It’s the saddest month of the year for teachers in Maryland. This is the month we say good-bye to our summer selves. This year is very different than most as I have been teaching virtually since march 13, 2020 and will begin the Fall Semester doing the same thing. This begins my 32nd year and I have seen things I never thought I would see or need to process as a teacher, it's very different from the one room school houses where my grandmother trained new teacher. Here's to wishing all educators, students, and their support systems the best year it can be under this new normal. I enjoy summer as it I my most creative and productive time. Last year I made a power point of some of my childhood school pictures. They are the inspiration for this instillation.
1. The Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts-Mini House Album comes with 6 sections, I have never used them before so this was a learning opportunity for me. I like how the shape reminded me of one room schoolhouses I see often when I grew up in Pennsylvania.
2. I made a template of the shape as I wanted to connect the houses together accordion style.
3. I cut the template a bit smaller as I wanted the papers to be framed with a border.
4. I used electrical tape to put the pieces together.
5. I made sure each section would fold pressing the electrical tape with a bone folder.
6. I wanted the border to look like a chalkboard but did not have that type of paint, so I improvised and used Krylon Stone Coarse Texture Spray-paint-Obsidian. Do this in a well-ventilated area.
7. While allowing to dry fully trace and cut out panels you will use on each of the conjoined pieces. I also cut out additional pieces I would use in layering the individual “frames”
8. Before gluing chosen images to panels I coated entire piece with matte medium.
9. Use Weldbond to attach papers.
10. I wanted to add more layers and I used a cursive stencil applying iron paste with a plastic spatula.
11. To further this theme, I added other script using stamps and poppy and leaf green inks.
12. To unify the piece, I made a wash of Quinacridone Nickle Azo Acrylic Paint and Matte Medium and a paintbrush.
13. I felt there needed to be more drama and layers and found some decorative napkins I could use to do just that.
14. Make sure you take apart the napkins so that you have just the one ply remaining.
15. Add these napkin pieces using matte medium and a paintbrush.
Some Final Thoughts.
It’s hard to settle into a new school year. This year I begin my 32nd year of teaching. People ask me when I will retire, and I wish I could some days but also know that teaching keeps me young at heart and I have been reminded of my lasting impressions on former students. These are two I keep nearby that carry me through dark days of summer’s end.
“I had you for my 6th grade home room. I’m 22 now and I just wanted to let you know I’m a shift supervisor at a Starbucks. In my training I tell everyone, “Don’t be sorry, be different.” I remember you used to say that to us every time we got talking or goofing off. Never really understood what you were saying then, but as of today I take those words and use them 9/10 times while coaching my baristas. They always ask me where I heard the saying and I always tell them my experience while you were my teacher. Thank you for all that you do Mr. Lowe, your teaching never goes unnoticed…even years later!”
“I am graduating this year and middle school just feels so far away, but I remember your class like yesterday. I just wanted you to know I always remembered you and that you are an amazing teacher and person, you were my favorite teacher! The most important thing you taught me besides science, is how to be myself, always so accepting, that was something that nobody helped me do before you and I wanted to thank you for all of your hard work and compassion, never ever change”
Reading these among others gives me the courage to go back into the strange land called “Middle School”. It’s never too late to thank a teacher.
Supplies: Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts-Mini House Album, Pencil, Card stock, Scissors, Electrical Tape, School Theme Scrapbook Paper, Bone Folder, Spray Paint-I Used Krylon Stone Coarse Texture-Obsidian, Matte Medium, Paintbrush, Iron Paste, Cursive Stencil, Plastic Spatula, Script Stamps, Poppy Ink Pad, Leaf Green Ink Pad, Quinacridone Nickel Azo Acrylic Paint, Decorative Napkins
I cannot wait to see your interpretation of this project. Share it on the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Craft Group Page on Facebook. I would love to see what new creations you are working on!