Last month, I had the privilege of spending five days in Shanghai for a "business trip." The first two days were spent at an ACAMIS (Association of Chinese and Mongolian International Schools) meeting, followed by a day of break (including a trip to IKEA), then two days observing art teachers at other international schools.
Art is Messy. Her Malaysian Batik project impressed me two years ago. Last month, I was able to see another batik project, Peace Banners, installed in the entryway of the elementary building, and talk about the process in person.
A curious process, the batik uses a resist made of equal parts aloe vera lotion and toothpaste. I mixed the concoction in an empty paint bottle, then filled small glue bottles.
Third grade is using this process to complete their cake paintings. In the past, we have created tempera paintings based on Wayne Thiebaud's work, emphasizing drawing 3D solids (cylinder, triangular prism, etc.) and mixing colors (tints and shades).
This year, the students are creating batiks. After practicing in their sketchbooks, students drew their design on a large piece of matboard (40cm square with a 5cm margin). Pencil drawings were traced in permanent marker to be visible through the thin cotton muslin. I taped the fabric to the back of the matboard. Once the students' glue lines dry, they will be using tempera paint to fill in the sections. The final projects are soaked briefly in water, then rinsed under a faucet. The pressure of the water from the faucet is enough to remove the resist, exposing the unstained white fabric.
This week, I've been testing the process, working a few steps ahead of the students. I am so excited about the results! The 4th and 5th graders are as well, and begging to let them do a batik project. For now, I'm enjoying the sweet candy/toothpaste smell filling my classroom from the resist and trying to decide how we will display the final projects. Perhaps we'll have them made into pillows for the library!
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