Wayne Thiebaud: Geometric Desserts

Wayne Thiebaud Geometric Desserts

Who loves dessert? Everyone, including second graders. Each year I teach a Wayne Thiebaud-inspired dessert lesson. This year we created compositions focusing on repetition of geometric forms.

Dessert Geometry (and Common Core connections)

Studying Thiebaud's art is an opportunity to incorporate geometry into your lessons. Try and time your lessons to tie into to the math lesson in the general ed. classroom.

Studying Thiebaud’s art is an opportunity to incorporate geometry into your lessons. Try and time your lessons to tie into to the math lesson in the general ed. classroom.

We looked at images of Wayne Thiebaud’s dessert art, and identified shapes and forms. Here are some of the forms we identified:

  • Sphere: ¬†gum balls, scoops of ice cream
  • Right Triangular Prism: pie wedges, cake wedges
  • Square Prism: petit four (see above image)
  • Cylinder: layer cake
  • Rectangular Prism: Jolly Ranchers candy!!! (OK, Thiebaud didn’t paint Jolly Ranchers. A student came up with that one) ūüôā

The second grade was studying 3D forms, so I timed the art lesson just after this concept was introduced in the general ed classroom. Click here for the second grade common core geometry standards.  You can also review the first grade common core geometry standards.

Here is a one-minute video I made featuring the geometric forms in Thiebaud’s art:

The Art Project

Materials:

  • light cardboard tracers: triangle, ellipse, circle, rectangle
  • pencils/erasers
  • white paper, 12″x18″
  • oil pastels
  • tempera cakes/water/brushes

Use teacher-made or student-made tracers (we used both). Students traced their templates with a pencil onto the paper. The composition were encouraged to fill the paper with a single type of dessert in a variety of flavors. It was OK to have the dessert coming off the page, and it was also OK to overlap.

(Note: I know some art teachers disapprove of tracers; I think the use of them in this project reinforces the tie-in to geometry and repetition).

Students then colored their desserts with oil pastels, adding details such as sprinkles, cherries, and chocolate swirls. They outlined the desserts with oil pastels. Finally, they painted the background with a single color of tempera cake.

Second Grade results:

Second graders used circle, triangle, and ellipse tracers as a starting point for these artworks.

Second graders used circle, triangle, and ellipse tracers as a starting point for these artworks.

If your administration asks if you incorporate math (or STEM/STEAM) in your lesson plans, teach this one and happily reply ‘yes’. After all, shape and form are elements of art. This art project reinforces¬†geometry¬†in a fun way.

Additional Resources:

I wrote about these other Thiebaud projects on the blog:

The lesson was inspired by this lesson from the Parent Art Docents website.

 

Enjoy!

 

Have you ever incorporated math into an art lesson?

Helen Shirk Silhouette Necklace

helen shirk pinable

Helen Shirk is a San Diego artist and Professor of Art known for her metalwork and jewelry. I recently had the pleasure of viewing necklaces from Shirk’s¬†Traces¬†series on exhibit at San Diego’s¬†Mingei International Museum. Even better – I got to participate in a Shirk-inspired paper jewelry activity taught by the Museum’s Education Department. The art project is so much fun – I just have to share their lesson!

 

'Crimson Glory' necklace by Helen Shirk, 2011. Steel, oxidized silver and china paint.

‘Crimson Glory’ necklace by Helen Shirk, 2011. Steel, oxidized silver and china paint.

We had two options for our silhouette necklace project: 1) a quick, 30-minute project using paper punches or 2) an hour-long project using real traced leaves. Both options focus on organic shapes and repetition.

Materials for both projects

  • black construction paper
  • card stock
  • glue sticks
  • yarn
  • scissors
  • tape

Project 1: 30-minute Punched Paper Silhouette Necklace

Additional material Рpaper punches in organic shapes (like these leaf , branch, butterfly, and dove  punches).

We punched paper shapes from black and colored papers, then glued them to a background and added yarn to form a necklace. Click here and here for the lesson plan, written by the excellent Education Department of the Mingei International Museum.

Shirk inspired necklace made with craft punches and card stock.

Shirk-inspired necklace made with craft punches and card stock. Teacher example.

Here is my Shirk inspired design!

Here is my Shirk inspired design!

 

Project 2: Traced Silhouette Necklace

Additional material: natural materials such as leaves, twigs and flowers.

Students make tracings of each onto construction paper, then cut out and arrange into a necklace. ¬†Click here for the Mingei’s curriculum guide¬†including this project.

Hand cut paper necklace inspired by Helen Shirk's jewelry.

Shirk-inspired paper necklace made by tracing leaves onto black and white paper.  Teacher example.

Helen Shirk’s¬†Trace¬†necklaces are on display at the Mingei Museum through January 5, 2014 as part of the¬†Allied Craftsmen Today¬†exhibit.¬†For more examples of Helen Shirk’s jewelry,¬†click here.

I wrote about the Mingei’s Chihuly chandelier – click here to see their fabulous 30-Minute Chihuly Chandelier project.

Special Notice for San Diego Teachers and Parents:

  • Teachers: Do you want to take your class to the Mingei Museum?¬†The Mingei¬†provides free admission for all K-12th¬†grade tours¬†as long as they‚Äôre scheduled in advance.
  • Parents: The Mingei is free to San Diego county residents and military the third Tuesday of the month. Monthly Family Sundays offer admission and fun activities for just $5/family. Go to¬†www.mingei.org¬†for more details.

Enjoy!

Eraser Stamps for Sixth Grade: Abstract Design

Sixth graders carve erasers with their own abstract design and use them to print individual and group artworks.

Sixth grade is making eraser stamps.

I learned the method from Geninne’s Art Blog. Geninne has a fabulous tutorial on stamp-making including an instructional video. This assignment has two parts….1) create an abstract design stamp and 2) create a stamp based on your initials.

Part 1: Abstract Design

Materials:

  • Magic Rub vinyl erasers
  • Pencils
  • Paper (copy paper is fine)
  • Tracing paper
  • Popsicle stick or ruler
  • Lino cutter (student grade – we used the ones from this Soft Kut class pack)
  • Stamp pads
  • Watercolor markers (we used Crayola)

I teach this assignment with a packet of handouts…

Explain to students we will be cutting away the white portions of their design…..since they are beginners, the design should be fairly simple. No letters, no words, no numbers!!!!

Here are some sketches…I have to approve their final designs before they cut.

After approval, students transfer design to eraser. Placed traced design ‘dirty side down’ on the eraser and rub with edge of Popsicle stick to transfer.

Carve eraser:

Rules:

  • Stay seated.
  • Keep eraser flat on the table.
  • Grip cutter as if it was a pencil.
  • Make shallow cuts, not deep.
  • Your cutting hand should stay low, close to the table. Your wrist can go up about an inch above the table.
  • Direct cuts away from your body.
  • Rotate eraser so that cuts are directed away from your hand.
  • Cut away white portions of design.

Printing:

Time to print! Students could use a stamp pad or color their erasers with watercolor markers (we used Crayola markers). The stamp pad method is quick, but the marker method allows more variety.

Instructions on the board.....

Student Results:

Carved eraser stamps inked with watercolor marker.

6th grade artist thought overlapping colors 'looked 3D'

This student hand-colored her stamp with markers.

Group project with three stamps (hand-colored with markers).

Student hand-inked design inspired by Nike logo and colored negative space with marker.

Many students said this was their favorite project ever!!!! They are clamoring to go on to part 2, a design based on their initials. To be continued!

It is also a special joy for me to see the 6th graders complete the project – I have had about 25% of these kids since they were 5 years old and learning how to write their names.

This printmaking project is also great opportunity to discuss art principles and elements: repetition, unity, and variety. It is appropriate for grades 6-12.

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