Friday, July 27, 2012

The New and the Old

Project 3: Warhol inspired portraits

When talking about art in America, Andy Warhol immediately springs to my mind.  The American artist (born to immigrants) was a leading figure in the Visual Arts (or Pop Art) Movement that flourished in the 60s.  He often painted iconic images or people using brights colors and made several reprints in different color combinations that made his works both fun and unique.  We tried to accomplish a similar look in our project.

My daughter broke her arm at school this week and while she's not in any pain, her mobility is somewhat limited.  So we came up with this project that she could color and put on the fridge. She really got into it at first but then got a little tired of coloring, so it would probably be best done over the course of a few days or have a few kids each do one.  My son isn't a big fan of coloring so I did them with my daughter.  I think they turned out pretty cool and I was able to give her a look at a different kind of art from a man who was a different kind of artist. 

Top ones done by me.  Bottom one done by my 5 yr old.

Project 4: The tippy tipi

I'm very proud that this week I've given my kids a lot of information about the country they were born in, about the immigrants who came here to flee oppression or simply to have a better life, but what about the people who were already here from the very beginning? In my (humble) opinion the Native Americans are not very well represented in the History of America.  They have a culture that is rich with wonderful stories and their philosophy and attitudes towards the world around them is something we should all study.  They lived off the land and they took CARE of the land. 

 The native americans lived in many different types of dwellings but perhaps the most iconic is the tipi.  Now, I know a lot of you are thinking that I made a typo and it should be spelled teepee but, well, you're wrong.  The word comes from combining two root words - the Sioux word "ti" meaning to dwell or live and "pi" meaning to live in.  Used by many tribes, the tipis were portable conical shelters made from canvas (or hides) and long poles.  They would be placed in a circle and each family slept inside with a small fire burning in the middle to keep them warm.  Our project is not made with buffalo hides or pine poles.  We live in 2012 and we used materials of the day.  I'll bet if the Sioux had access to PVC pipes at the local hardware store they would've used them too.

Anyway, we started with five 9' pieces of PVC pipe ($2 a piece), 2 9x12 brown paper dropcloths or some sheets, rope, and tape - lots and lots of tape!!

Make a conical shape out of your pipes, and twist a length of rope around and under and through to hold it all together. If your kids are short you will need another grown up and maybe even a stepstool :)

Now wrap the paper or sheets around the structure as well as you can.  In the picture you can't see all the packaging tape I used to achieve this but it was an impressive amount.

Next have your children (and a cousin) decorate with symbols from nature.  We have suns and trees, orcas and buffalo, some birds and a terrible storm.  They loved being able to see the decorations from both sides since the paper was on the thin side.

Now pile in and enjoy!  They furnished theirs with pillows and blankets and played for quite awhile. Maybe tonite we'll have a campout!


  1. So interesting to watch your activities of the day!!!! I think we will all be learning something from this journey!

  2. I love it!! Great job on the tipi!!