Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Becoming Architects: Art Project Inspired by the Buildings of Azerbaijan


When I started planning Project: Around the World, I wrote down all the countries of the world on separate index cards. While I was writing, ideas and images would pop in my mind. Some countries, though, came up with a total blank and that blank made me feel uncomfortable. How can there be countries in this world that I know nothing about? This realization made me more bound and determined to do this project with my girls. 

Azerbaijan was one of the countries that drew a blank. I did have a vague idea of its location on the globe, but other than that, I couldn't think of anything associated with it. (It's south of Russia and borders the Caspian Sea - you can see a map here. It was one of the countries formed by the breakup of the U.S.S.R.) Luckily for all of us, the internet helps make the world a smaller place and I found a lot of information and many pictures of Azerbaijan. It's rich in culture and history, but the thing that stood out to me was more modern - the incredible architecture. Take a look at the Heydar Aliyev Center - wow! Here are many more examples of beautiful buildings. We took our inspiration and a lump of clay and became architects for the day.




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Instead of making my own clay for this project, I decided to try out Crayola Air Dry Clay. I was quite pleased with the results. It was easy to work with, did not crack while drying, and was easy to paint. Perfect! 

I gave each girl a lump of clay and challenged them to think like an architect. What kind of building did they want to build? What would the building be used for? (Apartments, stores, sports stadium, etc.?) They molded and smashed, started over, and molded some more. 


It took awhile to get our creative brains going, but finally they came up with a few ideas. They made their final structure, then used toothpicks to add some detail. According to the tub of clay, it takes 2 to 3 days for the clay to fully dry, so we had to set it aside for awhile. After a couple of days, we were able to get out our paints and finish our buildings. We used both watercolor and acrylic paint and both worked beautifully. The dome was painted with watercolors and the arch with acrylics, if you are curious to see the difference.

I bet you're wondering the stories behind the buildings. Well, let me fill you in. The dome is a giant indoor playground so kids can run around and have fun no matter what the weather is like. The arch is a tearoom styled after a fancy teapot. It will be near the domed playground so the mothers have a place to relax. Sounds wonderful to me!




Now, when I see Azerbaijan, my mind no longer comes up empty. I picture mountains, shoreline, and beautiful buildings. The world is a wonderful place!

Thank you for following along during our artistic journey around the world. To find all our projects so far, please click here or on the image below.


To further explore the world through crafts, activities, and food, please follow my Around the World Pinterest board:



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