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Artist Trading Cards with Nic Hahn

Teacher interview: Nic Hahn

Laura and Matthew Grundler - October 17, 2015 - #k12artchat, Regular Update

The #k12ArtChallenge on Twitter is a popular group of passionate art teachers who connect with each other daily for inspiration. This week our trusty guest bloggers, Team Grundler, connect with the group’s latest host to find out more about some very exciting projects.

We are really excited to share an interview with our newest #k12ArtChallenge host, Nic Hahn art educator and author of the blog Mini Matisse. As we’ve shared in previous articles, #k12ArtChallenge is about inspiring creativity, taking time to contemplate the process of creating and considering how it could enhance the classroom. Team Grundler has had the wonderful opportunity to meet Nic in person and have her host #k12ArtChat on two occasions in 2015. We could not be more thrilled that she took the challenge to host this October and allow us the opportunity to interview her for

Nic, can you tell us a little bit about your own experiences with the #K12ArtChallenge, we know you were able to participate a bit this summer. We’d even love to see a few things you created, please share.

I love the challenges this summer. I participated a bit, and really enjoyed pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I felt so connected to the others in the challenge. It was fun to share on social media and have conversation around a creative challenge. In my life, I have lot’s of friends, co-workers, great family… I am surrounded by people I love. In the #K12ArtChat and #K12ArtChallenges, I have found my tribe. According to Ken Robinson’s book, The Element, a Tribe is someone who shares your passion, your element. This group of people challenge your thoughts and expressions, support you and celebrate your accomplishments. These are people who really ‘get you’. In my case, these are people who would understand how frustrating it is to purchase a gesso thinking it was a heavy medium only to find out that it is almost transparent, or relate to the fact that I have been walking around with art on my face and fingers all day and no one told me… These are the people who create and time disappears… This is my tribe and I have found much of my tribe online, on Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs. By joining in on the #K12ArtChallenge, I found more people to add to my tribe.

Artist Trading Cards

How did it unfold that you are this month’s #k12ArtChallenge host and how you making it unique?

I was peer pressured into the role of host for the #k12ArtChallenge by Arlene Shelton@smARTisteacher and Team Grundler… No, I’m kidding. But I was asked by the group to help out. Arlene is really quite a great facilitator of the #K12ArtChallenge and has really developed quite a great line up so far. I was excited to share the work of my #ArtistTC and thought this month would be a great time to participate. I set up the challenge a bit differently to allow for a busy schedule. So only one challenge a week… you have the 7 days to work on the challenge. I am posting on my blog as well as celebrating others amazing efforts on this platform.

Artist Trading Cards

Please tell us a bit about Artist’s Trading Cards. What are they? Do we know where the concept was first developed and are they for adult artists, students (children) or both?

Artist Trading Cards are not a new concept, however you will have to google the details of the origin. I have read many claims to the start of ATC… but I’m not sure as to which one is accurate. In short, they are a small card 2 ½ by 3 ½ inches (same size of a baseball card). Artist use them to create art on. They are mini masterpieces. They are intended to trade with other artist. I see people online who sell their ATC’s, so I guess they can be made to profit off from as well. I like the idea of these mini works of art helping me reach my curriculum goals in the classroom. I use them for pre and post assessments, notes, and to develop skills. I’m also using them in the classroom to break down the walls of my classroom and show my students that there is more out there than Rogers, Minnesota. We are trading these cards physically around the world. We are also sharing them online through Students are learning about digital citizenship as well as developing an online portfolio of their work. These cards are used for adults as well. I find them to be very satisfying because they are so small so they allow for completion in less time. I use them often for experimenting with new processes or mediums. I have also traded them and enjoy the collection I have of others work.

“You have seen me talk a lot about Creatubbles lately in post on this blog. I’m really digging it people! I can’t stop singing their praises. And today they had a HUGE announcement. I know there are some other Art Teachers that might have high interest in joining this movement… Are you one of them? Today Creatubbles announced this…” Read more from Nic’s blog

How do you hope your #k12ArtChallege (Artist’s Trading Cards) will impact artists and art educators?

I am excited to share my ideas with others. I have learned so much from watching and listening to others that I feel paying it forward is kind of my obligation. I want to share my success (and fails). Artist Trading Cards are a solution for budget crunches in schools, reduced time with the students, and short attention spans of some of our clientele. If someone can develop their own lessons from the happenings in my classroom, I’m ecstatic.

Nic, we know you are a wife, mom, art educator, and the author of a very popular blog Mini Matisse; so we wanted to know what do you do at home to encourage the creativity of your own kiddos and how do you find balance?

My husband and I are both creative souls. Tim, my husband, is a Tech Ed teacher and is very hands on. I’m an Art teacher and am not afraid to make a mess. We balance each other quite a bit. We are both independent and strong, but become stronger as a team. Communication has become a must in our family as well. We discuss everything, from the chores of the house to our goals for the future… even our creative endeavors. Our kids are sometimes what I like to think of as over exposed to creativity. They will come up with out of the box solutions to a straightforward question. They are the only kids in their art class that asks in 1st grade if they are using the coil method or slab method for their clay project this year. Creativity is encouraged in our house, but because we are so practiced at that skill, we also encourage perseverance, craftsmanship, honesty, respect… well you get the idea. Creativity is a skill that needs to be taught and boy do my two minis understand it and high levels… now we just have to master that spelling test every week and try to pass the test that the rest of the America puts so much value on.

Can you elaborate on a concept you previously shared, GOAL or SOUL. What do you mean when you use this mantra?

For our New Year’s Resolution my husband and I create a saying… Goal or Soul. If what we are doing is not for our Goal, or not for our Soul, than we have to say no. We were drowning, trying everything to just keep up… our faces were getting older, our patience was getting shorter, and our children were missing us dearly. We had to cut back. We decided that we would only do something if it fit into the two categories, Goal or Soul. Goal? Food on the table… so we have to keep going to our job. Goal? Exposing our kids to a healthy lifestyle, so we grow a garden, go to the farmers market, ride our bikes and go to the YMCA. Goal? Appreciating the simple life, so we visit family, go for nature hikes, learn a new skill like rock climbing, archery and canoeing. Not our goal? Getting ‘Likes’ on facebook, being reached every minute of the day, or developing good texters… so there is no cell phone in the Hahn household. Soul? Tim needs to fish to feel connected to the world… we make time for him to do that. I need to create, I have the whole basement as my studio. I want to connect, I make specific time for Twitter and other Social Media, but don’t let it take too much of my precious time. We all want to appreciate now… we stop, listen, hug our babies and tell them we love them. Life is amazing and by feeding what fills your soul, one finds balance and purpose. With reminders on a regular basis from those involved in our lives, our Goal or Soul has been working for us thus far.

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. I am honored and humbled by your interest in my thoughts. Laura and Matt… I admire what you do, who you are, and what you have created!

We couldn’t have said it better than Nic, we feel the same as we are always inspired and honored to work with her. As you can see from her statements her innovation and passion shine not only as a teacher working with students but also in her ability to positively impact fellow educators. We hope that you take the October #K12ArtChallenge and share you Artist Trading Cards on social media via #K12ArtChallenge and #ArtistTC then upload the Creatubbles gallery.

Wishing you creative experiences,

Laura & Matt Grundler

Nicole Hahn is an elementary art teacher from Minnesota and author of the popular art education blog Mini Matisse. Follow her on Twitter@MiniMatisse.


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