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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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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.

 

 

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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!*

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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.

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Embroidered Houses

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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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Christmas Character models

I couldn’t resist doing a little festive project this year. So, using balloons as our armatures, the students created their very own Christmas character paper maché model. The children decided for themselves what type of character they wanted to make and I was pleasantly surprised by the variety we had. Santa (of course), reindeer, snowmen, Christmas bunnies, Christmas puddings and Christmas penguins!

The balloons were paper machéd until they were quite solid (we did around four layers of newspaper and used child friendly paste glue with PVA mixed in), then painted them with poster and acrylic paint. The finishing touches of making scarves and Santa hats really brought their cheeky characters out. The students thoroughly enjoyed this project and all the models were finished in time to take home to put on display.

So, all I need to do is wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year x

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