Dig Your Hands in the Dirt: A Manual for Making Art Out of Earth / Edition 2

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  • Turn the earth under your feet into natural, cheap, beautiful art: African-inspired murals, fanciful playground sculptures, labyrinths, sundials, sculpted benches, bird houses, & more
  • Complete illustrated how-to guide to mud, art, & community
  • Inspiring stories & color photos from earth-artists here & abroad

For teachers, parents, activists, builders, artists, & other kids. Here is inspiration and instruction for anyone interested in making beautiful art out of earth. The author of Build Your Own Earth Oven teaches you to find, mix, and sculpt the right mud; develop group goals and vision, and translate simple, natural (and easy to draw) patterns into sophisticated and complex designs. The resulting murals will transform anonymous "spaces" into real places. Or make "garden art" you can sit on (or in). Get inspirated by earth artists across the country and over the sea. Extensive resources for further study. Join them all in making art to help "join us, harmoniously, to a whole." Brief, elegant, wonderfully and generously illustrated with drawings and 32 pages of color photos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book teaches practical skills that empower children to create everything from playgrounds to school walls."--Joseph F. Kennedy, architect, teacher, editor, Building Without Borders & the Art of Natural Building

An innovative introduction to world folk art, Denzer's book invites the creative child or art teacher to expand social studies lessons into art forms. Pattern instruction summarizes elements of design as old as human history. Projects range from birdhouses, obelisks and labyrinths, murals, and model huts to a massive sand-and-hay-bale sundial. Practical matters cover recipes for malleable mud, choosing forks and kitchen tools for sculpting, and separating sand, gravel, silt, and clay out of water. Snapshots of children elbow-deep in projects suggest infectious fun for club, school, and community projects that involve participants from a wide range of ages and interests. Detailed back matter offers print and electronic resources on historic landmarks as well as methods of teaching folk art. This work deserves a place in public, school, museum, and church libraries and on staff development shelves for teachers, church and camp workers, scout and club leaders, and project developers for handicapped children and adults. (2nd ed.). KLIATT Codes: JSA--Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2005, Hand Print Press, 128p. illus. bibliog., Ages 12 to adult.
—Mary Ellen Snodgrass
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780967984667
  • Publisher: Hand Print Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2005
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Kiko Denzer is an artist, teacher, and author in the earthen building revival. He serves as artist-in-residence in schools in his home state of Oregon, and has muddied tens of thousands of hands with his popular oven and bread manual, Build Your Own Earth Oven (2007) as well as his guide to mud-based art forms, Dig Your Hands in the Dirt (2005).

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Table of Contents

Section 1. Art made with mud, kids, & communities -- Sling mud at walls (Denzer, Topper, Coleman) -- Mud murals : 1st aid for ailing walls -- Up from the mud : large scale earthworks -- A Berlin mud-village (R. Warzecha) -- Neighborhood mud : 1st aid for intersections (city repair) -- Earth installations : labyrinth & sundial (Denzer) -- School & site-specific sculpture (Denzer, Toper, Coleman) -- Very small hoses (Denzer, Raduazo) -- Home : a fable (Denzer) -- Building for birds (Raduazo)

Section 2. Design as process & pattern -- Process : design as a group activity -- Pattern murals -- Finding pattern (inspiration, geometry, fitting geometry to space, 1, 2, & 3) -- Mirror images to make patterns that move

Section 3. Mud recipes -- Intro -- Finding clay soil -- Recognizing clay -- Quick & dirty "snake" test -- Slow & nerdy "shake" test -- Prep & tools -- Basic mud recipe -- Big mud for structural use : "super cob" -- Mud for walls : plaster basics -- A plaster recipe -- Putting mud on walls : "harling," & other tricks to make it stick -- Mud-drawing tricks -- Color -- Re-creation is the best preservation (waterglass,etc.) -- Concrete : casting stories in stone

Section 4. Making art, continued (how things got done) -- Slinging mud, cont'd -- The hands of volunteers, cont'd -- Berlin, cont'd -- Designing the Berlin projects / Rainer Warzecha -- City repair, cont'd -- Home, cont'd -- Building for birds, cont'd -- Labyrinth & dial, cont'd -- Measure the earth/make a labyrinth -- Find the four directions -- Planning your labyrinth -- Step by step, illustrated -- Sundial construction, illustration -- Sundials tell more than time

Author's notes : earth, art, knowledge -- Thanks -- Contributors -- Resources -- Art & teaching -- Earthen building, technical -- Workshop providers & practitioners -- Earthen art & inspiration -- Sundials & more -- Quick catalog & order form.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 19, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Kiko has done it again

    This is my second book by Denzer and someday I'll have them all! He writes well, is informative and gives detailed instructions on how to make artwork out of something this is all around us. What better way to celebrate Earth Day this year than to make some fabulous artwork out of Mother Earth herself! It's amazing that Kiko has been all over the world sharing his expertise and then goes that extra step and shares it in a complete, easy to understand and fun to do. I haven't found any of his instructions that I didn't comprehend and in fact, my daughter and her friends love the book just as much...so much so I should have bought two!

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