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

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Little Pumpkins

We celebrate Halloween  happily the whole month of October. I do so enjoy the orange and black color combination as well as a good plastic skeleton. We make these colorful, layered, sparkly pumpkins in our Toddler Class for ages 2 and 3 but you could do this project with older kids and with larger sized pumpkins if you like.  This is a great project to do with a group or just you and your child together.

Materials Needed
oil pastels
tempera paint-colors of your choice
white glue
glitter - colors of your choice
chop sticks
a square of cardboard or newspaper down below the pumpkin

I set up each pumpkin on a small piece of cardboard. You could use a scrap piece of paper or if you are doing this with a larger group, you might want to cover the tables with butcher paper or news paper.

I give each child a bowl of oil pastels. Drawing on a 3 dimensional surface is a different experience the drawing on a flat piece of paper.  We talk about each color they choose to use and about the types of marks they make using the oil pastel. This will be the first layer on the pumpkin.

When finished exploring the oil pastels I offer them paint. They choose a color of paint but instead of a paint brush, I offer them a chop stick. They can drip it on, splatter it on or rub it with the chop stick. This allows for smaller mark making and splattering.

And some like to pour the paint on.

Once they have chosen all their colors to use and are finished exploring the paint, I give them some white glue to paint onto their pumpkin stem. It's the time for glitter, pinching of glitter or pouring of glitter.

Looking at these little sparkly gems puts a smile on my face. My son made one and it sits as a center piece on my dining room table. I feel quite lucky.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Making Leaf Prints

Aaaahhhhh Autumn. Dreaming of a reprieve from the dry summers here in Los Angeles. One of the many things I love about our ongoing classes is that our projects constantly revolve reflecting and celebrating the season. Leaf printing over tissue paper watercolor is a project I have been doing since I opened the studio 8 years ago. We now do this printed leaf project with ages 2 to 10

The tissue paper painting never ceases to delight all those ages. Discovering a new way to paint, mixing colors and not feeling the pressure to paint something representational can be so rewarding.

Here’s what you will need.

-Watercolor paper- the size you like
- Bleeding tissue paper- torn into shapes about 5”X 5”
- Cup of water
- Leaves- we gather these from the ground on a walk
- Water based printing ink- which is a bit thicker than paint but paint will do as well.
- A Brayer or small paint roller from the hardware store
- A plastic placemat or piece of plexiglass

We make this project in 2 steps. We do the tissue paper painting in one session of class and the leaf gathering and printing in another session of class.

For the tissue paper painting-

I have the kids paint water onto their watercolor paper. I spread the torn tissue paper around the table so the children can choose their colors. Place a piece of tissue paper on the painting. Paint it with water. When soaked, peal the tissue paper away and discard in a bowl so it doesn't get all the other tissue paper wet. Repeat as desired.

When painting is dry we set out into the neighborhood with baskets to look for leaves. Leaves that are still fresh and not dried work best for the printing. We try and find different shapes of leaves.
Back in the studio I put black ink onto a piece of plexiglass and gold ink on another. You can use other colors of course but I find that the dark colors sit nicely on the bright paintings.
Using your brayer or paint roller, spread the ink around the plexi and then onto the leaf. Using the brayer is much more successful than just pressing the leaf like a stamp.

Moving to the printing, place leaf with the ink side down and use a clean brayer or a rolling pin to press leaf down. You can use your hand to press but the brayer does work best. Learning to use new tools is always exciting and helps children to feel independent and self-sufficient.

Repeat until desired.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Batiking Fabric with Kids

It's quiet in the studio this week. We just spent 11 lively, festive, sometimes rambunctious but always- full- of -making weeks of summer camp with the studio brimming with curious creative kids. With all the bustling of summer camp, it's been a while since I have posted a project. This one is so good for all ages. We have done it with age 2 and done this project with teens and all in between. I will say that the glue is not as easy to get off as everyone says. We had to use palette knives to scrape and pull off the glue before washing the fabrics. It was hard work but lead for great conversation while working and the results are worth it. As many of you may know, I don't shy away from difficult projects. I really enjoy the challenge and also enjoy challenging my students. 

white fabric- we used cotton muslin bought from a fabric store but you could also use an old sheet or poplin
small bottles of glue- we have used both the gel and the washable white glue.
acrylic paint- desired colors watered down to the consistency of watercolor paint.
wooden stick- for hanging. 
ribbon or thin fabric- for the tabs at the top to hang from branch
spray bottles
paint brush

Sometimes when doing this project we have the kids draw their idea on the fabric then following those lines with glue and sometimes we just give them the glue and let them draw with it. If you just give them the glue and let them go, many times it the kids start out slowly drawing but then they get the hang of it and just start splattering it around resulting in an abstract splatter affect.

We then let the glue dry overnight. 

When the glue is dry we start to paint. We first give them spray bottles. By wetting the fabric first it allows the paint to be absorbed into the fabric a bit easier, than just sitting on the surface. The kids love using the spray bottles through out the painting of the fabric. It helps the paint to spread out. 

Look at these vibrant colors.

We then let it dry again overnight to set the paint into the fabric. 

If the glue design is simple, the glue is somewhat easy to peel but these artists designs were pretty intricate. The peeling process was a bit arduous so we resorted to using plastic palette knives. I do enjoy any opportunity to use tools. We also had to wet the fabric a bit again to soften the glue enough to scrape. This project was one problem solving opportunity after another.  I would love to hear about your experience with this project if you have tried it before.

Once the glue was cleaned off and the fabric dried, we added small fabric tabs to the tops of the fabric so we could hang them from sticks. We used hot glue to fuse the fabrics tother quickly but you could also use regular glue or fabric glue. You would just have to wait until dry before hanging them on the sticks.

The results are spectacular. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Sun Print Hoops

It's been a while since I wrote a post. I have been quite busy at both the studio and at home and have sadly have neglected the blog.
I did so want to share this project that we did at camp last week. Look at these sweet sun prints on fabric. These cyanotypes are a combination of art and science and can be so fun to do with kids as young as 3.  In order to make fabric light sensitive you need to paint it with a Solar Fast liquid. It does come in a few colors, blue, red and orange I think. We used blue.


1. An embroidery hoop- You can use any size. These would be so beautiful using a large hoop. 
       2. White fabric larger than the hoop
       3. Light sensitive liquid
       4. Natural materials. 
       5. A tray or plate to put your hoop and fabric on. 

We give the students baskets and a pair of scissors and head out into the neighborhood to collect our natural materials. We encourage the children to look for different shapes of leaves and long grasses to make designs. We then head back to the studio and pour the leaves onto the table to look at them and decide what kind of design to make on the fabric.

Prepare your wash bath by following instructions on the bottle. You will need to wash your fabric after it has developed. It both washes away the chemicals and makes your fabric light safe.

Place the fabric onto your tray or plate. The amazing thing about this liquid is that it's only sunlight sensitive so you (or your child) can paint the liquid onto the fabric under tungsten or florescent light. Then place the hoop onto the fabric and use the leaves and grasses to create a design of your choice. Many of our students made faces using the materials and many created patterns.

Once the pattern is chosen and placed onto the fabric, carry the tray out into the sun and count to 30. You can see the fabric turn blue before your eyes. There are a lot of OOOOOOOs and AAAHHHS from the kids at this point. Once developed, walk the tray back inside and place in your prepared bath. The fabric just needs to be in the wash for a few minutes and then rinsed under warm water.

I then ironed the pieces of fabrics and we placed them into the embroidery hoops. I trimmed off the extra but you could also hot glue the excess fabric to the back edge of the hoop.

These would make fantastic gifts and are really fun to make.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Printing A Village

We like to foster ideas of exploration of materials and also teach techniques and how to use tools. This balance of instruction and free expression and experimentation helps children to find confidence in their own ideas and feel proud of learning how to use a tool or a new technique.
This printmaking project is a lovely combination of the two. We start with an exploration of color and when dry we add another layer of printing using printing plates they make themselves. For this one we talked about villages, towns and communities while creating our printing plates.
Printing isn't easy for everyone. The ideas of repetition and of the image being backwards can confuse some students. We offered this project to ages 6 and 7.

-Square Coffee filters
-Black in or paint
-Plexi-glass or plastic place mat
-Brayer or small foam paint roller

I use these square coffee filters to start. Have you seen these. They are incredibly absorbent and take the color of marker well.

The kids can make any kind of design or drawing they like, patterns, or abstract mark making or representational. Using a pipette the children drip, drip water slowly onto their drawing and watch the colors change, spread and merge together.

Once dried the painting is ready to be printed on

And now for the printmaking part. I love having kids make their own printing plates. We have made printing plates using a few different techniques and materials but for this one we give the kids small pieces of foam. You could use styrofoam from vegetable or meat packaging.

The kids cut the shape of the house or castle or tower or factory or cabin, using a pencil to add the details of windows and doors and the oh so essential decoration. We then glued those styrofoam pieces to cardboard.
Once dried were are all set for printing.

I use  a plexiglass plate to spread out the ink but you could also use a plastic place mat. I use a water colorable black printing ink. You could use regular paint but it's a little thin and thus the print will be a bit muddled.

A brayer is the best way to get the ink from the plexi- glass to the printing plate.  We encourage student slo learn to use tools properly. You can also use one of those foam paint rollers. For many children, the rolling of the ink can be the best part.

Then using the brayer to do the stamping onto the painting makes a nice clear print.

I absolutely swoon over the black inked prints contrasted with the bright colors.