TAEA's 50th Anniversary ~ Galveston, Texas

   This past weekend was the TAEA Conference held in Galveston, Texas and it was quite the event due to it being the 50th anniversary year!  I always look forward to the state conference for reasons beyond the fun and fabulous new lesson plans and ideas.  I enjoy the time with individuals who share my passion and in doing so spark my enthusiasm all over again for the profession I love to call my own!  Here is my top ten list of TAEA Galveston Moments in random order:

1. Meeting Sandy Skoglund and Roxanne Swentzell

""Me and Sandy Skoglund

""Me and Roxanne Swentzell

2. Being inducted to the TAEA Executive Council as Elementary Division Chair-elect

""Tamra Alami (Elementary Chair), Linda Fleetwood (President), and Me

3. Spending five days and four nights with old and new friends

""Dinner with new and old friends

4. Learning the proper way to spell/use "segue"


Amanda and me with Danielle (one of the two fabulous ladies who enlightened us, Taylor not pictured!)

5. Watching PAL accepting an Award of Excellence for their Youth Art Month scrapbook


Me, Matt, Renee, Kathee, and Grace accepting the award

6. Having an excuse to wear a gold glitter hat on a saturday night

""Amanda, Danielle, and Me at the 50th Anniversary Party

7. VENDORS (especially Shelley from Sanford, Eric from Sax, and Nadine from Abbeville Press)

""Amanda, Shelley Minnis of Sanford, and Me

8. Attending the Council at Large meeting and seeing all the wonderful inner workings of such a fabulous organization

""Council At Large members hard at work

9. Attending the Elementary Division and Area III conference sessions… I feel so lucky to be a part of such an active group of art educators


The lovely Elementary Division Ladies (Tamra Alami & Samantha Melvin) and me

10. Presenting with Amanda Batson on Let Art Talk and all the exciting things in the works! (www.letarttalk.org)


Amanda and me presenting

Of course these are just a few of the many highlights.  I cannot begin to thank TAEA enough for all the wonderful experiences and memories they have created in my life!  Here's to another fabulous conference next year in San Antonio!

April 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm Leave a comment

Home Sweet Rasor…

I have been meaning to post about the mural making it’s way back to Rasor for a while now, but simply could not find the time until now!  After being on show at the UNT College of Visual Arts and Design Gallery with other artworks created using barkcloth, the mural came back home to Rasor and finally found its permanent resting place!  I could not be more thrilled with how well it turned out and how great it looks in my school!  The students are reminded each day as they walk through the cafeteria that they were a part of something bigger than their little corner of the world known as Plano! On a side not, I selfishly love having a visual reminder of everything I experienced throughout the whole project!  Here is a quick image:

May 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm Leave a comment

Reason #3,457 it’s all about who you know…

With all of the logistics of painting the mural and traveling to Uganda I never once thought about how we would frame out or finish the barkcloth mural in order to prepare it to be hung at Rasor Elementary until right before our trip.  I let the issue take a back seat to the other thousands of details we had to work out before we could even arrive at that bridge to cross it.  Then before I knew it I was standing at the edge of that bridge with absolutely know idea how to cross it.  All I knew is that I had to finish it out with the goal of being hung in a exhibition at UNT this March and then permanently displayed at my school.  I started looking into custom framing, but between the size (4 feet x 8 feet) and the fact that the budget for finishing it out was non existent at that point, it was clear that would not be a real option.  I started brainstorming with Lesli and Amanda and someone tossed out the idea of having a frame built by a student and then stretching the barkcloth ourselves.  It didn’t take much to get from that point to the point of realizing I have the MOST amazing BFF from my days at UNT!

Let me introduce you to Mr. Che Payne, or Mr. Paint as his students call him!  Not only is he always willing to lend a hand to ANYONE in need (especially his BFF ;) ) but he also owns power tools and can build just about anything you throw at him!  So with the mural in hand, Che and I set out to build a frame for the mural with hopes that it wouldn’t blow the budget out of the water!  I am happy to report that the budget is still intact and the frame could not be more perfect!  I have to send out a HUGE thank you to Che because lets be honest… I was not much help outside of ironing the mural in preparation for sewing it on.  So here are some images of the final product and the process along the way:

Nail gun locked and loaded, here we go!

Che handled all the cutting :)  It was just more safe for everyone involved!

Che had the frame built in under an hour!

I did get to use the nail gun…. just for a picture though.

My contribution: Ironing the barkcloth mural.

Che stretching the background fabric on the frame.

Che and the completed mural!

Me with the completed mural.

Thank you BFF for all your help! I could NOT have done this without!  Hugs!

February 3, 2011 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment

Barkcloth Mural Exchange

First off, let me start this post by apologizing for how long it has taken me to write it.  About two weeks ago my students and I, with the amazing help of Amanda and Lesli, completed the Barkcloth Mural that was started in the Masaka District of Uganda in November 2010.  Since we only had one mural this time, rather than the nine that we started and took to Uganda, representatives from each class on campus were chosen by their teachers and peers to contribute to the mural.  In addition to painting words and phrases that were based on the mural theme, Renewing Material, Nurturing Environment, some of the students had the amazing opportunity to video conference with Fred Mutebi all the way in Kampala, Uganda.  It was a wonderful experience to watch the connection between Rasor Elementary and Uganda become even more real for these students as they were able to see Fred and his daughter, Baku, as well as ask him questions about Uganda and the work he does there.  Here are several images of the mural being worked on in Uganda and then again at Rasor Elementary:

Students working at the Kasota Primary School Workshops

Students working at the Buyoga School Workshops

First Grade student contributing to the mural at Rasor

Lesli and me working with some students at Rasor to contribute to the mural

Image of the video conference when Amanda, Lesli and I were testing with with Fred!

February 2, 2011 at 7:37 pm Leave a comment

Workshops in Buyoga Village…

I need to start by apologizing to all of those of you who have been following the blog while Amanda, Lesli, and I have been in Uganda. I am sorry it has been so long since my last post. Hopefully I can make up for it a bit now that I am back in Texas.  Our second day of workshops were held in a village called Buyoga, which is a bit closer to Masaka Town than Kasota village. This workshop turned out to be just as amazing as the first day. I can honestly say I needed the interaction with the students. I did not realize how much I love teaching children until I went without it for a while and then was thrown back into the mix of it all. I do have to admit that I underestimated how difficult it would be to teach students when you are unable to communicate with them. Without the help of the school teachers to translate the English instructions into Luganda for the students and parents I would have been lost. We were lucky enough at the Buyoga workshops to also have the help of two Americans, Sarah and Elliot, who are currently in Masaka working at a local health clinic and primary school. It was wonderful to meet them and hear about their journey in Uganda as well.   I wish them both the best as they have another five months or so before their project is complete.  Here are a few images from the Buyoga Workshops:

Fred discussing the Talking Mural Exchange between Rasor Elementary and the schools in Uganda with some of the students who attended the Buyoga Workshops.

Lesli teaching at the Recycled Beaded Jewelry station with students.

Fred, Amanda, and Elliot working with the students and community to contribute to the Talking Mural that will be completed at Rasor Elementary.

The first round of supplies that each school will receive.  Fred will be following up with the schools later for more supplies and to see how they are using the information and supplies already received.

Stephen and Ivan working with students at the Barkcloth Printmaking station.

Spending some time in Buyoga after the workshops had ended.  How cute are these kids and the goat!

Me and Amanda with Drake, the man who made the beautiful barkcloth for the Talking Mural!

This is how you ridge Ugandan style in a car!  Lesli, Amanda, Stephen, and Ivan on the way back into Masaka Town after the workshops!  Ps. these two men are AMAZING!

November 29, 2010 at 2:56 am Leave a comment

Kasota Art Workshops ~ Uganda Day 9

One word that sums up today would have to be overwhelming.  I say that not in a negative tone but in a tone of astonishment!  We were at the Kasota Primary School today where there were five area schools (primary and secondary) represented that went through the four workshop stations.  Our four workshop stations were the mural exchange, canvas mixed media drawing, recycled jewelry, and barkcloth printmaking.  We were at the school from 10am until 6pm working with students and talking with the community members about their needs and what they have received from the workshops.  The students and community seemed to not only really enjoy the program we held but also take away the message of “Renewing Material: Nurturing Environment”, which was the overall goal for our workshop.

Today proved to be a long and tiring day but it was so great to be working with students.  Even though the children here are so far away from my students in Texas it is amazing how kids are kids everywhere you go.  They love to create, learn, and laugh!

No images again tonight… not a good enough internet connection. I will try and upload images once we get back to Kampala on Wednesday evening!

Tomorrow we are off to Buyoga to hold the second series of workshops for five other schools!  Buyoga here we come!  Thanks for checking in!


November 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm 1 comment

Traveling Exhibition Day…

Day 8 in Uganda was the Traveling Exhibition Day!  We held the exhibition in two local villages in the Masaka District of Uganda.  The two villages are named Kasota and Buyoga.  Both welcoming us and the exhibition with singing children which of course almost made me and Amanda cry because we were so happy!  The exhibition was a wonderful collection of local and international work that has been created using barkcloth.  We were also able to witness how barkcloth is made and even try our hand in contributing to the process!  It is very hard work, but fun to have experienced it for a little bit.

Tomorrow is the first workshop for the first four schools.  We will be putting on the workshops tomorrow at the Kasota Primary School for the day!  It is sure to be a difficult and emotionally tiring day but wonderfully amazing as well!  Kasota here we come…

I am going to leave you with just a few sentences tonight because the internet connection is having a difficult time with uploading images.



November 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

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