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

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Making Lines and Dots

Painting rocks is such a simple activity. My daughter loves collecting rocks. She loves the different shapes and how they feel in her hand. We have dozens of them lining the railing of our porch. She has   collected these rocks during our trips to rivers, hikes in the mountains, and walks along the beach.
But what to do with all these rocks. They are so beautiful on their own.

Adding some color seemed like a good ideas as well. I took the opportunity to talk about patterns with the kids and to make it more successful  instead of paint brushes we used q-tips and tooth picks to add the design. To make the design more recognizable we used one color and mixed it with white to create a few values of that color and then throw in another light opposite color. So our colors were blue and peach or gold.

They make me happy everyt ime I look at them. The possibilities of patterns was so abundant and delightful.

Happy Pattern Making!!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Terr = earth/ arium = receptacle

Living in Los Angeles one thing that is in abundance in our neighborhoods is succulents. When going for walks around town we can see all kinds of succulents; flapjacks, pinwheels, bigfoots, hens and chicks. Colors vary greatly with blues, purples, bright greens, deep reds. They are strange plants that grow beautifully in our sandy, clay like soil. If you take a small clipping from one of these succulents and place it in water,  roots will begin to sprout. Or you can just place it in very wet soil and eventually it will ground itself and grow roots.

When a fantastic little restaurant on our block, Four Cafe, kindly began saving their extra large pickle jars for us. I felt so lucky to have these receptacles to store a lot of our materials. But when contemplating the plethora of succulents in our neighborhood and even in my own yard, I managed to save enough jars for kids to make terrariums.  I mean what a great combination. 

Using small rocks, big rocks, sand and dirt, I thought we could take advantage of the transparency of the jars and layer the different materials to mimic the inner structure of the earth and lets face it,   because it looks beautiful to see the different textures of earthen materials.

The students chose their succulents and collectively decided to choose a rock to paint for the top of their "earth". Furthering our investigation we looked up succulent's name and the kids made labels for  their terrariums.

The result was a heavy, precarious and beautiful terrarium that the kids were excited to take home. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Celebrating the Sun

For Mother's Day we made these lovely sun prints mounted on wood. These early photographs are a wonderful way for kids to explore the nature growing in their neighborhood, even if that nature is planted and controlled. We gathered leaves fallen from trees and clipped leaves and flowers from abundant bushes. 

Once we got back to the studio we furthered our investigation of our botanical bounty. We squished, smelled, we looked closely and compared sizes, shapes and colors before they made their thoughtful choices of which plants to use on their photographic prints. 

We used rocks to weigh done the plant materials so they wouldn't blow away in the wind. So just the count to 20 in the sun and then into the water bath to wash away the light sensitive chemicals. 

While we waited for the prints to dry the kids prepared their wooden bases for their prints by sanding down the edges to a smooth finished edge. Using drills they drilled holes in the top of the wood to pass a wire for hanging. 

A layer of Modge Podge under and over the sun print and they were finished. Moms will be happy about these. I know I would. 

Happy Mother's Day

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Day at the Museum

It is such a treat for us to be able to work with such a large group of children as well as an honor to partner with such a respected institution as the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.  We spent the day in their gardens today creating clay figurines with children of all ages. The event coordinator, Marisol, asked us to put together a workshop inspired by the exhibition Grandes Maestros.

After seeing the exhibition using clay seemed like an obvious choice.  Clay being one of the oldest materials for sculpture. The exhibition has some incredible ceramic figurines by contemporary artists. to be inspired by. 

So along with colorful fabrics, beads, buttons, yarn and pipe cleaners we set out the materials for kids to come and create.  Children from ages 3 to ages 16 stopped to make bowls, creatures, dancing figures and more.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bug Collecting Boxes

 We did some bug collecting during our Spring Break Camp this year. This is such a fun project to get the kids to interact with their surroundings and to get out into their neighborhoods.

After looking at images of all kinds of insects and beetles the kids drew bugs with oil pastel and used watercolor to add color to the bodies.

We then hid the bugs around the neighborhood for them to find, saying the insects escaped and flew away. Kids love a scavenger hunt. They love to solve problems and the finding of an item is a great way to solve a problem. Like looking for clues.

Using mint tins that were generously donated to us the kids found and collected their own bugs from around the neighborhood. They had to really look closely and notice their surroundings in order to find their bugs.

The kids then decorated the tins using all kinds of decorative papers to make a place for the bug to live.

Happy Bug Collecting!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How does your garden grow?

When making a collage I believe the more varied textures the better. These garden collages were made by ages 5-6 using layers and layers of materials. 
We began by reading the book UP, DOWN and AROUND by Katherine Ayers. This book illustrates so beautifully how things grow both above ground and below ground. 

I had prepared ahead of time shapes cut from thick and thin pieces of fabric appreciating all the patterns. The children could determine for themselves which shape would be which vegetable. I used gorgeous orange velvet and bright purples and pinks in upholstery fabrics and all kinds of cotton green patterns for leaves.

The first layer was drawing a line to mark the boundary of below and above ground. They then painted brown for below ground and whatever color they wanted for above ground, some wanted a blue sky, some pink and some orange. 

Discussing what vegetables they wanted in their gardens, they chose the fabrics and talked about what vegetables they like best. Adding the greens for each vegetable really made the garden complete.

The kids added buttons talking about bugs that live under ground or minerals that are underground. The final layer was a sprinkle of sand. We didn't have brown sand so we had to settle for black sand.  It adds another texture, a rough texture to the collage. 

Happy Collaging!

Saturday, March 21, 2015


I am a believer that if you start with beautiful materials then the final project will too be beautiful. In our haberdashery class, for ages 6-9,  we didn't actually do any sewing. It was mostly gluing both hot gluing and regular starting with beautiful materials to make glorious, playful hats.

We used  sensory materials like plaster or shaving cream and glue as well as familiar materials like plastic flowers, duct tape or pieces of jewelry that I pick up at flea markets ( this is always a favorite with the children,  just looking through the big jar of shiny jewelry to see what they can find). 

We made cake hats, and flower hats and feathered hats and fruit hats and top hats.

The kids would be giddy with delight when they saw the materials on that table for their choosing. It was difficult to hold them back so we could choose fairly and with a bit of order. 

Fabrics, plastic flowers, butterflies, beads, feathers and ribbon.

Look at these gorgeous velvet flowers that I actually found at a thrift store, bags of them.

We used berry baskets as our base for the smaller hats and cardboard as the base for the larger hats.
It was delightful to watch them working out ideas with the materials, discussing if this should be added or if this was too much ( It was almost never too much). The children would draw out ideas, but usually those ideas would change and evolve as they began to work with the materials. 

On the last day of class we invited family and friends together and performed a fashion show with make up and music. We practiced our walks, both slow and fast.  We asked questions. Would each hat have a different walk? Which hat might have a slow walk and which one a faster one or a twirl?

What a fantastic ending to the haberdashery class with no sewing.