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

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Easter Bowls

I am fortunate enough to have many generous families that frequent the studio.  These loverly fabric doilies were donated to us and have been sitting and waiting for the right project.  As I was experimenting with paper mâché  projects using fabric, I came across fabric stiffener. What a lovely marriage, fabric doilies and fabric stiffener.  I made Easter bowls, which are so perfect for those delicate eggs from the small local farms as well as for the vibrantly colored ones.

This simple project is so lovely,  changing a 2 dimensional tabledecoration into a beautiful 3 dimensional functional object to celebrate Spring.

You only need 4 supplies
1. fabric doilies
2. fabric stiffener
3. 2 bowls
4. plastic wrap or plastic bag

Pour some of the fabric stiffener into a bowl, just enough to cover the doily. Let the doily soak up the stiffener. 

Turn the other bowl over. This will be your mold for shaping the doily. Place the plastic on that second bowl. I learned the hard way that the doily will stick to the bowl, so the plastic is important. Place the doily over the plastic, making sure it is centered on the bowl.

Let dry. It dries in a few hours and you. Pull bowl out the doily, then peel off the plastic. That's it.

This year we dyed some eggs using natural dyes, blue berries, beets, red cabbage, and beets.  You can find recipes for these all over the internet. I couldn't resist and put one of the doilies into the blueberry dye, letting it dry before placing it into the fabric stiffener. It came out the most lovely shade of purple.

I also made this tiny one for little chocolate kisses.

I fell for these charming fabric bowls. They are so pleasing and satisfying to make. I made quite a few of them and take delight in seeing them in each room. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Fine Motor Skills

At Purple Twig we offer art classes for children starting at age 2. I love working with this age because the importance of how things look is a rare occurrence. This age is far more interested in the exploration of the materials, how they feel. We offer a lot of materials at this age, from sensory materials like shaving cream to tools like scissors for them to practice with.

We offer clay for sculpting, wood for building, brayers for rolling, pipettes for squeezing. The list goes on and on. Parents and children work together, talking about the color and shape of materials given and the possibilities of the materials.

 As the children come into the studio we have an invitation set out for them to explore before our story and larger art project. These invitation materials are ones that are readily available and focus on practicing prewriting mark making or their fine motor skills. Parents sometimes email me with questions about what materials can be offered to this young age, so I thought I'd share with you all a few great projects you can do with kids age 2 and 3.


This is a great introduction to using scissors. Having them peel those little colorful tapes is great fine motor skill practice and the snipping of the tape is so rewarding. They can make recalling long strips or little tiny strips. After they peel the tape, I recommend the adult to hold the tape between two hands for the child to cut.

The tape rolls in themselves can be rolled or stacked as well. 

Your little artist can place the tape on the paper wherever they like, using them as stickers or use them as a line in a drawing, making letters or a simple shape. 


I save all those extra bit of paper left over from other paper projects.  I spread them out on the table and have a pair of scissors waiting for each child.  This project offers a great opportunity to talk about shape and color with your child as well as help them with fine motor skills. Some children use two hands when using the scissors at first and some go right to using one hand. Even if they don't use them correctly, its great to introduce them to this common tool.

After they explore the scissors for a bit, I give them a glue stick and a piece of paper to glue start choosing shapes and colors to glue down.


A cupcake tin is a perfect container to offer beads and cut straws and buttons along with pipe cleaners. The pipe cleaner is so much easier than string and it can be manipulated itself.

Sometimes also offer small pieces of foam that I punch holes into as well. This project allows for discussions of color and size and shape of each of the materials as they choose what to string onto the pipe cleaner.

I hope you give these creative activities a try. Let me know how it goes if you do. I always love to hear what you all think. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Displaying Artworks

Happy New Year to All!! May this year be full of joy and creativity for you all.

One question that I get asked a lot from parents in the studio is how to display their children's artwork.  I thought it would be nice to share some ideas of how to show off art your children made. I have two children of my own thus have pondered the same question myself. They both have been creating artworks since they were about 18 months old. My daughter is now 12 and my son is 9, so I have years of beautiful works both on paper and sculptural ones. Many of the works on our studio wall were made by my children over the years.
Our salon wall is made up of frames I find in a thrift store. I remove the glass and hang both the frame and the artwork directly onto the wall. Here is a post on how to easily hang them. This wall is great because it grows and changes as new artworks get made. I also like how some of the artworks spill out beyond the frame.

I am lucky enough to have an entire studio space dedicated to displaying my children's artwork but we still have plenty works in our own home.

Shelves are a great place for small artworks. Through out our home we have our children's artworks dispersed amongst our art collection. Books and small sculptures is one of my favorite combinations.

My daughter loves cats and has made them the subject of many artworks. They sit nicely near a milk carton boat made by my son.

This is a drawing made by my daughter when she was 4 years old.  We got an affordable frame from the art store. A good place for frames is Blick Art, Michaels or IKEA. They come in standard sizes of 8 X10 , 11 X14, 16 X 20 and sometimes 9 X 12.  This one is hung in our small foyer next to our coat and hat rack.

I do so like the salon wall. On this wall in our dinning room we  have hung our children's artworks among our Raymond Pettibon, Philip Pearlstein and Lecia Dole-Recio. The "G" print was made by our son at age 6. He also made the papier-mâché raccoon head at the top, left. I like adding some sculptural pieces to a salon style wall.

These two little ceramic animals, an owl and a squirrel, were made by my daughter when she was 7.  I have them proudly displayed in our hall on a book shelf. The sit  atop furniture legs that I found at a thrift store. I think you can also get these at home depot. You would just need to paint them first.

I also have plastic bins in our storage area filled with artworks.  I love to see how their creativity has grown and shifted over the years, so every once in a while I spent some time going through the plastic bin gushing over artworks they have made over the years. It also allows for a rotation of the favorites that we have out. Clipboards are a great way to display those favorite drawings. Sadly one can't really have them professionally framed because the marker is not archival, thus over time the drawing will fade.

Shelves are another great way to enjoy those drawings, again these are cheap frames that sit upon a frame shelf.  I also like the shelf because we can display those small artworks they have made, cork puppets,  hoop paintings, and string art.  On the table sits the ceramic coil pot my son made with some dried eucalyptus leaves in it.

In the studio we use a wire a lot to hang artworks to dry but also for display. One could also use this in their house to display all kinds of flat artworks from prints to drawings to paintings.  This wire was originally meant to hang a curtain but I found this purpose more useful for us.

 Some of our families  that have been coming studio the studio for years sent me how they live with the art their children make as well.

This family, the Green family have been taking ceramic classes at Purple Twig for a few years.  Here are some of the ways they enjoy those handmade ceramics.

A hand-built coil pot amongst the cookbooks in the kitchen

Some whimsical terra-cotta slab pieces from masks to mixed media works. Look at that one on the bottom left with some bright pink twine woven in.

A ceramic snail sits on some vintage cook books. Again what a great combination.

In the Wolan house they have framed all the colorful paintings their girls made and hung 
them salon style. 

The Porter family joined us for our parent/child toddler class a few years back. They have displayed this leaf print by framing it and hanging it alone.

In their entryway, greeting you as you come in are these two wooden sculptures, sitting below some treasures from Mexico. 

And here are the ceramic knee bowls made in our toddler class holding some jewelry.
I so hope you have found some of these ideas helpful. I would also love to hear if you have any other ideas of hanging artworks your children have made. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Citrus Ornaments

Wow! November absolutely passed me by without getting a chance to write a post. Now that we have finished up our Fall Classes at the studio and before getting ready for our Winter Camps and Classes, I have a chance to take a breath. What do I like to do when I am taking a breath? Make things at home. I have been dying fabrics for Holiday gifts, baking cookies and making granola and making new ornaments for the tree.  I love a handmade Christmas.

Our family has made a lot of ornaments over the years. Our tree is now filled with ones from Christmas past. We have ornaments made form pinecones, ones made from wood and ones made from tin. This year we went with what was growing on our trees in the yard. Winter is the season for citrus. Our trees are full of oranges, lemons and grapefruit. I am not sure of the history of the dried citrus to decorate the holiday tree. If anyone knows please reach out and let me know. The different fruits dry up in different colors. The lemons turn dark almost blood red, while the oranges are a deep orange. The ruby grapefruit become a deep pink.

When drying the different fruits, I cooked them separately because they dried at different speeds.  This one is with a white grapefruit.  I sliced the grapefruit as thin as I could and placed them onto a baking sheet.

My oven's temperature does not set lower than 250 Fahrenheit and this works better with an oven heated to 200 degrees. I put them in the warm oven for 45 minutes at 250 then turning them over and turning off the oven, leaving the citrus in  for another 45 minutes until they are dried. Just keep checking on them.

As you can see a few are over cooked and some are perfect on the same sheet. Oh well. 

When cooled, I punctured holes near the top and used fishing twine to hang them up,  but you can use ribbon or string, depending on the look your are going for.

The light shines through them and gives off such a warm glow. 

This one is the ruby grapefruit.  

I've hung them on the tree and hung them on on our wreaths. I love the combination of the deep green from the tree and the orange from the fruit.  You could also create a garland and use them to decorate the presents along with a little tag.