Saturday, 14 April 2018

Quilts...a baby quilt and a Liberty red star quilt

Easter holidays...a little wet and miserable in Wales. We had one nice day so we went for a lovely walk around Cardiff Bay. 

I've kept myself busy with a little sewing. 

A baby quilt for a friend. A pinwheel pattern in grey and a little yellow. Arrow and feathers theme.

messing around with patterns...

and this quilt top nearly finished. I started it last year, but I had added green triangles to make a bigger star. I wasn't too happy with it, so took it apart and started again. I used Liberty lawn cotton and used the English paper piecing method, so all hand sewn.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant Hapus - Happy St David's Day

Welcome from snowy Wales! Yes the weather has turned and we are expecting heavy snow today, so school is closed!
However, it was 'Welsh week' this week, and I managed to complete our study of an artist in Wales -  Valeriane Leblond with year 1 who are 5 and 6 years old.

We chose 4 pictures, each group did a different one. We studied the picture, then I demonstrated by drawing with a black pen. The children then had a go, then coloured it with oil pastels.

Some nice mixing and blending here with blues and greens

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Henri Rousseau Art

For our topic, 'Mini Zoo' I decided to create our picture inspired by Henri Rousseau, using the Gelli Plate, incorporating printing and collage.

The background of light green printing ink made up the first layer. 

Then with a second layer of a darker shade of green, I used the Gelli plate to print leaves. To save time, one child had the negative print, then the next child had the positive leaf print. This created our 'jungle' background. 

The children then drew their own monkeys onto an A5 piece of white paper. This was cut out and glued onto the background print. 

Then some paper flowers and leaves were added for colour.

I worked with 60 year 1 children over 2 morning sessions.
Last year, I used oil pastels, with a watercolour wash, then collage. But I think this year's are more vivid in colour.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Dark and light

 Some more artwork from the Autumn term. 
Our theme was 'Electric Rainbow' - colour and light.

The children made observational drawings in charcoal of sources of light

Stained glass inspired by Church windows, using tissue and a printed picture of a saint, black strips for the window frame, then laminated. We stuck these onto the classroom windows.

Colour mixing using acrylics to make rainbows, again, using good old paper plates. 

We studied Vincent Van Gogh's 'The Starry Night'. The children wrote about their feelings and descriptions onto speech bubbles for our writing wall.

 We celebrated 'Christ the King' in our class assembly. This is a centrepiece that I had made.

Bonfire night pictures.....oil pastels to cover a piece of A5 paper.

I then painted over them with a mixture of black paint and washing up liquid. A couple of layers needed.

When mounted, the children took them home to 'scratch out' a firework picture.

Hand prints for our communal wall in the cloakroom - again a nice momento.
I used printing ink with a brayer.

 Our colour mixing experiment using Skittles

We used a light box to experiment with colour.

Our 'Owl who was afraid of the dark' display with charcoal pictures.

I hung up black cloth around the area to darken the area so that the children could use their torches.

 Experimenting colour mixing with watercolours

Christmas Craft

Just some of this term's school work....

We told the Christmas story with pictures to support the childrens' writing

Angel Gabriel, I thought the hand print wings were a nice momento. Finger blob hair.

Retro Christmas candle card. I cut strips of fancy paper that I had. Then children glued them onto a rectangle piece of card, and I trimmed it when dry. 

Baby Jesus in the manger collage

Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem.

 I made this picture with 60 children over an afternoon. So the printed background was made first, then the children went off to draw their own picture which was stuck on later.

The Bethlehem background print is from a styrofoam piece that I had used previously - see below a previous Christmas card. I just drew around simple shapes to create a scene, cut it out in styrofoam and mounted it onto card. Printed with white printing ink onto black paper. The lights are finger dots of paint.
The swirly sky was made using a Gelli plate - inspired by The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh.

A Pinterest idea... good old paper plates - cheap to use.

These pine cones were found in my Dad's attic...about 300 of them. About 30 years ago he made Christmas decorations to sell at our local Church. The money that he raised was sent to Peru where they used it to build a Church. Nice to put them to good use. 

I cut out cardboard circles which were then decorated with square 'presents'. This served as a base so that the little Christmas tree would stand up. I used my Sizzix to cut out the stars.

I've never been a huge fan of glitter - in my early days as a teaching assistant, a boy managed to shake a whole pot over the carpet - it took me ages to clean up and I got a piece in my eye which irritated me for days. Never mind the environmental issue - it's a pain! So it only comes out at Christmas.

'Do not be afraid' Shepherd picture.

The background is another styrofoam print that I made, this time a chorus of angels.  The hills were a quick sweep over with a sponge and green paint, just to add a bit of background and make the children's drawings 'pop'.  Time is of the essence when working with 30 or even 60 children.

Advent promises in stars.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Artwork with Children - Top tips

I've probably said this before...I am a teaching assistant and I know a lot of other teaching assistants read my blog and look at ideas from my Pinterest. We're all different, with a variety of skills and talents, but most of us will have to do displays at some point.

So here I am, happy to share... and give tips, especially if you are new at this, or just not confident with creative activities. It's all about that Growth Mindset can't do it ...yet!

At the moment I work with 5-6 year olds. I have been in the Infants/Foundation Phase for about 12? years and their artistic skills can be a bit immature (obviously)... they are still learning, still developing their hand eye coordination, gross/fine motor and observation skills. I cannot expect an independent masterpiece, I need to guide them.

Whenever I give a piece of paper to a child, they will always draw a small picture in the middle, so it takes a while to learn to use their arm, rather than just their hand (ifykwim) to draw bigger, that is, with a pen or pencil. Although, they do tend to draw a bigger picture with a paintbrush when standing up, but then it's sometimes hard to make out exactly what it is as the detail is lost. So I like to demonstrate what I expect and ask them to 'fill the page'.

So that's where collage comes in handy for display work. I will make a sketch and provide the resources so that everyone can have a go and be involved in a class project. 

I use anything that's in the classroom - but if you have read my blog, then you will know that I am cheap the Recycling Queen. So save all those bits of wrapping paper, especially anything gold - the inside of a chocolate bar....(any excuse to eat chocolate). Yes I have a shed for storage - I'm sad atm as the floor has just collapsed, probably from the weight of all my stuff! Hoarder. I also keep my stash in my conservatory where it is a little less damp. I do have a de-stash every summer (honest) - making things to sell at the school fete.

I can always use children's individual pictures as a border - and this is what I tend to do on most of my displays. I also try not to use too many different colours - I want it all to blend and work together.

 Now, I know that some people find it hard to colour coordinate, it's easy for me, but you may find it helpful to look at a colour wheel - blending colours, different tones and shades or contrasting colours. 

I think in layers, is there an interesting background? Make sure the work is the right size - will it be 'lost in space?'  I like to make a small sketch of what I want first.

For example, this display has a central piece that has been collaged with strips of ripped paper with a group. (I know, ripping?? - we didn't even use the scissors this time - cutting?? Well that's a whole different story! Who's got time for that?)  The back, yellow layer was created first, then the people stuck on top when dry, if not more than a little titivated. They needed guidance, but each child has made their own picture for the border. I work with about 8 children at a time - activities are rotated, so I will work with all the children over the day, or afternoon, or week.

 I don't worry too much about mess - I have a plastic tablecloth, the children wear aprons - its my rule - when we do messy work - its aprons on. No complaints from mums then! The children help each other to put them on as I'm usually too busy - or have sticky hands myself - I also wear an apron as I tend to wipe my hands in myself! ... and that's good role modelling too.  We can wash our hands when we're finished. I have 2 hanging peg airers - you know the ones that you put your socks on? Invaluable for hanging up wet pictures - I just don't have the space to lay anything flat.

 The children also help to tidy up too, especially picking up bits off the floor - they love helping! Give them merits for doing a great job.

 I needed to demonstrate how to draw a body - we all really do have a neck and shoulders, for example, we are not potatoes with stick arms and legs. So I will demonstrate and draw a picture of myself. I use a black liner for the outline because if you just use pencil, then by the time they have coloured it in, the features have been lost. I want it to 'pop' out from the display. Just make it clear to them - do not colour in with the black pen! I gave the children an A5 piece of paper for this piece of work. Waste not, want not.

I will also make sure that I provide different skin tones and a mirror - we're all different. I will limit the choice of colours - here, we were drawing our school uniform, so it was blue and grey.  I use oil pastels for display work - they are brighter than crayons or pencils. I have sorted my boxes of oil pastels into colours so they are at hand. I rarely (probably never) use coloured, felt tip pens for colouring in - they make holes in the paper and it can look too messy. I save those for independent work on the writing table. The children love to make pictures and their own little books by themselves.

 I also always ask a couple of children to write out the key words for the display, rather than printing out the words from the computer. That way, they can relate to the display - the children must be involved in creating visual displays for their classroom, otherwise it has little meaning to them. 

So all you scaredy cats out there who don't think they are creative enough to do displays...have a go! It's supposed to look like the children have made it! Not pre-printed (and inspectors love it too!)

I love art and craft and will always look for ways to incorporate different techniques. If it is not great at the end...then I make it better! Don't forget, that when you mount a piece of children's work onto a piece of sugar paper or black card - it enhances it... a lot!  That's part of our job - to advance their learning and to display their work proudly and creatively. 

The paper cutter is your friend! If you haven't got one or have to share (share?? lol you'll never see that again! or the laminator for that matter) try to get one from the budget.

Take photos.

Don't waste.

You may be in the same class next year - is there anything that could be used again? Some of my displays are only up for a few weeks. Can you laminate the title? 

I keep an example of each piece of work in a file, so that next year I have a copy to hand. Don't reinvent the wheel.

Take a stroll through my blog, there's a search bar too.

(Oh and no - I don't just do art all day! I do 'real' work too lol)

Gelli Printing

New toy!

I love printing and after watching lots of YouTube videos I decided to buy a Gelli plate (Ebay), so have been playing around with some leaf printing.

I used a foxglove leaf here.

Some good results with positive and negative prints

I bought my printing inks and brayer from a company in the UK called Handprinted.
You can make your own gelli plate too. I was too impatient, and cost wise not sure how that would work out.

I've already tried it out with the children in school too...

...for our Dinosaur topic using stencils and leaves, with line drawings. 

I love the detail on this dinosaur - we looked at toy model dinosaurs. We 'felt' the skin and looked at all the little lines.

The border has printed footprints. A couple of children looked at the model dinosaur feet, then drew them. I pin-pricked the outline of their drawings onto Styrofoam (you could a pizza base or takeaway tray), cut it out and mounted it onto cardboard, (although you could just print with a cardboard shape too) and printed it.

This one's 'fierce' - look at those teeth!

We used 'volcanic' paint colours. I used ordinary acrylic paint here.

I also used the same leaf printing technique for the background on this Holy Family display. 

Sepia tones for Autumn leaves

Collaged with wrapping paper, hessian, a bit of voile and tissue paper from some new shoes. The gold was from a Christmas cracker.

I wish I took a photo of just the background...I will when I take it down.