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

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.