Altered Books and Blackout Poetry

My middle school students have been working for the past month on their altered books.  One of the parents donated a bunch of old science books from Time Life and we have been systematically ripping out pages, painting, gluing, and using Sharpies on them.  Here are a few of their Blackout Poems.

And a spare poem thrown in for fun.

The assignment for this page was to find text that they liked and blackout the rest.  They were trying to create a free form poem, without worrying too much about making sentences.  I encouraged them to use images either by drawing them, or by including them (not blacking them out) on their page.

The students liked this page in particular because it was creative without being too taxing.

If you are in the area next week, the kids have a show at the Box Factory.  You can come and check out their books along with a bunch of other great art.


Chicken Farming

Inspired by Ben’s Video Game Remix show, I found a Zelda Replay Value/MacGuffin visual assignment. (Ben says it’s totally worth double points)

What if Link never made it to the end of the game because he became so enamored of the chickens? I know I like those crazy chickens.

Played with Fireworks for this one.  Found the image somewhere online and added a Zelda font with a little glow.

Tea, Toast, and Kitty

“The latest bizarre trend blowing up Facebook mini-feeds everywhere? Cat Breading. (Think LOLcats, but with a trippy twist—each adorable kitten has been adorned with a slice of bread, which encases their little feline face.)”

This cute Kitty is the victim of yet another Cat Breading.

Want to create your own breaded cat?  There are two options.

Option 1: Get a cat, get a piece of bread (the higher quality artisan breads are nice, but not necessary-Wonder Bread will do) and get your camera ready.  Cut a small hole into the slice of bread, not too big, you want it to be snug.  Now catch the cat and stick the bread on the cat. This step may take awhile, but don’t give up! You will want to have your camera in your hand and snap that picture before your subject stalks away indignantly. You should be prepared to be ignored by your cat for some time after this incident occurs. But don’t worry, you made some great art!

Option 2: Find a kitty on the internet.  Find a slice of bread on the internet.  Using your favorite art software (I used Photoshop) carefully cut out the slice of bread and kitty’s face.  I used the magnetic lasso tool for simplicity.  After cutting and pasting into a new layer, place the bread over the top of kitty’s face. Adjust the size as necessary to ensure a good fit.  Carefully cut and paste kitty’s head over the bread on a third layer.  Fuss with the placement until your kitty’s head is placed in the middle of the bread where his head used to be.  I used a blur tool around the edges of Mr. Kitty’s face in order to help him blend in with the bread.  I recommend this method if you really like your cat and don’t wish to be snubbed by him (or her) for at least a week.

No cats were harmed in the creation of this post.

My New Band

I just started a new band (don’t worry, I’m totally not the lead singer….I get to play the drums*) and we needed a new album cover.

Of course, we also needed a band name, but that’s another story. No, you really don’t want to hear about this.  Ok, if you insist. What we did was a random search on wikipedia and came up with the brilliant, if a little dated, name of “Horn Rimmed Glasses.” The guy who plays the cowbell liked it because it was a little bit 50s with a little bit of hipster.  Perfect.

Next, we needed a good title.  After much deliberation and a few oreo milkshakes, we decided to go for something a little bit more cerebral.  We picked a quote from Da Vinci, and the last few words were “powerless to vex your mind.” It felt a little ska, but a swing band named Horn Rimmed Glasses could rock that too, right?

Then, our PR guy suggested that we actually put this whole thing together with some cover art.  Well, the keyboardist’s daughter drew some really nice rainbows and puppies with her Crayolas, but that just didn’t jive with our new sound, so we went to flickr where we chose a photo at random that was listed as creative commons (because, you know, that’s not cool to steal other people’s art). After a few hours (ok, minutes) of manipulating those three items in the ol’ Photoshop, we got our album cover.

Pretty nifty, huh?

So that’s the story of our band.  Please don’t ask for any samples of our music, because we shouldn’t let anyone hear that.  It ain’t pretty.

*I don’t have any formal training with actually playing the drums, but knitting uses two sticks, so how hard can it be?

The Long Forgotten Fat Cat Tapestries

Around the turn of the 16th century, the Unicorn Tapestries* were woven in the Southern Netherlands.  These tapestries depict the Hunt of the Unicorn in 7 panels.  It has been reproduced in many forms over the years in many different art styles.

Several days ago, the 8th Unicorn Tapestry was discovered.  This one is believed to have been burned in a fire not long after the artist completed it.  No one is sure whether the fire was intentional or accidental.

This 8th tapestry has been dubbed “The Fat Cat Tapestry**.”  There has been much speculation about the origins of the design, but after much research, the cat is believed to be the beloved pet of Anne of Brittany who commissioned the tapestries as a wedding present to her husband.

It is little wonder why the artist would have wished this particular tapestry to remain out of the public.

*For more on the Unicorn Tapestries check out the Musée National du Moyen Age in France.

**This assignment from DS106 was just too good to pass up.

Who Invented the Internet?

I’ve been having such fun with the DS106 assignment database. After going through almost every single assignment and having brief flashes of inspiration on at least half of them, I decided to jump in with another silly one.

Today’s assignment is “Patty Pioneer.” To quote the directions, “Simply put, this assignment involves editing a picture of any Computer Pioneer so that it looks like they are eating/about to eat/holding a burger or similar types of fast food.”

Seeing as I know just about nothing about computer pioneers, I decided to go with the first thought that popped into my little head: Al Gore.  Because, you know, Al Gore invented the internet.*
He seems like the kind of guy who would like to eat healthy.  What’s healthier than a Subway sub?  I mean, those folks over at The Biggest Loser like it, and inventing the internet is hard work.  You deserve a great big sandwich, Al.
*I totally know that Al Gore didn’t invent the internet, but I do like to perpetuate the myth.  If you want the real story, check out Snopes.  Al Gore WAS influential in the popularity of the internet, so I think he counts as a computer pioneer.