Youngblood Studio: Visiting Artist

Visiting artists from Youngblood Studio, Tylur French and Amanda Nalley, gave a presentation about being working artists and shared some of the projects they’ve created, such as sculptures at Overton Park, structures at the skate park, and artwork for Le Bonheur and St. Jude hospitals.

Whether they are working on a large project or a smaller scale, Mr. French starts with an idea, then takes to paper with a loose sketch. A partner in the studio transforms the sketch into a detailed watercolor piece. From there, Ms. Nalley uses computer mapping to see how the completed piece might look and how it can be assembled.

The concept changed slightly between the watercolor stage and the finished piece. Mr. French explained how projects can take several years and go through multiple design changes.

After the presentation, Mr. French and Ms. Nalley facilitated a scarecrow brainstorming session with Lower and Upper Elementary students. Each student sketched one to three ideas for Lichterman Nature Center’s Scarecrow Contest, then came back together as a group to explain their thought processes.

Some students were very specific about how to build their scarecrows. There were many innovative ideas that incorporated technology, movement, and even trap doors!

Our students’ designs were creative and unique. Since it would be too hard to pick just one, Youngblood Studio is going to create composite designs, meaning they will take aspects of everyone’s ideas to be incorporated into our scarecrow.

Youngblood Studio will send three composites back early next week, and the school will vote for their favorite. Then we will choose what materials to use and decide how to manage our workload. We plan to start building at the end of next week, with all students from Early Childhood, Lower Elementary, and Upper Elementary helping out.

Clockwise from top left: Mr. French answers questions about being a working artist; Mr. French and Upper Elementary students check out the scarecrow frame; Ms. Nalley and a student have a great time with the sketching process

A bonus quest: Students learned that Mr. French hid a golden squirrel eating a diamond in the bike arch at Overton Park. Try to find it whenever you visit the park!


5 thoughts on “Youngblood Studio: Visiting Artist

  1. Hello! I am taking classes to become a future elementary teacher and my class had us research the Maker Movement this week. I was wondering if you could tell me why your school chose to start “making” and how it has impacted your students’ learning thus far? It looks super fun!!


    • Thanks for the thought-provoking comment! It inspired a blog post to explain why we’re doing this and the benefits we’ve seen, so that should be up shortly. But in a nutshell:

      Montessori is all about learning by doing, and the Maker Movement is all about learning by making. They go hand-in-hand! MakerSpace provides open-ended inquiry opportunities for students to learn creatively by combining art, science, and technology (we also include reading because of my library background!). It allows students to learn at their level and demonstrate their learning in creative ways, while enhancing our classroom curriculum. Basically, it brings learning to life!

      We have already seen a jump in student enthusiasm and love of learning. It’s been a huge catalyst for change, and we see them thinking more creatively in the classroom.


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