Saturday, March 26, 2011

For the trees

26th March

This evening is 'Earth Hour' so what better theme for the day's creations than things from nature and what we can do to look after our earth.

The group starts by drawing 'something about nature'. There were trees, birds, butterflies and animals. They were then introduced to print-making. Using a strip of plastic film (a recycled off-cut) and a piece of paper board (again recycled from the printers) we created mono-print trees. Paint in the desired shape was brushed onto the film and then flipped over and rubbed onto the paper. It took a bit of practice to get the right patterns or coverage of ink that each artist liked. The odd paintbrush stroke slipped in when I wasn't looking, which is fine – it is good to try different techniques to find out what we like and what we do not.

The artist's were then asked what sort of things they could do which didn't use electricity. List's were written and pictures drawn in journals. 'H' added a push bike to his drawing and writes that he can draw instead of watch tv and ride his bike.

We discussed that sometimes we do need to drive cars, turn on lights and watch tv – but I was so impressed with the different ideas mentioned. One tree even had a 'thank you' bubble coming out of it's trunk, just lovely. 

As I forget to take photos for the blog I offered out the invitation of group photographers. The offer was accepted! 'T' wrote a list of who is to be photographer for the week. Thanks to 'L' for doing such a great job with today's pics. 

Don't forget at 8:30 pm on Saturday 26th March 2011, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour, the trees will thank us for it. 

Out of the clay came...

19th March

The group is guided by Marita. Here is her story of the day. A.

We all gathered, new faces and familar ones around tables to free - draw. Excitement rustled through the group to play with clay. Whilst I read a story "I am a bird" by Jose Luis Garcia Sanchez and Miguel Angel Pacheco, each person got to know their chunk of white clay, punding, kneeding, smashing, squishing and some started to form nests, inspired by the story and my reflections that when I was last there with the group, they created textile nests.

Music gently playing in the background was drowned out at times by pounding clay onto the table and a chatter of stories about clay, friends, school, holidays and all kinds of things. Learning about the pinch pot, the coil pot and how to make clay hair with a garlic crusher, along with the frustations of preventing cracks and crumblings and all the possibilities in - between, seemed to keep the group energised and determined to see what they could form from a chunk of the depths of the earth - clay!

Clay can be quite tricky to use, so we will create more next term to practice the techniques. 
Marita is also facilitating a school holiday 'space for kids art workshops'. For more info contact Thornbury Women's Neighbourhood House on 9480 0466. It looks like a great 4 days of creativity! A.

Together for Harmony Week

15th March

As the Mixed Media group entered the House they were met by a bright orange sari which guided them into the childcare room (not their normal space). On the floor were cut-out pieces which together made up a 'whole' paper shape. With the theme of the evening Harmony Week we discussed 'things that we connect to'. A few suggestions were offered before Marita led the group down to their normal room, all connected to the orange sari in some way, paper pieces in hand.

To assist in the artmaking pre-made 'people' paper templates were also used. Things that connect included drawings and words about friends, family, tv shows, characters of tv shows, animals and nature. Once the pieces were complete we then headed back up to the other space, of course connected together through the sari.

Each piece was then placed on the floor. With time against us we decided to offer 'one gesture or word about one of the pieces which sat next to yours', rather than reforming the whole. It was certainly still whole and connected, just different than how it started – perfect harmony!

Again we thank Marita for filling in for Lynley and for the lovely chai!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Favourite Places

With such creative kids in the group they started their own warm-up – drawing pictures of 'me' (themselves). Once the creativity was warmed up we sat quietly and thought of our favourite places. The group thought of 'their place' and what it was like – warm, cold, big, small, are there others there? Then each artist used one hand movement or gesture and a word to describe their place.
They then set about painting it!

There were beaches...

 at school, with friends, 
family outings
and swimming pools. 

To close the group shared their favourite places with each other. What we came to now know is that these creative kids favourite places are FUN!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The story continues

The Mixed Media group began the evening exploring a new medium, chalk pastels, with 'free drawings' in their journals.

I then sat back to read aloud a story, whilst the group was encouraged to draw. This did not quite go to plan with many observing me read, rather than responding to me read. So a quick shift of artistic modalities and we were back 'on the storyline'. The plan had been to use small figurines to create our own story – but things don't always go as planned (which is a good thing).

With small figures selected and by describing 'what was seen' and then drawing 'what was seen', with a new medium the artist were surprised and excited. Exclamations of 'oh wow' were heard as the final pieces were held up and viewed by the artists.

What I observed was the importance of touch and description in artmaking. To be able to describe something whilst holding it and touching it, describing the shape or the colour resulted in less stress and greater clarity for the artist. It seemed a more pleasurable experience.

Building nests

Marita kindly stepped in again as I was unable to be with the Creative Kids. Her experience of the day and photos follow – thanks Marita I know the group had a great time & the nests are lovely. A.

We gathered together in a circle, with a mandala of wool, threads and nests in the centre.
Everyone was invited to imagine being the eggs in our giant nest, slowly breaking the shells with wriggling elbows, stretching out to crack the eggs and glimpse the world beyond the egg. Although the group were not so keen to explore this they were very keen to jump out of the nest and fly outside, explore the surrounds of the space and then start to collect their materials to create their scene of what they saw when they cracked their shells open.

Inspired by the actual birds nest retrieved unused from a gum tree in my backyard, that I had embelleshed with soft red wool and clay eggs; the group were enthused to create their own nests, with diverse versions of beautiful hand held pieces to a lovely wall hanging.

This created some of challenges when the attaching materials available were glue, wool and needle/thread and not sticky tape!

The group rose to the creative challenge, creating nests, eggs, birds and even the tree to hold the nest, with some inspiring each other and some experiencing more challenge when their imagined piece didn't turn out as they had imagined. With wool, material, threads, sticks and bark and glue/scissors strewn everywhere the group was really helpful in cleaning up.

Maybe birds experience this too, as they learn to make their first nest... maybe this results in wonky nests and frustrations in attaching their nests to branches in trees. All learning...all hurry!

Thank you to the group for a lovely, inspiring, fun and nesty morning.

Tweet tweet! Marita

Seed pods in focus

Staying with the theme of seed pods the mixed media crew focused intently to draw 'what they saw'.

Each artist had their own pod which they examined closely and then drew with a graphite pencil.
Once complete the selection of one coloured pencil each, added to the drawing. Finally the board was flipped over and a part of the seed pod was 'amplified', like looking through a magnifying glass. With surprise different shapes and textures were seen.

Here are a couple of pieces, with the actual seed pods along side.

 The pods in their entirety.
The opening of the pod amplified.

Many pods... to...

Looking again takes us up close.