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The Creative Corner: "Art for Me, Art for You"

art journals

Home Learning  |  The Creative Corner

Episode 2: Some artwork is created and kept close to the artist’s heart, and other artwork is made to be shared! Dig into some DIY book-making, participate in a secret community art project, and learn how artists and musicians build unity through Afro-Caribbean dance styles on a trip to Dogtown Dance Theatre — all on this episode of The Creative Corner.

The Creative Corner is a weekly TV show for elementary through high school students and adults. Each episode explores new topics through the lens of the visual and performing arts, with fun at-home activities that align with Virginia's Standards of Learning, and special interviews with guests from around the globe. Developed for 4th grade through adults.

The Creative Corner is an  Art for the Journey production, presented by VPM and brought to you by  Earthsong.

Virginia Standards of Learning (Grades 4-6):

  • Arts (Visual): 4.3, 4.4, 5.2, 5.24, 6.1
  • Arts (Music): 4/5.7, 4/5.9, 4/5.10, EI.19
  • Arts (Dance): DM.14, DM.15, DI.12, DI.13
  • English: 4.6, 5.1, 5.3, 5.4
  • Science: 4.5, 4.9, 5.7, 6.7
  • History & Social Science: WG.1, WG.6, WG.15, WHII.1

Art Project Guides:
How to Make an Art Journal

Hand Bound Journal Supplies Needed :

  • A large piece of thin cardboard (like a cereal box)
  • An assortment of paper (can be new or recycled, blank or patterned)
  • Scissors or a hole punch
  • Long pieces of string, yarn, or ribbon
  • (Optional) Decorations for your journal cover (paint, markers, stickers…)

Step-by-Step Instructions:

1. Decide what size you want your journal to be and create a cover for it. Trace it onto the blank side of your cereal box or cardboard, and cut it out.

2. Gather your paper into stacks of about 5 pieces, and fold each stack in half, hamburger-style. If the folded paper is bigger than your book cover, you can trim the edges so they’re the same size.

3. Stack all of your folded pages and your book cover (also folded in half, so it looks like the book that it’s about to become) together, making sure the folded edges all face the same direction and are lined up neatly. Use a pencil to make three evenly-spaced marks on each folded edge, and then use scissors or a hole punch to cut a pea-sized hole at each mark. This is how we’ll string our journal together!

4. Once your holes are all cut, nestle one group of pages inside your book cover so the folded spines (and the holes!) match up. Open the book and pages to the very middle fold, and pull the end of a long piece of string up through the middle hole, passing through all 5 sheets of paper and the cover. Pull the string back down through a different hole, and then back up through the third hole. Pull the string down through the middle hole one last time, and you should find both ends of your string hanging together. Tie them in a knot to secure your book binding, and trim off the extra length.

5. Repeat this stringing and tying process for each stack of pages until your journal has as many pages as you want!

6. When your book is complete, you can decorate the cover any way you like. Paint it, draw or write on it, add stickers or a collage, or keep it neutral on the outside and fill the pages with your colorful art and ideas!

Old Book Journal Supplies Needed:
If you’re making an old book journal, be sure you have permission to use the book you’re going to alter!

  • An old book or notebook (hardcover works best!)
  • Decorations for your journal cover (paper, paint, pens, markers, stickers, colored tape, glue, etc.)
  • White paint (acrylic, tempera, or poster paints will work well)
  • A large paintbrush

Step-by-Step Instructions:

1. First, spice up the cover of your old book journal and make it your own. You can use a sheet of interesting paper to create a full book cover, or use paint, markers, photos, collage, or other materials to decorate and personalize the cover of your new art journal. If you want, you can label the spine of the book so it’s easy to identify.

2. If your recycled book has printed words or pictures on the pages, you might want to cover some of them with white paint (or even blank paper, glued in) to create a blank slate for the art you’re going to put inside. It’s helpful to use clips or something heavy to hold the book open while you white-out the pages, so that they don’t flip closed and stick together while the paint is wet.

3. Once your pages dry, you’re ready to create! Have fun using your journal as a place to keep the art that’s important and interesting to you!

Try making some artwork that incorporates the words or pictures printed in your old book journal. Can you create a “blackout poem” or a design that includes the original contents of a page?

You should feel free to use your art journal however you feel inspired to do so. Artists use journals to capture new ideas, practice their drawing or painting skills, record memorable trips or experiences, jot down thoughts and emotions, ask questions, save photos, souvenirs, or press leaves and flowers.

Your journal is a home for anything you want to keep or try!

Painting Community Rocks

Supplies Needed:

  • A few small-to-medium sized rocks, rinsed and dried
  • Acrylic paint, paint pens, and/or permanent markers
  • Small paintbrushes
  • (Recommended) Spray sealant or clear glue
  • A positive attitude and a sense of adventure

Step-by-Step Instructions:

1. Find a few rocks with smooth surfaces that will be easy to paint or write on.

2. Wash or rinse your rocks and let them dry completely. This will make sure your paint sticks to the rock surface properly, and keep dirt out of your paintbrushes!

3. Use acrylic paint, paint pens, or permanent markers to decorate your rocks with inspiring, positive messages and friendly, colorful artwork. (You may need to paint a base coat first on darker rocks or rocks with lots of texture, so that your pictures and designs stand out.)

4. If you can, seal your rocks with a clear spray sealant or a coat of clear glue after painting them. This protects both your artwork and the environment by ensuring that your paint or ink doesn’t run and affect soil, water, or animals.

5. Have fun “hiding” your rocks for others to find! Remember to place your community rocks in safe places where people will be able to see them; you want them to be found! (Avoid leaving them in State or National Parks, on private property without permission, or in places where they may be in the way of things like cars or lawn mowers.) You can also give them directly to friends, family members, or people you appreciate, like your mail carrier, a teacher, or a kind neighbor.

Keep an eye out to see whether your rockin’ works of art find new homes! Who knows, maybe your tiny positive messages will inspire someone else to hide their own rocks around your community!

Curious to know more about community rocks (also known as “kindness rocks”)? Search the web to see if there’s a rock art project in your area! Some cities, neighborhoods, and other communities have ongoing community rock exchanges with their own social media pages and hashtags, so you may be able to trace your rocks’ journey.

Funding for this production was provided in part by the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation.

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