Be curious, adventurous, and let Mother Earth hold you

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Light and honor the dark season with artmaking

 Light and honor the dark season with artmaking

Interactive public art for kids

I’m always looking for innovative public art, especially the kind that is interactive. Just this week two caught my eye in my Facebook stream.

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© Masaki Koizumi

Artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam created a crocheted gallery sized installation that kids couldn’t help but  interact with. Next thing you know, she and her husband Charles MacAdam established Interplay Design and Manufacturing in Nova Scotia, Canada, to develop the concept of play ‘sculptures’ on a commercial scale. Check out more here: http://www.treehugger.com/culture/artist-crochets-playgrounds-children.html

Then my friend, artist, and professor Wendy Maruyama shared work of her UC San Diego former students Lanie Gannon and Rob Oglivie. Here is a video of their wonderful interactive mechanical art installed at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, TN.

Interestingly enough both installations are low tech and are great examples of ways that artists really catered to the spirit of children.

Growing little librarians

This is the first toy I’ve seen this year that I’m considering buying for my niece!

“Little Librarian will provide book lovers with everything they need to transform their book collection into a library. Kids can practice the important skills of organizing, sharing, borrowing, and returning. Book pockets, check out cards, library cards and bookmarks are just like the ones from a real library. Little Librarians will issue overdue notices and awards. Favorite book memories can be stored in your reading journal and shared with friends. To get started, just add books! ”

Check it out here.

Magic footprints and buggy Springtime

Had a bunch of fun with the Coastside Childrens’ Programs K-2nd grade artists today.

We made magic footprints by tracing shoes and then designed and colored the prints with markers. The kids made everything from monster feet to sweetheart feet to rainbow and starry feet!

We also finished up installing a collaborative Spring mural with many flying butterflies and worms and ants wiggling in the dirt. The mural was first painted with tempera and then the kids went back in with pencil and felt pen to add definition. They designed their choice of 3D bugs by drawing them and then cutting, stuffing, and stapling.

Kids design their own t-shirts

The 4th and 5th grade kids had a blast designing their own t-shirts. They worked with “the earth” theme first sketching out their designs on paper and then using white chalk to transfer them to black t-shirts. I got the recycled t-shirts from RAFT and turned them inside out so the corporate logos were on the inside.

Next they used acrylic paints for their designs on the front. Next week they will do the back designs. The last class they will use scissors and sewing to customize their designs some more.

I’ll post the next steps too.

Sparkly snakes

The kids were delighted with the making and the final results of these snakes. It began with twisting and scrunching newspaper into long bodies and covering “the guts” with masking tape “snake-skin”. I then helped the kids tape the forked tongues onto their snake heads.

The next class they painted their snakes with tempera paints and embellished them with glitter. In a third class they cut up pieces and strips of colored paper and glued these onto their snakes. I demonstrated the idea of adding the strips as stripes and wrapping the paper around the snakes. Some kids were able to do this and others chose to glue in smaller pieces. The embellishing can become more sophisticated depending on the age of the children.

The kids love their final snake creations and the classroom teacher appreciated their 3 dimensional quality.

High School Students Honor Gifts of their Family

I was honored to teach a workshop to youth at the Asian Counseling Resource Services up in Seattle in February. Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) is the largest multiservice organization serving all the different Asian Pacific American communities – immigrants, refugees and American born – in the Pacific Northwest. Their mission is to promote social justice and the wellbeing and empowerment of Asian Pacific American individuals, families and communities – including immigrants, refugees and native born – by developing, providing and advocating for innovative community-based multilingual and multicultural services.

The Gifts of our Family workshop was 3.5 hours and offered to youth involved in ACRS’s student community advocate program. They came equipped with photocopies of family members they wanted to focus on in the workshop. Different loved ones were honored including uncles, mothers, nephews, cousins, sisters, and brothers.

I began by showing a slideshow of how I create art of my family using found objects, photographs, and writing. I then conducted a short visual meditation to get them in tune with details and memories of their loved one. They did some writing of memories, words, descriptions of their family member.

Next I demonstrated painting a background using acrylic paints. The students really enjoyed this part of the lesson and some did many layers of paint, using a blow dryer between colors.

It was time to add the photographs and writing. I appreciated the camaraderie which developed among the students, as they told stories about the family members they were focusing on. Many of the youth had not met before.

Lastly they embellished their pieces by gluing materials like shells, flowers, sticks. Some of the students used needle and thread to accent their pieces. The sewing reminded them of an activity they did with their mother. Two girls added string weavings, another memory of something they did as children.

We originally started out with the idea of cutting out a circular shape for the completed pieces, but some students used the whole paper for their creations so we decided to keep those intact.

At the end of the workshop each student stood up and proudly showed their art. Each of them got a round of applause from their fellow artists.

The pieces are currently displayed at ACRS. Below are some of the pieces which were made in the workshop.


Toothy grins

This was a fun art lesson! I tied into the preschool teacher’s lesson on dental hygiene and the tooth fairy by making small teeth out of rolled masking tape for the kids to use in their art making.

We discussed the parts of the face – eyes, nose, mouth, eye brows. They then drew faces and some kids drew whole bodies. Each child got a bunch of sticky teeth for their drawings. As you can see the kids had different drawing ability levels, but were all able to draw a face for their teeth.

This child made a mother holding a baby and even the baby got a tooth.