I am so happy to report that The Marshall has been contacted by D'Wayne Edwards, the lead Footwear Design Director for Nike Jordan Brand!Mr. Edwards has expressed an interest in our students and our project, and he has graciously offered to come speak to the children. With a mere 5 weeks left before their art show debut, this visit couldn't have come at a better time! We are thrilled to welcome Mr. Edwards to our Art World at the Marshall. More details to come...
Last week in class I gave out sets of stickers for my students to adorn their latest sneaker collages with. Some students wrote their names, some represented our beautiful home BOSTON, and some wrote different words describing characteristics of themselves. I had a wide variety of letter style stickers for the students to choose from, but one in particular looked like the following:
One of my students who had chosen these fancy looking letters for his piece raised his hand and commented to me- "Ms. Chaffee, you know these "French" letters are really tough to read." Hehe, that one definitely gave me a good laugh as I explained the term he was looking for was- cursive. Yet another learning opportunity and smile on our tightrope journey!
This week was a SNOWY ONE!!! We lost 2 days to mother nature....but who's complaining! Today we started COLLAGING sneakers using awesome cut paper and stickers donated from Absolutely Everything in Topsfield MA.
CUT CUT CUT....
Most students will finish their collages in class NEXT week. I also put up a bulletin board downstairs to keep the other students and teachers posted on our progress...bulletin boards often fall victim to the tiny prying fingers of passersby in the halls, but this one- even though it has some 3-D elements- has remained intact for an unusually long amount of time. Fingers crossed!
Another one of the many inspirations for this project is my mother- she is the first (and only) "follower" of this blog- which is ironic considering the fact that all my life I've wanted to follow in her larger than life footsteps. She taught art at the John Marshall before me, and sparkled the way for my success today.
In a recent interview with the Boston Globe I was asked, "Why sneakers?"
Shoes are universal. Before you step out into the world, you put your shoes on. One of the many goals of "Walkin' The Tightrope" is teaching/learning how to maintain balance through the many highs and lows of life. Sneaker culture is very prevalent at the John Marshall and with this age group of students. I knew that SNEAKERS would be a good avenue to spark student interest. Aside from the fact that I knew kids would LOVE the opportunity to design their own shoe, this project is about encouraging students to walk the right path. It brings us together as individuals, a class, a school, and a community. With sneakers we draw a direct analogy to WALKING, and taking "STEPS" in a positive direction. Maintaining balance on life's tightrope.
The song "Tightrope" by Janelle Monae was one source of inspiration for this project-
Some people talk about ya
Like they know all about ya
When you get down they doubt ya
And when you tippin on the scene
Yeah they talkin' bout it
Cause they can't tip all on the scene with ya
When you get elevated,
They love it or they hate it
You dance up on them haters
Keep getting funky on the scene
While they jumpin' round ya
They try to take all your dreams
But you can't allow it
Cause baby whether you're high or low
Whether you're high or low
You gotta tip on the tightrope
T-t-t-tip on the tightrope
You either follow or you lead.
WE WILL BE HOSTING AN ART SHOW EXHIBITING/CELEBRATING ALL STUDENT WORK. PAINTINGS, DRAWINGS, AND 130 FINAL SHOE DESIGNS ON ACTUAL CONVERSE SHOES! STUDENTS WILL ALSO PERFORM JANELLE MONAE'S "TIGHTROPE" LIVE AT THE EVENT! IT WILL ALL GO DOWN SATURDAY MARCH 5TH AT THE GOOD LIFE BAR IN BOSTON! MORE DETAILS TO COME...DONT MISS IT!
In the weeks prior I had been frantically collecting students shoe sizes, in the event that we DID get the shoes donated from Converse. When I finally got word, I told them the exciting news about the 130 pairs of shoes that had been donated.
I wanted students to be conscious of their design and how they would convey whatever message they were trying to get across...in order to help them THINK about their message, each student completed one of these bad boys:
TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THROUGH YOUR SHOE.
They were also given a (misspelt) checklist to keep track of all the components of our project...(I dared students to FIND my spelling error and correct it. I also revealed to them that this is why I teach ART and not ENGLISH. I have yet to get the error fixed, can you find it??)
Keyword of the week:
*special thanks to Khari for helping me make these awesome rubrics.
Week 2 I began class by projecting different videos on the wall:
These videos were meant to act as inspiration and to encourage students to use IMAGERY or SYMBOLISM to represent their ideas...also, it did a great job of capturing their attention :) Through the design and discussion of their sneakers, I hoped to help students learn things they may not have known about each other.
Keywords of the week:
I had been working on a proposal to CONVERSEasking for 130 pairs of shoes so that my students could bring their designs to life on a real sneaker. THEY AGREED...
*special thanks to The Tannery for their support in making CONVERSE possible.
On WEEK 1 Students in my art class walked into a room FULL of sneakers I've collected over the past 5 years working at The Tannery/Concepts (a local Boston shoe store) and the sound of Janelle Monae's- "Tightrope" blasting through my ipod in the back of the room. This kicked off the beginning of our "WALKIN' THE TIGHTROPE" project...
I began our discussion by directing students attention to the shoes on their feet. "Everybody take a minute to check out your own shoes, take a good look at them. Now I'm going to tell you a secret. Before your shoes were born, before they were ever sent to the factory to be built, an ARTIST had to sit down and make every decision about the COLORS, PATTERNS, STYLES, IMAGES, WORDS, TEXTURES, AND LACES on that shoe!" Then the task of SHOE DESIGNING was turned on my students....."TODAY- YOU ARE SHOE DESIGNERS" and they took off running....
I encouraged students to think about WHO they were designing for, is this a shoe for YOU? Your mother? Your sister? Your neighbor? How will you represent whoever you are designing for? What is this shoe telling me about this person? These questions challenged students to come up with ways to represent human qualities through VISUAL ART, on a shoe.
Key words for this week: SYMBOLISM REPRESENTATION DESIGN STYLE FUNKY-NESS (very technical term)