Archive for the ‘Art Cabin’ Category

Brilliant Makers Badge

I’m so happy to say that the Art Cabin is now part of the ‘Brilliant Makers Club’ set up by AccessArt. As you can see to the right, we have a new badge that we can display with pride.

So, what are Brilliant Makers Clubs?

These are a network of clubs set up in local communities to encourage high quality opportunities for hands-on creative exploration. AccessArt are hoping to encourage facilitators to consider starting a new club to provide more opportunities for hands-on creativity and making.

If you already run an arty type club perhaps you would like to get involved? Whether you’re new to this or established, you can find out how to get involved by visiting AccessArt here.

They will be able to help you with art ideas galore! So, what are you waiting for?

Creative hands-on making


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African Mask

As some of you may know we had to move out of our art cabin (over a year ago) due to a bad flood. The cabin was unfit for use and we were housed in the village school library so we could continue our art projects. In that time the school built a new classroom, the library books moved to the old classroom, leaving us free to settle permanently in the ‘library’.  So I would like to say a big thank you to the school for supporting us.

Leading up to the end of term we worked really hard to decorate the art studio with new work. We chose a theme called ’The African Savannah‘. The young artists painted a mural, made African masks and created paintings of dancing tribes people framed in tree branches.

During the school open evening we were pleased to receive many compliments for the artwork on display.

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The new term begins with something a little different at the Art Cabin. I’ve been fascinated by using light as a medium for creating pictures and in my experience it’s important to let kids know that art is not all about being good at drawing (children tend to be really hung up about this and invariably lose interest in art when they can’t draw realistically).

So firstly the daylight has to be blocked out, and I used blackout fabric. A selection of LED light bulbs were purchased along with lithium watch batteries (tape them together to make the bulbs light up). A camera was set up on a tripod, we were very lucky to have professional portrait photographer Brigitta Scholz Mastroianni take the photos. A long exposure is necessary to capture the light art.

After some brief tuition the young artists began to create these wonderful pictures.

One very young member of the Art Cabin asked if we were going to do ‘Lightbulbing’ again? What a great name for it, so I think we shall call it lightbulbing from now on.

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During half term the Art Cabin held a clay workshop for children aged between 5 and 12 years. The young artists had to produce a room made from three clay tiles (one for the floor, the other two for adjoining walls).

Airdrying clay was used for this project. Tile templates cut from card helped the children to achieve same size squares for their floor and walls. Windows and doors had to be cut out of the tiles with clay tools. Fabric and textured wallpaper scraps were used to imprint the clay with decorative detail and of course furniture had to be sculptured and positioned.

The rooms produced were very impressive with lots of detail. When the sculptures are dry they can be painted and varnished.

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Marbling Inks

In my opinion, if you want a rainy day activity to keep the children amused then invest in some marbling inks.

The Art Cabin kids were mesmerised by the wonderful patterns, colours and prints they could achieve. The process is easy, but be warned… the inks will stain clothes, so wear an apron and cover the work surface with newspaper.

All you need are:

Marbling Inks, cheap absorbent paper (experiment with different types of paper too), a small tray filled with about 1cm of water, toothpick (or safe tool to create the swirls) and plenty of newsprint to cover the work surface.

Begin by placing a drop of ink in the tray then place/float a scrap peice of paper on top to soak up the ink, this will ‘prime’ the water.

Next, choose between 3 and 5 colours of ink that you wish to use. Only one or two drops of each colour is necessary as you don’t want your print to be too oily. Use a toothpick to gently create swirly patterns on top of the water. When you are happy with your pattern float a piece of paper on top of the water for a few seconds and then peel off gently and set aside to dry. Another print can be taken straight away, this will be less vibrant but still gives a pretty effect (this is known as a ghost print).

I have to say that the children in the Art club almost had a factory process in place churning out print after print, so do make sure that there is plenty of space for prints to dry.

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1950’s girls

Hats and dresses by Sharon Gale for Vintage Goodwood

Now, it has been quite a while since my last post and there are several reasons for this lapse of blogging. One, I have been busy sewing 1950’s style dresses & petticoats for my girls. Two, I had a holiday (very nice despite the unseasonal English weather). Three, I was busy making hats. Four, I made a friend a birthday present (a pink silk dressing gown). Five, I have been planning the next run of Art Cabin lessons and to top it all I am also having to plan art lessons for my new KS1 class.

Anyhow, not so long ago I attended another Janie Lawson hat making workshop. This time I learnt how to block hats. So if your interested in how to block a hat please read on. There are more photos at the bottom of this post.

1 First cut 2 layers of sinamay, there should be enough to go over the hat block with surplus sinamay to pin under the base of the hat block. Make sure that the hat block is covered with a couple of layers of cling film.

2 Push a pin into the sinamay attaching it to the hat block base at the Centre Front and Centre Back making sure the sinamay is stretched tightly.

3 Next half fill a kettle with water and boil. (The steam created will soften the sinamay and help mould it over the hat block). Without burning your fingers carefully hold the sinamay/hat block over the steam for a few seconds and then use your hands to mould the sinamay over the hat block and pin the excess sinamay to the base of the hat block. Next steam the area diagonally to the bit you just steamed and pinned (continue to do this until all the sinamay is pinned and the crown and edges are smooth.

4 To get the sinamay to mould to the shape of the hat block crown detail, pin a piece of blocking cord at the beginning of the grooves and steam for a few seconds. Encourage the cord to follow the curve and pin and steam until the curve ends.

5 To make the hat keep its shape, it is necessary to use a hardener which is brushed on (follow manufacturers instructions) and left to dry (20-30 mins approx). Remove cord & pins.

6 Trim excess sinamay at the base leaving approx 1.5cms seam allowance.

7 Shape some hat wire to the hat block base inner circumference and overlap the ends and secure with some stitches.

8 To remove the hat from the hat block is tricky and your hat could be ruined if this stage is rushed. carefully use a bendy thin plastic spatula (I used a corset stay) to gently ease the sinamay away from the cling film. Try not to stretch the  base circumference as you do this.

9 Pin & sew the wire in place 1cm from the edge, ease any stretched areas back into shape (this is fiddly and took me ages). Stiches should be 1cm apart, with a very small stich on the right side of hat (almost invisible)

10 Finally cut your petersham ribbon to the size of the hat size leaving an overlap, pin in place and stab stitch small invisible stitches. To finish my hat I moulded a bias cut sinamay  strip into a heart shape and arranged some hat net to complete the look.

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Artsmark Award

I am really pleased to find out today that Northaw School has been awarded the Artsmark. The creative work that is encouraged in this small village school, such as the choir, music lessons, after school drama club (run by the wonderful Brigitta) and of course the big impact that the Art Cabin has made to the school and the local community, has helped to achieve this recognition.

I do feel really happy about this, because I have invested a lot of  my soul into setting up and running the Art Cabin, and it’s a personal achievement too. :·)

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