Over the past two weeks I’ve been working with students from four different schools and sharing the story of my newest book Shimmerling. We did a little bit of meditation, danced to Pharrell William’s song ‘Happy’, sang some pretty rocking Shimmerling songs, and made beautiful engraved leaves that the students took home with them. I love doing presentations and workshops in the gallery surrounded by all the artwork from the exhibition. Thanks to Arts@Large for making it happen 🙂
After writing my second book, Squircle, I thought a lot about how I could create the artwork to elaborate on the idea of interconnectedness, which is a main message in the book, so I decided to work with schools around Milwaukee and have the students help me create the artwork. I thought the best medium to explore the idea of interconnectedness would be applique because through stitching, two pieces of fabric are connected. During these artist residencies I taught students how to hand stitch and gave them the opportunity to practice the skill while they created their own applique banner. This banner was theirs to take home. After the students grew confident with the technique by practicing on their own banner, they created a smaller design which they embroidered. These smaller pieces are components in the large 5 foot by 8 foot murals. The murals will be photographed and used as page spreads in the book. The schools will keep the physical murals. Each school worked on a page spread from the book which represents the five main anthropomorphic characters in the story.
Fairview school created the artwork for the Squirrel character page
Waukesha Community Art Project After School Program created the artwork for the Deer character page
Cooper School created the artwork for the Fish character page
95th Street School created the artwork for the Caterpillar character page
St. John’s the Evangelist created the artwork for the Duck character page
Students created Ragadoodles (small dolls) out of masking tape and a other materials and created a small book that accompanies their Ragadoodle. These books used inventive words and figurative language to tell a short story about the Ragadoodle. Together they become great little souvenirs that mimic the life-size characters & my book, Snickeyfritz.
School: St John the Evangelist 1st-4th grade students
Educating Artist: Andrea Skyberg
Students created Mola designs which were modeled after the Molas created by the Kuna Woman from Panama. Each student represented a known animal in their cut-paper Molas. They then created a silouetted imaginary animal, which was the main focus in the middle canvas. By seeing the features within the known animals and using what was already familiar to them, students were able to push the limits of their imagination to created new, dynamic animals that have never existed before.
School: St John the Evangelist 5th -8th grade students
Educating Artist: Andrea Skyberg
Some families are created by blood, while others are created by choice or circumstance, in this project students created an family album transforming an old board book using the mediums of ink, pencil and collage. These books begin to ask the questions, “what exactly makes a family and how does that family influence who I am?” By exploring their identity in relation to each individual member of their family, the students began to understand the deeper connection they had to their family members while at the same time realizing the unique qualities that are truly and innately their own.
The Leaders of Tomorrow (1st – 8th grade students) worked with me to create Pipsqueak characters out of masking tape and duct tape. After they grew more confident with the materials, we brainstormed together to design a giant character and then sculpted and painted it. This residency was done in conjunction with my children’s book, Snickeyfritz.