Last weekend, I ventured with fellow art educator, Sarah to sunny Louisiana, where spring is in full bloom! The 47th Annual Tom Peyton Memorial Arts Festival at The First United Methodist Church in Alexandria, invited The Carle to lead a series of art workshops as part of their Children’s Day celebration. It was our first trip to the central part of the state, and our hosts showed us what true southern hospitality is all about!
The weekend of art events kicked off on Friday night with the opening receptions for the adult and student juried art exhibitions at the church. The event was very well attended and the show exhibited an array of 2D and 3D art pieces, all created by local artists and students. Each year, with money from the Tom Peyton Memorial Fund, the church purchases one piece from the adult juried exhibition to display as part of the church’s permanent collection, and they’ve collected quite a beautiful gallery of work over the years.
The following day, Saturday, was Children’s Day and Sarah and I taught 6 workshops for children ages 4-13 in side-by-side rooms at the church’s school. Thanks to the Tom Peyton Memorial Arts Fund, the art programs were free to the public and open to any children in the Alexandria community.
Here are some fun shots from Sarah’s busy morning “I Am an Artist” sessions, for ages 4-7.
Talking about Eric Carle’s artistic process of painting tissue papers and cutting them into collages.
Stamping some colorful art papers of their own.
Cutting the papers into beautiful collages.
Below are some photos from the “Bookmaking Basics” workshops for children ages 6-8 later in the day.
Cutting unique shapes for their rainbow books.
Adding details to the popup accordion books.
Sarah and I ate lunch with our new friends by the church’s beautiful courtyard and fountain. I could not stop gushing over the perfect weather we had during our quick weekend trip south. It’s hard to believe, but it snowed in Amherst on the same day we were basking in the Louisiana sunshine!
After lunch, I taught two “Possibilities in Print” workshops for children ages 9-13. There were a couple extra spots in the last workshop of the day so some of the festival organizers joined in on the fun too.
Two participants showing off their finished monotype prints.
Making marks in the paint creates interesting details.
The table of beautiful finished prints.
This creative mom’s message “Laugh, Live, Love” is apropos for this fabulous day of art making with the community.
Thank you especially to Aubrey Flynn who took such good care of us! Here I am with Aubrey and Sarah, celebrating the success of Children’s Day.
Also, a big thank you to everyone involved in organizing the Tom Peyton Memorial Arts Festival at The First United Methodist Church in Alexandria, and all of the children, parents and grandparents who participated in Children’s Day. Sarah and I feel so fortunate to be a part of your celebration this year!
To find out more about the annual Tom Peyton Memorial Arts Festival click here.
For more information about bringing The Carle to your next event email us at email@example.com
Therese Brady Donohue, Director of Picture Book Theater and founder of The Amherst Ballet is leading an exciting workshop called Paint, Shape, Create! for ages 9 through adult here in the Studio on April 20th from 1-4.
Inspired by works in our last exhibition Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle, participants in this upcoming workshop will channel Eric Carle and their own inner artists as they paint on aluminum foil and then experiment with shaping it in strips and composing the strips on a painted canvas.
Therese, well known for costume and mask design and construction as founder of Amherst Ballet, told me “For eight years I have worked with reproducing Eric Carle’s picture book images, adapting them into puppets and costumes. I am always interested in taking a technique and creatively using it in different ways. When I saw what Eric had done as an independent artist taking his signature textures and applying them to foil and creating dimension, it spoke to me as a fun technique to introduce to artists of all ages. It is not complicated and does not require in-depth talent to experiment with this technique. This is also a good technique for educators to use in the classroom up through high school.”
With that in mind, Therese and I thought that this creative process would be a great opportunity for an intergenerational class experience in which young artists, parents, grandparents, artists, and educators could work side by side and learn from each other.
The Carle has offered parent/child and family programs before, but with this workshop the elementary-aged artists can participate with or without their parent present. By age 9 some young artists are clear in their creative passions and are ready for an opportunity like this.
Therese and I are both excited about the creative expression and layered learning that will happen this workshop. If you or someone you know in our area might be interested in this workshop learn about how to register (carlemuseum.org/register ) today! We’ll need to have at least 5 participants registered by April 12, and space is limited, so don’t wait!
Reid, our January-Term intern, designed and hosted a really fun special Studio activity last week for Museum guests. Here is her report on the planning process of the project and her reflection on the day.
When brainstorming for my Special Sunday activity, I knew right off that I wanted to experiment with the way we use light to make images. In the studio, our large windows provide so much beautiful natural light, and I wanted to utilize this feature in the activity. Meghan and I were bouncing activity ideas off each other when we came up with the idea of tracing shadows. Upon further elaboration we came up with the idea of using found objects to make shadow collages, tracing the lines, and finally painting over the drawn images. Initially I was having trouble deciding between collaging and painting, and this project combined the two!
Once I knew what I wanted to do, I began to plan out what materials we would use. I played with different kinds of drawing tools, paints, and paper to find the perfect combination of supplies. In the end, I decided to use Staonal crayons with tempera cake paints on large pieces of watercolor paper. I found the paint appeared bold and bright on the paper and didn’t smudge the Staonal, so the tracings remained intact.
We put out baskets of found and natural objects that would cast interesting shadows. Each visitor could choose up to 4 objects at a time, and when they were done with those they could trade them back in for different pieces to trace. We had natural objects like stones, pinecones, and seashells, along with found objects like ribbon, bottle caps, and mesh. It was important to have a variety of different shapes and sizes available.
On the day of the project we were lucky enough to have gorgeous sunny weather. Of course, because of New England’s unpredictable weather, we were prepared to use an overhead projector as a back-up plan in case the sun wasn’t out. We arranged the back of the art studio so that the tables were pushed to the right side; this area was set up as the painting area, complete with paintbrushes, water, sponges, and of course paint!
The left side of the studio was the tracing area. This is where visitors would put down their paper on the floor or sit on a chair and trace on a stool to arrange their objects and trace the shadows. We had cool shades that had previously been crafted by staff members on the windows already, and we moved these so there could be some interesting shadow patterns on the floors for the visitors.
The cool thing about this project was it could be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be, depending on age level, ability, and interest. I didn’t want something where the guidelines were super stringent. If a child didn’t want to draw on the floor, they could just paint at the table. I made sure to emphasize that when talking to the visitors. There were no rules to this project; the point of it was to allow the materials and the environment to inspire and to create.
I would say this project was definitely a success. It was exciting to see the families collaborating with each other and having fun with each other’s work. This activity was able to engage visitors of all ages. I was delighted to see how creative the children (and adults!) were with this project. Some visitors were very abstract with the images they made, while others used the shadows to create scenes out of their objects. All in all, it was a very fun afternoon in the art studio!
Eric Carle is primarily known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar and over 70 picture books done in his colorful collage technique.
This exhibition, dedicated to what Eric himself calls his “ArtArt:” paintings, sculptures, and personal sketches that he has been making privately for more than 60 years, offers a view into another side of Eric’s life and work.
Having heard from Eric about the motivation and process behind his “ArtArt,” I began to think more and more about the relationship between work and play and where the two merge with children and materials. This relationship is one we try to cultivate through much of what we do here, so this exhibition provides a great opportunity to share our ideas and experiences!
In the workshop on January 26th 2013, we’ll get our hands messy painting a variety of surfaces such as paper, vinyl, and cardboard. Then we’ll view the exhibition and a video of Eric reflecting on his independent art together. After, we’ll sculpt our painted surfaces into window hangings, mobiles, and more as we discuss Eric’s inspirations as an artist. Participants will leave with ideas for the classroom and an understanding of how his creative process might inspire students to think “off the page.”
Educators will receive 4 PDPs, but you don’t have to be an educator to participate. All participants receive a 10% discount in our Shop on the day of the program.
Here is the essential info again:
Beyond Books: Art Inspired by Eric Carle (4 PDPs)
January 26, 2013. 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
$50 (Members $45) Registration is required. Please click here for more information.
I promised some ideas for making greeting/holiday cards with kids. Here is one which will require a little prep and assistance from an adult since it calls for a specialty material and the use of an iron.
First, see what you have for fabric. Scrapish pieces will do. The bottom half of the tee shirt that ripped and a piece of the skirt with the stain on it will do. You might like to start with 3 different fabrics/colors, each somewhere around 12″x12″ but smaller will work too.
You’ll also need some double-sided fusible web from the fabric store. Pellon is one brand that makes some, but other brands work too. Ask for help at the store if you don’t’ know what you’re looking for. 1/3 yard will be enough to make a bunch of cards.
Then, iron the wrong side of the fabric to the fusible web according to the directions it came with. Here’s a tip from someone who learned the hard way: DO NOT touch your hot iron directly to the exposed web or you will get icky stuff on it. You’ll be fine if you trim your fusible web to be just smaller than the piece of fabric you are attaching to it. Since you’re likely using multiple fabrics/colors, you’ll be cutting it anyway.
When the fabric you fave fused to the web is cool, you and your young person are ready to cut it into shapes. If you don’t know what shapes to cut out, just take your scissors for a walk across the fabric and see what you get. The negative or left-behind shapes are usable too!
Next, peel the fusible web backing from your shapes and arrange them on a piece of folded cardstock. You could also arrange the shapes on a differnt piece of heavy paper that you glue to a card later.
Turn the iron back on and carefully iron your shapes to the paper with medium heat, no steam. You can use a thin cotton cloth over the shapes and card as you press if you want to be certain your iron stays safe from icky stuff.
Alternatively, instead of using double-sided fusible web, you could iron your fabric to single or double-sided fusible stabilizer and glue the shapes rather than iron them to your card. The stabilizer adds some dimension to the shapes but if its too thick, you can’t iron your shapes to the paper because the heat won’t pass through it enough to activate the sticky part.
When your shapes are ironed/glued down your card is ready for a message!
“Well, why not just glue fabric directly to the card and skip all the work,” you ask? You could, but sometimes the amount of glue required to glue fabric down warps the paper underneath. And, maybe you’ve noticed how the texture and color of fabric changes after its been soaked through with glue? With fusible web or stabilizer, the fabric still looks and feels like fabric when you’re done.
I wish I could take the credit for these great ideas, but I can’t. Diana first found the fusible web idea in this pretty book and she came up with the stabilizer variation for her Handmade Cards and Books workshop for teachers.
One of the popular ideas I see floating around Pinterest right now is using fall foliage to create little leafy critters. Here are a couple of my favorite, most inspiring versions:
kokokoKIDS: Fall Leaves Craft Ideas
Leaf Critters via Little Emma English Home Blog
Leaf Alphabet via Martha Stewart.com via Apartment Therapy
At the end of the summer this year we did our own version of this activity with leaves and flowers collected from The Carle’s grounds and a nearby farm. We pressed them for a few days between sheets of tracing paper and corrugated cardboard under the weight of heavy books.
Students selected which leaves and flowers they wanted from the trays and used Aleene’s Tacky Glue to attach them to pieces of white mat board.
When the covers were completely dry, we made enough photocopies of each child’s image so everyone would get to take home a book full of everyone’s critters. The next day we helped the students bind their books with the Stick-and-Rubber Band binding method. We used a 2-hole punch, sticks collected and trimmed, and rubber bands to bind the books.
If you don’t have the time to press leaves ahead of time, we’ve also created natural book covers with non-pressed leaves and flowers, and the outcomes were just as beautiful.
Let us know if you give this project a try or design your own version!
Hey! We just realized we’ve shared 100 posts since we started this blog last June. To celebrate, I’d like to share some a small percentage of the many beautiful things made in the Studio since then . These images represent ideas, problems solved and not-yet-solved, imagination, experimentation, conversations shared, and yet more work which wasn’t kept by the creator but was still worthy of creation nonetheless. For those of you who have started or are about to start a new school year next week, I hope these images help you begin the year on a happy note. Enjoy the weekend and here’s to the next 100 posts!
In my last post I showed you how guests made foam stamps in our last public art project and promised I’d show you how we made stamp pads for the entire studio. So first, the how, then, the why:
Start with some upholstery foam. Sold by the yard at fabric stores, and sometimes in packages at craft stores, it’s worth the effort to find a coupon if you’re going to purchase a lot. It doesn’t need to be super-dense or thick, maybe 1/2″ or 3/4″.
Hot-glue a piece of upholstery foam (or sponge) to a plastic plate or polystyrene foam tray. The tray should be just larger than the foam, and the foam should be just larger than the stamps you will use.
Use a plastic spoon, palette knife or spatula to smear tempera or other water-based soluble paint into the upholstery foam. The first time you load the pad, it will take a fair amount of paint. Now its ready to use. Easy, right?
If you plan to use the stamp pad the next day, just slip it into a zippered bag to keep moist. Let it air dry (with the paint on) if you won’t be using it again within a few days. Too long in the bag and it gets moldy. Spritz with water and add more paint when you’re ready to use it again.
If you’ve been to the studio you know we offer a specific selection of materials to explore, and we arrange multiple sets of those materials around the room so they are available to whomever stops in to experiment. When we include stamp pads in our projects we make them the same color across the entire room. Usually that’s so they don’t all end up turning brownish-black from the stamps traveling around the room. With this last project is was also so that the activity focus could be more on shape and pattern than on color, though we did also offered colored pencils so that color could be introduced to the papers through drawing.
We’ve used traditional black ink stamp pads in public art projects before, but we find they work best for smaller, rubber stamps. They aren’t ideal for our large, handled stamps. They also make parents of very young children nervous with all their blackness and permanence. Kids do love black, but that’s a post for another time.
Yesterday we started a collage project in the studio, but if you missed getting to make a stamp and a collection of patterned papers in our last project, don’t fret! You can easily make stamps and stamp pads like we used in the studio.
In the studio guests started by cutting shapes out of 2″x2″ rectangles of sticky-backed craft foam and then arranging the shapes small rectangle of polystyrene (like meat tray) foam.
Names and initials were a popular design. E made a one with her initials that she was happy with, even though the E’s read backwards. For her second stamp she wanted to make her entire first name. Together we talked about how to cut and arrange the letters so they would read correctly when stamped.
Some guests chose to leave their stamp behind for others to use. We displayed a selection of them on our front wall to inspire our guests’ designs.
If you don’t have any foam at home you can use interesting or discarded objects as stamps. Diana recently offered some great stamping/printing ideas here and here, and we a have printable/PDF about printing with found objects here.
In my next post I’ll share how we made white stamp pads, so check back soon!
In The Art Studio Latin Landscapes April 10 - May 21, 2013 Free with Museum Admission Capture the beauty of the landscapes from Latino Folk Tales: Cuentos Populares–Art by Latino Artists and create a picturesque panorama adapting the textured drawing style of illustrator Raul Colón.