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Apfelbaum Inspired Blossom Felt Board

Today’s felt board project was inspired by Polly Apfelbaum’s Blossom at the Museum of Modern Art.  Apfelbaum is an American artist who could be called a painter, sculptor and installation artist.  She uses a wide range of materials but often uses hand cut and hand dyed synthetic velvet, and she frequently places her work on the floor.  Much of her work references pop culture, such as cartoons and comic books.

Polly Apfelbaum, Blossom, 2000
Photo Credit: Museum of Modern Art, www.moma.org [1]

Polly Apfelbaum’s Blossom is made of subtly colored (from hand-applied dye) velvet shapes placed together to make a stunning floor installation. The artist arranges the colored shapes in a spiral of colors, placing each one on the floor herself.  Each shape is itself a little abstract painting, and as a whole it like a tapestry, a painting, a temporary installation and a metaphor all in one.  Because it is on the floor it becomes an interactive piece—the viewer has to walk around it, negotiating the space and seeing the work from multiple angles.  This artwork is from 2000 and she still works with fabric and often uses the floor as her canvas, but in new ways—I love her recent use of sequined fabric [2].

What I didn’t know until now is that Blossom the artwork is inspired by Blossom the Powerpuff Girl.  Apfelbaum liked that Blossom had  girl-power while still being cute.  I like that in one description of Blossom, she is “methodical,” which could also be said of Apfelbaum in her process of making the artwork.

Photo credit: Cartoon Network

On MOMA’s Polly Apfelbaum page [3] you and your kid can start by watching a video of Apfelbaum installing the piece and talking about her method and inspiration. Then you can see more at MOMA’s interactive section [4]. Once you get into the gallery, press the right arrow until you get to Blossom.  Then you can find out more information about the artwork, and of course explore the entire website, it’s really fun.

For our Blossom project, I decided a felt board would have better longevity than placing our felt pieces on the ground. And I liked the idea of making this into a recurring project, so we could redo it whenever we wanted.  We made our felt board out of a picture frame with the glass removed.  We’ve since also used it to make a variety of felt car pictures.

My kid isn’t quite as handy with scissors, so I cut some oval shapes from different colors of felt, about 6 to 8 of each color, with varying shades of each color.  If your kid is really good at cutting, they can cut the shapes themselves.

My kid also really wanted other shapes, so I cut squares, rectangles and triangles for him.  We ended up filling up our entire board with color–we buried our blossom a bit but had fun doing it.  And now for the instructions…

Blossom Felt Board

Prep Time: 20 minutes  Hands on Time: 15 minutes

10 sheets of different colored felt, with lights and darks of the same shades
8×10 picture frame with tabs in back, glass removed
Small piece of Velcro
Small plastic bag

Have your kid (or yourself) cut six or seven oval shapes out of each sheet of felt.  Take an approximately sized 8 x 10 piece of black felt and placed it inside the picture frame where the glass would go, with the hard backing behind it. The felt doesn’t need to fit exactly—you can push the tabs over the felt that sticks out in back. Attach one side of Velcro to the back of the frame and the other side to your plastic bag.  Prop up your felt board.  Start placing the ovals on the board, starting in the center. The felt pieces will stay on your felt board. Use one color and then another as you create a spiral, such as dark blue, then light blue, then dark green… When you are done making your creation and ready to put the felt away, stick it all in your plastic bag and attach to the back of the frame, ready for the next time.

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URL to article: https://cookingwithmykid.com/crafts/exhibits/apfelbaum-inspired-blossom-felt-board/

URLs in this post:

[1] www.moma.org: http://www.moma.org/

[2] sequined fabric: http://www.pollyapfelbaum.com/index.html

[3] Polly Apfelbaum page: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A8328&page_number=1&template_id=1&sort_order=1

[4] MOMA’s interactive section: http://www.moma.org/interactives/destination/

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