Friday, February 8, 2013

Mmmmmmm....Tasty Thiebaud Cakes!

I've had this project on the agenda for a couple of years since I saw it at my first NH Art Educator's Association State Conference. This project is from the Art History-inspired Lesson Planning Session I took with Claire Provencher, who is this year's President of the NHAEA.

Some of the tasty cakes in progress. This also shows the handout
I gave each student to make sure they knew all the elements I was expecting:
cake, cake stand, shadow on table.
I had originally planned one one-hour class for this project, but even my speediest student needed the project to continue into another session, so if you are limited on time, you can reduce the number of cakes from 9-ish to 5-ish, to make the project more manageable.

I started class by showing the students a slideshow about Wayne Thiebaud I had found online and I gave each table a handout which had an image of Thiebaud's cakes for reference as well as an example of the elements I was expecting them to have on their papers: cake made from construction paper, cake stand that had been traced on the background paper, then colored, and the shadow from the cake stand that had also been traced on the background paper and colored in.

I also implemented my "AT LEAST TWO COLORS" rule for every piece of this project. Students have to use at least two colors in their cakes, on the cake stand and on the shadows that fall onto the table. Oh, and no black in the shadows. This gets the children thinking about using richer color choices that are more natural and slows them down a bit. I really didn't want them to spend two minutes decorating cakes and throw some black shadows everywhere and call it a day.

I had the children use a combination of crayons (the regular kind) and craypas or oil pastels to decorated their cakes (Claire suggested using construction paper crayons originally, but I didn't have those). The children really enjoyed decorating their cakes, and I was pleasantly surprised by all of the different kinds of cakes they were able to create! I also showed some of the students how to make a half cake and a cake with a slice taken out of it.

Enjoy these tasty cakes!

Tasty Thiebaud Cakes

Supplies Needed:
  • One 9"x12" piece of neutral-colored construction paper for a background (cream, white, light blue)
  • About ten 3"x 4 1/2" pieces of construction paper, various colors
  • Cake template cut from card stock
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Oil Pastels
  • Crayons
  • Glue stick
  • Cake stand template cut from card stock, optional, children could just freehand it

1. Trace and cut the cakes from the small pieces of construction paper. If you stack a couple pieces of construction paper, you can cut a couple cakes at once. Don't try to cut all 10 cakes at once with child scissors--your cakes will be messed up!

2. Decorate your cakes with the crayons and oil pastels. Add glazes, sprinkles, nuts, fruit, stripes, polka dots, hearts, etc. The sky's the limit! Use at least two colors on each cake to make them interesting. If you decide to add shadows to your cakes, make sure all of your shadows are going the same way (in the same direction). You can also make some of your cakes missing a slice or even make a half cake just like Thiebaud would do.

3. Once all of your cakes are done, glue them to the background paper.

4. Draw the cake stands below each of your cakes. I suggest drawing all the cake stands at once since they will probably overlap and you'll need to make some decision about which ones are on front and which are behind and that is much easier to do in the pencil phase.

5. Color in the cake stands and add shadows going in the same direction they appear on your cakes.

6. Add shadows from the cake stands onto the table. Again, make sure the shadows are going the same direction as all of your other shadows.


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