Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Art Teacherin' Book Club: Growth Mindset Coach, 3

Hey, y'all! I'm so excited about this week's Art Teacherin' Book Club meeting. In case you didn't hear, co-author Annie Brock will be joining us at 8pm CST right here! How awesome is that? I was so thrilled when a fellow art teacherin' buddy reached out to me to say that she knew the authors...I was all, "hey, can you hook a girl up?" And she did! Annie will be joining us and fielding any thoughts, questions and concerns we may have about growth mindsets.

Even if you are not currently reading The Growth Mindset Coach (um, you really should be), please know that you are welcome to join our chat. Here's all you have to do: 

1. Like and/or follow my page

2. At around 8pm CST, I should pop up in your feed. If I do not, try refreshing your feed or popping by my Facebook page. 

That's it! It doesn't get much easier than that!
Now, if you've joined a Facebook LIVE before, then you know the comments fly by. And, if the comments are lengthy, they tend to get cut off with a "see more" button. Ain't nobody got time for "see more" when more comments keep rollin' in! So, to keep us all on track and to allow Annie enough time to share her journey, I thought it would be good to establish a couple of ground rules. So here we go:

1. Questions will be answered by us first. You can see a general version of the questions we'll be throwing Annie's way in the first image. We will answer the questions first...and then give Annie the floor. For example, when I ask for an introduction to kick off our chat, I'll want to hear from all y'all. Once we are done introducing ourselves, where we teach, our demographics and the number of years we've been killin' the art teacherin' game, we'll give Annie the floor. This will make it so her comment remains onscreen the longest giving everyone ample read time. 

2. Allow Annie's comments to remain. If you've joined our chats before, you might have noticed that new comments push the older ones out. If Annie responds and we flood the comment box then her comments will vanish and she'll have to repeat herself for those who missed it. I'll try my best to read what she has to say...but in case I miss it, let's allow Annie to have the last word. Meaning, once her comment is up, please do not comment until we've all had time to enjoy her words and are ready to move on.

3. Please keep your answers short. Frequent chatters might know  why keeping your answers short is important. If you type out a lengthy paragraph, the totality of what you have to say will not show. Instead a "see more" button will interrupt your comment and, I hate to say it, ain't nobody got time to "see more". So, keep your answers short, on point and we'll be able to see them. If you have a lot to say, simply break it up into bite sized bits so we can see it all. 

I am THE WORST at following rules and directions such as the ones I've laid out for y'all. My therapist says I have issues with authority (I thought I was paying him to tell me I'm right!) That being said, I think laying these ground rules will make it so we can get the most out of our special guest, Annie Brock, and enjoy our chat. Big shout out to Annie...we are so excited to "meet" you and chat about The Growth Mindset Coach with you. We are thrilled to bring your ideas to our art rooms! 

See you on Wednesday, 8pm CST right here!
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Monday, July 17, 2017

Art Teacherin' Road Trip: Lowe Mill, Huntsville, Alabama

Not too long ago, a sweet art teacher friend asked me if I'd ever been to Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment in Huntsville, Alabama. Not only had I never been, but I'd never even heard of it! When I think of Huntsville, which is a couple hours south of the Nashville area where I live, I think of the NASA's Space Flight Center. Art isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind. So I was super surprised one Saturday morning when Mitch and I pulled up to this giant old factory turn arts facility. 
Every Saturday, Lowe Mill hosts a small farmers market on the front lawn. There were just a handful of booths when we walked by and I didn't stop to check them out...I was too intrigued by the giant brick building which had a steady stream of folks going in and out. We stepped inside. 
The Mill has three floors. The first was filled with open concept shops like this weaving studio. There was a comic art shop, a quilting shop with some super fun fabrics, one filled with instruments crafted from cigar boxes, you name it. Each storefront was super welcoming with mini-make and takes happening. In this weaving shop, I was introduced to the Weave-It loom, a miniature loom that was created back in the 50's. I had inherited two of these looms from my grandpa...so I was thrilled to have an expert show me how to use it. 
 Also located on the first floor were a couple of art exhibits. I was loving these paintings by Bethanne Hill as apart of her show titled Home Ground. 
Each artist's studio was so unique and each artist so stinkin' friendly! I was encouraged to snap photos, ask questions and try my hand at creating. 
 Loved this artist's collection of bottles. 
From the first floor, we took the stairs (deciding to forgo the slightly frightening vintage elevator) which opened up to a vendor's craft market. Here, the artists were selling their inexpensive wares sidewalk style, right in front of their shops. There were artists of all ages selling such a variety of stuff that I was always intrigued. Not to mention, this place was hopping! I loved that so many folks were out celebrating the arts. 
Also, that monster door thing is giving me life. 
 As is this bright orange deer. 
 I have to say, the shop that excited me the most on the second floor was the one with the puppets. This place was like a puppet museum! I was fascinated with the variety of vintage and handmade puppets. 
 After traveling in Italy this summer, I'm really excited about the idea of puppets and having my students learn about the history of Pinocchio. But now I realize I'll have a lot of puppet ideas to share with them. The puppet possibilities are endless!
The owner of this shop was every bit of awesome and informative as her booth. I chatted with her at length. I loved that about the Lowe Mill...so many opportunities to meet and hang out with working artists. 
 So I took exactly one million trillion photos in her booth. Sorry not sorry. 
 Can you blame me?!
 On the third floor, there were much bigger studio spaces. I learned that some of these spaces were open for rent. I saw a clay class happening in one rented space. I need to get on their email list to stay up on the classes offered. 
 There were also places where folks could drop in and create. Lots of classes being offered like ones for painting, stained glass, you name it. 
The third floor was also home to a fantastic popsicle place and a coffee house. 
 This view of the third floor should give you a better idea of the space. Again, very open air and open concept. What I love about that is that it seemed to provide a chance for artists to have a community...and not feel isolated as they normally might. 
 The variety of artwork being created was so inspiring. 
 LOVE these pieces!
 Mitch and I did take a break half way through our visit to grab some pizza. Lowe Mill is so big, we needed to step away for a bit and come back to explore some more. 
Here is what I found the most amazing about this place: the amount of folks who were there. Imagine what the halls of a mall look like on most weekends with folks mindlessly walking up and down. Now imagine those same crowds here, at the Lowe Mill...but this time, being intrigued and engaged all while creating and admiring art. It was amazing! I thought: why don't all towns have something like this?
 You know what? Maybe they do. And I've failed to find them. New mission! I know both Nashville and Franklin (where I teach) have thriving art communities. I need to get more involved. Look what I'm missing out on.
 But back to Lowe Mill. After our pizza lunch, we finished exploring this magical place. 
If you find yourself near Huntsville, Alabama, I recommend a trip to Lowe Mill. It's a place I'd definitely like to visit again. 
What magical maker spaces are near where you live? I'd love some road trippin' recommendations. 
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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 38

Winner of the Growth Mindset Coach Playbook announced at the end of this post! 

Because I'm a world renowned over-sharer, it may come as a surprise that there was a time, not that long ago, when I didn't blog, post videos, share on social media or present...anywhere. I honestly didn't think that what I had to say was important, valid, and/or worthy of being listened to. It wasn't until it was pointed out to me that I should share, that I had ideas, methods and projects that some might find useful, that I finally did. But only after years of folks gently coercing me to do so. If I could travel back in time and have a shoulder-shaking moment with myself, I would say, "just do it! And do it right now!" And I'm here today to deliver that same message to you, if you find yourself on the "should I? or shouldn't I?" fence. Here, let's chat:
Now that I've hopefully got you convinced that you are amazing, you have a voice and you have ideas that need to be shared with the universe, let's chat about some of the finer details:

* Where to Share? That's one that deserves serious thought...and is totally up to you, your time and your favorite means of communication. Are you a visual person? Try an Instagram account for your art teacherin' outlet. Love to chat and interact with other art educators? Twitter might be your jam. Facebook is kind of a combo of both and the most popular...therefore a great way to reach many parents and peers. Make videos for your classes? Consider sharing them on YouTube. Blogging, well, I'm not gonna lie, that one requres a lot of time and effort to reap the reach-of-desired-audience rewards. Be honest with yourself. Do what you know you will enjoy...because that is what you will stick with.

* Give It a Test Run. If you are going to start an Instagram account or dive right into blogging, might I recommend a test run. What I mean by that is this: keep your blog posts or social media accounts private for a pinch. Type up at least four blog posts; line up no fewer than a dozen IG posts and keep them private. Then step away from them for a few days. Did you enjoy typing up those blog posts? Is that something you think you'll enjoy doing on a continual basis? Great! Now you have four posts all lined up and ready to roll out. This will make it so you have some breathing room and don't feel like you have to crank out content and not enjoy the process. As for your social media, like Instagram, look at those images before making your account public. Do your images make sense together? Do they look like they belong with one another? Do they have your "mark", so to speak? It takes time to develop a "look". Be patient with yourself and pursue who you are. This will help you carve out your very own niche. 

* Beware of Being a Lookalike. When I first began blogging, it was way different than the blog you see here. Back in 2007, it was a blog created to sell my Etsy creations (many moons ago, I created ceramic belt buckles), not share my art teacherin' pursuits. I had no idea what I was doing. I had just read on some Etsy forum that if you wanted to sell your wares, you should have a blog. So I had a blog. With no direction, no look, no vibe, no clue. I turned to my favorite blogs for inspiration...which became gentle copying, shall we say. I tried to fit myself and my blog into a box that I thought others would enjoy. Needless to say, it felt unauthentic and I quickly dropped out of the blogging scene. Not until 2012 did the blog you see here come to life. It was at that point, I was ready to be myself and use my true voice. I threw the notion of what other folks might think out the window and just went for it. Staying true to my voice and my interests is what has made me a blogger for the last 5 years. Regardless of what social media path you take, follow your voice. If you feel something is off, if you feel untrue to you, stop. Change it. Be you.

After all, YOU have something to share! So YOU should do it. Present! Post! Do what suits you. Just know that you have something powerful to say. And we want to hear it.

Congratulations to...Kimberly Schultze! Kimberly, please email me at cassieart75@gmail.com so we can chat about getting The Growth Mindset Coach Playbook in your hands! 
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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Art Teacherin' Book Club: A Giveaway!

Exciting News! I was recently contacted by a lovely publicist for Ulysses Press, the publishers of our current Art Teacherin' Book Club read The Growth Mindset Coach. The authors, Annie Brock and Heather Hundley have a follow up book that is due to be released very soon titled The Growth Mindset Playbook. And you can enter to win this book! 

Here's how:

* Leave a comment below! Tell me a little bit about why you are interested in learning more about growth mindsets. Lemme hear how you might want to use this in your art room. Share what you had for dinner last night...really, write what you like! I just want to hear your thoughts on growth mindsets.

If you are so inclined...but not required to enter:

* Share this blog post on your fave social media outlet. Just so your friends can learn about this opportunity (thus lessening your chances, I know...but you are being a good person and isn't that worth more? Don't answer that). 

I'll be back on Sunday to share the winner! 

Now...do you think you can handle even MORE exciting news?!
Mark your calendars because on Wednesday the 19th, on our third book club chat, co-author of the very book we are reading, Annie Brock, will be joining our chat. I KNOW! Big thanks to a fellow art teacher who put us in touch, Annie has graciously agreed to join the chat that evening. Come prepared to ask her a lot of questions that you've had while reading her book: how she started on this journey, what it looked like in her classroom, what she had for dinner last night, you get the idea. I'm super stoked that she's kindly offered to take time out to join our wild and crazy art teacherin' bunch!
I'm also stoked about our chat this week. We'll be pouring over the first month of school (whichever that may be for you) and how best to teach growth mindsets to our artists. What resources, books, videos, yoga poses, you name it, will best excite and educate our kiddos on changing their minds for the best. Come ready to chat at 8pm CST right here. Some folks have told me that they don't see the chat at times...I think the best thing to do is make sure you have a strong internet connection and be certain to like/follow my page. I should then pop up in your feed at 8pm...so you might wanna have your laptop on mute so as not to frighten the children.
Looking forward to reading your comments (I had pesto lasagna for dinner last night that I actually made, in case you were wondering) and book clubbin' with you soon. 
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Monday, July 10, 2017

In the Art Room: Celluclay Taxidermy Creatures!

Y'all, I know. You don't even have to tell me: these are the ugliest things I've created to date. When I showed the hubs the creation on the right, he said, "that thing is scary. Like really scary." This coming from a dude who lives for haunted attractions. Mission accomplished. 

I got the idea for this Celluclay project when I hosting my #creatingwithcassie craft nights over on Facebook live. It is similar to a project I did when writing my book except with that project, I used air dry clay and created cute little forest animal heads. With this one, I used Celluclay and made these ugly/cute bad boys. How to here:
Supplies: 

* Celluclay: To say I am obsessed with this stuff is an understatement. I love me some Celluclay every since discovering it when writing my clay book. For a grade level of 80 kiddos, I'd say you'd need 2-3 bags of the 5 lb. of clay. I always premix the clay, I never let the kids do this. It's very dusty and, with a group of kids, could get real insane, real quick. I like to mix mine up the day before, creating batches the size of a large grapefruit for every two kids. I then wrap the clay in plastic wrap and store in the fridge so as not to mold. The next day, I place in a bowl and let the kids unwrap the clay.

* Water: For mixing the clay. Don't ask me about measurements. This stuff should feel like clay. Not to soggy, not too dry. 

* Cardboard for Wall Mount: This project is geared towards kids in middle school and beyond. I'm guessing they will be able to cut through cardboard. Chipboard and mat board would work just as well. 

* Aluminum Foil: The Dollar Tree sells packs of 30 sheets of aluminum foil. I love this! The stuff is already cut for you. I will say, it's a very thin foil. You and your students may have to use more than one sheet to build a strong armature. It will need to support the weight of the clay.

* Paint: I used acrylic but tempera would work. I always cover my Celluclay pieces in a varnish like ModPodge to seal and protect. 

* Polymer Clay: Totally optional! I used this to create the eyes and the teeth. I thought the difference in texture would be fun. 
 This guy is small, only about 6.5" in height. What I love about this project and working with Celluclay:

1. You don't have to wrap your project to prevent from drying when class is over or you need to take a break. Allow your clay to dry out. You can simply work the wet clay back into the dry. YES!

2. It sticks to everything! Seriously. I've adhered this clay to plastic, cardboard, tagboard, foil and plaster and I've never had to bust out the hot glue gun. 

3. For that reason, no need to slip and score! Yippie!

4. I love the rough texture it creates. However, if that is not your bag, then good news, you can sand the clay once it's dry. Use a fine grit paper and do this either outside or wearing a cute lil paper mask thingie. 
 I always and forever, amen dry my Celluclay in front of a fan. It can dry super fast that way. Otherwise...it may take much longer to dry and mold. No one wants that. 
I've used both the white and the gray clay. Both take to paint very well...so no reason to purchase one over the other. 
Because the Celluclay sticks to everything in the universe (in the best possible way), you can use such things as air dry clay in combination. We found that out while I was leading a clay session at Art Scouts (details on that amazing adventure later this week!). The participants were adding tooth-shaped clay right into their masterpieces while it was wet...the next day, they were stuck in to place. 
 I also shared this process during my online craft nights. I LOVED seeing everyone's spin on this project. Imagine where our students could go with this idea. This amazing unicorn was created with plaster trips instead of Celluclay...which works just as well! 
 Here are just a few of the incredible creations I managed to snag a picture of at Art Scouts. Love this elephant! 
 And this dragon! At Art Scouts, I had about an hour for the participants to create an armature and make their masterpiece. Pretty impressive that they could knock it out so fast. The method I share in the video makes it a simple process. Once home, the Art Scouts started sending me photos of their finished pieces. 
 Love this one by Polly Blair. Notice she did not cover her cardboard in Celluclay. Totally optional. It really giver her piece a great contrast between the smooth wall mount and the rough texture of the dragon. 
 And this cutie from Jennifer Day. That face is a total crack up. 
Here's a peak at the other clay creations our Scouts knocked out in just two hours! These were created by my Joliet pal Nora Gleason. The heart was created with Celluclay while the wings were made with plaster trips. You can find that project here
 And these cuties created by Ryann Hawkins. LOVE them! I can't wait to share more from our Art Scouts adventures in a future post. Until then, I leave you with these faces only a mother could love...
Ah! I failed to mention that the "retainer" on the dino on the left was created with an unfolded paperclip and attached with hot glue. The cat eye glasses were some I had in my stash where I just removed the legs and attached to the bridge of the nose with hot glue. The bowtie on the dino on the right, was created from polymer clay and simply attached to the finished piece with hot glue. Now...where to hang such craziness. My art room, of course! 
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