Posts Tagged 'DIY tutorial'

Patches with a Purpose

The Guerrilla Girls exhibition is in its final week on view at the DMA. For the last few months, the posters, books, and videos in the gallery have prompted a lot of questions, including the often overheard “What’s the deal with the gorilla masks?”

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The Guerrilla Girls are an anonymous collective of women artists who draw attention to sexism and racism in the art world. To borrow their words, without women and people of color represented in the art world “you’re seeing less than half the picture.” Using bold protest art and guerrilla-style marketing techniques (hence their name and use of gorilla masks, as a play on words), they demonstrate how images are a powerful way to send messages to others.

Consider what is important to you. When you think about those things, is there an image or symbol that comes to mind? Taking inspiration from the Guerrilla Girls, here’s a way to broadcast that idea or cause through a DIY iron-on patch.

Materials Needed
Felt or fabric
Embroidery floss
Embroidery hoop
Tapestry needle
Scissors
HeatnBond iron-on adhesive sheet
Iron
Threader (optional)

Using the screw at the top, loosen and separate the two rings of your embroidery hoop. Load the embroidery hoop with the felt or fabric of your choice, placing the fabric on top of the smaller ring and closing the larger ring around it to hold the fabric in place.

Tip: The hoop stretches the fabric tight to create tension. If the fabric sags in the middle, pull the edges before tightening the hoop screw all the way.

Thread your needle with the first color of embroidery floss, tying off one end. Start your design from the back side of the hoop, pulling the needle straight through the fabric. Create the first stitch by pulling the needle straight back down through the fabric. When you’d like to switch colors, simply tie the floss off on the back and repeat the process.

Tip: Keeping the needle straight and avoiding pulling hard keeps the stitches even and fabric wrinkle-free. Knowing how to sew makes embroidery pretty intuitive, but different kinds of stitches create different textures and effects. DMC Embroidery has great resources for those looking to learn new techniques.  

Once you finish your design, make sure all the thread is tied off on the back, and any loose threads are trimmed.

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HeatnBond adhesive sheets will make the design into a patch. HeatnBond is two sided, with a shiny, textured plastic side and a paper side. Cut a piece of HeatnBond large enough to cover the design and place it on the backside of the fabric, with the paper side of the HeatnBond facing up. Pass an iron set on medium heat over the HeatnBond for approximately 30 seconds, ensuring that the iron passes over the edges and corners of the adhesive. Make sure that the HeatnBond is completely adhered to the fabric; no corners or edges should lift.

Once the fabric has cooled, use scissors to trim around the design. The HeatnBond seals the fabric, so no hemming is needed. After the design is cut to size, remove the paper backing from the back of the design. Underneath, the plastic should be smooth and shiny. Now the patch can be ironed onto another piece of fabric, like a jacket or backpack.

Be sure to visit The Guerrilla Girls before it closes on September 30. If you liked this project, join us at our upcoming workshops for families, teens, and adults to get your make on.

Jessica Thompson is the Manager of Teen Programs at the DMA.

Make This: Camera Obscura

Johannes Vermeer, star of the eponymous Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting, is famous for his illusionism. Vermeer’s small, gem-like paintings are little windows into 17th century Dutch life. Instead of composing his images from naked-eye observation, however, some art historians believe that Vermeer used a device called a camera obscura.

A camera obscura, Latin for dark chamber, is the precursor to the modern camera, and has been known to artists, scientists, and philosophers since the time of Aristotle. At their most basic, they are made from light-tight boxes with a tiny hole on one side. Light enters the hole and casts an inverted image on a screen inside the box. Its earliest uses can be traced to astronomers, who used the camera obscura to safely view eclipses. However, it didn’t take long for artists to use it as a drawing tool. Camera obscuras can be built to reflect that image on a drawing surface, which artists can trace over to create compositions.

Although early camera obscuras were made from finely crafted wooden boxes, you can make one out of everyday materials. Here’s how to do it.

Supplies:

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  • Cardboard box
  • Black tape (duct tape is the best, but I used a little black masking tape too!)
  • Masking tape/painters tape
  • Magnifying glass
  • Tracing paper or vellum
  • Box cutter
  • Scissors
  • Pencil or sharpie

Step 1: Fold down the flaps on one side of your box and tape them down with black duct tape. This will be the bottom of your camera obscura. Remember that camera obscuras need to be light-tight, so make sure to tape down the sides and corners of your box too! I make sure that I have the bottom sealed tight by holding the box up to a light.

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Step 2: Draw a small square in the middle of one of the sides of the box and cut it out with a box cutter. A 1-1 ½ inch square is a pretty good size to shoot for. Remember that the sides of the box with flaps, including the one you just taped down, should be the top and bottom of your camera obscura–don’t cut those!

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Step 3: Tape a magnifying glass over the small hole. This will be the lens for the camera obscura. My magnifying glass was pretty heavy, so I used a lot of tape to make it secure.

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Step 4: On the opposite side of the box from the lens, cut a large hole out of the box. This hole should be nearly as large as the side of the box. If cutting out this side weakens the box or one of the top flaps falls off, don’t worry–just reinforce the box with some tape! It should look like this when you’re finished.

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Step 5: Leaving about a 1 inch margin around the sides, cut a smaller hole from the piece of cardboard that was just cut out. This will be used to create a frame for the screen on which the image will be reflected.

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Step 6: Trim a piece of tracing paper and use four pieces of masking/painters tape to secure it to our frame. This is the screen for our camera obscura!

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Step 7: Now for the exciting part–time to test! Find a brightly lit window in front of which to set your device. I chose a window overlooking our Sculpture Garden in the Barrel Vault, which is one of my favorite places in the Museum.

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Step 8: Slide your screen through the top of your camera. An image should appear! Slide the screen closer or further away from the hole in the box to focus your image, or make it sharper. Once you’re satisfied with how the image looks, tape down the top flaps to keep the light out.

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And viola! You have your own camera obscura. You can use a pencil to trace what you see on the tracing paper. The best part about this variation on the camera obscura is it’s reusable. Simply tape a new piece of tracing paper on the frame when you want to make another drawing.

Whether Vermeer used a camera obscura to compose his beautiful images is still up for debate. Historians often cite the blurry highlights on metallic objects in Vermeer’s paintings as evidence that he used the tool. These kinds of highlights, called halations, are typical of lens-based devices. However, it’s important to remember that a camera obscura is just another tool in an artist’s toolbox. Tools don’t make art–artists do! There’s no denying the skill it took to represent the tiny details in Vermeer’s paintings, even if he did use a camera obscura.

Try making a camera obscura of your own and see how it fits into your artistic practice. Report back with your findings – we’d love to see what you create!

And don’t forget to stop by the Museum to check out Vermeer Suite before it closes this summer!

Jessica Thompson
Manager of Teen and Gallery Programs

DIY Coil Basket Weaving

Each month, we offer a variety of activities at the large tables in the Center for Creative Connections gallery. Each activity is related to a nearby work of art. One of my favorite new activities is coil basket weaving, inspired by the storage basket, bowl, and burden basket created by weavers from the San Carlos Apache tribe.

The actual materials used to create these baskets–devil’s claw, willow, cottonwood, and buckskin–are natural resources found in the Arizona region where the tribe resides. To make the materials more pliable, they are often soaked in water prior to weaving. The patterns are created by alternating dark and light.

IMG_2431In the gallery, we use three colors of raffia ribbon to create our coil baskets. Red is easily distinguishable, so these strands create the basket core which will be covered during the weaving process. Then tan and black raffia are used to wrap the core and create patterns.

Once you have your materials in hand, here are the steps to guide you through the process:

 

 For your basket core, cut the red raffia into ten 24 inch long strands.

For your basket core, cut the red raffia into ten 24 inch long strands.

 Choose a tan or black strand of raffia and wrap it tightly around the red basket core strands.

Choose a tan or black strand of raffia and wrap it tightly around the red basket core strands.

Cover about two inches of the red basket core, then begin spiral the wrapped end inward

Cover about two inches of the red basket core, then begin to spiral the wrapped end inward.

Continue spiraling so that the wrapped strands resemble a snail shell.

Continue spiraling so that the wrapped strands resemble a snail shell.

Take the end of your tan or black raffia strand and loop it through the spiral to secure the basket center.

Take the end of your tan or black raffia strand and loop it through the spiral to secure the basket center.

Continue to wrap the red basket core.

Continue to wrap the red basket core.

Each time you cover a few inches of the red basket core, thread your tan or black raffia through the most recent coil to keep the coils connected.

Each time you cover a few inches of the red basket core, thread your tan or black raffia through the most recent coil to keep the coils connected.

If you want to switch colors, cut a strand of the alternate color.

If you want to switch colors, cut a strand of the alternate color.

Line your new strand up as if it was part of the red basket core.

Line your new strand up as if it was part of the red basket core.

Secure the new strand by wrapping it a few times with the old color strand.

Secure the new strand by wrapping it a few times with the old color strand.

Let the old color strand become part of the red basket core, and use the new color strand to wrap around the basket core.

Let the old color strand become part of the red basket core, and use the new color strand to wrap around the basket core.

Continue wrapping the basket core, securing the newly wrapped coil to the previous coils every few inches.

Continue wrapping the basket core, securing the newly wrapped coil to the previous coils every few inches.

Once you get the coil weaving technique down, think about experimenting with other materials. The Apache weavers used devil’s claw, willow, cottonwood, and buckskin because they were plentiful resources. What kinds of resources do you have at your disposal to weave?

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager

 

 

Quick Craft: Pumpkin Pie Sculpture

Inspired by Wayne Thiebaud’s scrumptious pie paintings, I whipped up a little DIY activity for young art lovers to make their own pumpkin pie art (no baking required!).

Materials needed:

  • One paper plate
  • Orange tissue paper
  • Cotton balls
  • Glue stick (Elmer’s glue also works, but is a bit messier!)
  • Scissors

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Step 1:

Cut your plate into 6 pie slices.

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Step 2:

Cut tissue paper into small squares.

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Step 3:

Glue tissue paper pieces down to paper plate slice. Overlap your tissue paper pieces until the flat part of the plate is covered, leaving the edge of the “crust” white.

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Step 4:

Glue a cotton ball to the center of your pie slice for a dollop of whipped cream.

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Tah-Dah! Experiment with using different colors of tissue paper to create other flavors of pie.

You can see some of Wayne Thiebaud’s delicious artwork in the exhibition International Pop, on view at the DMA until January 17, 2016.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Emily Wiskera
McDermott Graduate Intern for Family and Access Teaching

 

Made This: Celebrating the DMA’s Resident McGuyver

After 16.5 years at the DMA, JC Bigornia, Manager of C3 Programs, is heading across the freeway to take the position of Manager of Mobile Innovation at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. JC is our McGuyver, always ready with an ingenious, perfect solution for any and every art-making challenge we throw his way. For his last day at the Museum, we’re taking a look not just at the countless small and brilliant projects he brought to life through his freakish artistic talent, but the way in which his worked shaped our department in larger ways.

Susan Diachisin, The Kelli and Allen Questrom Director of the Center for Creative Connections, perfectly captures what it is we all enjoy about our resident DIY expert:

JC is a creative and diligent art educator who has managed and taught thousands of programs for museum visitors during his tenure here. He worked with people of all ages, guiding them in careful looking at works of art from the collection and then making connections through an art making process.  He was at the helm of our popular Late Night Studio Creations, the drop-in art making program that hosts over 250 multi-age visitors each month. And for many years he led the drop-in weekend family Studio Creations that took place on every Saturday and Sunday all year long. He spent the summers managing logistics for the Summer Camp Program for children and teens, as well as many other family programs too numerous to mention here.

JC has a pretty high coolness factor that was perfect for his accomplishments of working with teens—a focus he originally started back in 2008. In 2013 he was the Project Manager of the IMLS Teen Learning Lab planning grant in partnership with the Perot. For that he spent extensive time researching teen developmental learning, designing innovative programs, and launching a DMA/Perot Teen Advisory Council (TAC). This project boosted his already popular Urban Armor program and launched Maker Club the Thursday night program focusing on the intersection of art and science. He recruited and met bi-monthly with the thirteen member TAC team, and collaboratively led experimental programs, visiting artist projects, and community projects in partnership with other Dallas organizations.

JC brings extensive artistic skills to the programs he designed. I can’t tell you how many times during the development process he had to test and produce project samples. He would say, “I’ll just make that.” And a short time later he would share a creation that was absolutely incredible.

As humble a person as JC is, there are a few memorable projects that you might have seen and may not know they were his:

If you were ever at the Materials Bar in the C3 Materials & Meanings exhibition you might have caught JC’s creative hands demonstrating how to work with materials on the video screens:

JC's hands demo art-making ideas in C3

JC’s hands demo art-making ideas in C3

Last year, JC developed a week-long teen summer camp program call Brains, Brains, Brains where the participants learned about the art and science of zombie culture. Inspired by our collection, they transformed themselves into zombies and went roaming in the galleries:

The Perot Museum entrance featured a mural designed by the TAC students led by JC:

Teen Art Council mural

Teen Art Council mural

JC’s students in the Urban Armor: Street Art Workshop transformed the DMA Sculpture Garden with masking tape:

And this year, the popular teen themed Late Night in June was developed and run by JC’s teens.

JC is a terrific listener and thoughtful which makes him an excellent supervisor to our volunteers and interns. They adore working with him. They enjoy his creative ideas as well as the support he gives them. He is genuinely interested in the people he works with and takes the time to get to know everybody. I’d like to publically thank him for his outstanding work at the DMA with our visitors.

In case you—like all the rest of us here—would like to siphon off a little of JC’s talent and take some art-making adventures of your own, check out his many DIY tutorial blog posts on how to make: sounds prints, printed t-shirts, etchings with cola, vinyl toy mini-amps, collagraphs, and cosplay armor and accessories.

In his new position, JC will oversee the Perot’s fleet of Mobile Innovation trucks so look for him on the streets–taking learning into the community!  We’re gonna miss ya, JC!

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs


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