Monday, February 27, 2023

Booklist for Story Quilts

Last night I finalized our list of 2023-2024 artists for Art History, and then today in my Waldorf Handwork Teacher Training for grade 7 we talked all about Faith Ringgold! The grade 7 project -- which we are doing all week -- is a Story Quilt. Here are the books Nicole brought in to help inspire us:


I have some books at home that are illustrated with fabric art. Salley Mavor illustrated a whole series of adorable nursery rhyme board books that my girls had when they were little. More recently, she did the artwork for Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes (2010) and My Bed: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep Around the World by Rebecca Bond (2020).

I also love Clare Beaton's Mother Goose Remembers (and hunting for the feather). Let me know if you find other books illustrated with textile art!

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Art History 2023-2024

My thoughts about Art History next year. We've loved it so much, I'm going to offer as a special subject during the school week AND as a weekend club!

Sep Piet Mondrian
1872 - 1944

Oct Louise Bourgeois
1911 - 2010

Nov Sister Mary Corita Kent
1918 - 1986

Dec Yves Klein
1928 - 1962

Jan/Feb Faith Ringgold
1930 -

Mar Zaha Hadid
1950 - 2016

Apr Andy Goldsworthy
1956 -

May Marianthe Loucataris
1970 -

Marianthe actually answered my question in the comments of her YouTube video because I couldn't find a mention of her birth year anywhere! I like to have the artists arranged in order by the year they were born. She is the youngest artist on this list. As before, I'm going to use resources from Lotus at Art History Kids wherever they fit in. They have been SO helpful!

The children have requested that we take one year and do all local Southern Illinois artists who are still living, so that we can do field trips to visit their work studios and hear about their process. That would be amazing!

Since I'm moving many of these artists officially onto this list and out of the original brainstorm, the post of Brainstorming Artists for Next Year will now become to a 2024-2025 brainstorm! Let me know there if you think of any artist recommendations!

UPDATE: Orginally Yayoi Kusama was going to be our artist for January but I've removed her from our list due to the recent New York Times article and we will give two months to Faith Ringgold instead. That gives us more time for our Story Quilts.

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Sunday, February 26, 2023

Art History - Helen Frankenthaler

Our Specials schedule this year is

    Mon - Nature Study & Form Drawing

    Tue - Farm Day

    Wed - Handwork & Philosophy, Science Club

    Thu - Art History & Structured Word Inquiry

    Fri - Forest School

In my Art History 2022-2023 blog post, I decided March would be Helen Frankenthaler. Here are some resources and my planning notes:

Helen Frankenthaler
1928 - 2011

MMA - Helen Frankenthaler blog post

also Soak-Stain Technique blog post

Helen Frankenthaler's Soak-Stain Painting Technique for Kids
Art History Kids

Helen Frankenthaler "Soak Stain" Art Lesson for Kids

100 Watercolor Cards & Envelopes, Cold Press, 5" x 6.875"

I decided to join Lotus Stewart's full Art History Kids website (The Studio) and get access to her past lesson plans. I think it will really help me this year to have so much already done for me. Helen Frankenthaler is in the Archives.

includes Helen Frankenthaler

PDF guide from Magnificent Modern Art
pages 2, 13

PDF guides from September 2018 topic
Week 1 - pages 3, 7 (Lee Krasner)
Week 2 - pages 3, 7 (Judith Godwin)
Week 3 - pages 2, 3, 8 (Helen Frankenthaler)
Week 4 - pages 1-9, 11, 13

Lotus is also doing Women of Abstract Expressionism in The Studio this month! I don't know if Helen Frankenthaler will be included this time or not.

UPDATE: The revised lesson plans for this topic include Helen Frankenthaler and Lee Krasner, but they substitute Alma Thomas for Judith Godwin.

PDF guide from March 2023 topic
print pages 1, 10-20, and 50

week of Mar 13:

week of Mar 20:

week of Mar 27:

    Tuesday - read Dancing Through Fields of Color: The Story of Helen Frankenthaler by Elizabeth Brown

    Thursday - Art History Kids - Magnificent Modern Art Course
    week 3 video - guided discussion of Tutti-Fruitti (1966)

    Wednesday Mar 29 / Thursday Mar 30 / Monday Apr 3
    Create a Soak-Stain Landscape (do this activity multiple times)

    We ended up doing Soak-Stain Landscapes three times and I still think we should have done one more because it was never correct.

    Having done this wrong, I can say that it's really important to give the children their paint in cups and not in the bottles, to make it clear that they are supposed to POUR it and work close to the canvas. Remind them of the photo of her tipping paint out of a pail. A lot of the artwork that we produced -- while very beautiful -- looks a lot like Jackson Pollock. There was also a lot of paint on the children because they were shaking the bottles and splattering paint, and not pouring.

    You also need to think carefully about what material you'll use to push the paint (she used a mop). Do NOT give them popsicle sticks because they will get paint all over their hands. Some options with handles: brushes, rollers, sponges. She also would tip the canvas.

    Definitely show them lots more examples of her work before you begin. How many layers of paint do you think are on this canvas?

    Doing this in a homeschool setting was a lot more fun than doing it with a whole class. I spent a fortune on canvasses, and they used up all of the paint completely by pouring layer after layer after layer. She didn't do that. It was one pour and then she let it soak and stain. I feel like they really couldn't tell the difference between her and Pollock BECAUSE we did this activity outside (as we did with his art) and they got to go off into the yard and do their own painting. It became layers and layers and paint throwing... and it was just a big jumble. I wasted $75 in paint and $75 in canvasses and they still don't know how Helen Frankenthaler made her art. So I'm really distressed. I also had parents who were upset because clothing and shoes got ruined. A lot of paint was tracked into my house as well.

    I LOVED the tea bag activity, which felt slow and enjoyable.

    Also, we really enjoyed the picture book and Lotus's lesson on closely examining "Tutti-Fruitti." But the soak-stain paintings just felt like a violent waste of paint, money, and time. I certainly wouldn't mind spending $150 if I felt they learned a great lesson about Helen Frankenthaler, but they did not. So I will really need to think about this deeply before I teach her again. I just need more clarity about how to introduce it and how to model it, so that I'm setting them up for success!

    Note: I think that not only do I need to change out the type of paint and the way I introduce it and the tools that I give them, I need to change out the type of canvasses as well. She specifically worked with untreated canvas, and I'm sure the inexpensive run-of-the-mill canvasses I got the children were already gessoed. So it only makes sense that the paint wouldn't soak and flow like it should.

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Georgia Bragg, et al.

Just finished doing How They Choked: Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous AND Caught: Nabbing History's Most Wanted, both by Georgia Bragg, with my Zoom tutoring clients (age 10) and now we are moving on to some titles by Carlyn Beccia.

list of people in How They Croaked (and here are my teaching notes):

    King Tut

    Julius Caesar


    Christopher Columbus

    Henry VIII

    Elizabeth I


    Galileo Galilei

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Marie Antoinette

    George Washington

    Napoleon Bonaparte

    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Edgar Allan Poe

    Charles Dickins

    James A. Garfield

    Charles Darwin

    Marie Curie

    Albert Einstein

NOTE: Kids love How They Croaked. And they often come up with the most hilarious book report projects based on it! I have one student who is doing a book report on Napoleon Bonaparte using this book as her resource, and her "artistic element" is a display of black & silver pipe cleaners twisted together, cut into short lengths, and carefully arranged sticking out of a clay block. This is meant to be a souvenir display of locks of his hair for sale, and she's going to walk all around her classroom as the souvenir seller, asking her fellow students if they'd like to buy a lock of the deceased Napoleon's hair!

list of people in How They Choked:

    Marco Polo

    Isabella of Castile

    Montezuma II

    Ferdinand Magellan

    Anne Boleyn

    Isaac Newton

    Benedict Arnold

    Susan B. Anthony

    George Armstrong Custer

    Thomas Alva Edison

    Vincent van Gogh

    J. Bruce Ismay

    Joseph Jefferson "Shoeless Joe" Jackson

    Amelia Earthart

list of people in Caught!:

    Joan of Arc

    Sir Walter Raleigh



    John Wilkes Booth

    Jesse James

    Billy the Kid

    Mata Hari

    Typhoid Mary


    Vincenzo Peruggia

    Bernard Otto Kuehn

    Anna Anderson

    Al Capone

new books I just bought:

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