Skip to content

DIY String Art Tutorial

April 17, 2014

Last weekend, the Dallas Museum of Art teamed up with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for our Art + Science Festival. Visitors enjoyed activities ranging from light graffiti to digital microscope observations to a film about artists and scientists who devote their lives to origami.

If you ventured to the DMA’s Fleischner Courtyard during the festival, you probably noticed a colorful creation of string being woven through the trees. That’s because guest artist Amie Adelman was leading a workshop which involved visitors helping her create a sculpture of geometric lines and angles using just the courtyard’s trees and string as supplies.


Although it may be difficult to create a work of art on your own as immense as the one that graced the DMA’s courtyard last weekend, there’s a simple way to create your own string art with supplies that you can find in your own home:

What you need:

  • Cardboard square (our example is 8″ X 8″)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Exacto knife
  • Scissors
  • Thread

Step 1

Using a ruler as a guide, make small marks with a pencil on all four sides of your cardboard square that are one inch apart from each other.


Step 2

Once you have drawn marks on all four sides of your cardboard square, score the marks all the way through the cardboard with an exacto knife.


Step 3

After all pencil marks are scored, wrap your cardboard square with thread. Make sure that the thread is wrapped tight enough through the scored marks that they do not easily slip out. This will also keep you from having to knot the thread when you’re finished creating your design.

Think about the different geometric designs that you want to make with the thread. The more layers of thread that you add to your cardboard, the thicker and more visible it will appear when you’re finished.


Step 4

Once you’re through using your thread of choice, cut the thread on the back of your string art creation.


Step 5

Optional: Keep adding more colors of thread to your design. If you choose to add more colors, repeat steps 3 and 4 for each color of thread that you add.


There are a lot of different geometric designs that you can create with string art! Share what colors and designs you decide to incorporate into your own string art creation in the comments!


Amy Elms
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement

Never Say Goodbye…

April 15, 2014

Today I bid a fond farewell to the DMA. Saying goodbye has never been easy for me, and each time I do, I find J.M. Barrie’s quote from Peter Pan echoing in my head: “Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.” However, although my time as a McDermott Intern has flown by,  I feel lucky to be taking so many unforgettable memories into my next adventure.

At the top of my list, I will fondly remember sharing my love of art with children and adults as part of the DMA’s many Family and Access programs.  I will also treasure the time I spent collaborating and teaching with the talented members of this team, which we affectionately refer to as FAST. Thank you, ladies, for your guidance and inspiration!

I will cherish my memories of trips to our neighboring DFW museums, cultural institutions, and Mrs. McDermott’s beautiful ranch, as well as the opportunity to participate in the NY Museums in Action STEM to STEAM conference this spring.

I will miss answering the letters children write to Arturo, including my past students in Western MA, who participated in my Arturo’s Magical Mail exchange.

Last but not least, I will miss seeing my fellow interns each day. Together, we have grown as educators and professionals, and I am thankful to have shared this experience with you.

And so, I head off into my next chapter. Although I am going away, I won’t say goodbye, because something tells me I’ll be back. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing about the wonderful things the DMA continues to share with the world. Onwards and upwards!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Amelia Wood
McDermott Intern for Family Access and Teaching

Friday Photos: Thanks to our Volunteers!

April 11, 2014

It’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week!

We want to thank all of our volunteers for their time and commitment to the DMA! We truly could not serve the many thousands of children, families, and adult visitors without the help of our wonderful volunteers.

To find out how you can volunteer with the DMA, please visit our Volunteer page.

Rhiannon Martin
Volunteer Coordinator

DIY Photo Transfer

April 10, 2014

Spring is (finally) here, which means that many of us in the education department are gearing up for Summer Art Camps! The best part of teaching a summer camp is getting to experiment and explore with materials to devise fun and engaging art projects. Jessica Fuentes and I are teaching a summer photography camp for 6-8 year olds, called Developing an Eye for Art. In this camp we are going above and beyond the simple point and shoot aspect of photography, and urging our students to explore this artistic medium through many different avenues. A favorite exploratory activity of mine is photo transfer, because it is a fairly straightforward project that invites loads of experimentation.


What you need:

  • Photograph to transfer (higher contrast photos are best)
  • Light colored piece of wood (5×7″ is what I used)
  • Matte gel medium (found in the acrylic paints section of art & craft stores)
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush (can be foam or bristle)
  • Mod Podge (I used matte finish)
  • Access to a laser printer or copy machine

Step 1

Print your chosen photograph from a laser printer, or make a copy of the image on a photocopier. Do not use an ink jet printer, as it will smudge the image. Make sure the printed or copied image is the same size (or smaller) than your piece of (5)

Step 2

Cut out the laser print-out of your image, making sure you do not leave a border around the image.


Step 3

Use a foam or bristle brush to place a thin layer of matte gel medium directly onto your image, which will make the image opaque white.

Brush gel medium directly onto image.

Step 4

Before the gel medium dries, place your image face down on your piece of wood. Be careful with placement as you will not be able to move the photograph once it dries.

Once your image is in place, smooth out and flatten any air bubbles underneath your photo. You can use your fingers or anything with a stiff edge (like a ruler) to smooth out any bumpy places. Make sure not to push too hard and rip your image.sandwich

Step 5

Let your photo transfer sit and dry for at least 8 hours.

Step 6

After your photo transfer has dried, get a wet rag and lay it on top of the image, making sure to get the paper nice and soaked. Next, use your fingers or a rag to carefully rub off the fuzzy white paper fibers, revealing your lovely photo underneath.

It is best to let the transfer dry in-between paper rubbings, to make sure that all the bits of paper are removed. This make take time and multiple drying and re-wetting sessions. Be patient :)


Step 7

Once your photo transfer is dry and to your liking, brush a layer (or two) of Mod Podge on top of the image to seal the work.

That’s it! Your photo transfer is done and ready to be shown off! This simple project can be modified to give a more or less distressed look to the finished work, experiment and see what you can do!

Finished transfers.

Finished transfers.

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Artist Astrology: Aries

April 8, 2014

This month we are celebrating our assertive Aries artists (March 21 – April 20)! The first sign of the zodiac, Aries individuals are born leaders. They are characterized by fearlessness, persistence, and energy. Aries crave adventure, reveling in challenging situations where they can test their passion and determination. This high-energy and enthusiasm often lends itself best to individual, rather than group work. Aries exude a confidence and self-assurance that can be difficult for others to understand. Their confidence encourages them to explore their ideas and they are happy to pave their own path. Aries set their own rules and do not let anything stand in the way of reaching their goals!

Three of our favorite Aries artists in the DMA Collection include Vincent van Gogh (March 30), Victor Vasarely (April 19), and Joán Miró (April 20).


Vincent van Gogh – March 30

Now one of the most well-known artists in the world, Vincent van Gogh achieved very little recognition during his lifetime. In fact, in the ten years that he worked as a painter, he only sold one work (Irises). Van Gogh’s painting style was primarily influenced by two movements, the Pointillist techniques of Georges Seurat and the Japanese ukigo-e woodcut practice. He combined these distinct practices to create a style uniquely his own. His use of bold brush strokes and thickly applied paint is often referred to as Expressionistic. This suggestion also refers to van Gogh’s unique ability to empathize with his subject, as demonstrated in the joyous, almost comical way he depicted the wheat above. Unfortunately, van Gogh was known to set impossibly high standards for himself. He also battled mental illness and depression, a disease that ultimately took his life in 1890. Sheaves of Wheat (above) belongs to van Gogh’s last series of paintings, completed in Auvers-sur-Oise between June-July 1890. While he did not exude an Aries’ confidence and self-assurance, Van Gogh’s artistic originality and independence have made him one of the most significant artists of the 19th century.


Victor Vasarely – April 19

Victor Vasarely is considered one of the primary leaders of the Op art movement of the 1960s. He expanded upon the geometric language of the Bauhaus movement and artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee (both in the DMA’s collection) in order to produce a “dynamized” effect. He believed that this new language transformed relatively stable structures into more vibrant, optical configurations. Vaserely’s designs are a treat for the eye and a challenge for the mind.


Joán Miró – April 20

Joán Miró’s artistic style is characteristic of an Aries artist. Throughout his prolific career, Miró resisted joining any art movements, preferring to explore and develop a style that was uniquely his own. While frequently equated with the Dada and Surrealist movements of the 1920′s, he never officially joined either group. His style, however, shares some commonalities with these movements, namely his interest in automatic drawings and childlike sensibilities. Miró’s art remained largely consistent throughout his life as he continued to explore these themes and ideas. He is especially noted for his loose, free-flowing shapes, known as “biomorphic” forms. In the 1940s and 1950s, Miró continued to defy traditional artistic traditions by expanding his techniques to new mediums, including etching (as seen above).

And the list of Aries artists goes on! Including such masters as Jean-Honoré Fragonard (April 5), Raphael (April 6), and Leonardo da Vinci (April 15).

Come back next month to learn about our tenacious Taurus artists!

Artworks shown:

  • Vincent van Gogh, Sheaves of Wheat, July 1890, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
  • Victor Vasarely, Meride, 1961-1963, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, Contemporary Arts Council Fund
  • Joán Miró, Woman and Bird in Front of the Moon (Femme et oiseau devant la lune), 1947, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Frances Pratt

Hayley Prihoda
McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Friday Photos: If the Shoe Fits

April 4, 2014

This past week, some of our Education staff attended the 2014 National Art Education Association Convention. I’ve had the great fortune to attend this convention annually since 2004. I personally look forward to it every year for a number of reasons: hearing about the great work of museum colleagues around the country, spending time with DMA colleagues outside of our work environment, making friends and connections at other museums, and exploring the host city and all it has to offer.

This year’s conference was in beautiful San Diego. Even though it was a work trip, it still felt like a mini vacation. How could it not, with this view outside of my hotel room?


I attended many interesting sessions and took a lot of notes. I always make a point of reviewing my notes soon after I return from a conference, knowing that there are great ideas I can apply to my own professional practice.

While speaking with my officemate Amanda Batson after we returned, we discovered that we both bought shoes during our trip.

Amanda and Me 1

This inspired me to hunt for fabulous footwear throughout the DMA. Look for these sweet kicks during your next visit!

Art Beauty Shoppe detail

Find these stylish ladies on the fourth floor

Commodore Trunnion detail

Not a shoe, but still pretty cool: Jack Hatchway is a one-legged veteran of the sea, shown here in a painting inspired by The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle by Tobias Smollett

Reves detail

Look for these delicate shoes in the Belle Chambre of the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Japanese figure detail

I love these Japanese sandals, called geta, though I can’t imagine walking in them

Indian dancer detail

This Indian dancer performs barefooted, but with many anklets that make their own music as she dances

Picasso detail

The bust in the lower left of this painting is thought to be a kind of visual signature for this revolutionary Spanish artist

YM detail

A young artist reimagines the high heel, made entirely of pencils and found objects

Happy shoe hunting!

Artworks shown:

  • Isaac Soyer, Art Beauty Shoppe, 1934, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Public Works of Art Project
  • Francis William Edmonds, Commodore Trunnion and Jack Hatchway, c. 1839, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Maxus Energy and Nina B. Super by exchange, the Roberta Coke Camp Fund and the General Acquisitions Fund
  • Belle Chambre, Dallas Museum of Art, Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
  • Figurine, Japan, late 19th century, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, The John R. Young Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund
  • Dancing Figure, India, Probably 12th–13th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation
  • Pablo Picasso, The Guitarist, 1965, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund
  • April Armstrong, Lead Foot, 2013, Plano East Senior High School, featured in Young Masters 2014

Melissa Gonzales
Center for Creative Connections Gallery Manager

Educator Resources: Islamic Culture

April 3, 2014
Quran Bifolio, Tunisia, Qayrawan, late 9th – early 10th century , vellum, ink, gold, silver, and blue dye, Furusiyya Art Foundation, Vaduz, Photo © Noel Adams

Quran Bifolio, Tunisia, Qayrawan, late 9th – early 10th century , vellum, ink, gold, silver, and blue dye, Furusiyya Art Foundation, Vaduz, Photo © Noel Adams

We are thrilled to present Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World at the DMA through June 29. The exhibition explores light in Islamic culture–in the physical and metaphysical sense–through both secular and sacred works, produced in places from Spain to Asia, dating from the 7th century to the 21st. The Islamic world is vast, and the diversity of cultures embraced by Islam is rich. To assist you in teaching about Islamic culture, we’ve pulled together some useful online resources:

9th-10th century, Iraq, luster-painted, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., Brooklyn, USA

Bowl with bird, 9th-10th century, Iraq, luster-painted, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., Brooklyn, USA

Andrea Severin Goins
Interpretation Specialist


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 144 other followers

%d bloggers like this: