Monday, April 30, 2012


23rd April - 30th April

Since I am a little behind in my ArtWorks posts I thought I would combine the two. 

For me this began with making an artist journal. Firstly with making mixed-media paper. Such a fun, freeing activity – splattering down paint, pressing pages together, making monoprints - whatever took my fancy. 

I prepare newspaper pages with a matte medium, so that the acrylic paint sits nicely on top.  

Then I have fun. These pages will be interleaved with blank pages in my journal. 

I took materials along for the group to use. If they wanted to create their own journals, or mixed-media paper. 'S' began with some art history, written homework. It was interesting to hear what she had been studying in class and to discuss the painting she was focusing on. She also talked through a large assessment that she was working towards in art. The theme was based on a song lyric she had selected. Also different artistic styles she liked. As she shared her journal, there was one pencil drawing that really stood out to us both. I asked could I photocopy it, she agreed. 

With copies of her portrait we applied the medium and then washed down the acrylic paint to achieve the washed effect she had admired in others work. I went first, placing colour. 'S' asked how I knew where to put the colour. I mentioned that I was placing it where it felt right. We discovered that by putting the colour where the feeling and emotion was, was very powerful and insightful.

'C' found an image which was like her Mothers new car. This was cut out and placed in the right environment. We spend considered time on the shades of the road. Observing shade and light outside our studio window. We noticed the small dots in the asphalt, but also discussed artistic license.

She also thought carefully about how it was to be presented. A large sheet was painted white, for future use as a frame.

Watercolours! After last weeks exploration of washes I brought along watercolours. My favourite watercolour approach is to look at a leaf and create a wash of colour. Then with a grey-lead look closely at the lines, shapes and shades. What I see, rather than what I think is there. 

"C" likes this approach but of course (as artists should) took her own approach. Using the pencil first she carefully observed and drew the outline of the leaf and the main veins. From here she seemed to enjoy adding a pattern. When it came to colour she noticed where the darkness sat. A branch was added and a background. 

"S" explored the different marks watercolour can make. She bracketed-in, or brought to her attention, feelings and emotions from her day, as well as connecting to her 'song lyric' project. We chatted about qualities and what she was coming to now know. 

"C" also began a new project to be continued next week. The start is a girl with a funny hat. I can't wait to see it finished, it's looking great.

"S" showed us the works from last week now dry. So powerful. 

It is such a pleasure to walk along side these artists – time goes way to quickly and each week we could just keep creating, talking and exploring. For me it's a fantastic space filled with possibility and focus. 

I still haven't finished my journal, perhaps next week :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Changing seasons - naturally

21st April

Our first Creative Kids for term 2 began with an acknowledgment of the change of seasons. Since our last class the days have gotten colder, the leaves are turning golden and float down to the ground from their branches. I took a pile of golden leaves from my backyard and placed them in our artist circle. As a group we discussed this change of season and how all had noticed that the darkness of night was coming around sooner than in the summer months. 

Since the earth has turned towards these cooler months, it felt right to use mandalas as our format. After a brief chat 'around' mandalas and a movement warm-up, I lead the group in a small visualization to bring focus to our natural environment. We closed our eyes and imagined we were sitting under the shade of a very old, majestic tree. The tree supports wildlife, has weathered storms, children have climbed on it, adults sat under it. It offers support and protection to all.

The CK's were then invited to represent the change of seasons, as mandalas. We used primed, vinyl rounds, recently gathered from reverse garbage.

The stars in the dark night sky.

The sun.
Although the air is getting cooler the sun still shines.

The tree.

A crystal which comes from the earth, sparkles. 

The sky with swirling clouds and lava from a volcano. 

We had many natural elements, including wind and dinosaurs, who need the tree for protection. It was great to see the CKs focus on the world around them and noticing the changes.

I personally like the change in seasons – it's what makes the world go round. 
Stay warm and enjoy the autumn sun on your back.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Snap Our Neighbourhood

'Snap Our Neighbourhood' photography adventure on Wednesday saw the end of our school holiday program at Sussex NH.

We had a good turn out of adults and children, and all agreed that it was a lot of fun. In small groups or as individuals, photographers set-off with a theme each (written on tags) and a map (so we could find our way back).

Themes such as... from afar, space and time, nature, fun and freedom, earth, water, wind.
For an hour and a quarter we wandered the neighbourhood with cameras in hand and theme in mind. It was actually quite a challenge! However as time went on noticing 'your theme' became easier.

During our walk, I teamed up with one of my (past) Creative Kids and her grandmother, we gathered a bouquet of flowers. My theme was fun and freedom. It was during our walk back to the House that I realised that 'fun and freedon' had been with us all along - in this bouquet. Not only did it represent the day but also brought back memories of picking flowers with my best friend when I was a young girl.

Once back at the House we reduced our photos down to two or three of our favourites. 
The manager of the House captured this photo of me showing my favourites to three other interested photographers
 (note must bend my knees in future!)

Post the workshop all participants have been invited to submit their photos for the Snap our Neighbourhood photo competition. There are two categories - most likes (winner = photo with the most facebook likes) and the House favourite.

Please drop past the site and 'like' some photos @

Snap our neighbourhood photo competition album

If you would like to enter the competition with photos snapped around the Sussex Neighbourhood House area please send them to The competition closes on the 17th April and is open to all.

Happy snapping.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Holding Spaces Workshop

It's time again to share Holding Spaces with the world.

Holding Spaces emerged during my Masters year as little knotted forms to hold or support stories. I describe them as precious spaces. Often the story forms or becomes known as the spaces take shape, they are not planned. In my experience they are quite wonderful and beautiful. No crochet experience is required, they are organic and naturally formed. 

Below I have included one of my first, in a series connecting to a theme of loss and grief. 

The workshop will be held at the Train of heARTStudio CERES
This coming Sunday, 15 April 2012
12:30 – 3:30 pm
$40 full or $35 concession. All materials provided.
For bookings please email me or phone 0404 617 362. 
The Train of heARTStudio is at CERES, Cnr Roberts and Stewart Streets, Brunswick East, Vic 3057.
FULL Please contact me with interests for future workshops. Thank you. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sock Monkey's!

Sock Monkey workshop - Sussex Neighbourhood House

3 April 2012

The day finally came for the much anticipated sock monkey workshop. Georgie Girl and I were so excited! Here she is all packed up and ready to head to the Neighbourhood House. 

A bit of a squish, but everything ready to go. 

With materials spread out, including the treats - banana lollies (of course) - the day was well underway.  

Georgie Girl with the treats and my Granny's tablecloth,
which holds lovely memories of sewing with her when I was a child. 
The collection of socks.

Wool bits.

Stitching and stuffing saw Monkey's start to take shape for the 8 creators. It was lovely to see 3 generations sitting around the table all working and chatting together - 6 children and 2 adults (and me).

On goes the nose.

Shaping the tail.

Stuffing arms. 

Stitching on ears.

Adding hair

And a heart.

Georgie Girl was so happy she had some new friends! Here are a few happy snaps...

Bubbles and GG

GG and her footie loving friend (still to be named)

With Princess.

And this little monkey was named Amanda,
with all those love-hearts I can see why
('Amanda': meaning 'worthy of love') .

All left happy and a bit tired - me too. It was such a full day and credit to everyone who stayed with the creating even when it felt like forever (!) until they were finished.  Well done and thank you for being part of a special day. 

Thank you also to Chiara for the sock donation, wool bits and for teaching me how to crochet the hearts. To Richard for showing us the quilt he is making for his son, it demonstrated that sewing takes time and the rewards are great. Also for the birthday cake - happy birthday. To Lynley for bringing us cake, Mary for dropping by and to all the crew at SNH for all their support. What a team - so lovely to be a part of it.

In support: 
Check at the arts and crafts section of the House website to see classes run this term coming by my wonderful creative friends. 

It's a lovely feeling to know that there are 8 more Sock Monkey's out there in the world, ready to love and hold the stories, feeling and thoughts of their creators. I wish them all the best. 

Take care
Amanda x

Sunday, April 1, 2012

End of term exhibition

What a busy morning we had preparing and presenting our end of term exhibition. Last week the CKs created invitations for parents and friends.

There was such a buzz in the air. We started with a movement activity to burn off some energy and then it was into it! First was to name and title paintings created last week. Next locate Artist Trading Card 'mail / postal boxes' and attach them to the sculptural, yarn bombed ladder. 

The group then split into teams, some creating welcome signs, others 'chalk directions' on the pavement and others sticking down the 'stamp' responses for the 3 neighbourhood houses - to sit with the sculpture. 

All were involved in the layout of the exhibition...

... and hang.

A short dramatic performance opened the show, created by the CKs
and then friends and family were shown around by the artists. 

It was a lovely end to the term and I would like to personally thank all those who came to support their little artists. It was very exciting for the CKs and I felt a lot of artistic pride was present in the room. 

A massive thank you to Steph my wonderful volunteer. Although her Duke of Ed hours are complete she has very kindly agreed to stay on into next term. I know there are some CKs who will be very pleased about that!

Happy holidays, 

What art means to me

24 March

Small acrylic pieces which captured, 'what art means to me'.

We began the session by thinking about art-making and offered into the group a 'keyword' to describe our thoughts, what we knew now especially after the Artist Trading Card exchange. Words of 'happy', 'joy', 'painting favourite things', 'creative'... were carried into the painting. 

Favourite things.

Connections to family - painting with Pop

The top two artists came to know that art also meant experimenting - trying different things.
Hands smudged the paint, layers of splatters and swirls. 
One CK even rinsed her canvas for a soft, yet stunning effect. 

More experimenting combined with favourite things. 

This artist discovered the joy of being inspired by another. 
She explored splatters and finger-prints as she noticed others actions. 

Being able to paint things you love - animals. 

I agree with the CKs - art means all of this to me also. Expressing to the world what we love, experimenting, working with others, being inspired by others and connecting with friends and family.