Category Archives: Art

Interview with Art Teacher: Maggie Jo Feldman

Maggie Jo Feldman is in her 7th year at The Hamlin School. She is the force behind a plethora of beautiful artwork that regularly adorns Stanwood throughout the year.

1) Tell us about your approach to teaching middle school art.

I believe that everyone can be an artist if they want to. I like to introduce a project/artist and have a discussion with students, getting them to explore an artist or technique so they can discover what is important about the work.  I also like to remind students that just because an artist is famous and in a museum, doesn’t mean you have to like them.  My classroom is built around the model of an art studio, there is a lot time for students to work individually and get into their work. So much of their day is about collaboration, it is nice for them to work solo and get to focus inward. I want my classroom to not only reflect the traditional studio environment, but also to be a different place than an academic classroom.

2) What do you enjoy most about working with young artists at Hamlin?

Hamlin students are pretty amazing in that they are really passionate about many things. They are so eager and excited to take on new challenges, especially if those challenges involve being creative and expressive. They come up with the most interesting things.  As a teacher, it is most satisfying to see girls complete a project that they initially thought was out of reach. I love seeing that surprise and happiness of completion.

3) Tell us about your own artwork, we’ve heard it has received recent accolades.

For the last 3 years I have been working extremely hard on developing work around the refugee crisis, and gun violence, while also looking into the language of the Constitution. I taught myself to sew and developed a style using free-motion embroidery. It has been exciting for me (after all these years of making art), to be acknowledged with exhibitions and awards for my work. This year I was awarded several awards. The one I’m most proud of was the honor for excellence in stitchery from the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh. My work has recently been shown in Rhode Island, Ohio, Virginia, San Rafael, Los Angeles, and is currently in an exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Quilt and Design. I also have a piece that is slated to be in an exhibition at the Fort Collins Museum of Art in 2020. Thanks for letting me brag. I guess I’m pretty excited about it all!

4) Who are your artistic influences?

I really love conceptual art and look to the work of Ai Weiwei, Yoko Ono, Joseph Beuys, Richard Long, and Glenn Ligon. When I was painting, I looked to Bay Area figurative artists such as Wayne Thibeaux and Richard Debunker.  These artists have influenced me over the years, but if you look at my work, I’m not sure you would see the influences.

5) What is one piece of advice that you can give a beginning artist?

Don’t compare yourself to others. Keep working. Keep looking. Keep being critical. Don’t forget to look at the world around you, it is totally inspiring. Draw from your own experience. There are many different styles, making things look realistic is not the only way. Carry a sketchbook.  Remember that learning to make art is much like learning anything. It takes practice, patience and some passion.

Grade 7 Explores Cubism

Cubism was an art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture in the early 20th century. The essence of Cubism is that instead of viewing subjects from a single, fixed angle, the artist breaks them up into a variety of areas, so that several different aspects of the subject can be seen simultaneously.

Cubism began in 1906 with two artists, Georges Braque (French) and Pablo Picasso (Spanish) who were living in Paris, France. They were both innovative artists in search of new ways to express space and form in painting. The two worked together closely until World War I broke out in 1914.

Grade 7 students studied the characteristics of Cubism by looking at examples of Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne and Georges Braque.

The project began by creating a drawing from a still life set up with Ukuleles. To get the effect of Cubism, lines were drawn across the paper, first to break up the space with the ukuleles shown from different vantage points. The drawings were then turned into paintings using a limited color pallet, which is one of the characteristics of a Cubism painting.

Pop Culture Mash-Up Art

Grade 7 students recently completed vibrant pop culture mash-up art pieces. The project began with students choosing and researching an iconic painting. Girls then selected a pop culture reference to incorporate into their work. This project provided the opportunity for girls to delve deeper into the mechanics of painting. They learned how to: use different size and style brushes, mix paint effectively, refine their brush work, and explore the way a painting is created.

The above piece by Annabelle L. mashes Sponge Bob with The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai.

Activism Through Art

Earlier this month, Grade 8 students explored craftivism in their art elective. Craftivism is a form of activism centered on practices of craft. Craftivism includes, but is not limited to, various forms of needlework, including yarn-bombing or cross-stich. Craftivism is a social process of collective empowerment, action, expression and negotiation.

Writer Betsy Greer coined the term craftivism in 2003 in order to join the separate spheres of craft and activism. Her favorite self-created definition of the term states, “craftivism is a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper, and your quest for justice more infinite.”

Grade 1 Creates Pac-Man Art Display

Inspired by ghosts and the approach of Halloween, Grade 1 students recently turned McKinne Lounge into a beautiful Pac-Man game. During the research process, girls watched videos of Pac-Man to better understand details about the game. Students had the opportunity to work on their tracing and cutting skills when creating the various color cutouts. In the coming days, Ms. Kallem will be using the art display as part of a math measurement lesson with Grade 3 girls.

Exploring Identity Through Art

Grade 3 students have been exploring their identity through art. In Mr. Witrak’s art class, girls took an iPad selfie, and then created a pencil self-portrait based on that image. This project emphasized: understanding the proportions of the face, shading techniques, and making the eyes come alive. In the spring our girls will do a similar painting project in the cubist style.

The colorful self-portrait (done in Ms. Levy’s class) is a silhouette filled with images that delve into the artist’s identity. This art project will be complemented by student-created I Am poems later in the month.


Grade 1 Creates Pop Art

Grade 1 students recently learned about Pop Artist, Andy Warhol. They looked at images of his work, and noticed his use of bright colors and repetition. Inspired by Warhol, students created their own Pop Art using construction paper and paint.

Students Design Unique Cereal Boxes

Hamlin art students are always exploring and creating highly original work. We recently visited a class where Grade 5 students are making their own cereal box designs.

Art Teacher, Ms. Feldman shares:

Students learned about some of the design elements artists use to create their work. We discussed different size and style of text, color and composition and how these elements help create an interesting and eye catching piece.  Girls honed their craftsmanship skills by learning how to use the color pencils to create smooth areas.  Students were also required to include something about themselves in their artwork.

Self-Portraits in Grade 4

Students in Grade 4 recently created expressive and colorful self-portraits.  Our girls began by looking at Los Angeles native and New York based visual artist, Kehinde Wiley, for inspiration.

Wiley has firmly situated himself within art history’s portrait painting tradition. As a contemporary descendent of a long line of portraitists, including Reynolds, Gainsborough, Titian, Ingres, (among others), Wiley engages the signs and visual rhetoric of the heroic, powerful, majestic and the sublime in his representation of urban, black and brown men found throughout the world.

Wiley’s larger than life figures disturb and interrupt tropes of portrait painting, often blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation and the critical portrayal of masculinity and physicality.

The models, dressed in their everyday clothing, are asked to assume poses found in paintings or sculptures representative of the history of their surroundings, creating a juxtaposition of the “old” inherited by the “new.”

Student self-portraits are currently on display in McKinne lounge.

To learn more about Kehinde Wiley, please visit:

Quill Art in Grade 2

Quilling or paper filigree is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. Quilling starts with rolling a strip of paper (using a thick needle) into a coil and then pinching the coil into shapes that can be glued together.

Our students worked for 4 to 5 days to create these beautiful and color-rich pieces. This type of artwork is perfect for girls in Grade 2 because it focuses on hand-eye coordination.

“It is an art craft that the girls could do all year long, they loved it!” -Art Teacher, Mr. Witrak