It’s super-easy, and watching it dry on the pavement is somehow mesmerizing. For each color, you’ll need:
Spring has (finally!) sprung!
Spend some time enjoying the beautiful weather by making a natural bird feeder.
These simple feeders are easy to make and biodegradable. The birds will also use the string to build their nest!
1 (or more) hungry child
2ft of hemp or other string
1. Feed the orange to the hungry child(ren)!
2. Clean out all the pulp and pith.
3. Poke 4 holes in the sides and string in the hemp. Tie a knot at the top.
4. Fill with bird seed and hang it on your favorite tree.
- shaving cream
- liquid water color or food coloring
- a toothpick
- a popsicle stick
- paper (thick paper works best)
- paper towels and willingness to get a little messy!
- Squirt a good dollop of shaving cream onto a tray or plate. You’ll want the mound to be as big as your fist, or a little bigger.
- Drop on a few droplets (you only need a little bit!) of liquid water color or food coloring onto your shaving cream. Spread out your droplets; you don’t want different colors to overlap too much.
- With your toothpick, swirl your colors together. Be careful not to mix too much, since that will make the colors combine into a dull grey.
- Place a clean piece of paper on top of the swirly colorful shaving cream. It only needs to touch gently.
- Use your popsicle stick like a snow plow to scrape all that excess shaving cream from the paper.
There are some things that kids just love. For some reason, brayers (paint rollers) are solidly in that category. It doesn’t matter how simple a project is, if it involves paint brayers, kids are all over it. Yesterday with our after-school group, we made some tin foil monoprints, which we technically could have done without brayers, but the project was a big hit, probably because the kids got a chance to roll on paint using a tool they might not have used before. Give this project a try at home — with or without a fancy brayer!
- tin foil
- tempra (washable) paint
- a brayer (optional)
STEP 1. On a square of tin foil, spread out your paint using a brayer, a spoon, or even just your hands. Be careful to avoid getting too close to the edges.
STEP 3. When you’re satisfied with your drawing, place a clean piece of paper flat on the foil and apply even
The face depicted in Gajin Fujita’s Demon Hanya State II (now on view in Kidspace’s exhibit, “Curiosity”) is unmistakably the female demon Hannya. Hannya, a Japanese demon whose name comes from 知恵, meaning “wisdom,” has a signature wide, leering grin, metallic eyes, and two sharp horns that identify her. This demon embodies female jealousy, and her expression can reveal both anger and sadness, depending on the angle.
What kind of emotion(s) do you see in this Hannya? Is there anything, besides her face, that helps you understand what the demon is feeling?
The Demon Hannya comes from Japanese drama, a form of classical musical theater that originated in 14th century Japan. During a performance, actors may wear masks (especially if they are playing a female role all actors are men!). A play where an actor wears a Hannya mask usually tells the story of a women betrayed by her lover; this tragedy would cause the woman to be totally consumed and transformed into a demon by the intensity of her anger.
Below is part of the Dojo-ji Engi Emaki (The Scroll of the Origin of Dojo Temple), a 15th century scroll telling the story of Kiyohime: Princess Kiyohime turned into the Hannya demon after the love of her life, a monk, chose to go back to his monastery rather than marry her. She chased him back to his monastery, where he was hiding underneath a giant bell but she found him anyway. Kiyohime had become a demon-snake by this point, and she wrapped her serpent body around the bell, melting the bell and killing the man underneath with the heat of her rage.
Take a close look at all three of these Hannya faces. They all show the same demon, but with different stories. How do they look similar? How are they different?
Let’s take a look at another human version of jealousy: Invidia. The Ancient Romans believed in a creature named Invidia. Check out the Jacques Callot illustration to the right! What kind of hair does she have? What kinds of creatures is she with? Does she look happy and well-fed, or does she look like a skeleton? Name one thing that Invidia has in common with Hannya, and one thing that makes them different.
In Metamorphoses, the famous poet Ovid describes Invidia in this way: [Her] face was sickly pale, her whole body lean and wasted, and she squinted horribly; her teeth were discoloured and decayed, her poisonous breast of a greenish hue, and her tongue dripped venom. Gnawing at other, and being gnawed, she was herself her own torment. What do you think Ovid meant when he said that Invidia was her own torment? Have you ever felt jealous before? Do you think it can turn you into one of these creatures?
Art Challenge: Make your own monster mask! Try making a jealousy monster! Not feeling jealous today? Make a list of other emotions and feelings and pick one (or more!) of those to make into a mask. Will you add horns or hair? What shape will the mouth be in? the eyebrows? How many eyes will your mask have? Will it be a human or an animal, or something in between?
Written by: Amanda Tobin, former MASS MoCA intern.
What if your Book Club was led by the very people who created the books you were reading? MASS MoCA has invited Johnny Carrera and Tom Phillips, exhibiting artists of “Life’s Work,” to lead discussion and join audiences for refreshments in our second adult-oriented Book Club educational program. At 6pm on Wednesday, April 3rd, you’ll have the opportunity to hear their thoughts on their own work, each other’s work, the books both projects are based on — and ask them those questions you’ve been wondering.
Phillips’ “A Humument” is a series of treated book pages on “A Human Document,” the Victorian novel by W.H. Mallock. For the last 40 years, Phillips has been continuously altering the individual pages of the book, each edition creating a new concrete text poem. The image above shows the transformation of one such page into a self-portrait of Phillips, accompanied by a few words thoughtfully selected out of the original text. Each page acts as its own individual artwork, yet the words also carry their own separate narrative throughout the volume, complete with recurring characters and story arc.
Maryland-based artist Johnny Carrera has taken on his own life’s work for over fifteen years. Carrera’s project, like Philips’, starts with an existing book: in this case, the original engravings of the 1859 American Dictionary of the English Language originally printed by the Webster’s company. Carrera’s Pictorial Webster’s Dictionary transforms his source to create a new lexicon of words, images and meaning. Together these projects not only offer insights into the working process of two artists but also allow viewers to rethink, books, images and the nature of time.
The event will take place in the “Life’s Work” exhibition, and is FREE to members and students, and $5 for all others. Coffee & cake, wine & cheese will be served.
During the April school vacation week, MASS MoCAs Education Department will offer a Spring Break Art Detox, a series of three workshops for children ages 5 to 12 (parents are welcome to accompany them). Workshops will run from 9-11am, and each session will offer two art projects and healthy snacks. The workshops will focus on themes of recycling and respecting nature, in
celebration of Earth Day on Monday, April 22nd. Participants can sign up for one, two, or all three sessions; children can be dropped off, or you can work on projects together as a family.
Wednesday, April 17: We’ll kick off the week by creating your very own terrariums, which will bring some green in to your household. Along with the terrariums we will get our hands dirty by making some earth friendly non-edible dirt cupcakes.
Thursday, April 18: Give back to nature! Create your own unique birdhouse and make seed bookmarks that can be planted.
Friday, April 19: Take a step in the right direction! Create a personalized stepping-stone to put in the yard and make a magical bubble wand that you dance around with in the sunshine.
Children will help prepare a healthy snack every day. *Please alert the education department in advance if your child has any food allergies.
The cost is $10 per child per session. Members of MASS MoCA will receive a discount with the fee at $7 per child per session. Adults may accompany free of charge. Pre-registration is required. There are only 15 spaces for each of the Spring Break Art Detox sessions, don’t miss out; reserve today! To register or for more information, please call the Box Office.
Teens from the area are gearing up for yet another amazing TEENSPACE program, and this year’s focus is on print-making. Throughout the week, participants will have the opportunities to try different methods of printmaking and bookbinding, while discussing how young people can plan for careers in the arts. Symbolically, binding a book of your artwork can also bind you to your artistic aspirations.
We’re lucky enough to have astounding guest artists leading some of the sessions this year, including MASS MoCA artist Johnny Carrera, featured in the exhibition “Life’s Work,” opening April 6th. Johnny is best known for creating Pictorial Webster’s Dictionary, using archived printing blocks that were used in the 1859 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, as well as sprinkling in a few of his own original images. They are arranged alphabetically, albeit with a sense of humor. Our brain seeks to form a narrative with these totally disparate images, says Johnny, so that’s why he plays with combining these tiny pictures in interesting ways, encouraging readers to create an infinite number of stories.
Another week, teens will travel downtown to North Adams’ own PRESS— a letterpress and gallery operated by Melanie Mowinski, also a professor at MCLA. PRESS is one of the Downstreet Art galleries, that also hosts workshops and demonstrations. “In a time when many people feel detached from print that isn’t on a computer screen,” says Melanie on her website, “PRESS embraces the physicality of the printing process, celebrating the tactile qualities of beautiful handset lead and wood type prints.” Building on what participants have learned about sandragraph and lithograph printing, Melanie will introduce us to her gorgeous Vandercook Universal press, as well as the ins and outs of being a working artist in the Berkshires.
Just as astounding, we’re sure, will be the creations of the young budding artists participating — after all, this program could make a big imPRINT on someone’s life. All sessions are FREE, and will be held 6-8pm for the next eight Tuesdays. If you or someone you know would be interested in participating in TEENSPACE, send us a message on Facebook, email us at email@example.com or give us a call: 413. 664.4481 ext.8131.
This dude is half zombie, half king, half zebra, announces an 9-year-old, and he can fly, breathes fire, and has 32 legs. It’s not the kind of creature you hear about every day, but it’s exactly the level of imagination our artists-in-residence were hoping for. Sadie and Ephraim Hatfield recently invented their own beast, the Gigibòsgoshgoshmuxqüdòh, for Kidspace’s Curiosity exhibit. Their artwork for the show has two parts: a pop-up book telling a tall tale of this mysterious creature, and a cabinet housing different parts of its body.
While that’s being shown at Kidspace, four classes of North Adams second-graders are carrying out projects inspired by the Hatfields’ work. Because the Hatfields keep to themselves and seldom go out in public, they’ve recruited the help of local artists Matt Belanger and Marianne Petit, who are going into Sullivan and Greylock Elementary Schools, and discussing mythical beings, old and new, from tons of different cultures. Students then get to invent their own mythical creature, and draw what it would look like. The students are asked to think out every element of their imaginary creature: where they live, what they eat, if they are one-of-a-kind or if they have families. Matt and Marianne then help the kids turn their drawings into pop-ups, breathing a little bit of life into them.
As if that wasn’t cool enough, our artists-in-residence are then teaching students how to illuminate their drawings using colored LED lights. The students can power the lights by pinching copper wires to a tiny 3-volt battery. Some students had pretty bright ideas about how to use their lights — putting a yellow light in the sky to make a radiant sun above their mythical creature, Â or adding a few red lights to make their volcanic lava glow. All in all, this artist residency was a pretty enlightening experience!
What would a child’s drawing look like if it were painted realistically? For the past several years, Kidspace artist Dave DeVries has been on a quest to answer this question. Dave’s project Monster Engine re-interprets kids’ drawings of monsters — a subject that kids can often get frustrated drawing, because no matter how terrifying something is in your mind, it never seems scary enough on paper. But Dave uses skills he gained with years of training as a comic strip artist and painter at Universal Studios to amp up any creature from a young imagination.
Dave has told us that an important step in his process is double-checking with the original young artists that he got the details right. He has made it clear that his paintings are collaborations, and wouldn’t want to overshadow the fact that these kids are artists too.
Dave’s paintings are collected into a book, which also gives some background about how he got started on this project. Even more exciting is that Dave travels to schools all around the country to give demonstrations, turning kids’ drawings into shaded, textured, realistic monsters before your very eyes. And Dave is coming to MASS MoCA to give one of those presentations to local school groups on March 15th. Students from our six partner schools in grades 2-4 have been asked to draw their own monsters, and Dave will choose a couple to transform during the presentation. He’ll also speak a little bit about his career as an illustrator, and invite kids to come up and help him complete the painting. At the end of the presentation, these paintings are donated to the school. Dave uses lots of paint, so let’s hope those kids are willing to get a little messy!
Come by the Kidspace exhibit Curiosity to see three of Dave’s paintings currently on display. And you can learn more about the Monster Engine project here.