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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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It’s always lovely when artists are invited in to schools to lead a workshop with children. At my local village school where the Art Cabin is based, we had a a local Hertfordshire artist called Jean Picton lead a workshop with Years 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Using liquid acrylics, Jean demonstrated how beautiful poppy flowers could be painted. Jean’s trademark is her beautiful depictions of flowers especially poppies (take a look at Jean’s dress, which she had custom made).

To begin with, students experimented with black ink on plain paper, practising the techniques they had seen Jean do. After another demo, students were able to create their own poppy flower on a blank canvas.

Jean really is a character and the students thoroughly enjoyed her tuition style (which included lots of giggles). I think everyone was pleased with their painting and it was especially nice to see children who don’t always find art projects easy, enjoy the workshop and feel proud about their work.

 

 

One of the most looked at posts on this blog has to be my How to make Egyptian Canopic Jars. You will find step by step photos to help you get good results with your clay modelling and with a little prep, you can deliver this activity to your class and not have a meltdown (hopefully!).

Here is a photo from a primary school teacher who successfully delivered this project to her Year 5’s.

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Thank you Mrs Batchelor, I’m glad you and your class enjoyed making Canopic Jars.

*Big thumbs up from me!*

Drawing on plaster with wax pastels project

 

This still life activity is based on the ‘Drawing On Plaster’ project from the book Drawing Projects for Children by AccessArt’s co-founder Paula Briggs.

Leading up to this activity, I had spent a couple of sessions getting students to do obsevational drawings, learning to look is an important factor when doing still life study and doing something like this is a good warm up exercise. Each child had a view-finder and a magazine page; they could select an area of the magazine to copy.

Young student with still life drawing

Using a view-finder to select an area of a magazine to draw

 

We set about making the mould for the plaster canvas and once completed we mixed the plaster and poured it into the mould.

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Creating a mould for the plaster

 

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Plaster setting in the mould

 

After a week to dry out thoroughly, the mould was removed to reveal the plaster canvas.

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Removing the plaster canvas from the mould

 

I set up a screen on each table so each student could set up a still life composition (we used fruit). It’s a good idea to discuss complementary colours and making your still life visually pleasing.

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Looking at composition

 

Once the friuts were in place, students had the chance to practice their observational skills using watercolour paints. We discussed highlights, midtones and shadows, looking at all the different colours and tones we could see.

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Practising observational skills using watercolours

 

When students were ready they began to illustrate their fruit still life on the plaster canvas with water soluble wax crayons.

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Sketching on the plaster canvas

 

Adding water to a cue tip and gently rubbing it on the wax pastels will encourage the blending of colours.

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This activity was a total success, the paintings were superb and the students really enjoyed the opportunity to draw on an unusual surface.

Plasticine models inspired by the book ‘Dirty Beasts’ by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake

Sharon Gale advising a young art club student

“Artists are schools’ latest big draw” by 

I saw the above article in The Times today and thought I must share it with you. It’s good news for artists and children in my opinion, more creative people in schools can only be of benefit. Not only do I work with children but I have an active arts practice too (as one half of an art duo called Quiet British Accent), and one definitely helps to inform the other.

I know that my art club and the curriculum based work I do in school has a very positive effect on students. Children are learning technical skills of course, but more importantly, students learn to problem solve, to be patient, cope with things not going right first time, persevere, to accept difference, to be proud, gain confidence, self worth, have fun, explore… (I could go on). And they make fun stuff!

It doesn’t matter whether or not the children want to be artists when they grow up, these really are skills to carry forward in to adulthood.

Not bad eh?

Photography by Nux Photography

Embroidered Houses

AccessArt Village project

House embroideries which have been mounted in readiness for the AccessArt Village exhibition

Some Art Cabin students took part in AccessArt’s Village Project back in the summer.

“The aim of the project is simple: to inspire the AccessArt audience of all ages (children , teenagers and adults) to embroider a line drawing of their home on a 20 cm square piece of fabric.”

We recently received a photo of our embroidered houses cut out and mounted as models, ready to be be part of AccessArt’s Village exhibition which will tour the UK.

If you would like to be part of this project, you can find information on the AccessArt website here.

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