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

Monday, February 1, 2016

Message Acorns

It's time to make Valentines!!! I absolutely adore the idea of creating a small token of love and friendship to give to people, one that has no other function except to say "I think you are pretty neat and let's go walking together through life even if it's for a little bit".

It's not easy to come up with an original Valentine project. Hearts dominate and don't get me wrong, I love a heart, but I have just never known what to do with those paper doily heart shapes. My daughter and I decided to go with a natural theme this year. Combined with the utter cuteness of these little "Message Acorns" we could not stop cooing while making them.


We decided to do our own needle felting but you could always buy little puff balls.  It like the rustiness of real wool combined with the natural acorn cap. If you can find those real wool pom pom balls you are in luck.  I then scoured the streets of Los Angeles looking for an oak tree with acorns. I found two on the same street and loaded up my pockets. I wished I would have brought a bag but I just didn't think that far ahead. 

We started with the felting little acorn nubs to fit each cap, thus Ada made different sizes. They really didn't take that long, about 5 minutes each. She got better at it the more she made.

She discovered that after needle felting for a few minutes if she wet her hands and rubbed the wool into a ball things went faster. I am so proud when I see my children adopt those problem solving skills that are needed while creating something. They are sometimes reluctant to making things, having done it with me since they were about 18 months. The novelty has worn off, but they have learned quite about about experimenting and problem solving in all those years of making. 

We then paired acorn caps to the felted pom poms the best we could.

A touch of hot glue inside the acorn cap did the trick.

Then came the messages. We discussed the words to express love, we even looked up synonyms for friendship but none of the words appealed to Ada more than the more straight forward expressions.

Best friend 
for those special few.

We used red bakers twine for the hanging loops. Regular yarn would have been a struggle to get through the delicate small holes that I created using a safety pin, so bakers twine was perfect. We then hot glued the end of the strings to the top of the acorns to finish.

Happy Valentine Making!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Paper Maché Animals

I saw these adorable paper mache animals on the Poppet Creative instagram feed and I fell in love with the little creations. When I showed the image to our kids in our Winter Camp they were all very excited to try and make one, so we came up with what we might need to make them.

I am not sure if it's close to the Poppet Creative process but here is what we came up with.

First the kids decided what animal they would like to make.  We had two wolves, two reindeer, two rabbits, a cat, an arctic fox

We started with tp rolls, newspaper, chopsticks, for legs and cardboard for ears and antlers. We taped on the legs with tape and left newspaper sticking out of the top for the head. We were then ready for the paper mache. 

 Oh paper mache. People have such mixed feelings about this sensory activity. I have actually had children cry as the goo begins to stick and dry to skin, itching and crying to get it off. I guess paper mache is not for every kid. This week though all of the children were very confident with their sensory capabilities. They loved it, sometimes adding on a lot more than needed. We had to actually wait 2 days before we could paint because some of the creatures were so wet.  We use a mixture of flour and water with white glue mixed in. to make our paste. We find that the white glue adds a hardness of the project.

We did one layer of paper mache before adding the cardboard antlers and ears. The great thing about having a cardboard or paper structure underneath is that you only have to do one layer unlike a balloon that needs a few layers to give it strength.

Then came the painting, bringing the animals to lie, giving them personalities. After painting they added, scarfs, earmuffs, painted striped leggings. 

This child decided to add sticks for the antlers of her reindeer. 

The personalities in these little faces are just so delightful. 

In order to make the animals stand, I drilled holes in the rounds of wood to place the animals legs. Sometimes I had to hot glue the legs into the holes in the wood. 

We also decided to make little winter train cars for the animals from milk cartons. But that can be a post for another day.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy New Year

We celebrated the new year with a lovely parade through the neighborhood. 

Happy New Years to everyone!!

May 2016 be filled with lots of art making!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tin Ornaments

Actually they are aluminum ornaments and we just can't stop making them. We did a workshop the other day at the Purple Twig creating these aluminum ornaments and we just can't stop making them. They are so sparkly and reflect the light beautifully on the tree or Hanukah bush. The options of patterns to create are endless. This project is so perfect for ages 7 and up. For those kids who love to use tools.

I ordered a roll of aluminum from Blick Art but if you wanted to be really eco-friendly you could cut open soda or beer cans. I used paper punch to create the shapes.  I have read it sharpens your paper punches to cut aluminum. You could also cut out shapes like diamonds or an owl shape. 

I ordered some wooden tool kits but you could also use ballpoint pens that are not extended or skewers to "draw" your designs.

The trick is to use a small pile of newspaper to "draw" on. This soft surface allows for the aluminum to be embossed. You can work on the back and the front of each piece so that sometimes the mark is indented and sometimes embossed.
My daughter cut out an owl shape, then using the wooden tools to create the eyes and patterned feathers.

She used a nail to make a hole to string through a very thin wire. She added beads.

I can not tell you how happy these ornaments make me. Every time I look at our tree and all the aluminum shining away I am so proud 

I would love to see what patterns you come up with. Please email me an image if you do try this project. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Knee Bowls

We use clay in many ways at the Purple Twig, mostly we don't fire the clay with the younger ages. We use the pliability of the natural material to add sticks, pipe cleaners, cork and many other materials to create fairy houses, clay figures, forests and more. Clay is such an amazing sensory material for the kids. It strengthens hands. It's great for practicing fine motor skills by forming balls and coils. Some kids absolutely love it and some find the texture challenging. All good reasons to use it often.

Every once in a while I like to come up with a project for our Parent/Child class that is a complete fired project. Knee bowls is one of those projects. Ceramics can be frustrating for people because you have to wait and wait to see the results. You never quite know what it's going to look like until it comes out of the kiln from the glaze firing. It takes patience and a bit of faith. Those are some of the reasons I like to do fired projects. Also because they are gorgeous and are something that could potentially last a life time. It's quite a keepsake. They are also amazing presents to give to grandparents so I offer the project around the holidays. We use low-fire white clay.

Knee bowls are exactly what they sound like. The kids and parents form balls of clay and we use rice paddles as our clay smackers (technical term). I have a lot of lace doilies from my grandmother and this is a perfect way to use them that I know she would definitely prove of if she were still alive. The child places the doily over the ball of clay and smacks it flat.

The process imprints the pattern from the doily into the clay creating a small clay pancake. 

The clay pancake then gets pressed onto the child's bent knee and you have a beautiful little bowl that is perfect for salt or rings or just for looking.

The following week the children glaze the bowls. I don't fire them first. I let them dry for a week so they will take the glaze. I just do the one firing after the glazing since they are not going to get heavy use and they are so small.