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Clay coil pots

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I was invited to do a clay coil pot workshop at a school in Harringay recently. This is an activity I last did with the Art Cabin students back in 2011, so it was great to revisit it.

We used air-drying clay. To make handing out clay a little easier, I divided it into small chuncks, perfect for rolling into coils (thin sausage shapes). As you can see from the photos, we lined a bowl with cling film and began to arrange the coils to form patterns.

Blending and smoothing the clay in the inside of the bowl will adhere the coils together. The beautiful coil patterns will be seen from the outside. To protect your bowl after painting, add a coat of varnish.

Tips: Don’t make the coils too thin. Don’t let the coils dry out (they become crumbly). Keep a lid or damp cloth over clay chunks to stop them drying out and becoming hard. Use a hairdryer to speed up paint drying times.

 

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ModRoc Polar Bears

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This activity was taken from the superb book called ‘Make, Build, Create’ by Paula Briggs, co-founder of Access Art. Making ModRoc polar bears was a very successful project, the children thoroughly enjoyed creating their bears, each and every one had character! Some students made simple plinths to display their bears on, some made accessories like hats and scarves.

The students studied pictures of polar bears and we discussed characteristics. As a warm up activity students painted their own illustrated polar bear with water based paints.

The bears were constructed from newspaper, masking tape and ModRoc.

 

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This art project was linked to KS2 Rivers. Primary school students were learning about rivers in Geography and I was asked to compliment this with an art project.

I decided that we would make clay ‘portrait’ miniatures. The Victoria & Albert Museum have a few on display and I always admired them. When Grayson Perry made the ‘The Earl of Essex’ miniature for his ‘Who Are You?’ exhibition, as part of a Channel Four programme, I really wanted students to have a go at making them.

Students were asked to research animals and plants that make their home in or by British rivers. They had to choose their favourite and paint it on their clay miniature. The Kingfisher was the most popular by far!

Hopefully the ‘how to make’ photos below are self explanatory.

Tips: I cut oval templates for students to use as a size guide.

To get clay to adhere to clay, you need to make slip. Mix some clay with water until it is like thick cream. Roughen up the surface of the two pieces of clay to be stuck together, apply some slip and use a small tool or finger to blend ‘touching edges’ together.

While the clay is still soft, press a wire hanging loop into the back of the miniature. We bent wire around a chunky marker pen to create a loop. If you bend 5mm of the wire ends 90 degrees, this will help stop the wire from dislodging from the clay when hanging.

We used gesso to undercoat the flat oval surface in preparation for painting. If you don’t have gesso, just use white water based paint.

Here are some of the finished miniatures. To complete the look, like Grayson Perry’s ‘The Earl Of Essex’, we tied a bow around the hanging loop.

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Girl Diving

This project is based on the ‘Plinth People’ activity, devised by Paula Briggs, author of Make Build Create and one of the co-founders of AccessArt.

This wonderful project will need several sessions to complete. My art groups took six, one hour sessions to complete the sculptures, this included time at the beginning discussing the types of activities we were interested in and illustrating a pose connected to that activity.

I asked the students to think of something they liked doing, for example, swimming, dancing, reading etc. Students drew themselves partaking in their favourite persuit, paying attention to what shape their body would make doing the activity.

After this intial introduction, the students each made their plaster-of-paris plinths and began to create their figure, using wire, fabric and wool. Students could choose whether to paper maché or sew their sculpture’s head.

If we had longer on this project, the students would have made props for their figures, they enjoyed making them so much.

 

 

 

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The AccessArt Village exhibition at Farfield Mill, photograph by AccessArt

Last year some of my sewing club students took part in ‘The AccessArt Village’ participatory project devised by AccessArt and supported by Appletons Wool.

The aim of the project was simply to inspire the AccessArt audience of all ages to embroider a line drawing of their home on a 20 cm square piece of fabric. These embroideries were then sent to AccessArt to be cut and mounted to create the AccessArt Village. We are very excited that our embroideries are part of this wonderful installation which will be exhibited around the UK!

The AccessArt Village has its first exhibition at Farfield Mill in Cumbria, 12th September – 22nd October.

There are over over 700 embroidered pieces on display, lovingly created by children, accomplished artists and older generations.

“Whilst highlighting the character and individuality of each piece, the project celebrates the diversity of our audience and reminds us of the universal sanctity of ‘home’.” AccessArt.

The AccessArt Village will be on display at the following five venues – try and visit if you can, it’s sure to be a stunning exhibition!

13/09/2017 to 22/10/2017:  Farfield Mill, Cumbria

14/11/2017 – 21/12/2017: Mansfield Central Library, Notts

17/01/2018 – 31/01/2018: Brentwood Gallery, Essex

20/02/2018 – 20/03/2018: Whitley Bay Library, Tyne and Wear
Only a section of the AccessArt Village will be on display at this venue, as exhibition space is limited.

May-June 2018: Old Gala House, Galashiels – dates to be confirmed. A London date is also being discussed.

For information about visiting the exhibition, please contact the venue or check their web page.

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AccessArt Village installation, photograph by AccessArt

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AccessArt Village, photograph by AccessArt

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When I’m not doing art clubs and workshops, I spend my time working as one half of the art duo ‘Quiet British Accent’. The other half of the duo is my husband, Jason. Together, we use a variety of signwriting and sewing techniques to explore our love of lettering, language and pop culture.

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This is our studio (it’s a bit messy because we’re getting ready for an exhibition)

Recently we collaborated on an art project with the students from our village school, creating a poster to brighten up the local train station, Cuffley.

We thought it would be fun to create a poster that people could interact with (super useful if you’ve just missed your train and you need to while away some time!).

Our poster is based on the good old ‘Spot The Difference’ idea. Students created the illustrations and Quiet British Accent (QbA) created the lettering and layout; using the red, white and light blue colours in keeping with QbA’s look.

So, if your destination is Cuffley, see if you can spot ten differences on our poster.

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Sock Puppets

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I last made sock puppets with the Art Cabin students back 2010. Wow, how time flies!

I have to say the kids were super excited when I announced that we would be making sock puppets. You can see my orginal sock puppet making post here.

We mainly used textile and poster paint to decorate the puppets. I had a selection of pom poms, eye shaped stickers and googly eyes and as you can see from the photos, the children preferred the googly eyes. Pipe cleaners were rolled inside fabric to create bendy arms, I used the hot glue gun to attach these to the body as PVA just isn’t strong enough.

You might find these books helpful if you want to increase your puppet making knowlege. I especially like the Puppet Mania! book by John Kennedy, it’s from this book that we followed the instructions to create the mouth for this particular sock puppet project.

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