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

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 they have 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.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Valentine Garland

Sensory play and fine motor skills were the main themes for this toddler Valentine garland. I like creating projects for kids that are ongoing, meaning that we may create a painting or in this case marbleized paper one week, then make something from that painting. 

We created marbleized paper using the shaving cream method, a perfect sensory project for our toddler class.  I gave each student a tray of shaving cream, a cup of watercolor paint, a pipette and a chop stick to stir the paint into the shaving cream.

They added a few colors of paint using the pipette. The pipette isn't all that easy to use. It can take a few turns before they begin to understand the cause and effect actions of squeezing the bulb to get the ink into the tube and squeezing the tube to get the ink out of the tube.
They then use the chopstick to swirl and mix the colors together.

As the children drip and swirl, the parents are ready with paper to swoop in and take a print off the tray. The children and parents gently pat the paper onto the tray lift and set aside to dry before we wipe off the dried shaving cream.

The following week the paper was ready for cutting into hearts, which the parents did while the kids were joining some warm up drawing and hole punching, which some of the kids tried and succeeded in accomplishing.

Then the sewing began, having the kids choose their own color of yarn and a plastic needle. They moved the needle and yarn in and out of the holes in the hearts to create the garland.

Happy Valentines Day!!

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!!!