hyperbolic crochet coral reef project

Our after school Talents class participated in an international project that combines math, craft, and environmentalism!

This was the first time using crochet for most of the students (grades 2-6) and they ended up doing an amazing job! I am super proud of them for a beautiful display of craftivism.

The Institute For Figuring first used the hyperbolic crochet technique to curate an exhibit, The Crochet Coral Reef Project, to bring attention to our coral reefs under environmental stress. Since then the small project has grown to an international collaborative project. There is currently an exhibit at the Smithsonian and we got special permission from the IFF to have our own display at New City School!

Hyperbolic crochet is made using a simple algorithm of increasing stitches to create the shapes you see here. These forms mimic what you might find in nature: lettuce, sea slugs, anemones, or coral.


first grade pumpkin blanket

These lovely little pumpkins and colorful quilts are inspired by the The Pumpkin Blanket by Deborah Turney Zagwyn. This is a really beautiful story about a brave young girl, Clee, who gives up her quilt bit by bit to help protect the pumpkins in her garden from the frost.

I was so impressed by the heartfelt reaction of the first graders as I read this story. They were really moved by Clee’s choice and pointed out how kind she was. We talked about the special quilts, blankets, and stuffed animals we all have and shared our stories.

The first grade artists looked at real miniature pumpkins to model their own clay pumpkins from. They observed wabi sabi elements of their pumpkins and tried to include the imperfect and natural details that make the pumpkins so interesting to look at. After the clay was fired, they carefully collaged tissue paper in layers to make a vibrant colorful pumpkin!

Our pumpkins needed a blanket next. They used fabric squares backed with a special lining that sticks to the base fabric once ironed. The first graders used pattern, color, and storytelling to create original quilt designs. Each one is so creative and a beautiful reminder of the pumpkin blanket story of giving.


Please Vote!

I was so excited to discover that the newcityarts blog has been nominated for the 2010 edublog awards in the best new blog category! Thank you to Craig Roland of The Art Teacher's Guide To The Internet for the nomination and show of support:)

Please vote for newcityarts here and check out some of the other great educator blogs and internet resources. I love sharing what we do here at New City School with the world and appreciate the inspiration that comes from discovering what others are creating too!


kindergarten autumn leaves

More autumn leaves fluttering in the breeze! We are continuing our study of nature and color theory in kindergarten.

The kindergarten artists made leaf rubbings using multiple layers of warm crayon colors. These leaves were cut out and thoughtfully arranged on a painted abstract background of warm or cool colors.

I love how this leaf was meant to look like it's getting ready to blow right off of the paper!

We thought of the art of Alma Thomas but looked to other stories for inspiration as well. We read a beautiful fall/winter story, The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger.

Our very own leaf man! We read Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert for inspiration too.

Find more kindergarten art here!


kindergarten autumn leaves fluttering in the breeze

Alma Thomas was an amazing artist! I really admire her work and enjoy sharing her as a mentor artist. She was the first African American woman at her university to earn a degree in fine arts in 1924 and continued painting until she died in 1978. Alma excelled in math and science and was inspired by the stars and the natural world around us.

Alma gave her art work some really exciting titles! My favorite is Red Azaleas Singing and Dancing Rock and Roll Music. The kindergarteners enjoyed a game (a little exercise in art criticism) to match the following titles to the correct paintings:

Grassy Melodic Chant
Delightful Song by Red Dahlia
Autumn Leaves Fluttering in the Breeze
Starry Night With Astronaut

(The above images are from the Smithsonian Art Museum Alma Thomas biography.)

Thomas frequently talked about “watching the leaves and flowers tossing in the wind as though they were singing and dancing.” Autumn Leaves Fluttering in the Breeze is the title that inspired our kindergarten artists to make their own abstract art using warm and cool colors, pattern, and movement. And our November weather is the perfect time to share these!


first grade autumn leaves

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
-Albert Camus

The first grade artists have been using beautiful fall leaves from our school garden to make art! Each leaf was inked with white paint using a brayer and then printed on black paper. Students made multiple prints on a page to create an interesting composition making sure to include a ghost print (a second print made without inking the same leaf again). Once the paint dried, bright colors were layered with colored pencil to create a vivid autumnal display.