On Tuesday the Art Mobile spent the afternoon at the Yaak School, grades K through 8. Tess provided a lively orientation to the exhibit. The children were very successful in their cyanotype (art made with photo sensitive paper) art lessons because they are great artists and it was a sunny day in Yaak. Much fun was had by all and lovely images resulted!
Over the last two years in my position as the Teaching Artist for the Art Mobile of Montana, I have been delighted to get to know the artist Corky Clairmont. Because he lives nearby in Ronan, I asked him to join me at Polson High School. Even though he was busy setting up for his show at the Missoula Art Museum, which opens on April 6th, he made the time to come and talk to high school students with me.
Most of Corky's work is concerned with the environment, and the piece we have is no exception. The imagery, which includes gummy bears, leaves, spiders, and "Indian Head" pennies and nickels, are symbols of displaced animals and people. The Keystone Pipeline is shown as well, signifying all of the ways humans have negatively impacted the environment. See this piece and more at the Missoula Art Museum throughout the month of April.
Thanks to Matt Holmes, Polson High School art teacher for inviting the Art Mobile!
Pass Creek School, a one-room north of Belgrade, MT, is one of the special ones. Sidney Rider, the teacher, did something right with these kids. We had the most pleasant time on Friday, March 2, when four of the older kids helped me bring the art in. At some schools you can just feel how the students know how to be good helpers, good listeners, and hard workers. Marla Goodman, the artist who painted "Swing Set Fire," came to visit from Bozeman that day. Her blog post on the experience, found here, nicely captures our pleasant afternoon.
Better yet, ever wonder what we talk about when visiting a school? Marla took this video of my talk at Pass Creek, made extra special for the very cute kids.
The week of February 25th was Creek Week! I started out in Gold Creek, then Pine Creek on Tuesday, the 27th, and Pass Creek on Friday. Creeks all over the place! (I also went to Gallatin Gateway, but that doesn't really fit into the "creek" motif.)
I always love revisiting schools, and seeing Pine Creek again was even more special because local artist Sue Tirrell came to the school to demonstrate the sgraffito technique her work is known for. These students were amazed while they watched Sue do her work.
After throwing her ceramic pottery on a potter's wheel, Sue uses a material called "underglaze" to paint an image onto the green ware while it's still soft. Underglaze acts like watercolor on ceramic, and fires matte with a matte surface. Green ware is ceramic that has not yet been fired. She likes to paint animal figures, and will study the shape of the dish and form the animal to that shape.
After painting the image onto her dish, she uses a tiny wire tool to carve through the under glaze into the clay. The underglaze is cut out in long thin ribbons, which are discarded, leaving the gray ceramic to show through.
When Sue came into Pine Creek, there were no carved marks on this horse. You can see details of that in the flowers above the horse's back, vs. the ones below his belly. In the end, they will all be carved. Once fired, the clay will be a slightly different white from the white of the underglazed horse. Then, Sue will clear glaze the dish, making it shiny and protecting the underglazed images.
Thanks to Kim DeBruycker, superintendent, for inviting me back to Pine Creek, and to Sue for being so generous with her time!
Check out Sue's website for more of her incredible work.
Hello again, from Art Mobile headquarters (my dining room table, where I'm eating cream cheese and rice crackers). The last few months have been a blur of travel. Since my last post, the Art Mobile has carried me safely from Missoula to the far eastern side of our state: Wolf Point, Frazer, and a group of Glasgow home school kids.
Teresa Heil, art teacher at Frazer school, has had the art mobile for over ten years. We had to reschedule for a few days later than planned, due to weather, but my visit ended up fitting in perfectly. I couldn't have had a better time with Teresa's students, as we'd already met last year and that always makes for a good day.
That weekend the southeastern corner of Montana was hit pretty hard by snow, so we postponed the trip one day before schlepping down for a two-day stint at St. Labre Catholic School in Ashland. I had a fun time staying right on campus in the friary, which are rooms the school has available for visitors. St. Labre is a fascinating school to work in. I had a wonderful time!
More schools had been on the roster, but we rescheduled them before high-tailing it back to Missoula. And not a moment too soon! Schools in the Ashland area had snow days before and after my visit.
Many thanks to the Wolf Point high school art teacher, Vivian Schultz, for arranging my visit to the elementary schools, Teresa Heil at Frazer schools (as always!), Amy Fast of Glasgow, Mary Fahlgren of Wheatgrass Arts and Gallery, and Kate Ruland, famed art teacher at St. Labre Indian Catholic High School. Thank you for your support!