Thursday, July 21, 2011

Installation Art at Green Bean Books

Yesterday I was lucky enough to guide an amazing group in a very special art class: installation art for kids!

[A chunk of the raw materials we had to work with]

It was the last class of a six week series of contempoary art genres for kids ages 5-11 at Green Bean Books here in Portland.

After talking about what installation art could be: art that was temporary and installed--or put together--on-site, we looked at some images of installations from the incomparable Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

[Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The Umbrellas, Japan-USA, 1984-91. Photo: Wolfgang Volz. © 1991 Christo]

Our location was a wooden diorama box inside the book store that often houses scenes from visiting illustrators, artists, or the shop workers. This week we had total control of one of the boxes for our installation! Kids had an hour to plan, create, and install the work. And they were working together from minute one. Amazing!

[Our miniature scene started with a dollhouse table, a book, and a chandelier made with a doily, copper wire, and construction paper candles.]

After looking at our materials and being inspired by a few pieces of dollhouse furniture, everyone quickly decided to make the box into a miniature world. We considered our location--a bookstore. We found letter blocks that could spell out the word "BOOKS." It became clear that the scene would be a room filled with books and a little bit of whimsy.

[A colorful doily carpet boasting the name of the store]

An hour later? We had a miniature version of Green Bean Books (complete with miniature bunting flags) with a few extra fancy things (a fireplace!) And, oh, did I mention there are no people in the version of Green Bean--only birds.

[Green Bean is for the birds--at least this week. Swing by the store to see it in person while it's installed!]

I am looking forward to more beautiful afternoons on the Green Bean patio next week during my week-long bookmaking mini-camp! It's going to be intense!


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