SchoolArts Magazine

October 2017

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 49 of 70

SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 45 of fabric, and look for something that inspires them and their ideas. A Unique Embroidered Portrait Some of my students choose to use the thread as the medium for their portrait. This method is more challenging and takes hours of dedication. An Art IV senior developed an idea to embroider her entire portrait onto an oval canvas. After drawing her portrait onto the canvas, she decided on the flesh tone values and defined the areas of color. The most interesting aspect of her piece was that, as she began working, I noticed she was double-sewing—she was not only creating the image on the front, but on the back as well. As I watched her work, I began to love the imperfections and texture that were being revealed on the back of her canvas. When she tied off a piece of thread, it would create this beautiful little fray. She is a tradi - tional artist, thriving on technique a nd the integrity of her original idea. An Open Mind I wanted to suggest something crazy, but by this point, that student had more than seventy-five hours invested, and as a teacher, I must make sure that we present our suggestions when the student will be receptive. I mean, what teacher says, "I know you've been slaving over this piece for weeks, but I like the back of your work better than the front. Let's flip it around!" From my desk, I could always see the back of the canvas, and with each new line of thread, the portrait came to life. I finally approached her and asked, "Have you noticed how your piece is beautiful from the front and the back?" Her response is one of those moments that, as a teacher, remind you to always have an open mind. My room has mirrors on most of the walls, and as she was working, she always Bringing the old into the new challenges teachers and students and opens our minds to new possibilities. saw the back as well. "Mrs. Musick, I have noticed, and I love the back more than the front," she replied. After 200 hours of sewing, we flipped the piece over, and there it was, something we never saw coming: We brought an "old" method of creat - ing into the modern classroom. What b egan as a very traditional portrait became a piece of texture and interest. The Old with the New Sometimes as teachers, we get bogged down with making sure we always stay on top of the newest teaching techniques. We must make sure we use technology in every part of our instruction, but sometimes we need to get our students back to basics. That first time my students pick up that needle and thread, they are nervous and unsure, but with each passing day they become more entranced and confident in their ability. Bringing the old into the new challenges teachers and students and opens our minds to new possibilities. You may have heard that coined phrase, "Grandma knows best." Well, maybe they were right. Mary Musick teaches art at Chisum High School in Paris, Texas. N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. W E B L I N K dery-101/ Sydney. Fabric-wrapped canvas and oil paint. Flowers are embroidered across the eyes. Susie T. 18 x 24" stretched canvas. Cross-stitched portrait from embroidery thread.

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