<![CDATA[SPITZINK DESIGNS - Blog]]>Tue, 08 Aug 2023 05:05:25 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Maze Ball or Jeu Gruyère]]>Thu, 03 Nov 2022 11:14:23 GMThttp://www.spitzink.com/blog/maze-ball-or-jeu-gruyerePicture
I had a request last month to build a wooden carnival style game for Alpine Canada for an event to encourage people to come to their tent and learn more about the athletes on the Canadian Ski Team.   Alpine Canada sent me a drawing to describe the game since none of us knew exactly what it was called.  After a bit of research I found more information about the game and what it is called.

Jeu Gruyère is like an enhanced, three-dimensional version of Chutes and Ladders mixed with Milton Bradley’s Operation game. But it’s more than that: when you add the ability to control the ball carrier using a pulley system, you get a game that’s a challenge to both mind and body. The game consists of an inclined wooden board with holes placed at intervals and a wooden ball carrier that the facile Gruyèrist glides over the board via a system of ropes and pulleys that works just like a two-axis X-Y plotter. If the player is good, he or she can guide the ball to the top of the board without the ball falling.

I found a few DIY tutorials on how to build a the game (I found this tutorial the most helpful - Thanks Chico and Jo for sharing your design!) and started to plan out the build. I'll admit that my husband did most of the actual build.  I love designing and prepping but I trust his attention to detail and proper use of power tools more than mine.  After a few days we (he) had the game built.  I sewed the ball catching blanket and added the painted mountain details and painted cradle and it was ready to go.  We tested it out on family and found that even my young nephews could play it.

After delivering the game I got some photos sent to me of the game in action at the event.  I think it was a success!

Mu husband testing the game mechanics before we continued the build
The game at the Alpine Canada event tent ready to go.
The completed game before , restringing, painting and branding
The line up of people waiting to have a turn playing.
<![CDATA[Painted Gourds]]>Wed, 02 Nov 2022 22:55:49 GMThttp://www.spitzink.com/blog/painted-gourdsPicture
It's been years since I painted a gourd.  I have several sitting around my studio and I finally picked one up and decided to make it into a birdfeeder.  I have a new hole drill that I purchased for another project and it was perfect for cutting out the main hole.  I then did a bit of design research and then went at it.

It was very fun to just sit and work away at it over a couple of days.  Can't wait to see what the birds think of it next spring.

<![CDATA[Acrylic and Oil Pastels Art]]>Fri, 16 Sep 2022 13:23:37 GMThttp://www.spitzink.com/blog/acrylic-and-oil-pastels-artPicture
I love combining acrylic paint and oil pastels.  I remember making scratch paintings when I was young using crayons and have upgraded that technique to using oil pastels.  It is a simple technique that can be applied to a wide range of subject matter.

Once the background is painted you can simply outline your subject with thick black sharpie or black paint, fill in the shape with oil pastels, paint over the shape with black craft paint and then scratch designs and patterns into the dried black paint to reveal the oil pastel underneath.  Stenciling or using markers on top in the negative space can reinforce or add to the design of the subject. 

Student Examples - Ages 5-10

<![CDATA[Abstract Painting and Collage]]>Fri, 09 Sep 2022 13:19:55 GMThttp://www.spitzink.com/blog/abstract-painting-and-collage

​I have been working at a gallery that has a large permanent collection of abstract art pieces which we often use when teaching classes.  I thought I would look into different abstract art techniques to test out different methods for teaching  abstract art to kids.

I found this method on another art blog and gave it a try.  It was wonderfully fun and  exploratory and it generated some interesting pieces.

Each step is listed below.  I didn't do a lot of thinking and just tried to have fun and go with my feelings.  Whenever I didn't like the way something was looking I just added to the painting.
Step 1 : Painting shapes and colours completely filling the paper
Step 2 : Cutting up the first painting and gluing some pieces of it down into a new composition.
Step 3 : The final piece after adding more acrylic paint, glaze and smaller line work with paint and gel pens.
I used the left over pieces of the first painting in Step 1 to make a second piece of art.  It turned out quite different despite being made from the same original painting.

I used a few different tools when making the pieces including a gift card for dragging paint and a sponge.  I tried water and gel medium to make some paint more translucent showing the colours and shapes underneath.  

Overall it was quite a fun project and process and I think the kids may enjoy the freedom of playing with paint mixing and mark making.
<![CDATA[STEM Projects]]>Thu, 25 Aug 2022 23:42:36 GMThttp://www.spitzink.com/blog/stem-projectsPicture
My nephews sometimes come over in the summer for a few days during a week and while they are here we often make things.  Sometimes we build boats, robots or masks out of bits of wood and nails.  Sometimes we build cardboard armor and weapons.  Sometimes we paint and sew stuffies.

Last week we built elastic band propelled cars and extending grabbers.

We built the grabbers from broad flat Popsicle sticks and brads, finishing off the grabber heads with painted foam core. They were quite easy to build but the brads would sometime come apart and the expanding scissor action would come apart.

The elastic propelled cars we build from old CDs, juice lids, BBQ skewers, cardboard tubes and small foam shapes as well  as elastics.  Our first attempt failed and we discovered that it was too light.  Our next design had more weight to it and worked great.  Once we had them working, paint and foam stickers were added to make the cars look fabulous.

<![CDATA[Gelli Printing]]>Tue, 09 Aug 2022 16:27:13 GMThttp://www.spitzink.com/blog/gelli-printingI broke out the gelli plate the other week and have been madly cutting stencils to create some fun gelli plate printed art.   It is always a joy to use the gelli plate and see what different colours, techniques and materials will work best.  Not every print is a winner but it sure if fun to pull back the paper and see what you get.

I like to add in details with gel or paint pens or use stencils or stamps on top.  I have bins of items I use when I gelli print.  I keep anything that might have a cool pattern or shape.  I make hot glue stencils, buy small wood scrap booking embellishments, carve erasures into stamps with a lino tool, keep bits of packaging material or pieces of nature, or anything else I can think of that might make a neat impression in the gelli.  Block printing ink works best but I have been experimenting mostly with acrylic paint since I have very little block ink.

It's so much fun. 
<![CDATA[The Insane Game]]>Wed, 03 Aug 2022 12:29:39 GMThttp://www.spitzink.com/blog/the-insane-gameWelcome to the Insane Game! 

With my niece and nephews in town for a visit we thought we'd make a new version of last summers The Impossible Game

Using one sheet of Bristol Board we laid out a basic snakes and ladders style game board and added in all kind of traps and bonuses. We added in a special Wheel of Insanity (a circular track that you have to land on a specific square to get out of as you go round and round), some squares that require you to do things like an improvised rap or dance to move ahead, smell someone's shoe or sing the alphabet backwards.  We also brought back the Vortex squares to jump ahead in the game and the Instant Death square.  One new feature we added was a Complete Restart square that sends everyone back to the start.

There are a few squares that also allow a player to use more dice for the rest of the game upping their chances of winning by moving them more quickly.

Everyone helped with ideas, colouring, doodling and working out game play.  It was a great group activity for the whole family and everyone was excited to play the game they had a part in making.

The best part of the game is the game token my niece designed in polymer clay.  I told her they could be based on anything, the more random the better,  She ended up making a rag doll, an orange slice, an eyeball, a chicken foot, a nose, a cactus and a toothbrush.  So very random.

There is no strategy, no reasoning, no skill.  It's all just insane luck.  A no-brainer, semi-frustrating, 5 minute to five hours board game that may or may not drive you insane.
<![CDATA[Blackout Poetry]]>Sat, 04 Jun 2022 04:00:00 GMThttp://www.spitzink.com/blog/blackout-poetryPicture
Blackout Poetry is one of my favorite things to do when I am stuck in a rut. It is the same thing I previously posted as Altered Pages as this style of art has many names.  It is a fantastic way for anyone to find a different meaning within a given text.

You start with a page from a novel.  Then you look for words inside the text that create a poem of sorts.  You circle those words and the draw/paint artwork around it.  You can use whatever art style you like and use the images you add to help illustrate the found poem.

I like to keep a few pages to work on here and there.  Like a word search with no clues or correct answers, that you get to colour.

The invasion chilled out hearts. It had twin rockets in cheap cardboard tubes. Everything was murder and mayhem. Children scattered, fell down and wished it was beautiful.
The war plants came and attended the sale saying "You didn't stand a chance"
The mystery was out in the hiding place. A world left exploded by imagination and discarded toys. Cats and kittens cast shady thoughts of loneliness.
She was small but determined. People had known and never tolerated Mary. After the fighting she shook her head for he had just noticed her.
The surface of her mind unraveled, spiraling it hit the bottom. Not one heard the sound, felt the texture of her torn out mind. Foolish child that is fine.
Warped pockets of nature in the room was quite monstrous. It consumed everything.
<![CDATA[Mixed Animals]]>Fri, 01 Apr 2022 04:00:00 GMThttp://www.spitzink.com/blog/mixed-animalsI love the challenge of drawing mixed up animals.  I usually get the kids to give me to two animals and then I have to doodle up the mix.  Then it's fun to write out as many name combinations as possible until I get one that I like. I have made pages and pages of doodles on this concept and often use it a a drawing challenge to help my class get creative.

Behold the mighty Boaconrooster, the King of Antarctica a.k.a. the Penglion, the desert Ostrurtle and the giant river Otterphant.
<![CDATA[Boardcraft]]>Tue, 09 Nov 2021 05:00:00 GMThttp://www.spitzink.com/blog/boardcraftPicture
Minecraft.  It seems to be the most popular game...ever.  My children all love it.  My students talk about it in a language non-Minecrafters can't even understand.  I find it fascinating.

I got to thinking about how to make a board game version (to of course give us a Minecraft fix without having to be on a screen).  With the kids expert help with the correct language and game play we cam up with BOARDCRAFT!

We designed the game board, the rules, the cards (both good and bad cards), the rewards (eyes of ender and armor), the chest, and the game play.  It is a dice rolled game where you move about collecting the armor and eyes of ender while fighting Minecraft mobs along the way.

I painted a wood box to resembled a Minecraft chest and laminated all the game cards. I ended up making several sets to give as gifts to family and friends who like both board games and Minecraft.

I think it might be one of my favorite board games.