Art Activities from MoMA

20 Jul

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I’m taking an online class from New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The class is called Art & Activity: Interactive Activities for Engaging with Art. I’m learning some really good techniques that I just have to share with you.

Check out these art activities from MoMA Learning

  • Turn and Talk
  • Whip Around
  • Visual Inventory
  • Memory

The class is offered FREE via Coursera. The class is a MOOC (massive open online course): I’m taking it with 23,000 others!! Class began on July 7 and ends on August 4, 2014. You can join in late. Click here to learn more.

 

Enjoy!

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Japanese Fish Kites (Koinobori)

20 Jul

Koinobori fish kites

What are koinobori?

Koinobori are carp (koi) kites that are flown in Japan on Children’s Day (May 5th). The koi fish embodies the qualities that parents want for their children: courage, strength and determination. The holiday was formerly known as Boy’s Day, but now celebrates all children.

I Live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi covers the Japanese holidays and life in Japan month-by-month.

We learned about Children’s Day in the book I Live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi. The book covers Japanese holidays month-by-month. In Japan, families display koinobori on a flagpole: the top black fish is the father, the red fish is the mother, and the smaller fish are the children.

Koinobori are also flown in large group displays, as in this video. I love when the wind hits and koinobori actually look like they are swimming upstream.

The Art Project:

I saw this fabulous, simple koinobori project on Cassie Stephens blog. Click here for Cassie’s detailed instructions and gorgeous photos.

Materials:

  • Roylco Japanese Carp Windsock kit
  • colored Sharpies
  • oil pastels (especially white)
  • watercolor markers (we used Crayola markers) and/or
  • watercolors
  • Ziploc bags, two per fish, taped together to create a long rectangle
  • tape
  • spray bottle
  • white glue or hot glue
  • clothespins (to clamp the mouth until glue sets)
  • hole punch
  • ribbon or yarn for hanging

Instructions:

Decorate paper kites with colored Sharpies and oil pastel

Kids drew patterns, outlined eyes and scales, and created a border with oil pastels and colored Sharpies. To create white areas, color with white oil pastel to create a resist.

Color selectively with marker and watercolor

 

Next they added a some color with Crayola markers and watercolors. I emphasized they didn’t have to color in the whole fish as the markers and watercolors would diffuse when sprayed with water.

Kids colored paper koinobori with colored Sharpie, watercolor markers, and oil pastels.

Kids colored paper koinobori with colored Sharpie, watercolor markers, and oil pastels.

Spray with water

Then the kids placed their kites on the long Ziploc ‘placemats’ and sprayed them with water. Some carefully tilted the setup so the colors would diffuse in a certain direction. Let dry on mats.

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Koinobori paper fish kite drying on its double-Ziploc ‘placemat’. When sprayed with water, the Sharpie and oil pastel lines stayed crisp, while the watercolor marker diffused.

Glue and hang

After drying, I used hot glue to assemble the kites. I attached the cardboard strips that support the kites open mouth, and clipped each with a clothespin until set. I also used hot glue to close the back and part of the tail. Finally, we added three single hole punches to the cardboard mouth, and strung the kites with ribbon. All the instructions are included in the Roylco kit.

Enjoy!

This project was part of my ‘Let’s Go To Japan’ art + cooking camp. Here are our other art and cooking projects:

Plus tons of kids books about Japan!

Thanks to Dahra and Ilana, our fabulous teenage helpers for all their assistance at camp

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Art + Cooking Camp Recipe: Japanese Cupcakes

18 Jul

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Japanese steamed cupcakes (mushi-pan) cook in the rice cooker or on the stove top.

We had so much fun at my Japanese art + cooking camp! Each day we made a different recipe. We had a lot of fun making a special type of Japanese cake called mushi-pan: steamed cakes prepared in your rice cooker or on your stove top. Mushi-pan are soft, fluffy and moist, and can be prepared in just 15 minutes from start to finish.

We made two recipes: apricot mushi-pan and frosted Nutella mushi-pan.

Apricot Steamed Cupcakes (mushi-pan)
Makes 10-12
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tbsp. milk
  • 8 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. of apricot preserves

Equipment:

  • Rice cooker with steamer basket OR
  • Large frying pan with lid
  • Heat-proof Pyrex or Corning-Ware glass ramekins (I used 6 oz. Pyrex Clear Custard Cups)
  • paper cupcake liners

Instructions:

  • Fill rice cooker with water to depth of 2-3 inches. Turn on.

OR

  • Fill a large frying pan with water to 2/3 full and bring it to a boil (and turn off the heat if you are not ready yet)
  • Put a cupcake liner in each glass ramekin.
  • In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together the flour and baking powder combining well.
  • In a small bowl, combine egg, milk, sugar, and vegetable oil and whisk together.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix with a fork until smooth.
  • Add in the apricot preserves and stir to combine. You should still have chunks of preserved apricot visible even after stirring.
  • Spoon the mixture into the cupcake liners. Fill each liner approx. 1/3 to 1/2 full. Don’t overfill as these cakes rise!
  • Place the ramekins directly in the rice cooker steamer basket or in the skillet with the boiling water. Cover and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Uncover and test a cake with a bamboo skewer. The cakes are done if the skewer comes out clean. If the cakes are not done, recover and steam for two more minutes. Don’t over cook!

CAUTION: the steam is very hot and can burn you. Parental supervision is recommended.

  • When cool, remove the cakes from the ramekins. They should pop out of the cups easily. If not, you can run a butter knife around the edges to loosen.
Kids prepare Japanese mushi-pan. Batter is spooned into paper lined glass ramekins, then steamed for 8 minutes.

Kids prepare Japanese mushi-pan. Batter is spooned into paper lined glass ramekins, then steamed for 8 minutes.

 

Frosted Nutella Steamed Cupcakes (mushi-pan)
I used the recipe from Magpies Recipe blog. . Click here for the recipe
We increased the sugar to 4 Tbsp./single batch, then frosted the cooled cupcakes with more Nutella.

 

These Nutella-flavored Japanese mushi-pan cupcakes cook in only 8 minutes on the stove top.

These Nutella-flavored Japanese mushi-pan cupcakes cook in only 8 minutes on the stove top.

Results:

The campers loved both varieties of mushi-pan cupcakes. You should try them!

Want more help? Check out this cooking lesson from the Japan Society.

Enjoy!

Do you like cooking with kids?

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Japanese Gyotaku Fish Prints

16 Jul

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Gyotaku means ‘fish rubbing’ and is a printmaking technique traditionally used by Japanese fishermen to record their catches. It was the perfect project for my Japan-themed art camp.

We began by watching this brief video of Hawaiian gyotaku artist/fisherman Naoki.

The campers were really excited to start!

Materials:

  • rubber Gyotaku Fish Printing Replicas (or fresh real whole fish)
  • black tempera cake, water and stiff brush
  • copy paper
  • paper towels
  • chalk pastels
  • watercolors

Instructions

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We tried printing with thin Japanese paper and with copy paper. The thin paper wrinkled and copy paper stayed smooth. We also tried printing with liquid orange tempera.

Paint the fish with black tempera cake. Cover fish with copy paper and rub (don’t wiggle the paper!). Pull the print.
If the fine details (such as scales) don’t show, try Naoiki’s method: re-coat the fish and then pounce with a balled up paper towel to remove some paint. Cover with copy paper and take another print. Let dry.

Color the print with chalk pastels

In the video, Naoki hand-colors his gyotaku prints with watercolors. We used chalk pastels to add color to our fish. Campers blended the pastels with their hands or with tissues.
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I love how they turned out!

Campers also had the option of painting or decorating the negative spaces with watercolor. I really think they did a nice job.

The project was inspired by this post at the Fine Lines blog.

Enjoy!

This project was taught in my Japan-themed art + cooking camp. Each day we made an art project and a cooking project.


Gyotaku Fish Printing Replicas

from: Blick Art Materials

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Art + Cooking Camp – Let’s Go to Japan!

12 Jul

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I just finished my annual art and cooking camp. This year’s theme was ‘Let’s Go to Japan’. We did lots of FUN art and cooking projects. All the campers were 9-11 years old.

Here’s a list of all the art and cooking projects we created:

Day one: koi fish kites (koi noburi) and bento box lunch
Day two: suminagashi prints and decorated rice balls bento
Day three: cloisonne collage and Japanese crepes
Day four: gyotaku fish prints and mushi-pan steamed cakes
Day five: Beckoning cat charms and ‘octopus’ bento

In addition, we read a lot of wonderful books about Japan, and practiced Japanese hiragana writing with brush pens.

I’ll be writing a bunch of posts with much more detail, including all the recipes! Check back this week to find out more.

Enjoy!

p.s. Want more art camp ideas? Check out my ‘Let’s Go to Paris’ art + cooking camp series from 2013. Click here to see more.

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