people smile!

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The Art of Deconstructing Plant Life.

Just yesterday,  we were inspired by a Swiss guy named Ursus Wehrli. He likes to tidy up art, meaning, he has been taking already made art and neatly cleaning it up – otherwise known as deconstructing. {there’s a better example of his work shown below in the form of a video!} We decided, THAT’S SO COOL!!!!!! So we tried our hand at deconstructing. The things you need for this super relaxing project is: something to take apart, tweezers {only if you are doing something super duper tiny like we did} also, a clear surface, a bit of patience and a steady hand. Since it’s spring, we decided to work on plants or flowers… flowers are so exciting!!!. We chose buttercups,{or the yellow flowers if you don’t know what that is} a flat evergreen branch, and white snowdrop flowers. The flowers are brave specimens – daring to bloom in this sporadicly warm, then freezing Michigan February! It’s amazing how many little bits there are in an ANYTHING!

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