Purple Twig- Art Exploration for kids. A mom run small business in Los Angeles. Stop by to see the trials and tribulations.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Making Interlocking Disks

I saw an image of interlocking discs on the Instagram feed of Corinne Amato. It's just so exciting to me to see an image from across the country that really speaks to you in some way. I knew this project would be great for our Architecture week of summer camp. Not only do I love the idea of the kids creating their own building materials to build sculptures, but I could just use cardboard boxes that sit in the recycling bins to make the circles. 

Which is just what I did. I became that lady going through other people's recycling bins looking for cardboard. That and people who know me tend to drop things like milk cartons, mismatched socks and cardboard boxes into Purple Twig for me. We cut out 100's of circles (over time of course) of different sizes. The children chose their circles and cut the notches themselves.

The cardboard notched discs in themselves are quite appealing.

Believe me there was a lot of complaining about cutting the notches in the circles. The moaning and groaning was comical, but then came the fun part, decorating the circles.
We set up two tables - one covered with bubble wrap and the other with tempera cakes, brushes and water. We created bubble wrap prints using just tempera paints in squeeze bottles and brayers. I am obsessed with this process at the moment because the kids absolutely love the sensory aspect of this process and the layered results are gorgeous.

I offered florescent colors for the tempera cakes because they pop so beautifully on the brown cardboard. The kids added, mixed, and splattered paint onto the circles,  creating a different pattern on each one.

 The results are these bright colorful building discs which the kids can interlock to create sculptures.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Bubble Wrap Prints

This sensory project is one of my favorites. It's just so layered. If you have ever taken a class with me then you know there are a lot steps to our art making at the Purple Twig. Especially when we are working with ages 2-5. The kids know to ponder "What is the next material" When finished exploring the one they are working with.  This is a color exploring project that results in these gorgeous prints.

These are the materials I used for these mono prints. 

Drawing Paper
yellow, pink or red, and blue tempera paints
small squeeze bottles ( I put the paint in the squeeze bottles or get the IKEA ones)
brayers ( if you don't have brayers then the hands do just fine)
bubble wrap

Oh the joy of just squeezing the paint onto the table covered with bubble wrap ( yes I just taped it down, covering the entire table). The texture of the bubble wrap alone was an enjoyable sensory experience, running their hands on it, popping the little bubbles. Oh so satisfying. First I gave them blue tempera paint to roll around and then yellow to mix with it.  We then made a print with the green paint. The mixing of the colors themselves allows for the blues and yellows to still appear while the main color is green.

We then moved to a clean area on the bubble wrap and started mixing orange. Printing it on the same paper to give the print those gorgeous layers. Luckily tempera paints dry rather quickly so rather than a brown mess of a print, each color remains separate. 

Look at the layers of different colors in this print, oranges, greens, pinks, red, purples oh my. 

When they were finished with their color exploring I brought out the good stuff, shaving cream!!! They rolled it or moved it around with their hands, popping bubble wrap if they pressed really hard. We bring out the shaving cream a lot on the table but putting it on the bubble wrap was a new experience for them. The sensory play went on and on. It was a good day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I Wrote a Guest Post

When Bar Rucci from ArtBarblog asked me to write a guest blog post, I jumped at the chance. For one thing I have borrowed many ideas from her so I am happy to return a favor. And another thing is Bar has been incredibly supportive of Purple Twig and has become a friend.

She generously gave me free reign to share whatever project I wanted. So please go to her blog to read how to create our dyed watercolor banners. Let me know if you give them a try.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Little Cakes

Delicious looking aren't they? Little sweet looking cakes. They are far from edible but so fun to make. This is sensory play at it's best made in our Toddler Classes.  Using a combination of glue, shaving cream and liquid watercolor or food coloring.

Mixing and stirring, squishing and giggling.  Sensory play is so important at this age to develop and refine their senses and aids in stimulating their brains and they have so much fun in this exploration.

To make the cakes I used oatmeal boxes that I had cut in half. They were just the right size to mimic a small cake.  Each child had their own way of adding the "frosting" onto the "cakes", some love using a tool so a spoon was desired and used and some like to smudge and smear away continually squishing the solution through their little hands.

After washing hands, which is also a wonderful sensory activity in itself, the children decorated the cakes with ribbon, dots saved from hole punchers and colored sand. The kids wrapped and sprinkled and poured away.

Good enough to eat!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Fabric Flowers

The days are getting longer. The light is beautiful in the early evening as the spring showers continue to aid in the growing flowers which are blooming away. The theme of seasons is a never ending resource for classes, camps and projects for us. It's a great theme that allows children to understand their environment. Creating projects around the season is a way for the kids to collectively celebrate in there surroundings, in something they all share. 

In celebration of Spring we made giant fabric flowers. I can not take credit for the idea. It came from an wonderfully creative woman , Bonnie Scorer and her husband Galen Scorer, who are the creators of Make-It-You-Own website, which has so many ideas that one can alter with materials one has on hand or to their own interests.  Here is a link to the instructions for these big gorgeous blooms.

Since we have so much fabric at the studio, so many beautiful fabrics that I decided to use fabrics in substitution for paper (which is what she uses with her children. We offered the children many different varieties of already cut gigantic petals  to choose from. I also used a fabric stiffener but I am sure you could use the acrylic medium she uses for the paper or even Mod-Podge.  

I also used chopsticks with wire wrapped around them it to make the stigma.  I love the black paper to make the stamen. That's Bonnie's great idea. It stands out beautifully and graphically against the colorful petals. This project allowed us to talk about the different parts of a flower and their functions.  We all enjoyed both the process and the results. Thank you Bonnie for the idea.

Happy Spring!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2016


I've been thinking a lot about textile art and children in preparation for our Textile Summer Camp  (August 22nd- 26th).  I've been thinking about and doing research on block printing with kids, on dyeing fabrics with the sun and dyeing fabrics with flora and fauna. At the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, where I received my BFA, they had an amazing textile art program. I have fond memories, of giant weavings pouring from walls, brightly dyed wool in tufts filling a room. It's such a poetic and ancient medium with an incredibly rich history in many cultures.

A lot of cultures used what plants that were growing around them to dye their fabrics. Thus in our Spring Break camp this week we gathered local flowers and leaves from our gardens and neighborhood. Bougainvillea turned out to be one of the best flowers we foraged because it grows so abundantly here in Southern California and because of the vibrant colors of the flowers. 
Along with some wax paper, some cotton muslin and a hammer, we were ready for our dyeing session. 

What is the best way to get the flower pigment onto the fabric? To SMASH it into the fabric and that is just what the kids did.  We talked about the different colors of flowers and leaves and what color the pigment might be. The mint from our herb garden here smelled incredible when pounded into the fabric. 

Some children set up a pattern with the flowers choosing different colors of flowers for different parts of their fabric and others just smashed away at as many flowers and leaves as they could. The results are these beautiful banners of natural pigments. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Arts Collective After School

Once a month the school yard at Mt Washington Elementary turns into an arts collective. Timmy Ringsmuth has created an incredible after school program in this tucked away neighborhood where children get to a chance to experience screen printing and working with circuit blocks, making books and more. This month I was honored to be asked to create a project for 100 children for this innovative after school program. 

I love the challenge of coming up with a new project for this many children of a variety of ages. I also love the chance to take a project out of the studio to see so many kids really attack the materials with such enthusiasm and concentration. I needed to bring a project that needed little direction from me to create, a project that used techniques they already knew and had command of. That way they were sure to be successful in illustrating their ideas with the materials given. I offered the kids wooden pieces and magazine images to build a conceptual city. Most of the images I brought were of cities, medieval and modern, natural images from lily ponds to forests to animals. Oh and some underwater images as well. 

Since this age already knows how to cut and glue and just needed a little guidance with the sanding of the wood to make it smooth, they could be left to their own devices and discuss amongst themselves what they were building. This kind of independence to create is so importance for problem solving and creative thinking. 

Both the variety of shapes of wood, as well as the variety of the images, created an environment where  kids could explore their own ideas of building and layering concepts onto an otherwise inert material. They built tall cities, short small cities, urban cities, doughnut cities, seaside cities, desert cities, forest cities, castle cities and so much more.