14 February 2014

spirograph for saint valentine

I realize that in other parts of the world, Valentine's Day is only celebrated with your romantic partner, but where I work (at a K-8th grade school in California), the day is taken more in the spirit of: Hooray! Cards, Candy and Trinkets for All!

So I decided to make valentines for my colleagues and my students, and this year I decided to use my childhood Spirograph kit. I loved playing with this when I was in grade school myself. Watching the patterns appear as your pen goes around the spiral is a little bit like magic.

They don't always work out quite right. Every once in a while the pen slips. But overall, the patterns are really beautiful and fascinating.

If you've never used a Spirograph set before, it works like this:

After choosing one of the large rings and one of the small discs, the large ring is secured with tacks on top of the drawing paper (there's a base of thick cardboard underneath). The disc of choice can go either inside or outside the ring, and there are many small holes to choose from where you put your pen. After that, just roll around the ring until the design meets up with itself again.

You can also change pen color and new designs can be created by shifting to a different hole in the disc. All the holes on the rings and discs are numbered so if you make something really cool you can duplicate it again later.

After I doodled a whole bunch of different designs, I cut them out and glued them on to red paper, added a little greeting with a heart sticker, and voila' ~ fun, mathematical valentines were ready for delivery.

A few of the designs...
Since no two were exactly alike, the kids enjoyed comparing the cards. A few wanted to learn how to do it, so I'll have to bring my Spirograph set in one day. I have quite a vintage set; some of the new versions for sale look pretty sweet.

My childhood Spirograph ~ so fun to use it again.

Wishing everyone a happy day of Saint Valentine!

02 February 2014


The Super Bowl is on. But as I mentioned a few years ago, I kind of prefer Superb Owl.

SF MOMA has been tweeting #superbowl images of superb owl artworks in their collection, so I thought I'd add the questioning owls from my recent Sketchbook Project to the celebration of the day.

This was one of my dad's haiku poems that made me smile. I hope you'll check the sketchbook out if you're ever at the Art House Library in Brooklyn since this isn't the greatest photo and the owls actually have a bit more color and detail. (You might find them to be more superb).

The game goes on, and here I'll give a little cheer for the underdogs in this game ~ Go Broncos! :)