Please Don't Eat the Artwork


1 Comment

Moana Landscapes by 2nd Grade

The idea for this project comes from the Apex Elementary Art Blog. I wanted to start off the year for 2nd graders with a step-by-step drawing project. I often get the sense that my students are confident painters but when it comes to drawing their hesitation and doubt is very apparent. Drawing is a very difficult skill. You have to use a part of your brain that does not often get exercised to look at something and try and figure out how to remake it on your paper.  Most art media is much more forgiving and mistakes can be hidden or changed. Drawing can be frustrating for elementary kids because it is an art form in which imperfection becomes obvious very quickly.

That being said, I personally find that it is easiest to draw when using a drawing book or a youtube tutorial (lately I am obsessed with Draw with Jazza) so I wanted to bring that same experience to my students so they could gain some confidence. We began by drawing step-by-step together. The drawing was excellent for reviewing different kinds of lines and shapes and parts of a landscape (foreground, middle ground, background). Here is an animation of the steps:


The kids drew with pencil and then traced over their lines with sharpie. We talked a lot about overlapping and size placement to show depth. A lot of students were wondering why there are flowers floating around in the foreground and I really didn’t have a good answer for them so I finally just turned on the Moana soundtrack and said that it is supposed to be from Moana. This seemed a reasonable enough answer to distract the students from the obvious weirdness of the foreground flowers. We continued the Moana jam sesh as we painted.

I love all of the unique details my students added to these whimsical landscapes like dinosaurs and sheep and houses and trees and all kinds of cutie little things.

Mrs. K

Leave a comment

When You Promise Not to do Wedding DIY But You Are an Artist so You End Up DIYing

Hello! This post is about some of the wedding DIY things I did. As the title indicates, I promised myself I would not under ANY CIRCUMSTANCE stress myself out with diy  and then of course I ended up DIYing.

The first thing I DIYed were the save-the-dates and invitations. Did you know that it costs several hundred dollars to get wedding invitations designed and printed? I did not know this until several months ago and was absolutely shocked at the exorbitant prices for literally paper that people look at for one second and then throw away. SERIOUSLY!!! So i decided that to achieve the price and look I desired, I would try and make my own. Here are the supplies I used:

(Not pictured: masking fluid, liquid water color, salt, and paintbrushes (duh))

I created paintings and then took them to UPS to have them scanned in high resolution.

Then, I uploaded the images to Vistaprint and got the invitations printed with exquisite detail for about a quarter of the price of most wedding invitation suites.


I also hand painted our Welcome Sign using the same materials on 18×24 watercolor paper. Finding a frame for this size was surprisingly difficult but I managed to finally find one at Target.


On a dollar store frame I painted “Please Sign Our Guestbook” which went along with our incredible handmade paper and leather book from Mind’s Eye Journals. I also set our invitation in a shadow box displayed with it.


The last bit of DIY was the card box. I ordered this house terrarium from Amazon which kinda matched our terrarium centerpieces. Then I used white acrylic paint to add leaves and vines.


Another lovely bespoke detail was this set of corn hole boards created by Rusty Nail. They were a big hit for wedding guests!


So that’s about it for my Wedding DIY! We also did bubbles with ribbons but I can’t seem to find a picture of those at the moment. I will leave you with a selfie of me and my Mister:



❤ Mrs. K

Leave a comment

Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes

All year long my kindergartners have been obsessed with Pete the Cat. And I honestly can’t blame them because Pete the Cat is awesome!!!! I love all of the Pete the Cat books but I was especially excited when I saw this on in the book store:


Not only are the illustrations amazing, but the story is super cute too and includes counting and subtracting which is perfecto for kinders. We created these paintings with step-by-step drawing and looking at pictures of cupcakes. Now normally I try and steer away from projects that are this prescribed because I do not want all of the products to look the same but this method of creating actually ended up empowering students and making them feel proud of their work. We began by reading the story and drawing Pete the Cat. We drew a wide letter “V” with a curved line and triangles at the top. Then, students looked at pictures of cupcakes to copy or they could use their memory or imagination. They had to show overlapping with the cupcakes in front of their Pete the Cat. After drawing, they traced all of their lines with sharpies, then they colored in the cupcakes with Crayola Twistables.

The next class, kinders used tempera cakes to paint their designs. How adorable are these!?

As Pete the Cat would say:

“Keep walking along and singing your song, because its all good”

❤ Ms. K

1 Comment

Starburst Designs

The idea from this lesson came from Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists and from


I really love this project because it was pretty open-ended and provided a great opportunity for students to get their doodlin’ on. I have always loved to doodle and find that not only is it a meditative and relaxing process, it can also improve comprehension and creativity. Check out this fab TED Talk about doodling!

We began with a very tedious day of drawing line segments, points, and angles. When I used those terms there was almost a riot in the art room — “WHAT MS KATZIN? WE HAVE TO DO MATH TODAY!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!”

Muahahaha — little did they know it would lead to a beautiful design!

You start with a horizontal line anywhere between 3 and 5 inches. Label the line segment with “A” and “B”


Next, draw a dot in the top middle.


Connect the dot to A. . .


And then to B. Then draw another dot.


Then connect that dot to A and B.


After the first couple of dots, there were some students who caught on really quickly. I had those students fill up the rest of their paper on their own. They needed 5-6 dots on the top and bottom of their AB segment. They had to make sure their design was balanced and filled up the space. For the kids who needed a more step by step approach, we went dot by dot together.


Next, 4th graders got to use colorful permanent markets to trace over their lines. Because our last project was so restrictive with colors, I let students have free choice of the colors they used for their starburst design – the only criteria was to show contrast.

The last couple of days were spent filling in the shapes with patterns and doodly designs. Students used sharpies and colored pencils to fill up their starbursts. Then, they cut them out and glued to colorful construction paper.

This was a really neat project. It was one of those projects that empowers young artists because it had such a high success rate and was so visually pleasing. Great job 4th graders!

❤ Ms. K


Leave a comment

Clay Creepies

This is my first year doing an art club and there are a lot of things I really enjoy about it. I really enjoy getting to know some extremely talented and motivated students in a more focused setting. I am really enjoying the opportunity to try out exciting projects and materials that would be difficult or impossible to use with an entire class or grade. We are currently working on paper mache masks that I will post about soon.Our first project of the year was a clay “creepie.” This is a project that I have done a million times in a million different ways with 7-17 year olds. I thought it would be a fun and motivating first project for my art club kiddos!

We began with a hunka-chunka clay that we turned into a pinch pot. Then, extra clay bits were pinched, rolled, and attached to create all the features of a monster or creature. I am so impressed with the creativity of this group. They really put their imaginative efforts into their creations and created some crazy clay creepies.

Way to go art club!

❤ Ms. K

Leave a comment

Tiny Woven House

I am currently trying to come up with ideas for projects that can be used for an art show for next year. It is kind of tricky because I am not usually a stickler for the “product” of the artwork that students make looking perfect but for an art show there has to be some level of sellability. Also, I usually have my students work on 12×18 paper and for an art show the projects have to be half that size! That being said I wanted to try out a couple of aesthetically pleasing little projects that may or may not be used for the art show next year.


This project is based on this with a couple of tweaks here and there. We began by creating the night sky painted paper background with purples, blues, and black paint. Students used the non-bristle side to carve in the details of the stars and expressive lines.


The next day, 3rd graders used art stix to create texture on construction paper. They used home made texture mats that were created by “drawing” with a hot glue gun on matboard. I made a whole set and they are great!


They cut the paper in half using a wavy or zig-zag line and glued down the pieces into a landscape.


Next, they created texture on 3 smaller pieces of construction paper that would be used to make a woven house with a roof. They cut the papers to make a warp and a weft and wove them together.


Then they tucked the house into the hills/grass and added a roof and details.


I think they came out nice. I’m not sure if they are art-show worthy buuuuuuut we were also a bit rushed because of testing and the fact that there are only a handful of weeks left of school. Either way, great job third graders!






NAEA 2016 in Chicago

Getting back into the swing of things today has been rough! (#thestruggleisreal right after a conference!) I had a blast in Chicago at this year’s NAEA conference!


This was not my first time in Chicago nor was it my first national conference but it sure was a unique and fun experience!


I was so inspired by many of the sessions I attended especially the Curriculum Slam.

I got to spend a few hours in the Chicago Art Institute museum which was a truly amazing experience. I always feel so starstruck seeing artwork in real life. I didn’t take many pictures because I was so busy experiencing the museum!


The city of Chicago is also filled with artwork in the form of fantastic murals and public sculptures!


I loved seeing my dear friends Melinda, Rosie, and Noelle and rooming with them yet again, we always have a great time 🙂


There was a cosplay convention at the conference center while we were there which just goes to show how art teachers affect creativity!


What a fab experience! I can’t wait for next year’s conference in NYC!

IMG_20160318_154722  ❤ Ms. K


Leave a comment



I am pleased and excited to announce that I am finally selling my artwork! For the past month or so I have been creating ceramic cups and pendants that are up for grabs in my Etsy shop: MollieMazel. I named my shop MollieMazel because it is my first name and “Mazel” means “luck” in Hebrew. I have created tiny cups called “mini mugs” which are functional, decorative, and basically exist to smile and make people happy.

IMG_6066 Untitled IMG_6137

There are a bunch of different colors available and they even make excellent planters!


I have also been creating ceramic pendants. I wear one every day!


I can make them with a variety of colors of cording in any length so they are completely customizable.


IMG_6018 IMG_6055 IMG_6045 IMG_6056

I am coming out with some new designs soon so stay tuned! I am hoping to bring these handmade, one of a kind, unique treasures to some local art festivals in the spring and summer. In the meantime, let me know what you think and if you would like a custom made creation I would love to work with you. You can follow me on Instagram to see works in progress and completed pieces @molliemazel



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!



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.

sense of place 2


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. 



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.



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.



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.

animals 03


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.



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.

sense of place 1


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.


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.



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



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!



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 ***


A Bad Case of a Crazy Hair Day

I am so impressed with these amazing self portraits created by amazing kindergarteners! I truly adore how fun and wacky they are. We began by talking about self portraits and drawing our own faces using lines and shapes. Students used sharpies to make their drawings really pop.


Next, we read the book A Bad Case of Stripes and talked about how everybody is different and you should still ought to be nice to them and definitely not laugh at them or bully them.


Kinders used watercolors to paint their faces rainbow stripes just like the girl from the story.


The next week we drew lines and shapes in patterns on big paper with crayons. Painting over it with watercolor created a neat resist. Then the paper was cut up and folded and bent to create a crazy hair day!

028 016 015 (2) 021 (2) 027 014 (2) 012 020 (2) 003 004 006 007 009 030 031 002 (2)