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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kid's art


I've been teaching lots of kid's art classes recently. I didn't plan to, but it just sort of fell into my lap. I really love how fearless children are with art materials. They just take whatever supplies happen to be lying around that start making things.

Drawing on the white board is very popular with one of my classes. This is the message that one of my young students decided to share.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Conformity


My daughter recently did an "artist apprenticeship" for her high school work experience. The group decided to create artwork with the theme "conformity". Most of the students did drawings or paintings. One person created a welded metal dress, called "The Cage". This is the weaving my daughter did as her contribution to the exhibit. All the artwork is on display at the MacGill branch of the Burnaby Public Library until the end of May.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Place des Arts classes

Here's what we did at today's Paint, Print, Portfolio kid's class at Place des Arts. 

We assembled the portfolios. Last week the kids made coloured papers using heart shaped upcycled crayons and smelly markers. Today we used the papers to cover the cardboard portfolios. I think the duct tape borders look great.


We also started work on an alphabet colouring book. When I was looking through my "stuff" for ideas, I came across a homemade alphabet colouring book zine, and thought it would be a good challenge for the kids.to make their own. I took in a copy of Graeme Base's Animalia, because it is so beautifully illustrated, but mainly because it is the only alphabet book I still have at home. None of the kids had seen it before, and they loved looking at all the detailed illustrations and finding all the hidden objects. They weren't so sure about making their own book though, and I had to give them suggestions on what to draw, but I think this is going to work out.



After class, I made a sakura inspired sample for next week. The cherry blossoms are all in bloom right now, and I saw some similar kid's art at the Richmond Cultural Centre on the weekend. This sample is made by blowing liquid watercolour paint around on the page to create the "trunk" and then dabbing on blobs of pink. I used the end of a paint brush, but I think I'll give the kids bundles of cotton swabs tied together.

The second session of the adult Exploring Acrylics class is tomorrow. In addition to the individual paintings, we are working on a collaborative canvas. I started it off with a bit of paint and some scraps of paper stuck down. I wish I had taken a "before" photo before the group started painting. 

Here's how it looked after the end of the first class:




Monday, April 10, 2017

The evolution of the Sustainable Weaving Project


These are some of the things that people are working on at the Sustainable Weaving project at the Dunbar Community Centre. This is a project of the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society (VACS). I think almost everyone is a novice weaver. We are challenging people to upcycle, or use materials that they already have. Most people are using torn strips of fabric for their weaving, but one participant uses leftover bits of sock yarn. That would be her long narrow piece in the top right.

The project started out as a "Creative Weaving Project". Musqueam weaver, Debra Sparrow showed us how to use traditional Salish looms - a tradition that she and her sister revived in their community. Historically, the weavings were made with goat hair, but these days, chunky yarn made for sheep's wool is used - usually it is the six strand wool  used to make Cowichan sweaters. The problem is that you need to spin the yarn first, while maintaining the thickness. It is an overwhelming task for my little drop spindle. I started to think about using materials that are more commonly available to me - that would allow me to keep the chunky quality of this style of weaving.

This piece uses several strands of thinner yarns. I like the way that you blend the colours by combining yarns that have slightly different hues

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I also experimented with using torn strips of fabric to make a "rug rag" style weaving and came up with this weaving. :

Since VACS had a stash of fabric scraps that needed a purpose, the Sustainable Weaving Project.

We are hoping that everyone who participates in the project will contribute a small weaving, perhaps with a symbol that has meaning to them. We will combine all the contributions to make a larger collaborative piece. We don't yet know what form the finished piece will take. We will let that emerge organically from the materials.When it is completed, it will be displayed at the Dunbar Community Centre.

Our Sustainable Weaving sessions are on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month 4-6pm at Dunbar Community Centre in Vancouver. They are free and open to drop-in visitors.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Gelli Printing Play Date


Some arty friends of mine organized a gelli printing play date. The last time we did this was about two years ago, and that was the last time that most of us had even used our gelli plates. I've never actually used mine at home. For those of you wondering what the heck a Gelli Plate is: it is a tool for making deliciously wonderful and surprising monoprints. You can use acrylic paint and all kinds of textured things to create the prints. Here's a peek. 


I don't generally rush out to buy fancy art tools, but this one is definitely worth the cost. You can create lots of interesting papers to use in art projects in an afternoon. I came away from our play date afternoon with about 80 unique papers. Here are a few of my favourites:






Prepping for kid's classes


Last week, I was asked if I could teach some kid's art classes at Place des Arts - that start this week! I haven't done much art with young children for a while, so it took some time to wrap my mind around what I would do with them. My own kids are too old to use as guinea pigs anymore, and I had to come up with a plan on my own.

One of the classes is called "Paint, Print, Portfolio". I thought we'd start by making colourful portfolios. My tools of choice:

  • recycled heart and stick shaped wax crayons that have been made with IKEA ice cube trays (I found them at a thrift store, and they've become my new favouite tool for adding colour to my own art journals.)
  • scented markers - I recently started to clean out my studio (it's a bit like an archaeological dig) and found a very large selection of them, and what kid doesn't love smelly markers?
  • colourful duct tape.
Kids classes at Place des Arts:
Paint, Print, Portfolio: Tuesdays starting April 4th, 4-5 pm for 5-7 year olds
Imagine That: Fridays starting April 21, 4-4:45 pm for 3-5 year olds and 5-6 pm for 5-7 year olds.

I'll also be teaching an adult class that I'm really excited about. I've got some fun "explorations" planned:
Exploring Acrylics: Wednesdays starting April 5th, 7-9 pm.




Thursday, March 23, 2017

All about the kids

It's Spring Break here, but this is the first year that my own kids do not have a break at the same time. My older daughter is in her first year of university, so she had a break back in February. Since no one wanted to miss school (really!) we're staying home.

Last week, I did get to spend some time with other people's children. On Wednesday, I was at the Katzie Children's Festival. I took my Salish loom and we did a collaborative weaving.


Lots of the kids knew what they were doing since they've done this type of weaving at school, and yes, those are the ends of balloons that you can see in the finished weaving.


On Friday, I subbed for the regular instructor at the Place des Arts Spring Break Camp. I had 35 kids that morning. fortunately not all at the same time. We made felted easter eggs.