Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hallie's Big Gully Guitars

My friend, Hallie Edwards, is a digital imaging specialist at Emory University in Atlanta.  Hallie also is a "paint slinger at Big Gully" and that is where the art blog comes in....

Hallie is one cool gal.  She is from Butler (pronounced Butlahh by the home folks), Georgia, 31006.  Her parents are Ward and Billie Edwards.  They live in a place called The Big Gully, hence the name for her art.  The Big Gully is legend in Butler.  During the 1970s, The Big Gully was a fun place to go create mischief. (not that I was ever prone to mischief)

Here's Hallie.   Here's Hallie's throwback thoughts about this small jacket.  "This was my jacket from the early Seventies. I LOVED patches (they were the Pokemon of the Seventies) and my Mama (Billie) helped me collect them and sewed them on my jacket and jeans for me. Thank you, Mama! Special memories that seem not so long ago...how the hell is it possible that I am 53 years old. Blows my mind! #OldAss #StillAKidAtHeart"
What is so special about The Big Gully?  Why name your art after a place in Butler, Georgia?  I tell you, The Big Gully is a place full of memorable events and people.  The Big Gully is where it was and where it is!

 
Some of the fun that I HAVE HEARD happened began at the railroad track you had to cross on the way to The Big Gully.  Many Butler kids would put quarters on the train track.  After the train came through town, they would run to the tracks to find the quarters that had popped off the track.  The quarters were always flatter than a pancake.  I do not know why this was a "thing", but it was just that in 1975.  Steve Jobs was 20.  He had not yet invented the Ipad and Iphone for the kids to use to pass the time.

In Butler, most kids had a bike.  If you were 14 and under, riding a bike was the way to travel.  If you rode the curve to the right after the railroad track and took a left down a dirt road, you would end up at the top of a sawdust pile.  I am talking one "big honking" pile of sawdust.  The brave kids would ride their bike all the way down the sawdust pile.  Crashing was certain, but no one ever broke an arm or collar bone.  Riding down the sawdust pile was a right of passage for the Butler kids.  Of course, our parents were never exactly aware of our whereabouts on any given day.  No "checking in" with a text every few hours.  We were free to "roam around our world."  (love me some B-52s)   

If you took a right after you crossed the railroad track, you would pass by a haunted house.  Many teenagers would run knock on the door, and run back to their Cutlass Supremes or Camaros to safety.  This was long before the days of ding, dong, ditch.  These teenagers were smart enough to know if the owner of the house caught them in the ditch, there would be a call to a Mama or a Daddy.  Back in the day, a call from a neighbor usually meant something...Usually, something painful popping your backside.  Yes, our parents spanked us and we pretty much survived without seeing a childhood therapist twice a week.

Many of the older teenagers (Vicki Dunn Dykes) would pile on back of an old pick-up truck, (in the 70s, kids did not drive new pick-up trucks;  that would have been driving your daddy's truck and not cool) and drive at great speed up and down the hills of The Big Gully.  It has been reported that some Miller High Life pony beers had been consumed on these fast rides, but it may have been only a Coca Cola.  I guess it depended on the pick-up truck, really.  Ha. 

So, I love Hallie's name, Big Gully.  Also, I love her folk art.  In Georgia, folk art is quite popular.  After all, R.A. Miller and Howard Finster, were from Georgia.  They were some of the first to lead the folk art world in the 1980s and 1990s.  

Our fourth grade students' theme this year is "4th grade Rocks".  To incorporate the theme, I decided to get the kids to make a guitar.  I looked around on Pinterest and Google.  Then, SHAZAM, I remembered Hallie did really cool guitars.

To introduce the artist, I told my kids about Hallie Edwards.  I told them that if she walked in the art room that each kid would think that she was their best friend.  I said, "Y'all would just love her." I explained a little about growing up in Butler to the kids.  I actually had one student from Butler and this just made his day. 

The kids enjoyed hearing about how Hallie used to love to eat Del Taco burritos.  I told them how she would drive 45 minutes to the closest Del Taco just to get a beef burrito.  Also, she would get 10 extra to put in the freezer! 

Also, I shared how she would go to the grocery store to buy goulash ingredients for "Miss" Billie just to have a good look at the mayor's son, Bert.  Bert worked as a grocery clerk at the local Red and White grocery store.  He was really nice to help Hallie find the water chestnuts on aisle 3.  Bert was cute.  He got even cuter driving his white 280 ZX "riding around" Butler on weekend nights.

I also told the kids that Hallie had met Gene Simmons of Kiss when she was about their age.  Of course, they had no clue about the rock band, Kiss.  They did think it was cool that a kid had met a rock star.  I did use this to explain to the kids how meeting Gene Simmons had influenced a piece of artwork that she had done recently. 


Hallie & Gene (Check out the camera lens, wow!)

Hallie's artwork influenced by Gene

I also told them about the piece below.  The Rickenbacker 360!  Big Gully was commissioned to create this guitar of R.E.M. guitarist, Peter Buck.  Yeah, they had never heard of R.E.M. either. 


Oh, and I also told them that Hallie had met Courtney Barnett.  Yeah, they hadn't heard of her either.  Have you?  Courtney Barnett's Avant Gardener

 
Van Gogh?  Yes, Big Gully did a little Van Gogh.  And YES, the kids had heard of Van Gogh.  We have a classroom hermit crab named after him.  Vincent, the hermit crab.

 
Directions:
 
I gave the students the picture below of some Big Gully guitars.
I had big sheets of 9 x 12 construction paper on a table.
I actually pre-chopped the necks of the guitars.  This pre-cut necks were great for helping them estimate the size of the guitars.
The kids cut out the pieces.
The kids decorated with oil pastels. (many were in the style of Hallie)
They brought the parts and pieces to me.
I glued them together with a hot glue gun.
Then, I glued them on a large piece of paper for easy display.













 





















Here's Hallie and her two amazing parents!  Really, I just love these folks. Our families go would go way back in the Butler history books if there were Butler history books.
 

Here is Hallie's parents wayyyy back in the day.  This was a picture in the Atlanta Journal on September 30, 1956.  Picture reads, "Ward Edwards of Atlanta, pins his wife to Georgia."  Mr. Ward was a State Representative in Georgia from 1967-1992.
 

Here is Mr. Ward painting on a truck with Hallie.
 


Here is the finished truck.  I would like to take this coolness for a ride in The Big Gully.
 

I just love the art below.  It pretty much sums up my thoughts on family.  HW, you nailed that one.
 
 
Oh yeah, Hallie also paints on flattened bourbon bottles.  These were flattened in the kiln, not by a train.  Ha. 

 
 
Perfect way to end THIS LONGEST POST EVER!
 



Check out Hallie's Big Gully on Facebook


Oh yeah, BTW,  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MISS BILLIE! 
I LOVE YOU!

1965

Monday, August 31, 2015

FuNky ... Animal Portraits

 
I think these are some of the most inspiring animal portraits from our Maclay Middle School students. Wow, how I approached the lesson...We looked at some picture references of animals. I wanted the kids to push themselves and not just make a brown bear brown. I was ticked pink when I saw a multi colored and textured bear. This year I am really trying to incorporate many Elements and Principles of Art in each lesson. I feel like these 4 examples nailed what I was trying to accomplish.
- Happy Monday!
1969