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American Folk Art for Kids: With 21 Activities

Overview

Drawing on the natural folk art tendencies of children, who love to collect buttons, bottle caps, shells, and Popsicle sticks to create beautiful, imperfect art, this activity guide teaches kids about the history of this organic art and offers inspiration for them to create their own masterpieces. The full breadth of American folk art is surveyed, including painting, sculpture, decorative arts, and textiles from the 17th century through today. Making bubblegum wrapper chains, rag dolls, bottle cap sculptures, ...

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Overview

Drawing on the natural folk art tendencies of children, who love to collect buttons, bottle caps, shells, and Popsicle sticks to create beautiful, imperfect art, this activity guide teaches kids about the history of this organic art and offers inspiration for them to create their own masterpieces. The full breadth of American folk art is surveyed, including painting, sculpture, decorative arts, and textiles from the 17th century through today. Making bubblegum wrapper chains, rag dolls, bottle cap sculptures, decoupage boxes, and folk paintings are just a few of the activities designed to bring out the artist in every child. Along the way kids learn about the lives of Americans throughout history and their casual relationships to everyday art as they cut stencils, sew needlepoint samplers, draw calligraphy birds, and design quilts. Important folk artists such as the last surviving Shakers, the legendary Grandma Moses, and the Reverend Howard Finster are also explored in sidebars throughout the book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From handicrafts to writing, new titles inspire creativity in readers. Combining a textual and photographic history with craft projects, American Folk Art for Kids by Richard Panchyk explores the rustic traditions of artisans, sculptors and other often self-taught artists. Along with short biographies of such artists as Grandma Moses and woodcarver Elijah Pierce, Panchyk covers a broad range of categories that include pottery, quilting and the use of "found objects" in artwork-with numerous craft ideas relating to each topic. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
In his introduction, the author states, "Folk art is all about taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary." In an accessible and friendly manner, he goes on to explain the origins of folk art from the cave paintings of the Ice Age through the rise of great civilizations and on into modern times. The book focuses on American folk art, starting with Native Americans and continuing with the influence of immigrants from Europe, Africa, and Asia. This interesting history lesson includes commentary on the first folk art exhibition in this country in 1924, the importance of the WPA program, and Grandma Moses, whom the author calls the "first true living folk art celebrity." The sections that follow focus on such diverse media as painting, drawing, reverse painting on glass, decorative arts, textile arts, wood and ivory carvings, and commercial design and advertising. Each section includes an informative history and discussion of techniques as well as full-color illustrations of superb examples of artwork created by American folk artists. Quilts, dolls, gravestones, whirligigs, spoons, toys, paintings, and boxes are a few of the treasures that are illustrated and discussed. Each section also includes activities that are easily accomplished and promise lots of fun while offering hands-on experience with the subject matter. Creating stencils, paper cutouts, cross-stitch samples, soap scrimshaws, checkerboards, memory boxes, and gum-wrapper chains are just the kind of projects that will keep students of all ages occupied and engaged. Numerous sidebars focus on individual artists and add to the value of the book, as do the accompanying glossary and listing of folk art museums. This bookwill be enjoyed by students of all ages interested in art, craft, and history, and will be useful to art teachers as well. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Chicago Review Press, dist. by Independent Publishers Group, 118p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 12 to 18.
—Rhonda Cooper
Children's Literature
Using tools and surfaces around them to express ideas is as old as human beings; the origins of all art as well as folk art go back thousands of years. Some of these human beings became experts at the craft of using materials for visual expressions. Others who were not trained and didn't always have access to the best tools and materials continued to make art. They are considered folk artists. Folk artists create paintings, drawings, sculpture, and textiles, all of the genres of artwork. Sometimes this work is known as outsider art. Grandma Moses is one of the most famous and success of the American folk artists of the twentieth century. Examples of paintings, drawings, decorative arts and textiles are reproduced in this collection. The title indicates that this look at folk art is geared to children. However, neither the text nor the twenty-one activities are particularly appropriate for even elementary school children. Perhaps larger reproductions and more emphasis on the artwork and would help make this more appealing to young children. 2004, Chicago Review Press, Ages 12 up.
—Kristin Harris
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Panchyk begins with a general introduction to folk art, and then explicates the main categories of these traditional crafts. He covers a variety of decorative arts, including painting, fabric work, woodworking, and found objects. Each chapter contains several related projects ranging from reverse painting on glass to quilting, stenciling, and tin-can sculpture. The activities might be best for individuals or families as some of the crafts can be costly (e.g., a sponge-painted stool), but most are easily adapted for classroom use. Directions are generally clear. Many quality, full-color photos are included. Activities and sidebars appear between sections of the main text, which may confuse students until they realize that this supplemental information is always set against a color background. There appears to be some confusion between the Amish and the Mennonites, who are identified as "plain" people who "use only horse-drawn wagons and buggies to travel." There are also some grammatical errors. Nevertheless, the book contains great supplemental material for art teachers or homeschoolers on an often overlooked topic.-Laurie Edwards, Infinity Charter School, Harrisburg, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556524998
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Series: For Kids Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,403,971
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Panchyk is the author of Archaeology for Kids, Franklin Delano Roosevelt for Kids, Galileo for Kids, Keys to American History, Our Supreme Court, and World War II for Kids.

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