I ran across Alexander Calder’s “Christmas Tree” and decided to try it with my 4th Graders. According to my research, Calder did his “Christmas Tree” around 1970.
Below, you can see Alexander Calder’s “Christmas Tree”. Calder used primary colors in his work. I love it.
Directions for our version of Calder’s “Christmas Tree”
I talked a little bit about Calder.
I had the kids draw the tree with pencil.
The kids used stencils to make circles, yes, with pencil.
The kids outlined the pencil with sharpie.
The kids used acrylic paints for this project.
Although, I could not find any information on Calder’s primary color Christmas tree above, I did find some information out about the Christmas tree sculpture by Calder below.
In 1942 Alexander Calder was asked by a nurse friend to make some things to cheer up wounded soldiers convalescing in a Staten Island military hospital. One of those things: this awesome Christmas tree, cut from a tin can.(http://daddytypes.com/2014/12/25/alexander_calder_christmas_trees.php)
The idea of a nurse friend asking Alexander Calder to make something for wounded soldiers was pretty amazing. The fact that Calder made something was even more amazing. In 1942, he had hit the big time. In 1943, Calder was honored as the youngest artist ever to have a retrospective exhibition at the art most prestigious venue, New York’s Museum of Modern Art. (http://www.theartstory.org/artist-calder-alexander.htm)
Calder making the sculpture for the wounded soldiers was pretty cool. Obviously, the nurse friend felt comfortable asking her friend to make his art for a good cause.
Maybe all of us “art people” need to be more like Calder.
He had a friend that trusted him to say “yes” and make some art for a good cause. He respected the wounded soldiers and chose to honor them by creating art.
Artists out there, we all get these requests to make this and that for everyone on a daily basis. Saying no is much easier than saying yes, but saying yes is always rewarding. I do not ever recall saying, “Oh boy, I wish that I would not have created that art.”
The song below does not have anything to do with Alexander Calder. I just finished watching Season 1 of Stranger Things. My two college aged kids got me interested in this strange show. Anyway, the song “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash was actually in several episodes. So, here goes…
Cathy, lower school art teacher, worked with 4th grade on a cross curricular unit that involved the study of leaves for the state of Florida. The kids study the lesson in class. Went to art and were able to create the leaves in clay using white low fire clay and Stroke n Coat green glazes. Some students opted to use the slabs and create textured impressions. They turned out fabulous and I wanted to share with other art teachers. I sure am lucky to have such and awesome Visual Arts Team.
A year ago, I came across this printmaking art activity on Pinterest.
I absolutely fell in love with the project, but I just could not bring myself to actually put paint on the bear’s face and smash him on a piece of paper. So, the bears sat in my room. At first, they sat on a high shelf. Then, I put them on a low shelf by the hermit crabs. Finally, I had an idea. I have one particular fourth grader, Brant, and he is very talented with building things. I decided that his class could build chairs for the bears. The project took about four weeks to complete. There was friendly discussions, unfriendly discussions, and no discussions. The Bear Chair project is one of my most favorite projects ever. Please have a look at the bear chairs. They are very different, but all started out with the same supplies.
I divided the students into groups of 4. I knew all of the students well and arranged the groups according to ability and personality.
I gave the students the following information on a sheet with the Bear Chair Guidelines.
I gave the students 5 rolls of tape and 5 large paper towel rolls.
Bear Chair Guidelines:
You are to use the 5 rolls of tape and 5 paper towel rolls to build a chair that the bear can sit on.
The bear chair should be no taller than 12 inches.
The bear chair should be no wider than 12 inches.
The bear must fit into the chair.
The chair must support the bear.
Week 1-Build the Chair
Week 2-Paper Mache the Chair
Week 3-Paint the Chair a Base Color
Week 4-Add Final Details and Touch-Up the Bear Chair
When working with a group, decisions must be made. For this group of fourth graders, they had to be willing to consider the thoughts and ideas from others. As the project moved along, the groups began to communicate in a more positive way. Although they did not always “get their way,” they did have a mutual respect for each group member.
The Rolling Stones said it best in “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”