Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chihuly-Palooza at Percy Priest Elementary

Over the last nine weeks the students at Percy Priest Elementary School have been immersed in the artwork and artistic process of glass artist Dale Chihuly and his team. Under the instruction of art teachers Tina Atkinson and Denise Benton, the third and fourth grade students started their school year by learning about the artist, his personal history and what lead him to create artwork with a team. They experienced Chihuly’s unique drawing style by broadly rolling on background colors and adding quick structural lines to create shapes by squeezing paint from bottles and keeping the images of objects from nature, loose and abstract, fluid, like glass. The third grade drawings were on display in the community at Davis Kidd Booksellers in Green Hills for the month of October while the fourth grade drawings illuminated the halls of our school!

After the drawings, these students designed their own installation to be completed by their homeroom class and installed somewhere on the school grounds. They democratically made design decisions about location, color, structure, and scale and worked in smaller teams to complete each part of the sculpture using plastic bottles, cellophane/gel, clear tape, plastic cups, tissue paper, glue, tin foil, plastic wrap, sculpture wire, cardboard rolls and wooden dowels.  The finished installations were amazing and our school and community have enjoyed having them in and around our school!

2nd grade

The second grade students worked on the idea of installation on a smaller scale. After studying the work of Dale Chihuly and exploring how he and  his team selected the locations and created sculptures to fit, they took their landscape paintings and did the same. They created small organic sculptures out of model magic clay that fit the scale of their landscape and then 'installed' them with white glue. The finished pieces show how beautifully art and nature blend to create beautiful images. These pieces will be on display at Maggie Moo’s in Green Hills for the month of November.

Kindergarten and first grade work

1st grade
In first grade we explored the brightly pattered Persians. After discovering that the Persian shapes started geometric and evolved into an organic shape and that the nature of glass blowing creates a radial design, the students modeled that evolution in their own work. They created a center point on a square piece of white paper and glued tissue paper strips radiating out of their chosen center point (which did not have the be in the middle of their paper) to create a radial geometric design. Once the design was finished they cut the edges to create a softer, more rounded organic shape and then folded it at the center point to give the shape dimension. The results had a simple elegance that seemed to glow just like their glass counterparts.



The kindergarten students were amazed to find that so many artists were, and still are, inspired by nature. First they looked at the art work of Georgia O’Keefe, who painted larger-than-life flowers that inspired her. They students painted large flowers using circles, triangles and diamond shapes to fill up their whole picture. They even painted the negative shapes that were left over! Then they looked at the marvelous Macchia, the word means spotted in Italian, create by Dale Chihuly and his team. They could tell that he was inspired by nature too, especially things that come from the sea. Using oil pastels, the students added patterns and spots to the shapes of their flowers to create their own Macchia flower paintings, inspired by nature.

3rd grade

4th grade installation
3rd grade installation

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Our third and fourth graders are borderline obsessed with Chihuly and beg me daily to play the "Chandeliers", "Chihuly in Action", and "Ice Neon" videos that we watched while making our pieces from the website...One class actually wrote a rap about Chihuly...they think he is the "coolest artist ever"! The fourth graders created "The Forces of Nature Tower" which is based on the four elements of nature and the third graders created the "Macchia Mobiles".

*Thanks to Janet Malone and Ted Edinger for helping me with this unit...I wish they could have been my art teachers in elementary school!

Chihuly Happens at Hickman!

The kids brought in hundreds of bottles.  We painted, cut, splayed with a heat gun (teacher use only), and strung to create a Chihuly inspired chandelier for our school lobby.

Submitted by Hilda Thomas and Tina Fravel

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shwab Elementary School is MAD about MACCHIA and INSPIRED by IKEBANA

1st & 2nd grade Tissue paper collage Ikebana Drawings
1st & 2nd grade Macchia paintings

Kindergarten Ikebana drawings: sharpie and watercolor

1st & 2nd grade coffee filter Machhia

3rd & 4th grade Dura-lar Macchia

For more information about what is happening at Shwab please visit Ms. Motta's Mixed Media art education blog @

Chihuly at Haynes Middle School

The students painted and/or colored abstract shapes and then created sculptures.

Chihuly at Glendale Elementary- third and fourth grade

At Glendale third graders made macchia forms from color diffused paper. I used the lesson plan presented at our in-service, but I had the students create stands out of paper tubes to put their macchias on for their final presentations.

Fourth grade did Chihuly paintings on canvas board. Students painted one coat of paint on the first layer and then rolled over with a brayer another color  letting some of the bottom layer show through. They drew a simple organic shape from nature with chalk on their canvas and finished it using acrylics, jazz paint , and puffy paint.