Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Suminagashi and Sochi.

I wanted to try this whole suminagashi craze that's been all over Pinterest land.  Suminagashi is the ancient art of Japanese paper marbling.  It is the process of marbling plain paper with ink and water to change it into vibrant and colorful paper.  Delicate, swirled patterns are created on the paper when colors of ink are floated on the surface of the water.  Suminagashi can be traced back to Japan as early as the 12th century.

True suminagashi uses carageenan or powderized seaweed, which creates a booger-y substance.    But, when I was scrambling to pull together a lesson for my 5th graders on Monday morning after realizing they had already finished their current project (hate when that happens), I also realized I unfortunately do not have a back-up supply of seaweed. Now, this is what we in the teaching "biz" call a punt.  So, don your best cleats and kick away!



I grabbed a tub of chalk, a plastic knife, and filled one of the many metal lunchroom trays I have hoarded with a tiny bit of water.

We used the knife to gently scrape chalk dust into our metal trays.  I did not stir the water and if bits of chalk happened to fall into the tray, warn students to just leave it, as movement can disturb the water tension.


Gently set your paper on top of the water's surface for about 30 seconds and then pick it up.

I would recommend keeping a tray or tagboard next to the water trays so that you can immediately set your suminagashi paper down and prevent dripping.

I can't get enough of these beautiful colors.  They look so galactic!




Now, what to do with all these beautiful papers???  My students could probably have made these papers for the next few classes, but on day 2, we put 'em to use.

I found these cool Sochi Olympic pictograms on Pinterest and was thrilled.  We've started a unit on Keith Haring and these have a Haring vibe about them.

Students selected their top 3 Olympic sports and practiced drawing them before deciding on a final sport.



Figures and details were drawn, cut, and glued.




The student titled this one "I Believe I Can Fly."  Ohhhh, R. Kelly, you even influence the youth of America today.



This bobsled team is rocking some awesome Keith Haring-esque lines of motion.

I call this one "Nancy and Tonya."  The top figure just needs a metal baton in her hand...


I hope you are enjoying the Sochi Olympics as much as I am.  It's a nice way to unwind at the day's end!