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FLY, art, weaving

allida


Daylily's Days

images and thoughts


Math Arts with Kids
FLY, art, weaving
allida

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Teaching problem solving skills is an interesting exercise and watching young people address the design problems I formulate for them is inspiring.


The last few weeks we have been doing math and art in the mobile program at FLY where I work.  At the different schools the artists in the class come up with different strategies to create images.  Some make a pattern.  Some look for shapes and anthropomorphic forms.  Others put shapes together or trace letters.  Still others choose to color the patterns in the coloring sheets we provide.


Then within those parameters, the children interact and learn from each other with self-narration.  One will say to herself that a french curve she traced looks like a horse, another will draw a horse on his paper.  One will make a saxophone and then the friend sitting next to her will make a saxophonist.


They will discover the shiny metal markers and explore the way lines from the markers leave a trace as they color.  The grain of the marker lines remains, even when the form is fully colored.  When they move it back and forth kids can see the refracted light.  They muse to one another about what they notice and advise each other how to color those lines more mindfully.


Our culmination was an origami project.  This was a little bit different for us, because our class structure is fluid.  Kids are allowed to work at their own pace most of the time rather than using a direct-teaching technique orientation.


To accommodate this work, I framed the project differently than I would if I were going to teach it in a school.  The students started by decorating a large sheet of paper using the geometric techniques we learned the week before.  Then we split the paper in to a square and quartered it as they decided they were done coloring.


Some were impatient to begin folding and rushed through the drawing stage, while others colored for most or all of the class.  This allowed me to help them in relatively small groups.  It was not quite enough time, but being able to work with individuals one on one while the class worked independently on a variety of stages.


The next day went a little more smoothly, because it was a group who knows the routine of our classroom better.  Some of them didn’t fold the origami, but most of them at least tried it.





Contrapposto Cantilevers
FLY, art, weaving
allida

Much like we like to take pictures and make sculptures of each other, the Egyptians tried to portray the human figure in sculpture and paint.  See this example below, which is in the Metropolitan Museum of New York, AKA the Met.  She is tall and slim, with great posture and huge eyes.


Estate Figure, Wood and Gesso. 1981- 1975 BCE At the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


QUESTION: What words would you use to tell me about this picture?

FOLLOW-UPS TO GET THE IDEA OUT: How does the picture feel?  What do you notice about the figure?

WORDS WE EXPECT: Stiff, uptight, bored, regal, upset, tense, a little weird


The Ancient Egyptians were trying to figure out a bunch of stuff all at once: how to carve stone, and other technical ideas; how to observe the world around them; and how to make the images they created fit into a symbolic belief system. The textures on the dress are very stylized as is her pose.


The Ancient Egyptians made art because they had a very complex religious system and these images served a variety of purposes in that system.  That is why the figure is stylized.  But there is more going on here.  This figure is made of wood and is around 4,000 years old.  It survived because it was buried with it’s master and preserved in a hot dry environment underground.  A pyramid or other burial location.  She represents a member of the estate of the person who was buried.


This next figure was Greek and it is (only) 2200 years old.  Let’s look at some similarities and differences between the two.  We will look at the stylistic as well as the


Victoire de Samothrace - vue de trois-quart gauche, gros plan de la statue (2)

Nike of Samothrace, Greek 200-190 BCE, Louvre Museum, Paris France

Ok, let’s talk about this next figure, The Nike of Samothrace.


QUESTION: What words would you use to describe it, just like we did for the first image?

(SAME Follow-up if needed)

WORDS WE EXPECT: cool, relaxed, natural… etc.

PUT PRINT OUTS OF BOTH IMAGES.


OK, so let’s look at how these images are the same and different.

(SAME: Material, subject is a woman, …?)

(DIFFERENT: Aesthetic stuff, Time period if they know, color painted, incidentally the Greek statues were probably painted but being kept above ground instead of in hermetically sealed pyramids, the paint has long since peeled. Some have traces though.)


DRAW IN THE HIP and SHOULDER lines… THEN THE S CURVE for the body.


The fluidity of the style and the reason the Classical statue looks more “cool” is because of the way the artists figured out how to show the shifting of weight that we do naturally. It creates movement because some of the body is relaxed and some of it is tensed to support the weight.


But have you ever thought about how hard it is to make a statue stand up?


Everybody stand up in a standing circle.

Shift your weight from right foot to left.

Move your left foot and feel which parts of your body shift.

How far can you lean over and what parts of your body move to keep your balance when you do that?

Which muscles are relaxed while you balance and which ones are tense (the ones you are using)?

Can you imagine doing this out of stone?


One thing to remember, if any of you are dancers, this will make sense: For your center of gravity to hold you up, your weight bearing ankle is almost always directly under your neck. Also generally speaking, the part of your body that is bearing the load of your motion is the part that is stiff.


So the Ancient Egyptians and Classical Greeks came up with a couple different solutions. In part because of the different purposes for these statues. First, aesthetically, both design solutions were related to the religious and spiritual needs of their society.  Second as you have seen by paying attention to your body, balance is


The Egyptians had a very compartmentalized religion in which the Pharaoh was the only go-between and protector of the people on their journey through life and death. So the Egyptians wanted a very stylized image, which is apparent in the way it’s painted and carved, and its very graphic nature. The Greeks, well, you only have to read a few ancient tales to know that the Ancient Greeks had a much more human relationship to their gods. So the Nike of Samothrace is very dynamic. The folds of cloth give extra movement to her body, she is very real and very lifelike. The Egyptian dress was also pleated, but the pleats are contained and very straight, looking almost like scales in this image.


The second reason that the two ancient cultures had different solutions was technical. The Ancient Egyptians had not quite figured out how to balance a statue the way people balance, and a few centuries later, working off the knowledge from Egypt and other neighboring cultures, the Greeks had progressed in their technical ability.


Much like you guys know how to do stuff to computers that didn’t even exist when I was your age. Without the people who built the computers who are my age and older, you would not be able to do those things, but we may not be able to figure out the way to do it as quickly as you!


Lastly, we have some statues of dancers that are at the University of Michigan Museum of Art and at the DIA that you can go and look at (I have not verified that they are on display).


Edgar Degas, Spanish Dancer, French, 1900 Bronze. DIA Collection (Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit MI)


Dance Movement C, August Rodin, modeled 1911, cast 1956
Dance Movement B August Rodin modeled 1911 cast 1956
Dance Movement E August Rodin modeled 1911 cast 1956
Dance Movement A August Rodin modeled 1911 cast 1956 Bronze

This work by Edgar Degas is cast bronze, which is very different than stone, and has different material properties. To make casts in bronze, one usually first makes an image out of wax and other softer easier to mold materials, then follows a bunch of different steps to get it into bronze.


Using what we have experienced with our senses is the artist’s way of figuring out how to make things balance. Knowing weights and textures and feeling the structural strength with our hands, but in the engineering design process there are other ways to measure that.


TRANSITION INTO CANTILEVER PART…





Detroit Art City!
FLY, art, weaving
allida
Nick Cave Costume Heard Herd

Nick Cave Costume, with happy young dancer!


Saturday was an outdoor performance extravaganza of Nick Cave’s costumes from his residency at Cranbrook.


Starting first with the lovely afternoon, and the sense of community that manifested in crowds of people on the hill ready to watch the dancers in anthropomorphic costumes dance and move to the beat of a small marching band.


I went with a friend who lives in Detroit, and the first thing that happened was that we decided to park far away and walk rather than pay $10 to go in the structure. It is in a very pretty part of the city, so we got to walk through a beautiful (if poorly maintained) park, and then down the hill to the park, which has another hill in it.


Grazing horses in front of the Renaissance Center

As they played L’après Midi d’un Faun, Horses grazed



Then, once we found a spot, we ran into the first person that we know, who had brought her mother, in from out of town. They shared our sheet and watched the show, chatting about the world, the community etc.


But the young woman wanted ice cream, so I went down the hill to get ice cream with her. And who should follow us back up the hill, but 2 of my students from FLY! I vaguely knew that one of them might be there since I had been talking to her mother earlier in the day. Even so, it was very random to be chased up the hill by 2 kids under 12.


Then the show, and afterwards, another FLY teacher was there with her kids, who were in our camps this summer too.


It is amazing how small the big scary world is, when it comes down to it!


Then someone said there were installations in the Dequindre Cut, so we walked down there and saw several installations: swings on an overpass, crazy steel-wire lightning erupting out of a hill, some weird constructions made out of gator board, and lots of beautiful murals/graffiti.



Having walked down the Dequindre Cut required a decision: to walk back to where we parked a few blocks from Milliken State Park, or to walk towards downtown and back up the river. I always love a good walk.


So off we went, down Gratiot, past a church with an Oktoberfest and a live pretty good live (high school) jazz band. Past the Fail Jail. Past several pieces of public art including some I’d never noticed before. Then into Campus Martius, and walking down Woodward to Hart Plaza we found some of those wacky merry-go-round chairs and some neat gazing balls.


The Ren Cen ever present with us on our journey, and Canada within sight for the last angle of the triangle.


In the photo of me, although the new landscaping in the park is more interesting than the statue, it is of one of the Stroh’s who loved bird-watching. We did see and hear some birds (and freighters and steamboats, oh my!).


Detroit Art City!!!





Cathedrals and Time
FLY, art, weaving
allida



Buttresses of the Cathedral of M-14. Nice long walk in Bandemer towards Argo


A photo posted by Allida (@hemoracallis) on




Over the years I have always loved bridges. They have great acoustics. They are beautiful in their way, even the ones that are very boring infrastructure have their moments of numinous beauty. Over the last few years, I’ve been taking pictures of the bridges that cross over the parks in Ann Arbor. Watching for that difference of the light, much as Monet painted quotidian haystacks over and over. In a way, it is even more impressionist than the Impressionists, this photographic documentation. But it misses something of the feeling that I get from the bridges. From the human-made space as it interacts with the natural world. The most beautiful of the bridges have not only the organ music of the freeway traffic, but the rose windows of the sunlight reflected up onto their latticework from the reflected light on the water.





Cathedral of M-14 A video posted by Allida (@hemoracallis) on



But even that sound misses the numinous nature of my meditation under bridges. There is a moment when the bridge turns from being dark to being light that makes it mysterious and beautiful. The transformation from shaded cavern to glowing life and light is a numinous experience, and so I’ve started to take time-lapse videos to document this metamorphosis.





 


Time lapse with less frames. Watch the bridge light up


 


A video posted by Allida (@hemoracallis) on





We Build grand structures these days, but they are not always built for their beauty as the cathedrals and basilicas of old. They are build for practical purposes, their architects and builders are nearly invisible to us, but this does not mean that they cannot be beautiful.





Cathedrals and Time
FLY, art, weaving
allida



Buttresses of the Cathedral of M-14. Nice long walk in Bandemer towards Argo


A photo posted by Allida (@hemoracallis) on




Over the years I have always loved bridges. They have great acoustics. They are beautiful in their way, even the ones that are very boring infrastructure have their moments of numinous beauty. Over the last few years, I’ve been taking pictures of the bridges that cross over the parks in Ann Arbor. Watching for that difference of the light, much as Monet painted quotidian haystacks over and over. In a way, it is even more impressionist than the Impressionists, this photographic documentation. But it misses something of the feeling that I get from the bridges. From the human-made space as it interacts with the natural world. The most beautiful of the bridges have not only the organ music of the freeway traffic, but the rose windows of the sunlight reflected up onto their latticework from the reflected light on the water.





Cathedral of M-14 A video posted by Allida (@hemoracallis) on



But even that sound misses the numinous nature of my meditation under bridges. There is a moment when the bridge turns from being dark to being light that makes it mysterious and beautiful. The transformation from shaded cavern to glowing life and light is a numinous experience, and so I’ve started to take time-lapse videos to document this metamorphosis.





 


Time lapse with less frames. Watch the bridge light up


 


A video posted by Allida (@hemoracallis) on





We Build grand structures these days, but they are not always built for their beauty as the cathedrals and basilicas of old. They are build for practical purposes, their architects and builders are nearly invisible to us, but this does not mean that they cannot be beautiful.





Mosaic Madness
FLY, art, weaving
allida

The July First Fridays Ypsi event at FLY, where I work, was quite fun! Our project this month was a pop-cap mosaic mural that we will display at the Creativity Lab (40 N. Huron, Ypsilanti, 48197), and take with us to some special events. A good time was had by all our visiting artists, young, younger, and grown-up.




We had some families come in, and as the evening waned, a stream of couples and singles who stopped to chat. It is great to get to know people in our community. They let us know what’s going on, and we can share with them so we all become involved with one another. Go Ypsi!


Just about all the materials were from generous donors. Since bottle-caps are usually not recyclable, people saved them up and gave them to us. The canvases they’re on were also a generous gift from someone.


We are most impressed with the detail orientation and hard work by our supporters, particularly the young people who did the bulk of the work. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, and be sure not to miss the August 1st First Friday, which will include the Washington Street Ypsi Art Fair.


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FLY Pop-cap Mosaic Mural (firstfridaysypsi)
FLY, art, weaving
allida

The July First Fridays Ypsi event was quite fun! Our project this month was a pop-cap mosaic mural that we will display at the Creativity Lab (40 N. Huron, Ypsilanti, 48197), and take with us to some special events. A good time was had by all our visiting artists, young, younger, and grown-up.




We had some families come in, and as the evening waned, a stream of couples and singles who stopped to chat. It is great to get to know people in our community. They let us know what’s going on, and we can share with them so we all become involved with one another. Go Ypsi!


Just about all the materials were from generous donors. Since bottle-caps are usually not recyclable, people saved them up and gave them to us. The canvases they’re on were also a generous gift from someone.


We are most impressed with the detail orientation and hard work by our supporters, particularly the young people who did the bulk of the work. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, and be sure not to miss the August 1st First Friday, which will include the Washington Street Ypsi Art Fair.


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Creative Universe Summer Series
FLY, art, weaving
allida

Today was the first day of our Saturday morning series. Christine did Triangles with Art Play (a class designed for pre-school) from 9:00am to 10:00, and then I came in to do M. C. Escher, patterns and tesselations.


We re-named Mad Science to Creative Universe since we look at the universality of Art to help us understand a variety of things. This time the theme for the series is Pattern, and in the fall we plan on doing Animals.


Anyway, today we did some sketches on paper with letters to talk about how things are reflected (like a mirror), rotated (or turned around), or translated (moved down a line) to create patterns. Then I explained how we could use what we talked about to create a pattern on graph paper. After it was clear everyone understood the general idea, we moved on to cutting out stamps from Scrap Box rubber pads.

Making the stamp
Upside-down and Right-side-up
Pounding out the pattern
Finding the design
Scumbling pattern


We took our stamps and made patterns with them by translation, and rotation. To do reflection you need to cut a separate stamp that faces the opposite way. A p will rotate to become a d, but no matter how you turn it, it doesn’t become a b or a q which would be the reflection.


After some focused stamping and repeating, I opened it up and had them do some really fast stamping with geometric right before clean-up. One student took her line and rotated the stamp while applying pressure, creating a pattern of scumbled monotypes that look like LP records. Scumbling is dragging paint across a surface, usually with a large palette knife or ruler, and a monotype is a kind of print made from a block that is re-inked in an irregular way.





Mad Science: Calder; Mobiles and Paper
FLY, art, weaving
allida

What do you think of kinetic art?  Does it sound complicated and hard?  It’s not, it is just a fancy way of saying “Art that moves.”  2014-06-07 17.44.38


This last week at Mad Science Saturday we explored motion and balance looking at the kinetic art of Alexander Calder.

To make this project, our young renaissance artists danced to some music and drew pictures of each other.They were not allowed to look at their pictures while they drew.


We cut and scored their paper sketches along curves. The resulting forms do unexpected things. They curve around themselves and stick out at weird angles. They really look like dancers in motion!


dancer mobile


Once we had our forms, we began the mobile portion of the exercise. Dancing again, this time in slow motion, I showed them how the center of their body always remained in a vertical line from their neck down. They applied this sensation to their mobiles, and the mobiles turned out balanced.


A few weeks ago, FLY teachers were honored to be invited to a seminar with Matt Shlian, a local artist and one of a very few Paper Engineers in the country. He told us about various aspects of his work, including the curved score method of paper-folding.


We were excited that we’d have an opportunity to share this technique with the kids so soon. This project was already scheduled, but hearing how grown-up scientists and engineers apply techniques that our young artists can learn is really inspiring.


2014-06-07 18.00.05 HDR





Fallen Angels
FLY, art, weaving
allida


Come see the latest show for PTD at the Riverside Arts Center, Fallen Angels Opens June 12.


Set in the 1920′s I’m taking inspiration from Erté in the gowns and dresses. Mostly they are dressed up contemporary evening gowns, but one was made from scratch.


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