Saturday, May 5, 2012

Arts in Action Day - Fairfield Woods Middle School

On Thursday I spent the day teaching, but it was a change from my regular second grade class. I got to make jewelry with middle school students at one of my favorite school arts events. It was Arts in Action day at Fairfield Woods Middle School. The students at Woods are lucky ducks. Every other year, the school dedicates a full day to exposing students to a wide variety of artists and disciplines. Students get to choose four classes from over 55 offered. They attend workshops with local artists doing things like composing music, creating pieces of art, dancing, cooking, acting, and working out. And with interesting workshop titles like, "Frog Factory", "Flower Pounding", and "Salad Art" you could say there was something for everyone there.
digging right in
I got to teach four classes on upcycled jewelry. I brought a small display of some of my Twitch and Whiskers pieces to share and taught a few simple jewelry making techniques to the students. They had free reign on my supplies, which included: paper scraps, game pieces galore, toys, Scrabble tiles, and even some clear acrylic and wooden math shapes donated at the last minute by a generous math teacher in the building. The kids made rings, pins, barrettes, bracelets, necklaces, sculptures, and one boy even made a pair of sunglasses.
Twitch and Whiskers
playful supplies
math manipulatives = magic
ring and necklaces
Scrabble tiles
a barrette, ring, and pendants
lovely layers
monkey around
upcycled gems
This was my third time volunteering at the event and it was great seeing lots of familiar faces. I was thrilled to find out that Asami Green was teaching a class on paper collage. I had her lovely, dance-loving daughter in my class several years ago. As the layout designer of our yearbook, and the creator of this year's 5th grade school mural, her creative touch is definitely felt throughout Burr School. This talented graphic designer shared her artist portfolio with the students and taught them how to rip up magazines to make colorful collages. Check out Asami Design online to see more of her beautiful work.
Asami Green
magazine collages
Asami Designs
The best part of the entire day was seeing former students. There's nothing more rewarding than hearing your name called out down a crowded hallway by a familiar face on a body 6 inches taller than you remember. I got lots of hugs, waves, hellos, and updates from old friends. I felt so loved and SHORT on Thursday! Since when did middle schoolers get so tall? 
creating with old friends and new
The artists were well taken care of with delicious food, drink, live music, and a pretty sweet reusable swag bag, complete with a student-designed t-shirt and other treats. What an amazing day! Kudos to the organizers Kristen Chase and Jill Duguid (and their incredible team) for making an unforgettable day for the students, teachers, artists, and volunteers. I can only imagine how it opens new creative channels to so many students. I'm counting down the days until the next Arts in Action event!
sweet swag
Next week, Twitch and Whiskers will be rocking out at Twist in Northampton, MA (along with many incredible artists). I have a busy May and June show schedule ahead. I hope to see you out and about! Follow Twitch and Whiskers on Facebook for promos, giveaways, and updates.

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