Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Starry Night

Surely never to be confused with Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night, the artwork I'm referring to is one that I helped make recently with a bunch of 2nd graders for our elementary school auction.

I somehow keep volunteering year after year to work with Joseph and his class on their "class creation."  There was an unfortunate lack of interest from any of the other parents, so this year I wound up doing the entire project on my own.  Most of my other ideas required far more effort than I could handle alone, and one day I came up with the idea of having the kids make a very simple paper mosaic background that would serve as the night sky shimmering over our iconic city skyline.  It started as quite a sad little mock up in my graphics program, but the end result wound up pretty close to what I had envisioned.

Hexagons seem to be all the rage in the crafting world these days, so I started out using a paper punch to pop out hundreds of 1" hexies.  I used something like 12 or 13 different shades of blues, and got about 90-100 hexagons from each sheet of paper.  Did I say hundreds? I think it was well over 1000 by the time I was done!  I also used one sheet of silver glitter paper for the shining stars.

I found some free downloadable hexagon graph paper online, then resized it to make sure the outlines were just slightly larger than the paper hexagons.  It would have been too complicated to have 23 kids all work one one large piece at the same time, so I made smaller individual grids for each kid that I would later join together.  I printed out a bunch of templates on gray paper, made a sample by simply glueing the paper hexies onto to the grid with a glue stick, and headed off into the classroom.  The only instructions were to place 2 or 3 glitter stars in any arrangement they liked, then fill in the background with all the blues, trying to keep it random.  Even with no extra guidance or supervision, the project was simple enough that they were able to knock it out in about 20 minutes total.

Once the glue had dried, I cut out along the edges and glued all the individual segments into the larger background.  You could hardly tell where they were joined!

The whole time I was working, I kept thinking to myself that something was so familiar about the look of it.....like I had seen it somewhere before....and then it hit me: Rainbow Fish.  HA!  The glitter paper was like the beautiful shining scales he gave away at the end of the story.

The I created a template for the monuments, made the silhouettes out of black paper, and glued them right on top.  I did add a few rows of hexagons to the bottom on my own so as not to cover up any of the kids' hard work.

From a distance, it looks pretty amazing.  Up close, there's the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Apparently some kids should never be allowed near a glue stick.

The paper and glue hardly totaled $10, but then the mat and the frame were about $75.  Once it was done, I brought it back into class to show the kids.  They all thought it was beautiful, and want their parents to buy it for them!  I took a picture of the class with the project, laminated it, and stuck it to the back of the frame.  I probably should have had them all sign it too, but I kind of ran out of time.

All in all, a pretty simple project but quite a lovely finished product.  I could not figure out how to photograph it to avoid the glare and reflections from the glass but still see the sparkle of the glitter paper, so you'll just have to take my word for it that it's pretty cool :)  Plus, an Instagram filter makes everything look better!


Suz said...

I love this! Great project!!

Laurie Anne said...

What a cool idea. I love "kid art" that doesn't look like traditional kid art. I'm sharing this with some art docent parents of mine :)