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Archive for the ‘Art Mediums’ Category

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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.

Drawing on plaster with wax pastels project

Creating a mould for the plaster

 

Drawing on plaster with wax pastels project

Plaster setting in the mould

 

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

Drawing on plaster with wax pastels project

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.

Drawing on plaster with wax pastels project

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

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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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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Brilliant Makers Club

Student with her ant eater sculpture inspired by the Roald Dahl poem The Ant Eater

 

September 13th 2016 saw the celebration of 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl, so I thought it would be a nice idea to create a project based around his poetry book ‘Dirty Beasts’ and a great opportunity to look at the illustrations by Quentin Blake.

 

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Sharon Gale reading Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl to her art club students

 

The finished artwork would be a sculpture inspired by the ghastly beasts mentioned in the poems, positioned on a plinth decorated with marbled paper and mixed media.

This particular project incorporates observational drawing, illustration, modelling with Newplast, marbling inks and mixed media. It was carried out over seven, one hour sessions.

Accessart have a wonderful resource titled ‘Quentin Blake’s Drawing as Inspiration!’. I began my first session with this resource introducing my students to the work of Quentin Blake and how he captures the quirkiness of so many of Roald’s characters. I acted as the model whilst the children had to draw me first as a continuous line drawing, and secondly as a series of straight lines (drawn in time to me slapping the floor).

 

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

Illustration of Sharon Gale by a student, using lines drawn in time to a beat

 

This exercise was quite tough for some children, who found it difficult to draw using a technique that was taking them out of their comfort zone. Even so, the children enjoyed the experience of being in the school hall, choosing where would be a good angle to draw the me (the model) from.

Over the next couple of sessions the students studied Quentin Blake illustrations from books and created their own characters which they were able to paint.

 

 

Next we had a session using marbling inks. These decorated papers were to be used to part decorate the cardboard plinths. Using shallow trays filled with water, small amounts of marbling ink was dropped on the water; a toothpick dragged through the water allows the ink to separate and form pretty patterns. Too much ink made for a muddy messy saturated print, so less is more with marbling inks! Paper (pre-cut to fit inside the tray) was placed on the floating inks, you can see the ink soak into the paper, so, after a few seconds it was lifted to reveal the marbling effect. The prints were left to one side to dry. This activity can be messy, so it’s worth covering the work area with newspaper and make sure you have a separate area for drying prints.

 

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

Marbling ink patterns being made by dragging a toothpick through the oily ink

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

Marbling ink papers for use with decorating the plinths

 

In the following lesson the children modelled their illustrated characters with Newplast, this is the superb modelling plasticine used by Aardman Animations. Once the students had chosen their colours, I handed out a palm sized amount for them to soften. It’s important to warm up the plasticine in your hands first before trying to sculpt from it.

Another tip is to make sure you have plenty of wet wipes to hand. Whenever you handle a different colour, it’s important to have clean hands as the strong colours can transfer onto each other. For example, if you modelled black plasticine then modelled yellow without clean hands, the black would make the yellow go a dirty yellow colour.

 

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

Student adding texture to his model

 

At this point I tried to remind the children about exploring the character of their model, remembering how Quentin Blake exaggerated the features of his characters in his illustrations.

 

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

Sharon Gale advising a young art club student

 

For the final part of the project, the children had to decorate a plinth/base suitable for their character to be displayed on. I had pre-cut thick corrugated card into circles approximately 15cms diameter.  Using their marbling paper, construction materials (such as wooden sticks, pipe cleaners, cardboard tubes etc) and their imaginations the students could create an environment fit for their plasticine models. The children really enjoyed this activity of creating little habitats. Some students engaged problem solving skills when their ideas were too complicated or big and need to be simplified.

 

 

This was an interesting project incorporating lots of different techniques and materials, the variety made it exciting but also challenging. The age range in my group is 5-11 years, it is evident that the older children were aware of the Quentin Blake link to their sculptures whereas this was soon forgotten with the younger ones.  Most importantly, fun was had by all!

Many thanks to Nux Photography who visited the Art Cabin and took a few snaps for me.

 

 

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