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

Monday, July 14, 2014

Flying Messages

This week in our Art Colony Summer camp we are exploring the idea of transportation from water travel to land travel but beginning with air travel. Today we talk about hot air balloons. How they work, what you might see. I didn't think that using actual fire and paper to make hot air balloons was safe with children so we used helium balloons.

Using the helium balloons to think about both transportation and communication in a new way, we created a simple project that is appropriate and exciting for many ages.  Each child chose a balloon. They then wrote out secret messages or drawings with a note on the back to send responses the the Purple Twig.  

Some kids wrote out messages along with drawings asking the receiver to make and return a drawing to us. Some kids just wrote something about themselves or just made a drawing to share. 

We then rolled up the messages and tied them to the balloon ribbons. 

We took a hike through the neighborhood to find a good spot to release our messages.

The kids were so excited with anticipation as they wait to release the balloons. And then it happened. They opened their hands and the balloons began to rise. The excitement was contagious as they screamed and danced with delight.

It really was a beautiful sight to watch the dots of bright colors fly higher and higher and get smaller and smaller. We watched them until we couldn't see them anymore.  We are now waiting hopefully for a response.

Happy Flying!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Ceramic Jellyfish?

My son brought this ceramic jellyfish home from ceramic class the other day.  I was ecstatic and could not wait a single second to hang it in our garden. It dances in the wind so beautifully. I just love the juxtaposition of materials, the soft wispy colorful fabrics next to the ceramic head. When one of our teachers, Jillian, came up with this project I thought the combination of ceramic with the fabric would be so amazing. And it is.

This is such a great tactile project for kids. They are basically making slab bowls on molds but keeping them upside down. After rolling out a slab  we place the clay over bowls that I got from the dollar store. We use doilies from flea markets to make the textures in the clay.  

They lay the dollies over the clay and then using a rice paddle the kids whack the doilies into the clay to create the textures. The harder they push it into the clay the more articulate the patterns.

If they wanted they just wipe the pattern away and try another one or layer pattern over pattern.

The whacking really is the most fun for them but the ohs and aahs that happen when they peel the doilies off the clay is pretty wonderful to witness as well. Clay is such a physical medium whether throwing on a wheel or rolling out a slab for constructing something large. 

We had them put a hole in the top to place a rope for hanging. We also had them place holes all around the bottom for the fabric to be woven and tied. After they were fired and glazed and fired again, I just ripped long strips of fabric with different colors and patterns and they chose which ones they wanted to use and wove it in, making knots in the back. 

I was so happy to be one of the lucky families to get one of these and Gus is so proud to have a sculpture hanging in our garden. He says it makes the birds happy. 

Happy Building!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I really wanted to get this post up before Spring turned to the long summer days.
Because it's a project that has to do with transformation. The transformation from caterpillar to butterfly still fascinates me and seems miraculous. Even the word metamorphosis is a wonderful combination of miraculous and scientific. Go to the Butterfly Pavilion down at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum to see each stage of this metamorphosis from egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis to the butterfly and around to the egg again.
In our Parent/child classes we talked about this transformation and created caterpillars from mismatched socks. ( I love to up cycle ).

We talked about how hungry caterpillars are and how they eat and eat and eat as the kids stuffed their socks with stuffing that I used from worn out pillows, pushing the stuffing all the way to the bottom with their little hands. You can also get stuffing from any fabric store. 

After tying the end of the sock the kids glued on buttons and fabric scraps.

The final touch was to wrap the caterpillars with yarn. This keeps all that fabric and the buttons on the creature until it dries as well as mimics the cocoon.

Some kids made loooong caterpillars and

some made small caterpillars. Either way they are soft and snuggly.

The following week we made butterfly wings from watercolor paper an liquid watercolors. I precut the watercolor paper in the shape of butterfly wings. Instead of using just paint brushes we used little droppers. The kids have such delight when squeezing the end of the dropper to watch the paint spread all over the paper. It's a great fine motor skill lesson for the kids learning they need to squeeze the dropper before they put it in the ink and then let go for the paint to suck up into the dropper. 

 After the paintings dried and it took a while, some of them were very wet from all the paint play,  I glued on a rectangle of cardboard.

I  punched holes in the 4 corners and placed wire or you could use string so that the kids could wear the wings like a back pack, becoming the butterflies themselves. 

Happy Transformation!!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Echo Park Craft Fair

Last weekend I was given the opportunity to put together a workshop table for kids at the Echo Park Craft Fair. I loved the challenge of coming up with a project that would be engaging for ages ranging from 2-10 and maybe even a few older kids. It also needed to be flawlessly beautiful to match the incredible talent from the artisans selling at the fair.

I always believe if you start with beautiful materials the chances are the outcome will also be gorgeous. Relishing in the idea of gathering families around to make artworks we created two projects in honor of Mother's Day, a bold, colorful painted fabric banner and a small token of love with a message spool.

The fabric watercolor paintings gave the kids an opportunity to investigate painting in a process oriented way. Using droppers and q-tips instead of paint brushes gave them a new way to explore the familiarity of paint. 

 To be able to make something for the one who cares for us,  for the one we rely on and love so much can be very powerful. These message spools are a great example of repurposing and transforming the ordinary to something precious. I know I cherish the ones my children have made for me over the years.  Just using twine, a wooden thread spool that might otherwise be discarded, paper, buttons and beads makes these secret messages.

  Jillian, one of my incredible teachers is always so respectful and playful with the children. Along with Sheryl Cancellieri, who is the brilliant mind behind Eastside Handmade, an artisan fair in Highland Park, we were overjoyed to have been able to create with so many families.

Thank you to all who stopped by to create with us.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Celebrating the Sun

When the days begin to get longer we like to take the opportunity to use the sun in our artworks so what better way than to make sun-prints. We held a sun-print box workshop the other day. A sun print is one of the earliest forms of non-silver photographic method. And it's magical to watch the images appear. Now this is a simple project that you can do at home.

Materials are

  •  nature sun-print paper which you can find at Blick Art or order online. 
  • a cigar box (I just ask at the local cigar store if they have any empty boxes)
  • materials like small toys, buttons, string.
  • we used plexi-glass to keep the materials from blowing away but this is not mandatory.
  • a pan of water
  • Mod Podge           

We supplied the kids with a lot of materials to choose from to make their designs on the paper, shells, buttons, stars, naturals materials like lavender and sticks. The kids had just as much fun choosing their materials as they did making creating their patterns or images. Other kids brought their own toys to create images. 

This sun-print paper reacts to the sun so as long as you are inside you can take it out of the black pouch to make your image by placing the objects on the paper. Make sure you place the paper on a hard surface so that you can carry it into the sun.

We then carried our boards with our designs into the sun and counted to 30. 

Bring the paper inside and place it in the tub of water to rinse. you don't have to leave it in there long. The paper changes from a positive to a negative image before your eyes.  I love this part and so do the kids. 
The sun-print has to be dry before you can adhere it to the boxes. We used hair dryers to do it quickly but if you are patient you can just wait. We then used Mod-podge to adhere it to the boxes and brushed Mod-podge over the image.

This box makes a great place to keep special rocks or specials toys or one's allowance or even  a great father's day present.

Happy Printing!!