a Studio in a School residency with Teaching artist Andrea Kantrowitz, sponsored by Time Warner

IS 237, a Magnet School for the Arts, Queens, New York


click here to view Flikr slideshow

Class Reflections

Wow! What can I say about this project. It was mind-blowing, for very long I underestimated what I could do with only my two hands and a few tools.

I began to think the first week how cool this project would be, but unfortunately it came to my attention that we would not be using metal, and other matured materials, but only cardboard and other household materials. I was upset at that.

The whole process was something very normal, and in the beginning I had thought this was all unnesecary, but as it went on I began to agree. I began to realize, why researching other chairs was so important. Also making models and advertisements.

Making the chair faced every group with arguements of major decisions. That's why I suggest that all groups in the future should always be with friends, because my friends in my group really helped me understand, and also it was a lot easier to persuade them than if they weren't my friends.

I liked this project very much. I also think that this project has mainly helped me think more that is possible with manual labor. -Farhan Chichgar 706

When we made chairs in class, I had a really great time! I loved making the chairs. Ms.Kantrowitz really did think of a great fun activity to do. At first when she came to our class, I thought that it was really weird that a bunch of kids would be making chairs that are real-life sized. I thought it wouldn't work because we were making the chairs out of card-board and bamboo, it probably might break. Actually it worked out really well.

First, we searched up different types of chairs online. There were chairs of many different sizes, style, shape, and types. Looking at the different types of chairs inspired us to create our own chair. We made posters advertising these chairs, but they were just fantasy chairs.

After we made the posters, we made a small model of the chairs we were going to make. My group had a great model. Our models showed what the real chairs would look like.

Now the hard part. We were ready to make our real chairs. Our group started off just fine. We made these chairs from only cardboard, tape, bamboo, and colored paper. Our chair's structure is excellent. It has a strong bottom so if you sit on it, it won't collapse. The back is flexible so you can lean back. It is comfortable also.

Now, our group was fine when we were making the chair structure, however when it came to covering the chair with colored-paper, everything went a little crazy. Few of our group members fought about what color to put on the chair, and I admit I was one of them who was whining about the color. Well, so we solved this problem by putting a few colors on the chair so it made everybody happy.

Our chair was finished, it functioned well, looked fabulous, and we really had a great time. –
Bipasha Roy 706

My Experience
Through this experience we have learned so much. The process of designing the chair has been more complexed than we thought. From making the scale model to creating the live one was a great experience. Though arguments broke out in our group, we settled them by deciding what was reasonable. In the end, the final decision was one the whole group could agree on. The mental strain we experienced was do to our various points of view. At the beginning of this whole experience, we had first sketched out pictures of various chairs in different points of view. We had learned a lot about chairs all over the world. The next step we approached was making scale models to get a visual image of how our chair was going to look. Yet the scale model was small, we managed to get the main idea of our chair. After forming the scale models, we had made advertisements on posters. These advertisements were based on the future chair we were going to create. The advertisements showed how the chair was going to look like in various sides, and showed why it would be useful. The last step was the most complicated. We had to create the live chair using various materials. Since our math teacher, Ms.Malagon, had taught us that triangular prisms make a good support for the base, we had first made these shapes to put on the base of our chair. Since bamboo made a good frame, we had used the bamboo to make a basic frame. The bamboo was very strong, able to hold down a lot of weight. Next, we had covered the frame with cardboard, not able to see the frame. This is similar to making a house. Anyways, after we had covered the frame with the cardboard, we made sure it was strong enough to hold down four people. And it was successful. The last step was to decorate the chair, where arguments had broke out in our group. We finally decided on using the colors orange and blue to represent the New York Mets. In the end we were surprised how working together with your friends would make such a good chair! The stars that I had drawn on the chair represents for our two goals. One to learn working together, and the other for having fun learning through this experience.
Satwinder Singh 706

The process of building chairs and forming a group to work together was fascinating. We cooperatively each (in a group of 4) was presented with a specific job and had to fulfill it. Undoubtedly, as usual we all argued a lot over small things which to me were careless (such as color, patterns) yet finally in the end, with the help of our resplendent teachers accomplished our goal, to create a well made, astonishingly cheap, yet rather sturdy chair which would in time give comfort to all.

Admittedly it was salubrious to get two periods off in a week and spend time building our uniquely designed chairs but nonetheless, a lot of learning which included math was incorporated into it. Furthermore, proportions, size scale models, and ratio were some of the things that I and most of the others benefited from it as already learning these everyday math functions gave us quite a lead into it. Though all this, many obstacles lay in our way and I was indeed able to get quite a lot of information from this well-planned project that the teachers gave the two classes, 706 and 712.

Simultaneously, the teaching artist, Ms. Kantrowitz, showed a lot of perseverance and determination and as a result led us to such a path that showered us with fruits, flowers and contentment. These deeds that I mentioned above are seen in very few people, yet in most teachers they are clearly visible. Likewise, I would like to thank her for taking her time out and giving us the opportunity to put hands on such a beneficial project. This no matter what will stay in my sack of memory for the rest of my life as her superior art skills and our imagination and creativity led us to making a hard-worked project.

Moreover, the task that each one of us was given was informative with the form, shape, size, stability of our final product, a chair on which a normal weight adult could easily sit on. Beforehand, I predicted that with the few supplies such as bamboo sticks, cardboard and tape it was next to impossible to reach up to our goal, but after each one of us thought about how to use the supplies in the proper way, amazingly we reached our feat, our milestone. So overall, in final analysis, I enjoyed working with my friends and faced some hardships which I overcame with patience and a little bit of wisdom.
Reetish Kapoor 706

The process of making real chairs started on the first day. On the first day, we had to research different kinds of chairs and draw them. Then the next time, we created our own ideas for chairs and made them out of paper and tape. Next, we got into groups and divided the work up. In the groups, we had to make a small model of a chair made out of cardboard and straws. When we were done with that, we started the real chair project where we get to make chairs that you can actually sit on.

First we had to get the bamboo, cardboard, tape and colorful paper. The bamboo is used to supporting the chair. WE had to use a special kind of cutter to cut the bamboo. When we gathered all of our supplies, we started to make the chairs. It took about a few weeks to finish the chairs. When we were all done with the chairs, we had to decorate it with the colorful paper. It was a lot of fun making the chairs
Brandon Ng 706

Throughout this whole process with the knowledge of chairs, and experimenting on chairs, such as advertising chairs, using the source of internet to see chairs, made small visual models of chairs, and even making a whole big real model of the chair with many different groups that were divided among each other, it was quite interesting, and it had its downs. In order to have had this happen, Mrs. Andrea Kantrowitz had came in every Tuesday during our math sessions, for weeks and weeks. However, I do think there were the positives and the negatives.

I thought it might have been a bit boring, and could have been a bit more fun, yet I did have some fun while executing this process. Through the divisions of the groups, I was placed into a group where I couldn’t really have done much because me and the group of girls I was working with don’t exactly talk all the time, when all the other groups had chosen who would be in the groups themselves. Honestly, I don’t think I had contributed to the chair making process as much as the other members in the group had, and because of that, it may have been the cause of why the chair was not completely finished, and left undone the way it is. At one point it might have been a bit frustration during the process because of the group I was assigned to, the fact that we did not get anything done within the group and our real life-sized model, and just knowing that you didn’t do as well as the other mates in the class, when you take a glance over your shoulder and they’re having fun, and showing their chair off to people knowing that it works and people are able to sit on it. And then, you stop looking, and you look back at what you’re groups job, and it is nowhere near the chair you’ve just witnessed, and nobody is able to sit on it, it’s useless.

However, working with tools and materials trying to figure out a way to even produce a useful chair was a fun part because we took time off our math sessions, and we did this instead; and I’m glad that our class, 706, had even been given the opportunity of coping with Mrs. Kantrowitz and do this class project with her by the class’ side. And I do think the class overall, had had a fun time doing this project, and only wished it had continued, yet time had ran out and Mrs. Kantrowitz couldn’t come in for any sessions anymore. And a feeling in me might just feel the same way and want this process to continue and go to higher levels, and also have the fact that something had gotten finished like the life-sized chair we had prepared to construct with our groups.And we all ended this whole thing with a big smile on our faces, knowing that the class had just went through a process that was fun, and interesting, also to put in, taking away some time from regular school subjects and doing Mrs. Andrea Kantrowitz's project.

Daniel Lin 706

The process of making our chair was very exciting and interesting. Although it took a long time to complete the task, I felt the hard work really paid off. Our group was able to get along and discuss our ideas so we can compromise to create the best. However, being able to finish off with a product that everyone was satisfied with went through many changes.
When we first started to gather our ideas together, everyone drew our own idealistic chairs. Since we were only able to use everyday items, we couldn’t make real engines to move the chairs. Even though we weren’t able to make our special features work, we still had a lot of fun making an advertising poster for it. Our class came up with many ideas that we made models for.
Making our ideal chairs models was fun, however, it wasn’t as fun as making a real human-sized chair. Mrs. Kantrowitz put us in groups so we could collaborate with each other. First, we build a model that was on the scale of 1/6 compared to the real chair. Because we were only allowed to use cardboards, wall paper, egg cartons, etc, we weren’t able to make too much fancy designs. Our group decided to make an ordinary chair that was useful and strong. Everyone in the group had different jobs so we all were able to participate in this activity. After measuring and checking that all the sides fit, we started making the real chair. Egg cartons helped stiffen the seat so the person sitting on the seat won’t fall through it. Bamboo sticks secured the back of the chair and made it stable to the floor. Tape was used connect the piece together.
I think the idea of making a chair by hand is a really creative idea. It helped us to expand our imagination to its fullest. Working in groups was also a good idea because two heads are always better than one. Working individually would take a great amount of time and it wouldn’t be as fun. This chair activity was a really good experience for me. It proved to me that if I was determined enough to do something, I can always achieve that goal.
Jia Huan Chen 706

My name is Hadeka Rasul and I attend Rachel Carson Intermediate School, I.S. 237. Ms. Kantrowitz came to our school and helped us get a project started and completed. We made chairs but before even getting started, we had to do a lot more. First off, we researched pictures of chairs and their parts. We drew the chairs that we thought were different and liked and made a big poster of those pictures. After that we did a worksheet on chairs. After all of that research, we created little models of a chair that we liked. Using the models, we created advertisements for them. Once we were done with the advertisements, we got started on our models for our actual chairs. First, we divided into groups of four or five. My group had four people. We created a model for the actual chair. Then we used bamboo and cardboard to make our actual chairs. After making the chair, we covered it with colored paper and colored tape and decorated it. My group's chair wasn't stable enough to sit on by the time the workshop ended. But other groups did a pretty good job. I thought that the overall experience was cool and taught the class a lot.
Hadeka Rasul 706

What do you think about chairs?There are good chairs,bad chairs,soft chairs,hard chairs,fancy chairs,and ugly chairs.Incase you didn't notice,you use chairs more than you think you do.Right now, im sitting on my computer chair to write this reflection of chairs.Well, it all started like this.
First of all,my class,7-6 had this teacher names Mrs.Kantrowitz(Mrs.K for short).She taught us about 3d figures to get us started in making a chair.First, we drew 3d letters to get the picture of 3d figures.Then we made advertisements on posters on the chairs we made up by ourselfs.Next,we were put into groups of 3,4, or 5 people in each group.Next, we made models of real chairs.Then we made a life size chair of cardboard,bamboo sticks,and tape.My group's first chair was a disaster.The second one was much better.You could actually sit on it,even me(weighing over 100 pounds).The next step was to decorate it.We(Shiyu,Nishtha,Alan,Shaomei) made it very colorful with the colors blue,green,red,yellow,and white.Shaomei even made a star in the middle to make it look prettier.Trust me,chairs are hard work and the chairs we made were only of cardboard boxes,bamboo sticks, and tape.Imagine what people who make real chairs have to go through.
So be grateful to the chairs.Treat them well so they won't get beat up and keep them clean.Once you don't have a chair to sit on, you will learn a lesson to be grateful for what chairs you have.

credits to-Shiyu Lin and his group.Alan Xia, Nishtha Jaswal,and Shaomei Pan
Shiyu Lin 706

The idea of a chair, in my eyes, used to be a tool which we sat on. But it was definitely more complex than just a seat. A chair must contain qualities such as a sturdy structure, well measured parts, and of course, comfort to the eye, because we all know that an ugly chair is a bad chair. The idea of the chair was quite simple, and so was the planning of it's making. At this point, we believed that the actually creation of the chair would be simple. But, as we were to find out, planning was much easier than putting things into action. Struggling at first, our chair's structure was weak and inferior. So, we tore it down and began building a new chair. Bamboo is very strong material, it is also the main reason our chair was able to achieve its tough posture. At first we decided upon creating bamboo only as it's supporting sides, but as we came to realize that the cardboard was too weak to seat us, more and more cardboard was being replaced by bamboo and the completion of our chair was but a step away. However, in the process of putting the chair together, frustration upon us spread like a persistent fire would upon a forest. Through the arguments, and a lot of decisions, our team prevailed and came through with a fine creation. This experience has taught me that the quote 'action speaks louder than words' applies to multiple things in life, if men were to pick themselves up and began to take actions, prosperity and welfare would be achieved....
Brian Zhou 706

Chairs was the topic. Now someone might think, what type of topic is chairs. Well the whole point of this topic was to really MAKE a chair. How could a few children make a chair? Making the chairs was simple. All you needed was cardboard and a little bit of tape. So the whole procedure was going to be done with cardboard and tape. That sounds a bit silly though but it really isn't. When someone thinks of cardboard he/she thinks of breakable. But making a chair out of cardboard is... well, just hope it doesn't break.

Even though no one can really make a chair out of cardboard, it's not impossible. You just have to keep the cardboard together with tape and keep the chair stable. To make the chair stable just keep wrapping it with tape but that's not it. You also have to put something inside of the chair like a cardboard bent and made into a triangle. Triangles really keep the chair stable and steady. Well here's a poem to show how much I liked making this chair.

My chair looked the best
Out of them all.
I loved it from the rest
I had a great ball.

Worked very fast
Soon ready to go.
Had a great blast
Yipee Yipee Yo!!

I loved making this chair and I hope that you all will love it too.

Process of making the chair

The process of making the chair was fun and I'll explain everything in detail later, first I had to say it was a surprise when Mrs. K was joining us for about 2 months. Even though Mrs. Malagon told us of Mrs.K I never thought we were going to make chairs, I thought we were going to have a class like science or math. Anyways back to the process.

The process of the chair was fun, first we had to search online the purpose of chairs, types, and the appearance of them, then we did a imaginary drawing of them for example a flying chair. When we we're done with that we created a advertisement of the chair that was imaginary, the advertisement included how much it was, the function, materials, color, size, and appearance. After that we created a small model of our imaginary chair then we started to form groups to make a big chair that we can sit on. My group's chair wasn't that good a first, but it we made one that was able for sitting on. When we were finally done with our big chairs we designed them with colors and more to make their appearance better. When we we're done, Mrs. K said she was going to post it on a site and we were all excited including me.

This was the best time of the school year and I hope we'll have a better one.
Alan Xia 706

During this experiance, i learned the structure of a chair, and how to build one. There were also many difficulties i had to get passed through, like what the color of the chair should be, and the what design should look like. But you get to learn how to work in a team and rely on each others.
In my class we started off with researching types of chairs and writing about them. Then we had to design our own type of chair on a sketch book and after that we made our own advertisements,advertising our chair on a piece of construction paper. Later we gathered up in groups of four and we drew out a small model of what our chair would look like. After that we picked out the parts of our chair and carefully put them together. In conclusion, we just designed the chair and made it look pleasurable.
During this whole period of time building the chair, I learned how to start small just like a seed that has just been planted and to accomplish your goal and become the tree. Once i finished, it felt good looking at what my team and I have made.
Rene Orellana 706

My Reflection

The chair project was a great help to improve our teamwork skills.It all started out when we went to computers.I was wondering 'if this is a math class,why would Mrs. Malagon take us to computers'. Then Mrs. K. came in and she introduced herself to the class and told us about different types and kinds of chairs.She told us to search up weird and crazy chairs and draw them out. I found a chair that was really weird. My chair had this comfy spot and it was completely white. This chair looked like a rug but it was so cool. So I drew it and handed it in to Mrs. K. There was all kinds of chairs that she had and she pasted all of them on the board. There was this one chair that looked like a banana and it was green and yellow just how a banana would look like.
The next week, Mrs. K came into our class room and she told us that we were making our own chairs. The chair that I made was not that good but soon, Mrs. K put Maggie, Winny, Tiger and me in a group and we had to work together. Mrs. K told us to create a chair that was three times as small as the real chair in class out of red sticks and card board. We finally made a small chair that can hold a full sized water bottle. In my opinion, i thought the chair was adorable because I have never seen such a small chair made out of these materials. After that,we moved on to the next level of creating chairs. Mrs. K then told us to make a real sized chair as big as the one we had in class out of card board and bamboo sticks. I thought she was just joking because there was no way me and my team can work together to make a chair that can hold a human being. I actually believed her that we can make a life sized chair. My team and I thought of a way to use either bamboo sticks or card board to hold the bottom legs of a chair to hold a person. My idea was to use bamboo sticks because when i imagined using the card board for the legs, it turn out not how a chair should look like. I also didnt think that card board would hold anyone. I argued with Maggie that we should use bamboo and finally,we used the bamboo sticks for the legs and it actually worked!
we had to use twenty-four bamboo sticks in all inorder to hold someone. I was so happy that we worked well to create a chair. the suprising thing was that out of all 7 groups in the class, our chair is more neat then all of the others. after we made the chair, we had to add designs. our chair design wasnt much,but it was all that we needed. all we added was flower paterns. our chair looked very "china-ish". and mrs K took pictures of the chairs to put it on internent. I was amazed of how my group worked together and we worked out the situations propertly and not into a big fight. I think we cooperated well and we made a comfortable chair that we can actually sit on!
In conclusion, I am thankful that Mrs. K made us do a fun project of chairs and it helped improve our math skills. I hope we can someday make a different project with Mrs K again.
Amy Yang 706

Hello my name is Carolina Benitez of class 706. I attend I.S.237 which is a magnet school for the arts. We had an art program were Mrs. Kantrowitz came and we were learning about different chairs. The first thing that we did was that we found pictures of unordinary chairs. Then when we were done with that process we began to sketch fantasy chairs that we would like to sell. When the class was done with making the chair’s poster we made a small model of the chair with cardboard, straws, and some tape. Then Mrs.. Kantrowitz announced that we were going to make an actual size chair, like the small model chair. Mrs. Kantrowitz split the class up in groups. I was with Amanda Vazquez, Hadeka Rasul and Daniel Lin. Together we worked together to try and make the chair that we pictured in our heads. Unfortunately it didn’t come out so good for our group.
Carolina Benitez 706.

I will never forget my experience of making my first chair that is sturdy enough to be sit on. I thought it would be very simple, but i learn that it is a long process. Making chairs is not only about creativity, but a combination of mathematics, arts and architecture. We used ratios to compare our models and our life size chairs. Even though it combines math, it was a fun and we realized we were learning at the same time.

The first thing we did was do research about different chairs. They are fancy and took a lot of work. Later, we design some chairs based on our imaginations. We used them to create an advertisement to convince others to buy it. Later, as a team, we need to create a model for our life size chair. We have to carefully measure out the ratio, so it will be equivalent to the life size chair. We learn that, we could not use fancy designs like the one we saw in our research, because we have to use simple materials. We all have different opinions, so we compromise on one. We use bamboos as the legs of our chair, i never thought it will actually be strong enough, but it did. We only decorate the seat of our chair, because we like the bamboos the way it was. I can't believe when the last class was over. The long process that lead us to make our chair, seems like the blink of an eye. I think making a finish chair was one of my accomplishments in life.
I learn that many jobs involve these skills, and we are lucky we learn them. I hope there will be more project like this in the future.
Maggie Kong 706

When I first started the chairs project, we made a tiny chair, a model of what we wanted our chairs to look like. This took a while to make. During this time we went on the computer and looked up different kinds of chairs, so that we could get inspiration for our models. We drew diagrams of the chairs we researched to give us a visual later on as we worked in the classrooms. We also made advertisement for our models.
Next, we got split into groups to start making our actual chair. To do this we had to create another model. This was used to model the new chair we were making with a scale of 1:6. After we created the scale model, we started creating the real one. I was unsure if it was really possible to make a real, working chair out of a few household items, such as cardboard, tape and wallpaper. First, we started with the outer structure of the chair. Then we filled in the inner structure so that the chair would be able to support a person’s weight. After a lot of revisions, the chair could support our teacher’s weight!!!! I was overjoyed.
The process of making the chair was long, but fun. I enjoyed being able to make something out of scratch that actually worked.
Lily Yuan 706

The whole process of this class was interesting. We started with an exercise of 3D objects. We never really seemed to get any more on that. Next we went online and looked for ideas with chairs. We listed types of chairs. I liked the ideas that my class came up with. After some were listed, we had to research some of them. I seem to remember finding a moving chair with legs. After that, we were drawing out designs for chairs.

I was starting to create a chair that looked like parts of the sky. It seemed pretty cool at first. When it came to advertisements, I messed up. I couldn't show the feeling right. I couldn't decide how to write it down so I started working on this other chair design. It was of a floating chair. I did that a while ago so I don't remember if that was in reverse order. Next, we split into teams to create real chairs. My chair design worked well. The actual scale was too small. It was one inch to six inches. After we had finished after weeks of work, it seemed really small. We should have changed the scale to about 1 to 10. The chair would have really worked then. We worked with color which was the advantage of the design. I seemed like I was making most of this chair so I let the other guys handle the color and things like that. I just put it on. Before, they were just giving me stuff so I could figure it out. All in all, we did equal work.

This really showed me a way of design. I got to see art in furniture. I wonder if this is how a fancy chair is made. It has to go through all this work. I now see how art is all around us.

Sundeep Kaler 706

When Ms. Kantrowitz came into our classroom and told us we would make our own chairs, I got very excited, and wondered about chairs. At first, they seemed pretty simple objects to me, but my opinion changed over the course of the six weeks I spent working on the chairs.
First, we went into the computer lab and researched different kinds of chairs, and drew them to help us brainstorm about our own chair’s design. It turned out that there were hundreds and even more types of chairs, from shoe chairs to ball chairs. Pretty amazing, don’t you think? Then, we researched about different types of chairs and answered questions on their time periods. The next time we met up, we used simple materials like masking tape, and paper to make small models of our own chairs. Everyone had awesome ideas for their chairs. Then we created advertisements for our chairs, like real businesspeople.
After this, we got into groups and had to use materials like cardboard, paper, and tape to make a small scale model of a regular chair that could be possible to make. This was different from the models we had to make before as the models before could have any function, accessories, and facilities. We each took up jobs, and made our chairs, the real chairs, that is. Our first attempt was unsuccessful and we made another chair, and it worked. Then, we picked out colors to go on the chairs. My group chose to combine everyone’s ideas, so there wouldn’t be any arguments. In the ned, our chair looked fantastic and amazing! This was a great experience that helped me understand the significance of regular, everyday objects, and I had a lot of fun!

Nishtha Jaiswal 706

Ever since the day Ms. Kantrowitz came to my class and said, “You and your group will create a chair!” it kept me thinking, how can I make a chair? As weeks passed by, I finally knew the answer to the question. We started from making paper models of chairs to real life chairs. It was cool watching the chairs expand more and more each week.

I really like my chair. It is unique compared to the others because it doesn’t have a back or arms. I feel the layout of my chair matches everything too because at the legs, there's bamboo sticks and when you think of bamboo sticks, you think of China. The layout looks like it’s from China because of the flowers. I think the bamboo sticks located at the legs look like a sculpture. Until now, I still can't believe I actually made a chair. :]

IS 237, a Magnet School for the Arts, Queens, New York