Wednesday, June 6, 2012

styrofoam printing + stop motion animation at CMA

We finally went to the new location of the Children's Museum of the Arts in the South Village, or I guess it's Hudson Square, about 8 months after the grand opening. CMA used to be in Soho and we went many times to that smaller space. It was awesome! LC loved combing the large, pink, fuzzy creature that was part of the Misaki Kawai exhibit "Love from Mt. Pom Pom." The gallery was a whimsical, colorful place. LC enjoyed performing on the mini stage...and, at one point, tried on one of the costumes (which she called "blue dragon") and put on a few solo shows.


What else did she enjoy at CMA?

She also loved the funhouse mirror. Of course, a visit to CMA isn't complete without a romp in their Ball Pond...and with many yoga balls in a huge space...that was a big hit.

At the Fine Arts Studio, LC learned an easy printmaking technique (anyone can do it!) using styrofoam sheets (you can also use styrofoam boards, plates or trays...you just need a non-porous surface) + a blunt pencil (you can use a popsicle stick or nail file) to engrave your design on the styrofoam (it's not as smooth gliding as writing on paper, when carving into the styrofoam...which can be a bit of a challenge for a preschooler) + a mini roller + tray filled with paint (to roll the paint onto the styrofoam, after your design is complete...but one could use a sponge or brush instead). It seems for young kids it's easiest to use tempera or poster paint. LC picked orange paint and here's the printing plate she designed:


and then she pressed a white sheet of paper on top of the styrofoam (and rolled on top of it, evenly, using a clean roller) to make the print itself.


Since we brought home the "printing plate" (her engraved styrofoam sheet), we can make more prints of the same design, various colors, pretty cool. She then enjoyed the rest of the Fine Arts Studio to make more art.


With painting, drawing, sculpture and textiles, and patient teaching artists, we could have stayed there all day. We should have probably gone to the WEE Arts Studio instead (for 5 years old and under), but I couldn't find it easily...and since LC enjoys talking to people, has a long attention span for projects and doesn't enjoy chaos, lumping her with infants and toddlers is something I try to avoid when attending workshops.

I was gung-ho to attend a Media Lab stop motion animation workshop with LC called Puppet TV. Using colorful pieces of felt + a glue stick, the kids created their own creatures...a very helpful staff member had a glue gun to help secure googly eyes, buttons and so forth. She also instructed us on the keystrokes and process to make the animation. Then, LC created a Lego Duplo building and I helped snap the shots of her creature going from point A to point B and then from point B to point C, wherever she wanted it to go. There was a creature with a crown that someone left behind, so it joined in with LC's blue felt puppet. All the little clicks only added up to 2 seconds worth of an animation (so we should have taken many more snapshots). LC's movie is the first one shown in this video...0 to 2 seconds of this clip posted on CMA's blog:

http://vimeo.com/album/1959062/video/43142398

A cool concept at CMA is the "Clay Bar". With a long, slightly curved, dark table and stools to sit on, kids are served up bits of clay by the staff member on the other side of the table. Kids choose the colors as they go along...a big chunk of this color, then a little bit of that color to add details. Bits of attention are doled out by the staff member to help kids make animals or other creations. She was going down the table, one kid after another, then back again...too long a wait for the preschoolers but the elementary school kids were working painstakingly on fine details. Kids used their hands to mold the shapes or sometimes they were given simple tools.  They could also check out pictures of animals for inspiration.