Category Archives: classroom

Secret Chamber

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I have always been drawn to the exquisite beauty of all that is Ancient Egypt.  I took an Egyptology course at University College while teaching at Bryant & Stratton back in the ’80s to answer a student who questioned why and how Egyptian fashion was selected as the first chapter in the costume history textbook.

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The answer lies in art, because all of our history to do with ancient cultures comes not from the written word, but from pictures – in this case hieroglyphics, tomb murals and, of course jewelry, as well as the remnants of clothing made of linen fiber.

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I learned that Napoleon’s French army invaded Egypt in 1798.  They rediscovered the antiquities and were the first archeologists to investigate the area.  It wasn’t the painstaking attention to delicate detail that it is today or even remotely a respectful handling of human remains.

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Many mummies were burned as fuel for steam engines, which is just so tragic.  Later on, in the following century, Egypt became an exotic vacation spot for wealthy Americans who enjoyed purchasing the baubles, scarab beetle decor, and mummies!

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They held mummy unveiling dinner parties back in the States, stuff like that.

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Howard Carter uncovered King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.  This significant find catapulted Egyptian archeology in terms of the level of importance, the regard for history and the sheer magic in attaining this priceless treasure.

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Somewhere in the middle, during the Victorian age, Cazenovia Public Library benefactor Robert James Hubbard and his son accumulated a collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts including an intricately wrapped-in-linen mummy for the purpose of creating a museum.

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And so, yes, there is a mummy in this library.

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Yesterday, Janine and I visited Cazenovia, New York; first stop, Cazenovia Artisans, second, Common Grounds and next, to the library to see this exhibit.  We ended up at Empire Farm Brewery for lunch.  Janine had never been to any of these spots nor had she an idea this breathtaking collection even existed.  So, my thought is that not many of you know about it.  You’re welcome!

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When I taught elementary art at Bridgeport Elementary School in our district, I decided to add a few lessons on Ancient Egypt culture to the third grade curriculum, because I had this knowledge I wanted to share.  I created a cat mummy sculpture lesson.  Naturally, no pets were harmed.  Students’ sculptures were made of an armature of plastic bottles and styrofoam balls.  They were void of remains, unlike the actual cat mummy at this museum.

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At Chittenango, it is the sixth graders who study the ancient civilizations in Social Studies.  They do take a field trip to Cazenovia Library, as the village is adjacent to our school district via Route 13.  I highly recommend a visit.  It is free and really quite extraordinary.

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The library is located at 100 Albany Street, Cazenovia, New York 13035.  It is open Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 – 5:00 pm.  They are closed on Sundays.  Call (315) 655-9322 for more information.

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The museum space is also home to a gallery for rotating local artist/art organization exhibitions, as well as a wonderful exhibit of birds and plumage in fashion.  They also have many interesting activities for children including puzzle clubs and such.  Yesterday they had a hot chocolate and cookie station available.  Set in a Victorian mansion, this is truly a quaint and lovely experience that really packs a secret chamber punch.  So special!  ❤

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Art Room Chic

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Rachel Zoe dress, Nine West booties
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Honora necklace, Lord & Taylor cardigan, Trina Turk top and skirt, Marc Jacobs booties
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Free People cardigan and dress, Marc Jacobs booties

Here are my looks for January and February 2019.   I started with new students so we are easing into the mess.  Three students got paint on their clothes on Friday, lol, and one slapped her painting into her chin while attempting to place it on the drying rack.  Another got paint on the back of his forearm.  What is that about???  Of course, I made it through the week unscathed.  I am a professional, as you know.

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Free People cardigan, Ulla Johnson dress, Karl Lagerfeld Paris boots
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Free People cardigan, Rebecca Taylor dress, Karl Lagerfeld Paris boots

Disclaimer – I have a couple of repeats here.  I tried to change it up, but you will notice that I have those over-the-knee Karl Lagerfeld boots in two colors and about four or five similar Free People cardigans.  And – I just bought the Theory Malinka belted cashmere cardigan in three different colors!  I still want the black one too, if I can find it.

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Theory cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria dress, Calvin Klein booties
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Theory cardigan, Banana Republic dress, Sorel boots

I know what I like and when I find something that works, I want it any way I can get it.  My new desires include the Joe’s Jeans leather cropped pants in all three colors, more Theory sweaters and I have my eye on a white BCBGMaxAzria gown (for no particular reason) and a couple more Rachel Zoe things.  I also have 3.1 Phillip Lim on my radar and, of course, more silk Ulla Johnson dresses.

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BCBGMaxAzria sweater, Akemi + Kim dress, Sorel boots
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Free People cardigan, Akemi + Kim dress, Karl Lagerfeld boots

I ❤ fashion!

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Theory cardigan, Rebecca Taylor top, Alice + Olivia pants, Calvin Klein booties
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Free People cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria T-shirt and leggings, Alice + Olivia top, Calvin Klein booties

#fashionintherealworld #fashioninreallife #fashionblogger #fashionista #fashioninrealtime #syracuseartist #arteacher #lovefashion

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Cinq A Sept dress, Calvin Klein booties
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Cinq a Sept top, BCBGMaxAzria pants, Calvin Klein booties

Photo cred: Katy C.

 

Who’s Greek Now?

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I decided to infuse the 8th grade Medusa  drawing project with real people.  I was driving to work a few weeks ago and the idea just came to me, lol, but would the teachers at Chittenango Middle School go for it?

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On the half day, I sent out an email then I ran around taking pictures of those who were receptive to being immortalized as Medusa.  The principals were even on board, which was so, totally, awesome!

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Students selected from the faces and added the snake hair and Greek pattern border.  We watched excerpts from 1981 and 2012 Clash of the Titans while using Sharpies and colored pencils.  Here are the results.  They used 16″ x 20″ white heavyweight tagboard and Prismacolor colored pencils.

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I have two classes working on a new batch on brown Kraft paper.  It is such a fun project.  So many possibilities with regard to color schemes and composition.  So incredibly satisfying!

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This artwork is currently on display in the hallway outside of my classroom at Chittenango Middle School in Chittenango, New York.  It will be up for a while, at least until the end of the semester at the end of January.  I will display some of them at the school fair in May too.

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Educational Center at Green Lakes!

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The Educational Center at Green Lakes is now up and running!  Wow – it has taken something like a year to rebuild the boat house and transform it into this amazing space.  It is really beautiful.  And it has Stickley furniture!

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There is a lot of history here.  Information on the meromictic lakes, the story behind the purchase of the land – and its stunning World War II connection.  Yes – there was a POW camp on-site.  It was near the golf course by the east entrance to the park.  German soldiers created many of the trails and farmed the land!

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This education center is chock-full of information.   There is a large map of the park on the center island.  A bunch of interactive displays can be found in pull-out drawers. There’s an outdoor classroom too.  They offer classes that are aligned with New York State standards and they welcome all age groups (and not just science students).

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To set up a school field trip, contact Katie Mulvihill at katie.mulvihill@parks.ny.gov or call (315) 492-1756.  Green Lakes State Park is located at 7900 Green Lakes Road, Fayetteville, New York 13066-3385.

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Dish Babies

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Gratitude is in abundance in November.  It is in the air we are breathing here in Syracuse, New York  The cold air that is making its journey across the ocean as I write this, which may actually bring with it a snow day or at least a two-hour delay on Monday (according to my meteorologist friend), is actually clearing our sinuses of the allergens from last season with every breath we take.

We are grateful for the freedom from headaches and nausea associated with said allergies, lol.  By we I mean specifically me, but I assure you, there are many who share the same sentiments.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we (again me, lol) are all more keen to bring conscious awareness to our love and appreciation for our lives – our families and the pets we love, our friendships both near and far, and all of the things we love (yes! like art!).

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I hosted a dinner party last night along with my friend Bobbi Rock Petrocci – Friendsgiving 2017, our 3rd annual and the biggest to date with thirty people dining together in the private room at Grover’s Table in Fayetteville, New York.  It was a blessed evening.  I just feel so overwhelmed with gratitude and love for these amazing people.

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Last week, I met Bobbi at the Half Moon Bakery & Bistro in Jamesville, New York to assist her in installing her latest exhibition of Christian Brothers Academy student artwork.  I did very little.  She is an epic installer, equipped with level, hammer, tiny nails and the perfect plan to display these very special diminutive plates.  I just provided the oh-that-looks-so-goods, and was the first to make a purchase.

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They were made by CBA art club students in grades 7 – 12 for the purpose of fundraising for Hope for the Bereaved, a grief counseling group.  These dishes are infused with color and spiritual messages, and/or delicate imagery meant to allow the flow of positive energy to encompass the viewer and subsequent owner.  They are priced at $10 each.  You put your money in a jar on the counter and write your name on the accompanying master grid to secure the one you want.  A butterfly sticker is then placed under the purchased piece until November 30, 2017 when the show comes down and all the artwork are released to their respective new owners/homes.

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These dishes epitomize kindness, the idea that we help each other heal; that children are just as capable as adults are to feel, express and share the positive vibe of love.  Each piece is unique.  I am sure that you will find one that speaks to you.

And while there, give thanks to amazing proprietor Debbe Titus who has been busily creating, crafting and baking pies to sell for Thanksgiving, as well as offering daily specials of breakfast and lunch – soups, salads and sandwiches that are very, very yummy – and of course, desserts like half moon cookies and pumpkin bread, cupcakes and all things deliciously amazing!  So grateful! ❤

 

Pigs for Sale

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You may have noticed the development of pig sculptures – I’ve had them on the counter as background in my #ootd pictures.  The project had a couple of components.  Students created armature with paper towels, masking tape, aluminum foil and a recycled bottle of juice or iced coffee (I have tons!).  The sculptures were engulfed in Pariscraft then painted.  Once they were done, the artists took their pigs to a secret location somewhere in the school and using their I-Pads, photographed them in a composition.  It was a really fun project.

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My Facebook friends inquired if the sculptures would be auctioned off.  I mentioned that to the students and a few got the professional artist bug, lol.  So, some of the pigs are for sale.  Proceeds will teach students a valuable lesson about their time and effort.  All pigs are priced at $50 each.

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These eight pigs are available.  Artwork can be collected at Chittenango Middle School.  Email me at ktashkovski@chittenangoschools.org to make arrangements to purchase.  All proceeds will go to the budding artists.

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School Fair 2017

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Last night Chittenango Central School held their annual School Fair at the high school.  Each year, my colleague Katy and I spend several hours installing the middle school art show on the walls of the hallway between the two gymnasiums.

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Then at 8:00 pm we take the whole thing down and pop the art into our cars to return it all to the middle school on Monday.  We displayed around three hundred pieces of 5th – 8th grade artwork.

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This was my twentieth year of said fair.  Here are the pictures I remembered to take!  It is pretty cool to see this visual representation of what we do all year.

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