Ema Blue spends Wednesday afternoons with me at my studio. She is my unofficial “gallery assistant” and art student. She dusts Tim’s furniture, sweeps the sidewalk, takes Charlie for a walk, fetches me coffee from across the street, and makes lovely sidewalk chalk signs in front of the gallery. Ema is 11 years old.
Ema is meticulous, creative, precise, funny, cheerful, interested, respectful and persistent. I enjoy her company immensely and I truly look forward to Wednesdays.
For the last few weeks, Ema has worked steadily on a mixed-media artwork. Inspired by the image transfers some of my women friends and I made during one of our Girls Art Nights, Ema started with some image transfers onto a canvas, then used water-soluble colored pencils and collage to complete her piece. I’m always impressed when a young person can sustain interest in a project over a period of days or weeks, and she did on this piece. She finished this one yesterday.
I will write another post soon with my thoughts on the image transfer technique we used, and how to enhance the transfers with other media to create something lovely. Hope you enjoyed seeing Ema Blue’s artwork. Please let her know what you think/feel about her painting by leaving a comment below. Thank you!
Last Saturday, the Holter Museum of Art held KidWorks! — it’s 23rd annual arts festival for kids. What a blast!! I had an amazing opportunity to help put on this fun event and boy was it alot of work. Yet, when we opened the doors of the museum at 10:00 am, just like Connie, Judy, Sondra and Hannah told me, the festival took care of itself. A gigantic bulldozer of little kids and and their significant adults moved through the museum playing, delighting, learning, appreciating, thoroughly enjoying themselves and getting a messy education in the wonderment of art.
For me — as a docent — it was incredibly fun (I hardly stopped smiling except when I was concentrating,) extremely exhausting (the tables were set to little kid height and my back hurt like hell at the end of the day) but so, so fulfilling to share my enthusiasm about art with this many kids and their peeps.
I absolutely loved witnessing the diversity of approaches. Every child, has a unique way of seeing the world and expressing what they see! As docents, we have to Let Go of Results and Outcomes. Allow Mess. Delight in Oops. Multi-task-yet-Focus. Smile. Laugh. Make Eye Contact. Then. Clean. Up.
Well … it seems at the Holter, “docent” is a fancy word for a volunteer who:
works really hard
has lots of fun with peers and with the public
stays longer than expected to clean up the mess
knows how to laugh and goof
loves to share his/her passion for the arts
gets training to use Visual Thinking Strategy in educational museum tours
has a lot of energy (enough to keep up with kids of all ages!)
has an awesome opportunity to guide kids, teens and adults in appreciating art through tours and hands-on activities
can think on her/his feet, improvising when necessary
doesn’t mind getting down and messy
knows that every individual’s experience and ideas are valid
helps organize and put on the biggest and best kids’ arts festival anywhere around
then watches the magic happen as our doors open to over 800 participants
that’s alot to pack into one 6-letter word!
The Holter docents I have the privilege to work with, are a diverse group: outgoing, intelligent, friendly and helpful to new members of the team. We are all willing to learn from our mistakes and educate ourselves continuously so we are the best “art guides” the Holter could possibly have. It helps that we have some docents who are great leaders — super organized and experienced. It also helps that the educational staff (Sondra, Aubrey and Hannah) are so enthusiastic about their jobs. I have about half of the skills I need, to be an amazing docent. I’m working on the rest. But boy, was it fun, fun fun to help make KidWorks! happen.
Sorry about the photo-intensive post today. I just couldn’t resist! There were so many sweet moments and precious connections made during KidWorks! that I can’t resist posting these. Below is a gallery with a few more images from the festival.
If you attended KidWorks, or volunteered at the festival, won’t you write a short (or long) comment to say how you experienced it? Thank you!
Shayna, Jaime, Cari and I gave some of our horses to Whitney, who is ready to give birth any day now. Her little boy will be born in the Year of the Horse. He will have a herd of wild horses to remind him of his naturally wild joy. With a mama like Whitney we know he’ll grow up snorting with laughter, jumping with glee and letting his wildness out into the world. (*See bottom of this post for some interesting predictions about this baby — and other babies born in this year of the horse.)
“Last night was like a symbolic circling of all the mares … lending the strength of those who have gone before, to the one ready to walk through that door that you never, ever can cross back through … the becoming of motherhood and the strength and grace of sisterhood … so special to me” — Jaime Terry
We made horses. We laughed. She contracted. We played. Relaxed. Listened to her talk about the baby, the baby’s name, the nest she is preparing. Talked about lack of sleep and future lack of sleep and hope for sleep. And about other things. And nothing at all.
Our hands busy with scissors and paint and buttons. Good food. Good wine. Good company. It’s what women do. We nurture each other with food and listening and love and open arms. A circling of the mares.
We decided to do this every month. Something artsy. Something to connect us. To each other. To our souls. To the Earth.
Please join us at our next Girls Art Night with Brown Bird Studioon the last Thursday of each month.Like our gallery’s facebook page or sign up for updates from 1+1=1 Gallery, and we’ll remind you a few days in advance. Put Girls Art Night on your calendar for March 27th at 6:30 pm. 335 North Last Chance Gulch, Helena.
Our evening gatherings are all about being relaxed and nurturing our inner artistic souls.
Whether you consider yourself artsy or “crafty” or not, I promise you will have a good time. And don’t forget we’ll share food, music and laughter too. The cost is free or minimal, depending on the materials we use.
A perfect horoscope prediction for Whitney’s baby (knowing Whit …): People born in the year of the horse are said to be a bit like horses: animated, active and energetic – they love being in a crowd. They are quick to learn independence – foals can walk minutes after birth – and they have a straightforward and positive attitude towards life. They are known for their communication skills and are exceedingly witty. — from The Guardian (UK) “8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Year of the Horse.”
Cootie Catchers (aka salt cellars or fortune tellers) are perfect for a unique Valentine card that becomes a game. The basic shape is an origami fold. Make these with inexpensive copy paper in different colors. To make a cootie catcher into a Valentine gift, instead of writing “fortunes” on the inside, write little love notes or positive messages like the ones you find on Valentine candy hearts. Examples: “Be Mine” … “Call Me Later” “I-Luv-U” “Kiss Me” and “Hugs!” and “Sweetheart.”
Cootie catchers are easy to make and can be adapted for any age from 3 up. For toddlers, you might want to fold the shapes for them, letting them decorate the paper. They can tell you what they want you to write on the inside. This is a fun way to remind your little ones of all the positive messages you give them every day.
For older kids, try suggesting they use rubber stamps for the numbers or letters on the outside of the folded shapes. Or they can think of Valentine-related symbols such as a bumble bee (bee-mine) a heart, a flower or pair of lips to use instead of the traditional numbers on the outside flaps.
Remind kids to stay positive, and keep a great sense of humor. Your kids may surprise you with the fun sayings they come up with for their cootie catchers.
One of the kids came up with a cool idea: on the inside flaps she wrote things like, “Hug the person to your right” and “Your Valentine is on your left.” A perfect party cootie catcher!
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:
pink or white printer paper
rubber stamps and stamp pads (optional)
scissors (to make letter-size paper into squares)
markers, colored pencils
HOW TO DO IT:
Instead of trying to formulate instructions that make sense, I am sending you to momsminivan.com because she has not only complete instructions, but detailed photos and a video on folding. Check it out here. And here’s how to play cootie catchers:
Practice opening and closing the cootie catcher. Open it first with your forefinger and thumb on each hand together. Then open it with your two forefingers together and your two thumbs together.
With the Cootie Catcher closed, have someone choose a number or symbol from the four outside flaps. Open the Cootie Catcher once for each letter in the symbol (eg if they choose a heart, spell out h-e-a-r-t) or count the number they picked. Leave it open at the end so they can see four numbers or symbols inside.
Next, have them choose one of the four inside flaps they can see, and close-and-open the Cootie Catcher that many times, again ending with it open.
Last, they should choose one of the four flaps they now see, and you lift up that flap to show their love note or personal message.
Make Valentine-y Prints Using Fruit and Vegetables
All you need for Valentine printmaking is some fruits and veggies and a few other things you probably have around your house. Think about handing your Valentine a bunch of flowers you made yourself!
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:
pink or white printer paper
vegetables such as a bunch of celery, apples, brussels sprouts, carrot, potato and lemon
a printmaking roller
little plates to put the sponges on
red, pink and black stamp pads
very sharp knife and a cutting board
HOW TO DO IT:
Place a moistened sponge on a small paper plate. Squeeze a little red tempura or acrylic paint onto the sponge and spread it evenly with the roller. Cut the celery bunch about 3 or 4 inches from the root end, leaving the stalks all together. (Save the stalks you cut off of the root end.) Holding the celery bunch together tightly, press it onto the sponge and get some paint on the ends. Next, stamp it on your paper. Don’t squish it around or you will smear your design. Lift it up and Voila! There is a beautiful “rose!” Make a bouquet of roses.
Cut a brussel sprout in half horizontally. Make a clean cut! Now, press it onto a red stamp pad (paint is too much for a brussel sprout print) and get it good and red. Next, stamp it onto your paper and lift it straight up. You will have a miniature rose. Make a big bouquet of mini roses!
Use the stalks of celery you cut off of the celery bunch, to make little squiggle designs. Use your stamp-ink-pad for these. Play around and see what you can make with these.
Cut an apple in half vertically to make a heart shape. Try cutting an apple in half horizontally for a circular shape with a perfect star in the middle. Use the paint-soaked sponge for the apple prints.
Cut a lemon in half and dry it well on paper towels. Use your ink-stamp-pad to ink up the lemon and press, press, press.
Cut a potato in half and using a sharp knife, carve the flat side into a heart shape or any other simple shape. Use this as a stamp, with either the stamp pads or in paint-soaked sponge.
Compost the veggies and fruits after you finish.
Thumb Print Hearts Make Cute Valentine Cards
What is easy, simple, and uses something you have on you ALL the time? Hearts made with your very own thumbs. Big grownup thumbs or tiny toddler thumbs make super cute Valentines. This is a popular card making activity with the littlest ones. (I used washable red ink stamp pads for obvious reasons. heh)
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:
white or pink printer paper
washable red stamp pad
markers, colored pencils, fine-tip permanent pen
heart shaped paper punch (totally optional)
HOW TO DO IT:
Press your thumb onto a red stamp pad and get it good and inky.
Make two thumb impressions, at slight angles to form the shape of a heart. Play around with your own ideas.
After the thumb prints dry (takes a minute) draw on them with markers, colored pencils or sharpies.
Cut the hearts out and glue onto paint samples from the paint store.
We also used a heart punch to embellish these cards.
Some of the kids who came to this workshop decided just to draw their Valentine’s cards — and I just say there were some really cool cards being made at that table! They used the markers and printer paper we had to exercise their creativity. Three-year old twins and their sister made these:
And Then There Was Aidan — He Went All Out(side-the-box)
I love, love, love how this happens! Aidan made a cootie catcher, but the thing that really caught his imagination was the idea of printing and getting messy with paints. I had three planned valentine techniques and Aidan made such a beautiful — creative — Valentine using the materials and tools I had available but his very own multi-layered techniques. If he had given me his Valentine I would have proudly framed it and hung it in the gallery. Check it out below. Can you tell how Aidan made his valentine? (I’ll give you a hint about one little part of his design … below the picture)
(hint: Aidan used the outside of the celery stalk, lengthwise, to make the cross-hatched pattern in the middle. The rest of his techniques you’ll have to figure out yourselves.)