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ART WITH MS K


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Psychedelic Succulent Still Life Paintings

The idea and resources for this lesson came from Art With Mrs. Nguyen! When I first saw her blog post about this lesson I was so inspired that I made one myself with gouache and watercolors!

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I cannot emphasize enough how awesome this project is. It was a great way to kick off the school year with 5th graders because it gave them so many choices and opportunities to be expressive with colors, patterns, and composition. This one really involved a lot of choice and voice! We started off on the first day with a PowerPoint and handouts with examples of different succulents — both can be found in Mrs. Nguyen’s incredible TpT store!

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Students were encouraged to add visual texture to their succulents for detail and use expressive lines and shapes to create a pattern on their pot. They added 2 horizontal lines for a table or the ground. The final draft was on 9×12 paper and all the lines were of course traced with sharpies. 5th graders could paint the background however they wanted using watercolors. They used colored pencils to color in their cacti. I showed them how to create gradients using analogous colors and they did not have to make their plants realistic. Many kids chose vibrant rainbow colors or used color schemes for their favorite sports teams to give their artwork a personal twist.

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To get the table to look like realistic wood, we drew from observation by looking at the wooden tables in the art room. I also did a demonstration of how to make a galaxy design with watercolors and a few kids used salt to create lovely texture!

 

Awesome job 5th graders!!

❤ Ms. K


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My First Art Market & Classroom Updates

Well it has certainly been awhile since I have posted! Ever since the school year started, things have been incredibly busy.

I have made a few new paintings and a lot of new ceramic pieces . . .

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I also achieved one of my long time goals to participate in an artist’s market! I have always enjoyed going to art festivals and for the past few years I have been scheming about how to participate in one. A couple of weekends ago, I finally did and it was AWESOME!!

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I was a part of the Indie Craft Experience Made market. If you are from Atlanta you may have heard of this amazing group that hosts pop-up artists markets all over the city. This one was at the Hudgens Center for the Arts. I worked really hard on my booth setup and ended up having an excellent day meeting art-lovers and sharing my work. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to sell my artwork!

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I believe it is so important for art educators to practice creativity in non-school environments. You have probably heard that old saying “those who can’t teach” but I think that the best teaching comes from authentic, hands-on experience. It can be hard to make time to create especially after a long day of managing a classroom but it is truly meaningful development professionally and personally!

So while I have been gallivanting around as an artist I have of course gotten into the full swing of things with my art students! This bulletin board was created and inspired by our school mission statement.

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After the first couple of weeks of easy-going-getting-to-know-ya type activities, we jumped right in to some great projects! Kindergarten is currently working on fingerprint flower pots (I’ll be posting a blog about this process soon.)

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First graders are also learning about mixing primary colors and are using tissue papers to create a background for tissue paper portraits:

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Second graders are creating a lovely landscape with a foreground, middleground, and background.

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Third graders learned all about Georgia O’keeffe and painted beautiful flowers:

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Fourth graders are creating a warm/cool self portrait and they are turning out AMAZING!!!! (Blog post about this one coming soon too!)

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5th graders are drawing and painting a succulent still life. They are so whimsical and fun and there will also be a blog post about these soon as well.

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I am loving my new school and have been completely enchanted and charmed by my incredible students. I am so thankful to be a part of the Northwood community! As we are wrapping up projects, be on the lookout for blog posts of some fun new things in the works 🙂

❤  Ms. K

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Even More Art By Ms. K

Wow it has been a while since I have posted my own artwork! I am rounding out my final semester in classes for grad school, the next step is to write a thesis and hopefully be finished in August. My thesis will be studio-based and basically be an exploration into the paintings I have been creating. The following are pieces that have been created since my last Art By Ms. K post (way back in May). Enjoy!

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HEART IN HAND

This piece is about wearing your heart on your sleeve. I know many people who are willing to share their heart with another but I believe that you must be whole before you can attempt to give your heart away. This is also a reminder to practice kindness and thoughtfulness everyday and live with love and light.

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LABYRINTH

This circuit board design was inspired by two experiences with a labyrinth. When I travelled to San Francisco and Portland  earlier this year, I had two maze like experiences. The first was on the high cliffs above the sea where a small area had been used for a labyrinth made of rocks. As we walked around and around and made twisty turns in the path we could feel the wind from the bay and see the bridge in the distance. It was just one of those moments when you know you are exactly where you are supposed to be. The second maze came in the form of a Pac Man game played in Portland which turned out to be a true battle royale. Pac Man in particular is especially meaningful to me because it is how my parents met. So this piece is all about life’s pathways and how you are exactly where you are meant to be. 

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DREAMCATCHER

This dreamcatcher was made with ceramics, glaze, silver wire, and natural gemstones. I have a dream catcher hanging above my bed that my cousin made for me when I was little. I always believed it protected me from bad dreams. I created this dream catcher to protect from disease. The main circle has white blood cells carved into it. White blood cells are the protectors of the body. The next circle shows a hamsa hand with an evil eye to ward off negativity. the last circle has a prism which catches light and positivity. The stones and materials are all earthy and reflect the way that humans are connected to the earth on a molecular level.

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THE MESSENGER 

This piece illustrates the mystical honey bee: messenger between the spiritual and physical world. I love scientific illustrations and this piece features a honey bee. There is a key hole in the bee to represent the mystery of the bees disappearing. Though it seems like something small, the effects of this phenomenon could have extreme consequences on the overall ecosystem. 

I was inspired to make a bee by a book I read in which a beekeeper used a honey bee as a messenger between worlds which simultaneously represented loss and growth. This idea is reflected in the depiction of the vertebral bone (representing decay) and the flower (representing growth).

In the middle is a sacred geometry symbol known as Metatron’s Cube or the Flower of Life. Not only is this symbol beautiful but it is constructed by a seemingly endless repetition of shapes much like the cycle of growth and decay of all living things.

My secret language motif is present to remind the viewer that there are still mysteries of nature yet to be solved.

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MAGICAL FOREST 

This piece was inspired by a walk through the forest. Walking on the paths by the river near my home is one of my favorite things to do. One day I was walking and all of a sudden a fox darted across the path in front of me. It was so cool to see because it is so rare to see such a large animal on that part of the trail.

It made me think about animals and humans and the idea of a “spirit animal.” It is said that your spirit animal appears to you in a  dream or vision and often reappears in times of need. For me this has always been a rabbit and it made me think of the dichotomy of predator vs. prey. I think that we all have this yin-yang within us and work to balance it. For some it is a balance of introvertedness and extrovertedness, for some is it simply good vs. evil. With this painting I wanted to show that when we hold our dual natures in balance, harmony and peace is achieved.

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LUNA MOTH

I painted this after a camping trip. We camped next to a river with a bunch of mossy rocks poking out of the bubbling water. When we first got there the rocks were covered with hundreds of butterflies floating around. It was so magical and surreal. They were not luna moths but it made me think about the first time I saw one of these unearthly creatures.

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DARUMA

This spacey Daruma represents perseverance and brings luck. I painted this in response to some news of a change which at the time really rocked my world. The Daruma is a Japanese object created by a monk to help people reach their goals. When you get one you color in one eye and think about the goal you want to achieve. When you reach your goal, you color in the other eye. In this way the Daruma “watches” you succeed. The goal I had in mind when I created this was to remain positive and continue trying my best throughout the rest of the school year. 

The Japanese characters are traditional and read Okiagari which means “get up” and “arise.” Sometimes the phrase Nanakorobi (seven times down, eight times up) is also inscribed on a Daruma to show that any obstacle can be overcome with positivity and perseverance. 

This piece also represents harmony though the Japanese expression of A-un. This concept is about harmony and balance which can be represented as simply as an inhale and exhale. This ties into my practice of yoga and breathing as a calming mechanism as well as a way to stay balanced.

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PLAYA DREAMS

This painting shows a map of the temporary settlement of Black Rock City which exists for a week every year and is known as Burning Man. I had the opportunity to participate in the experience in what I hope is the first year of many. To say the experience was incredible is an understatement and one I will always cherish. I wanted to capture the surrealism of it all with this piece and also think about what kind of installation art I would contribute if I had time/money/resources/knowledge to do so.

I think it would be really cool to have a giant glowing/metallic/reflective orb or disc that reflects the viewer. Here that is pictured as the entire city but in real life it would just reflect whoever is standing there and maybe have some kind of reference to the geometry of the city. Burning Man can be a very self-reflective experience and I think that looking into an enormous mirror in the middle of the desert would be a simultaneously dream-like and reality-bound experience.

The simplicity of the mountains and sky show how simple the land out there is – until there is a tremendous dust storm! The lines and galaxy in the orb are to represent the contrast between the serene landscape and the frenzied energy of all of the different people and experiences that exist there only ephemerally.

JUMBLE TRIBE 

These two are part of the Jumble Tribe. This is basically a visualization of what the inside of my brain looks like so I suppose you could call it a type of meta-abstract self portrait! For me, doodling is a completely meditative experience. I created these as a way to find harmony within and try and de-stress.

I remember getting in trouble for doodling all throughout my schooling years and even today I cannot sit in a meeting, training, or class without a pen in my hand and a paper to doodle on. I have always been a kinetic learner and need to move and do to learn. I use this to my advantage with my students and in my teaching. I strive to be a teacher who caters to different learning styles and provide plenty of opportunities for all types of learners to shine.

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FILLER 

This piece really has no deep or spiritual meaning and only exists for the sole purpose of being aesthetically pleasing.

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THE GIFT 

This painting is about self-love. When you look in the mirror do you radiate positivity, love and light or self doubt? In this day and age we are bombarded constantly with a visual culture that has very specific requirements for what constitutes as “beauty” and it can be hard to see and even harder not to compare yourself.

I believe that everyone is beautiful and that the best gift you can give yourself is self-love and confidence. the figure in this piece is receiving just that from a reflection. The gold mirror and leaves represent a rich growth through this discovery of self. Haters gonna hate but you can do anything you set your mind to when you treat yourself with respect!

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OPTICAL ‘EYE’LLUSION

So this piece is a little bit darker and that is because it is a response to something that is not my usual subject matter of love and light and positivity. I recently attended a lecture by an art educator who promotes responses to current events with her students. She asked “How many tragedies have we seen? How many more will we see?”

I was reminded of this when I heard about the recent attacks on Paris. Having just turned 28 I thought about all of the tragedies I have seen and felt sorrow for how many more I will probably see.

There is a Grateful Dead lyric that says “wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world” and I feel like that is really true these days especially with the ability to instantly share and respond on social media. We are all viewers of the experiences shared on Earth. These eyes in the painting have seen a lot and are heavy with visions of tragedy. They represent those affected directly and those who witnessed from a distance. Anybody who felt and feels saddened by the sickness of terrorism.

Though this painting is dark I feel that there is hope. I see it every day in my classroom and promote it through character development and a culture of caring. I truly believe that today’s students can grow up to become kind and responsible adults who will crusade for positivity and kindness.

I hope that you, dear reader are inspired to live with love and light and practice being kind and caring. Until next time,

❤ Ms. K.

*** All images are the intellectual property of Mollie Katzin and may not be reproduced, republished, distributed, transmitted, displayed, broadcast or otherwise exploited in any manner without the express prior written permission of the artist ***


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More Art BY Ms K

posted a while back about some of my own artwork. I think it is important for art teachers to continue to create their own work outside of the classroom so that we stay connected with the artistic process. However that is easier said than done considering all of the hoops we have to jump through and behind the scenes work that needs to be done just to even teach a lesson. But I became an art teacher so that I could be a (non-starving) artist and pass my passion on to new generations of creative thinkers. Finding time to make art is tough but necessary for the sake of providing the best art education experience.

That being said, I was thrilled when I signed up for a drawing and painting class. I signed up for this class because I am actually back at Georgia State University to earn a master’s degree. It is an amazing but rigorous program and I could not be more excited to reconnect with some of my professors from my undergrad. I am now finished with my first semester and wanted to share some of the artwork that I created.

The first day I met with my professor, we had a long talk about life, the universe, and everything. I showed him some of my pen ink mandalas and he said “You should work with gouache.” I was kind of terrified at this point because I was not making artwork with a whole lotta color in it and the only paint I had ever really used was acrylic. Gouache is a different beast!

I went to the best art store in the world Binders and bought all the supplies I would need. I got home and started to play with this new medium and ended up tearing the paper into shreds. I was so frustrated and lost and could not figure out how I could possibly be successful with this type of art making. Then I was given some excellent advice by my ever patient S.O. He asked me, “what do you do when your students get frustrated and give up?” I replied, “I tell them to try their best and practice. Nobody is perfect at something the first time they try it.” By the time I finished that sentence he was giving me a look that basically said DUH!

So I watched some YouTube videos of people using gouache and I practiced and practiced and now I am so proud of this new body of work I have created. The following pieces will end up being part of my thesis and are taking me down an artistic path that I am very excited to follow. Enjoy!

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SELF PORTRAIT

I really wanted to start off with a self-portrait and was inspired by the notion of stepping into another realm. I guess in a way I stepped through another realm of creativity with this medium. Here is a close up of the nebula texture:

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MANDALA
The next piece I made was a mandala. My professor told me to stick with what I know while I still try to get the hang of it. At this point I discovered the wonders of masking fluid which is like painter’s tape but its a liquid. You can draw it on, paint on top, and when you peel it off you are left with a crisp, glorious white line to contrast with color and texture.

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CLOUDS 

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DANDELIONS
This and the following painting were created in response to a personal and family situation. I truly believe in the powers of positive thinking and this quote really resonated with me. “Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, you can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.”

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HOUSEHEADS (for when you dream of home)

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WE ARE ALL CONNECTED
This is a commission/artist trade with Mal Wingostarr a friend and amazing jewelry artist. The three hands represent her family and the chosen quote is by Neil Degrasse Tyson. It says: “We are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically, to the universe atomically.”

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SO IT GOES 
This one is inspired by the book Slaughter House Five. It is such a beautiful book and this imagery is some of the best from the story. The ideas of time travel and the ephemeral nature of life are what I intended to capture with this painting.

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NAMASTE
This painting is a nod to the idea that the universe is within us all. Here is a close-up of the sun mandala:

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SKY AND EARTH
Why is this one round, you might ask. I hated the background so I botched it and cut the part I liked into a circle!

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CAVERN

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LUNAURON

I wanted to play with the juxtaposition of imagery of things that are small and big. This painting is a neuron with a nod to rings in a tree or markings of a fingerprint or a delta stream system from above. The lunar phases surround it. Close up:

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SECRET AND SACRED 
This is the sister piece to the one above. It is an abstracted double helix with sacred geometry shapes that represent the geometric tree of life and geometric infinity. The pattern of “letters” is a made up language that I like to play around with as a motif. The letters are made up but based on actual alphabets such as Hebrew, Sumerian, Elvish, Russian, and English. It represents the microscopic language that resides inside of everything on earth that writes the story of how it exists and what it is made of.

I like the idea that as literate people, we cannot look at a word without automatically reading it. It is impossible to look back to before you could read and you saw letters as funny squiggly shapes. Recently a student asked me “who made the alphabet anyway?!” which is a very good question with a very complicated answer. Alphabets are visually beautiful and the evolution of sounds and letters millenia of human consciousness is truly fascinating.

Close up:

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CELLCHADELIC 
In keeping with the microscopic theme, this is an abstracted cell. I used the alphabet pattern again and made sure to include mitochondria: the powerhouse of the cell. This is inspired by scientific illustrations which I absolutely love. That was my favorite part of science textbooks when I was in school! While not exactly scientifically accurate, this piece is at least a nod to the friendship of science and art.

Close up:

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A’TUIN 
I have always loved stories that deal with the origins of the universe and Terry Pratchett’s concept of A’tuin is awesome. The earth exists on a giant turtle’s back floating through space on top of which are 4 elephants holding the disc that is the world. I collect turtles so I definitely wanted to create a painting that features one of my favorite animals.

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MANDALA FOR SUMMER 
There are only a few weeks left of school. The weather is warm and the sun is shining. This mandala is a nod to popsicles and pooltime. To walks in the woods and picnics in the grass. I am a true summer soul.

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SPECTRUM 
You may have noticed that I like using the symbol of a Hamsa in my work. This symbol is important to me because it represents my culture of Judaism. The hamsa reminds me of when I went to Israel and how amazing that journey was. The all-all-seeing eye represents protection to together it is protection or guardianship of home, heart, and soul.

I wanted to further explore themes of science and I recently listened to an interesting podcast about colors and had a few conversations with different people (randomly) about rainbows. The colors of this and the next few paintings are also nostalgic. There is something about the black/nebula and the rainbow combined together that reminds me of being a little kid.

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PEAKS AND VALLEYS 
This painting invokes a few different ideas like layers of sediment and dirt in the earth or layers of skin or earth and water. Really it is just an in-between piece that is heavy on the design side. I wanted to make something that would involve a lot of patterns and just be kind of fun to get really into. I drew it with pencil, traced over it with masking fluid, painted on top of that, and then went into all of the little negative spaces with a pen. It was super involved but very meditative.

Close up:

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CRYSTAL AND CHAMELEON 
This one is about light and things that catch light or emit light or change in the light. In a deeper sense, it is also about how much I have changed as an artist as I am becoming more and more familiar with gouache.

Close up:

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DREAMER
The latest member of the batch is a bit surreal and about subconscious and conscious dreams. I feel like I finally nailed the nebula texture! Close up:

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If you are interested in commissioning an original painting, please contact me — I love creating works through collaborative inspiration! I plan to sell prints of these soon as well. I will be continuing to create work for personal enjoyment and later this summer for another drawing and painting class. I hope YOU are inspired to create as well! So stay tuned for more art by ms k. 🙂

*** All images are the intellectual property of Mollie Katzin and may not be reproduced, republished, distributed, transmitted, displayed, broadcast or otherwise exploited in any manner without the express prior written permission of the artist ***


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DIY: How to Learn How to Sew Your Own Clothes

This post is very overdue. Like, if this was a school project I would have all kinds of points knocked off for being so darn late. It is now January-o’clock and these projects were started back in November during Thanksgiving break.

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For my birthday, my S.O. gave me a sewing machine. I have always been interested in fashion and clothing making and I watch Project Runway religiously. I had been looking wistfully at sewing machines for a while and never got myself one because I thought any attempt at making something would ultimately end up in disaster. But my ever-supportive guy believed enough for the both of us and surprised me with this beauty of a machine. The manual of course is complete gibberish and quite indecipherable so I learned how to use it from Youtube.

So on a sunny November weekday morning, I went to a local fabric store and completely splurged on fabric, notions, and patterns. When I say I spent a few hours in there I am not exaggerating. It was just such a luxury to be in a place on a weekday morning when everybody else is working. I felt like a Real Housewife!

Anyway I left the shop with a million ideas and all the motivation that I could muster up. I had purchased 6 different fabrics and 3 different patterns and had no idea how to begin or make something. The first project I embarked on will not be shown here because it was so dreadful that it will probably never be shown anywhere. I tried to make a tunic top out of ikat upholstery fabric and it was a complete and utter #fail (and of course the most expensive fabric) I think this is probably because I did not follow a pattern and just basically disregarded basic rules of measuring and planning. This is a lesson I have been taught the hard way over and over throughout my life: you have to know the rules before you can break them. This is true in art and creating especially.

I was not to be discouraged. I decided to try out a pattern and make a dress. With darts. And a zipper. Because how better to learn something than to jump right in! The pattern is this:

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I did the racerback style with example A.

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^ Front View ^

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^ Obligatory Spin! ^

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^ Crooked Wacky Yellow Zipper ^ 

Not pictured: the messy and uneven hemline, the atrocity that is the connection of the bodice to the skirt, and the white thread (why oh why didn’t I match the thread?!) It really is a learning experience and I am quite proud that I created something slightly wearable on my first attempt!

Project two is also from a pattern:

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I made option B and improvised with some pockets. (Once again a little over-ambitious!)  I was really excited about this fabric and wanted to play around with the bold graphics of it.

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^ Front View. This this is super wide and ended up being kind of circus-tenty. ^

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^ Do your pockets hang low, do the wobble too and fro? ^

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^ Back detail with racing stripe inside of the hood. ^ 

The hood was sooooooo tough. I originally lined it with the zig-zag fabric but it turned out to be too heavy and bulky so I covered the middle seam with a “racing stripe” of zig zags. The way it is attached is a little wonky but it kind of works!

Project three is from this pattern:

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I made this amazing pizza skirt from pattern A.

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PIZZAAAAAAAAA!

This “simple” circle skirt with elastic waistband ended up being pretty tricky. I messed up the waistband by pulling the elastic taut before sewing it (thus negating the entire point of having it!) and the back is a little poofy and messy. But I just love the fabric because pizza is of course the best food on this good green Earth.

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What I learned from trying to sew my own clothes: 

1. Using a pattern is hard. Not using a pattern is way harder. I still don’t really understand all of the symbols and instructions on patterns and maybe I never will – after all some things will always remain a mystery like how magnets work and the meaning of life. But after trying my hand at creating clothing my hat goes off to people who can create their own pattern or even drape fabric without a pattern.

2. Pockets are amazing and amazingly confusing. If it was up to me, every garment made for a female would have functional pockets already in it. Dudes aren’t the only ones who need to carry stuff around! Figuring out how to make something that is symmetrical and inside-out-upside down is really tricky but worth it.

3. Like every skill, sewing takes patience and practice to become proficient. I am just a beginner and even though the stuff I made is, in my humble opinion, a hot mess – I am going to keep at it until I am better. It’s like what I tell my students when they ask how they can be better artists: you have to practice, practice, practice! I am excited about some fabrics I have stashed away and ready to go. It might be a while again before I find the time/energy/focus to sit down and create clothing (especially because I am about to start a master’s program for Art Ed) but stay tuned . . . there will be more!


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Dark Wings, Dark Words DIY (a.k.a. Ms. K Nerds Out)

 

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A few months ago I went to the Dragon Con Parade. Here in Atlanta it is an annual event kind of like Comicon where all the nerds and weirdos and unique awesome people of the land dress up and come together to celebrate everything from Dr. Who to Game of Thrones to Pirates and everything in between. Basically, it is an amazing geek party.

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Meanwhile on Peachtree Street. . . 

I went with a few buddies and while we were sitting on the curb watching the parade, I looked over and saw a girl wearing the most amazing crown and gauntlet both made out of metal and glass. I just had to know where she got them and was pleasantly surprised when she said “My dad made them,” and pointed to the dude right next to her. I immediately got his contact info and commissioned a crown of my very own. It is definitely one of my favorite things that I own and I feel so lucky to have an original piece of artwork. The artist (Rusty) is SUPER talented and so creative by turning found objects into wearable art.

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You can tell there is lotsa magic in that thing!

I really wanted to incorporate the crown into my Halloween costume this year and after throwing some different ideas around I decided to go with a Dark Fairy Princess. To stick with the theme of Home-Made Awesomeness, I made my own wings! To make fairy wings you will need:

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  • 4 wire hangers
  • Hot Glue
  • Stockings/Pantyhose (I used 1 pair but 2 works best)
  • Scissors
  • Metal Working Tools to bend and cut (a wrench or pliers will also work)
  • Glitter (in spray form and glue form)
  • Fake Flowers
  • Ribbon

Step One: Prep the Hangers

Take any paper off of the hangers so they are naked (tee hee). Uncurl the top part (the part that actually hangs) so it is straight. Bend the hanger into an eye shape. You can make the tip pointy-er for a more “evil” look or rounder for a sweeter look. Do this with all 4 hangers.

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Step Two: Stretch the Fabric

Next, cut the stockings in half. Stretch the foot part over the end of the wing and tie it off at the bottom. Cut the excess off and use it for the next wing. You will have to tie a knot at the top but if you slide it down a little bit its not as noticeable. (It is best to use 2 pairs of stockings for this but I only had one.) Do the same thing for the other 2 wings.

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Step Three: Twist Em’ Up

The ends should still be sticking straight out. Bring them together and use the metal tools/wrench/pliers to twist and bend them until they are connected. Once you do this it will look crazy and you will have to carefully bend in the ends so they don’t stick out and stab you.

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Step Four: Bundle Up

Hide the craziness with fabric scraps from the stockings. I cut strips and wrapped it around the wires until it was padded and well covered up. It will still probably look messy and crazy. I broke off the stems from the fake flowers and used them to connect the 2 sets of the wings into one bundle by wrapping them around the bundles several times. Then, I covered the whole thing again with more fabric scraps.  This part was kind of tough and an abundance of hot glue was super helpful!

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Step Five: Hide the Mess . . . Some More

I hot glued the 3 flowers on top of the bundle of wires to hide them. I used 3 black roses because I am going for a Dark Fairy vibe but any flowers would work.

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Step 6: Use ALL. THE. GLITTER!

Use the spray on glitter to create shimmer and sparkle. I sprayed the front and the back twice. Then, I used the glitter glue to add “veins” and more details on the wings.

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Step Six: Ribbons

Tie 2 long pieces of ribbon to the bundle in the center of the wings. These ribbons can be tied in several ways, do whatever is most comfortable for you. I like them tied in a bow near my collar bones; I pull one over my shoulder and have one under my arm. Another way to tie it is to make a giant bow in the center of your chest with all 4 ends of the ribbon. You will definitely have to walk through doorways sideways and take them off every time you get in or out of a car but I think that for one day a year (or weekend if you are into that kind of party) it is worth it. Now I will not claim that these look professional or even all that great (an artist can always spot the flaws!) But they were really fun to make and they are so unique — nobody else will have wings quite like these! This is the entire costume all put together:

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Happy Halloween!


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Apple of My Eye DIY

Fall has finally hit Georgia full force and what better way to celebrate than to frolic through an orchard picking apples? I got a chance to do exactly that with some of my lovely girlfriends this past weekend. On a sleepy and bleary car ride to school last week I thought to myself, Ms. Katzin what can you do to make this apple picking adventure even more fun and special? How about some crafty, nonfunctional piece of kitsch that will mark you and your friends as the most ridiculous humans in the orchard? Thus, the Apple Eyes were conceived!

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I began by sketching out the general idea. It is a *pun on the phrase “You are the Apple of My Eye” I cut out the sketch and used it as a template.

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I cut out the individual shapes and traced them onto some felt.

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I traced the eye shape and the circles inside of the eye and cut em’ all out.

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I glued the eyes in layers. . .

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For the eyelid I traced the entire eye onto black and cut out a curved arch that fit over the top. Hot glue galore!

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The lashes were three little curved triangles:

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I hot glued a little stem to the back:

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I glued the eye to the apples and added a little heart. Then I glued the apple to a white piece of felt and cut out a bubble around the entire thing. Then I cut out a black bubble around the white one. This added a little more visual interest and tied in the black and white of the eye. The last step was to use some Hulk Strength to punch a hole in the top and tie a string through.

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The apples were a hit with my homies and we had a blast gallivanting through the orchards!

 

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Yum!

 

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Group Shot 😀

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SO happy I got to fill a sack up with these awesome apples! #delicious #fiber #wewillbefeastingonapplesforthenextcoupleweeks

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^Spying

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Happy Fall Y’all!

 

 

 

*Not an actual pun (Meghan)


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DIY: How to Make a Marathon Medal Display

My BFF over at fitnesscreatures.com just completed her second marathon (WOOHOO!!!) I am so incredibly proud and inspired by her awesomeness and wanted to show her some love and support by making her a display for all of her race medals. This ended up being a Generic Winter Holiday (Xmas? Thanksgivikkah? Kwanzaa? . . . whatever) gift and seeing as it is one of the few DIY projects I have not only attempted but also invented and also actually completed [almost] successfully, I figured I would post it here.

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Please excuse the poor quality of this picture I PINKY SWEAR it looks good in real life!

I began by spending an absurd amount of time in a craft store armed only with a vague idea and some inspiration. It was one of those big box stores (which is why I refuse to name it here) that has a very unbalanced ratio of Christmas-decorating housewives to employees. When I finally did track down someone who might have just been pretending to work there they told me I would be better off going to a home improvement store.

Anyhow none of this is really important except that it gives you some backdrop to the situation and you should probably also imagine me picking out all of these materials to some really cheesy Christmas tunes (I’m pretty sure they played a few Elvis songs and at least one Kidzbop carol). I knew I wanted to make something black and white (keep it classy!) so when I stumbled across the drawer knob aisle (yes there was an entire aisle for that nonsense) I spent several long minutes choosing some pretty nifty little knobs. Next it was just a loooooong walk across what felt like several miles of fake poinsettias and faux antique chatchkas over to the wood section where I found a glorious letter (for BFF Meghan.) Then the fun began:

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I used a drill . . . knew that sculpture concentration would come in handy 😉 . . . to drill holes the size of the screws in the drawer knobs. Thanks for the supervision, Dad!

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Voila! And also Happy Hanukkah. 

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After some serious blog stalking I came up with pages of photos of cuteness and friendship la la la blah blah blah.

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I felt like a master scrapbooker as I cut and placed all of the pictures in a cute overlappy kind of way. (thats a word, right?) This is the exact moment when I realized that I should have painted the darn thing first. Oops!

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So I proceeded to ever so carefully paint the empty spaces with black acrylic paint. . . after the fact. That is the precise reason why I do not ever attempt this kind of thing. 

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After it dried (aren’t you surprised I actually used common sense!?) I coated it a couple of times with mod-podge. 

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It came out great if I do say so myself (which of course I do.) Here is the recipient herself:

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Can you even handle the amount of medals on that thing? What a champ! To read a recap of all those races and more (many including yours truly) as well as see some yummy healthy recipes and get workout and fitness tips, head over to FITNESSCREATURES.COM FITNESS CREATURES.COM FITNESSCREATURES.COM

Oh and happy Generic Winter Holidays to all of my readers!


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Art BY Ms. K

Last night I attended the art teacher meeting for the county with all of the k-12 art teachers. It was at the High Museum of Art where I was fortunate enough to get to see the Frida+Diego exhibit which was beautifully put together.

Local street artist EVEREMAN was there and performed his Ted x Talk for us. It was so inspiring to hear someone speak about bringing art to everyone. I think people who have not grown up fostering a passion for art can sometimes see it as something unobtainable, they say, “That’s not for me, I’m not an artist.”

I tell the kids all the time (and I truly believe) that every human being has a flame of creativity within them and all it takes is a spark to ignite the passion for expression. My job as an educator, especially an art educator, is to cultivate within my students the skills for innovation, creativity, and problem solving that will be necessary to navigate through a future that I cannot even imagine. This begins with the revelation that yes, you are an artist and everybody’s art delightfully and wonderfully unique.

My artwork used to be kind of sad and scary with allusions to death and psychosis and other strange and off-putting things. Don’t get me wrong, it was certainly really awesome and cool art but I have grown as an artist and as a human being since then. I wanted to share my latest works which I think are (sub)consciously about life and growth and energy which is exciting and reflective of my own life now.

Some of these drawings are based on The Auguries of Innocence (a poem by William Blake) Some of them are based on scientific illustrations. Some of them are based on photomicrography and the minutae of our world. What they all have in common is that they are intricately detailed depictions of thriving life. Because, after all, science and art are the same thing — they are both a means of exploring and responding to the universe.

Photomicographic Image of Spider Silk Glands Making Thread:

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Scientific Illustration of a Frog Celebrating Dia de Los Muertos:

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Auguries of Innocence:

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Rhinoceros Beetle/Rhinoceros/Hibiscus:

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Plantimal Cell Division:

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Inner Ear/Fetus:

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Auguries of Innocence:

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Flea:

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Bacteriophage Celebrating Dia de Los Muertos:

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Neuron/Anaphase/Diatoms:

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Art is everywhere, all around in the world even in a sink full of paint:

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It all depends on how you look at it — after all, you see what you look for if you choose to, you can always find art everywhere!.