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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Kandinsky eat your heart out!

Moving swiftly along to the next stage with the kids, we are going to do some drawing to music. We only have the funding for this project because it is cross curricular so we must be seen to be bringing the two art forms together. Having said that, self expression can be rather difficult to prize out of twelve year olds as I am discovering. Particularly if you want them to express something different from that which their neighbour is expressing. It takes guts and lots of hard life lessons to become an individual. So, recipe for instant twelve year old individuality required.
No problem! I'll just take on board the lessons in loosing up that I learnt from Big Draw and furnish them all with some wallpaper lining, a cane and a felt pen. Gave it a try tonight with some musically driven wiggly squiggles. Easy, man! Then, hopefully, they can spend a happy and peaceful remainder of the period isolating and adding colour to the areas of their choice, a la Kandinsky, ready to be reinterpreted in stitch. This is the plan so far...

Faster! faster!

Just back from day one of block making and paper printing/painting with school kids. Went well eventually - but they are as slow as a week in the jail and don't really appreciate being huckled. But huckled they were and eventually developed a sense of urgency fostered by me shouting at them 'No thinking! Anyone found thinking is in serious trouble'. Ahhhh, I was born to be an educator!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Playing at Project Catwalk

This is what I plan to do with the kiddiewinkies on Tuesday. We're going to play at being fabric designers. I'm going to have them make a string block and a foam block of their own design and build up pattern on cheap lining fabric using disperse dyes and acrylic. I quite like these. I'm feeling better about the project now.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pay attention at the back!

Made my initial art/music presentation to the kids at school today. Was sitting in reception waiting to go up in the lift when- horror of horrors- I realised had forgotten the piece of work I was going to talk to them about. I had brought examples of my own work in order to do my introduction as an artists chat so I did have something to show them. Just had to wing it and ask them to image the other piece as I described it. Seemed to work. Even children lolling on one elbow, chewing their ties, or having a quick heads down catnap on the desk showed a flicker of passing interest. I'm sure I can fan this into flames of enthusiasm given time, maximum effort and buckets of adrenaline. Several reluctantly confessed to having been the sewing route before so this is not going to be totally new ground for them, which is a relief.....I think. My memories of school sewing are not what you would call inspirational. Hope I'll mange to give them something to remember, in a good way.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Art from Music

Here's another sample for my art from music class. Only it's not - from music. It's from thinking ohmigod, what am I going to do with these children? It's disperse dyeing and reverse applique and needle painting and bondaweb other words, a whole lot of techniques flung at a piece of Vilene. Somewhere in my mind I can here my college tutor muttering less is more but she's overpowered by the can I keep 40 kids going for six weeks vibe. My playing session had given me a bit more confidence. Think plenty of ammunition is key at the moment. Refinement can come later.

Seaglass rocks

I'm not so keen on evening workshops. The energy levels seem to be lower. Or maybe that would just be my energy levels! Thought at first it was going to be a no show but eventually 12 people arrived and produced some lovely stuff, as always. Tables were grotty and I forgot my cloth so I tried a little photo cropping.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Craft Sanity

Here's another fav podcast you should check out. This lady is a working mum who makes time to interview the weird and wonderful in the world of craft. I'm sure the best podcasters of today, of which Jennifer is one, are going to be the superstars of tommorrow. Isn't exciting to be in at the birth of this revolution?

I will be getting off my butt and doing something shortly - other than knitting socks - I promise. Seaglass workshop tonight and big schools workshop kicking off on Thursday.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

What's on the pins.

I'm currently challenging myself with Lucy Neatby's Fiesta Feet. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy! What did I ever do to you?

By the way, any other Lime 'n Violet podcast listeners out there? I discovered them recently and just love them to bits. They get side tracked so often that sometimes there is very little chat about knitting in their hour long show. Sometimes I struggle with their accents (as I'm sure they would with mine) and am not entirely sure what they are saying. The reason I love them so is that they cackle, guffaw, hoot, shriek and belly laugh their way through. I sit there with the cordless headphones on grinning like a Jack o' lantern not at all sure what I'm listening to but having a wonderful time.
I was at Egyptian school the other day finishing off my project. A few kings emerged because of an elastic threading problem. You thread through two holes at a time, you make a necklace. You thread through one hole at a time, you make a crown because the difference in width between the top and bottom becomes less. A happy discovery as it happens, crowns were equally acceptable but it did make me think that when planning an activity like this for children you should test it to destruction with your eight year old head on making every deliberate mistake you can possibly think of to avoid disaster on the day.

I took along some beads for threading to keep the children who finished last week amused. They did look fab in all their regalia and have asked me along to Egyptian afternoon on the 2nd March. I've to let them know if I'm toot-en-coming or not. Depends if I can get my sarf-off-i-gus!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

No cheeze...

No pics today. Camera batteries dud and no spares with me. Blogger - or some other swear word. Great workshop though. 16 little kiddiewinkies who had been given disposable cameras and set loose in a museum. Today their pics came back and they were well pleased with them. We were making books to put the pictures in.

They romped through three different book making techniques in three quarters of an hours. They made two puzzle books with no glue and no sewing where you just cut and fold a single sheet of paper. Then they opened up some envelopes and stitched them back together again up the middle a la pamphlet style. All this was accomplished easily but when it came to gumming a long strip of envelopes together by their flaps to make a zigzag book, we had crisis! 'I don't like the taste' was the cry. So we masking taped them together instead and glued on a bit of corrugated paper on for the spine.

All this was hectic and chaotic and involved a fair amount of shouting and bending over mid-spine (always a killer). When the books were assembled we started designing our covers with tissue paper and magazine pages and silence fell. Ahhhhhh, concentration, a wonderful thing! The kids were right into it and I'm going to focus on a lot more of this next time with perhaps just one other very simple book construction technique to keep up my sleeve in case they get bored.

I don't think boredom was high on the agenda today as their group leader told me they don't usually work at that pace. Half way through the day a beautiful child with long red hair had to point out to me that he as a boy and would I please stop calling him a girl. Another angelic little girl, who really was a girl, had a great time cutting swear words out the magazines. And that was Country Living! She must have had to go some.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Say cheeeeze!

I'm preping for a kids book making and collage class. They want to make photo albums.I've used a couple of forms of envelope books and based the collage ideas on an old sketchbook of mine where I decided to cut holes in the pages and replace them with grids of different kinds. My source was photographs of autumn leaves blown up against wire structures of various kinds.

Photo peeking out of envelope window.

Now you see it!

Look through any window.....

Taking inspiration from the stripes in the photo to change the scale and put stripes over the photo.

Playing with facial features.

Extending your frame to echo your photo.

I want the kiddie versions to be very rough and ready with no measuring and no possibility of going wrong. That's why my samples are so rough and ready. It's not that I'm a lazy, careless bissum. Well...........I am, but that's beside the point.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Velvet Pause

Another lovely workshop playing with velour and disperse dyes.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Egyptian Creations

Lovely day at Egyptian school today. Do you like their necklaces? I had 21 little creatures of very mixed ability. It was a sequence of gluing, cutting and folding repeated ten times. Some kids took one look at the demonstration and had it down pat while others were still confused tenth time round. This must make school teaching a very difficult job.
When the collars were dry (ish) we rubbed them with Treasure Gold and Silver. With young kids you always have to explain that you don't dig finger nail deep into pot of rub on gilding cream. The words 'light' and 'gentle' were hugely open to interpretation and ranged from hardly visible to all over clothes, desk and face.

About three or four children completed their project today. I'm going back next week as a volunteer for a couple of hours to help the others finish off. Good fun!

40 Drawings

A group of my chums have committed to making 40 drawings before 24th February. I made one today. One stitched drawing inspired by Lucian Freud. His portrait of his mother. By inspired, I guess I mean copied. Not traced though. Just machined free hand with the book at my side. A very good exercise in observation. Every time you think you're finished and you compare the two you find something else you've failed to see. I'm sure you if you practiced this a lot it would definitely help your observation skills.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Silent Poetry Day

'Tiger, tiger, my mistake,
I thought that you were William Blake'

Don't know where this couplet comes from but it has always been one of my faves along with Ogden Nash (may very possibly be his). My memory is patchy at best but check him out for yourself if you are not already a fan.

I'll leave you with the probably mis-remembered misogynist ditty...

'Curses on him on mutters as the evening waxes moister,
If only he'd eaten the woman, if only he'd married the oyster'

Have a poetic day.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Where's Mark Anthony when you need him?

I've been asked to spend an afternoon with some primary school children helping them with their Egyptian project. Thought we could have a go at this cardboard, string and tissue paper necklace which makes rather a groovy hat when you wear it upside down! Or should that be downside up?