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

Friday, April 14, 2017

Collaborative Mural

 During our Spring Break Camp this week we focused on collaborative projects. Kids working together can further the ideas of process over product. The children are less attached to a completed piece if they are working on just a portion of the artwork.  Making a mural is a great opportunity for kids to work together and it makes me smile every time I walk over it.

The key to creating this mural is the paint we used. I prepared the paint mixture using Rangoli powder, which is made in India and is basically colored rice powder. The colors of the powder are celebratory and vibrant. I mixed the colored powder with liquid cornstarch. about 2 tbsp. of powder to one cup of liquid starch.

Using white chalk the children partnered up and traced each other's bodies onto the sidewalk. Each child chose their own pose, whether lying on their back or stomach and whether arms out or up.  We only asked that the kids overlapped each other's drawings and stay within the chalk frame we drew on the sidewalk.

The result is an abstraction of lines, creating all kinds of shapes where the lines have overlapped.

We asked the kids to look for the shapes their body lines made and color those shapes in with any color they wanted.

When the home-made paint dries that colorful rice powder stays on the surface of the concrete. It does eventually wash away. It will stay on our Los Angeles sidewalk for about 2 weeks or so.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Our Art Wall

Our art wall at Purple Twig was formed out of me trying to solve the problem of what to do with all the art my own children make here at the studio. My home is full of artworks created by both grown ups and children. Full to the brim. The unhung artwork was piling up in bins, which was so sad because I love to look at the work and it was wasting away being hidden away on storage shelves. The solution came to me while at a thrift store scrounging around for art materials and coming across  a bin of empty frames in different sizes. 

Not only has this wall become an attractive point of interest, it also displays the variety  of  projects we make and materials we use here at the studio. Because there isn't any glass on the artworks,  I get the ease of changing them out when it strikes my fancy. It's really quite simple to put up. It's just a matter of organizing the size of frames. I started at one end with one frame and just pieced the wall together frame by frame. 

I'm going to show you how I easily put up the frames if you would like to give it a go. You'll need.

a level
skinny long nails-at least 2 inches

The nails are used to set the frame onto so the nails need to stick out enough to hang the frame.

Use the level and make two pencil marks on either side just below the level.  You are marking where the nails will go. As long as the pencil marks are at a distance smaller than the size of the frame it's fine.

Hammer the nails in at your pencil marks making sure the nails are sticking out enough for the frame to set on.

Hang the frame onto the nails and check to make sure it's plumb.  I then just put some tape on the back of the painting and taped it to the wall inside the frame.

It took me a while to build it across the studio and it's still growing. The more frames and artwork I add to the wall, the better it gets. The varieties in color and materials just add interest to the studio inviting viewers to ponder the possibilities of art making while in our space.

Monday, March 6, 2017


MONO= one
CHROME= color

It's hard to disregard a rainbow whether it's in the sky or hanging in the studio. You ever wonder what adds depth and interest to a work of art? Darkness, lightness, thin lines and thicker lines. There are so many shades and hues of each color to explore. This project is great for many ages, two year olds will love touching and looking at each materials and a 10 year old will figure out how to make an intricate pattern using the same color but in different shades and tones. 

We began by having the children choose one color they would like to work in. I add a little white glue to the paint so it's nice and sticky when we are ready to attach all the other varieties of materials. I gave the children cardboard squares which you could upscale from a box or just use a sturdy paper. Then the kids paint away. I then add a little white to each paint cup for the to mix in. So now we have two tones of color on the cardboard.

If doing this project at home you could walk around the house with your child and see what materials you can find in the color they have chosen. We offered paper, fabric, yarn, straws, lace. buttons, bottle  caps. I absolutely love materials, love the potential in the materials and so enjoy observing the children using them to their interest. 


After they explored the paint for a bit. I brought out the other materials one at a time. I like to give the little students one material at a time so they can explore each material thoroughly before moving on to the next. 

The children really get to use the materials how they are comfortable, painting over some fabrics and papers, "hiding" them, stacking materials and sometimes even organizing them into categories. The result is a gloriously colorful mixed media piece with diverse shades of the same color. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Welcome to Purple Twig- a studio tour

Purple Twig has a different feel when its full of students and families all experiencing making art together and those times when the studio is quiet and empty of bodies. 
I opened my doors to the Purple Twig in Los Angeles, CA in the neighborhood of Eagle Rock 6 years ago and it has gone through some wonderful changes since then, artwork has filled the walls, donations of materials from our incredible families has filled our shelves and students have filled our chairs. 

I thought it would be nice to share some images of our studio with you. Creating a space that is warm, welcoming and one that will inspire discussion, curiosity and a sense of freedom is important to the process of exploring materials and ideas.

The studio is in a neighborhood that is very family friendly and is accessible from many different neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

Sometimes artwork spills out onto the sidewalks, onto the trees and telephone polls and into nearby alleys. We do like to utilize the neighborhood for displaying our works. This is a piece that was created in our Textile Summer Camp, where students wove fabrics into the cardboard after painting onto it. Luckily most of our business neighbors are accommodating to our works of art. 

My desk is the first thing people see when they walk in. It gives me a place to look official and busy even if I am just reading some article from the newspaper off my computer. I bought it at a garage sale along with my vintage, it actually might be an antique now, cash register.

Our studio is divided into two spaces using the shelves of supplies at a separator. The front room is used for our toddler classes and the younger groups during our camps.

We offer smocks to our kids and families. Kids can have anxiety about getting in trouble for getting their clothes dirty. The last thing we want is anxiety inhibiting students from making choices in their methods of creating artworks.

We offer students the freedom to use anything on these shelves during open studio on Saturdays. We may have some examples of ways to use the materials out on tables so that kids understand that they are allowed to push their ideas in art making during this time, but for the most part kids are eager to get their hands on the materials to make things.

We are lucky enough to have a lot of our families donate materials to us, from mint tins, to egg cartons, to wine corks to these Japanese flipflop tops. The kids always find a way to use what we give them.

Our story carpet is an important part of the studio. We use it to read to the younger children to help them with their verbal skills and to inspire their artworks. For our Toddler Classes we will choose a book to read that is linked to the art project we are about to embark on.  It's a way of instilling the idea of research at a young age. During our camps it is an important area for kids to relax, talk, read and play games when taking a break from art making.

These sinks can be such a thrill to the toddlers that come into the studio. Having sinks their size is another way to let children know that this is a safe place for them where their needs are considered.
Many little ones may spend most of their time on the first day in our studio at these sinks, squealing with delight and washing anything they can get their hands on.

We also have a back space in the studio for our older students during both after school classes and camps. We offer clip boards to each of our students to keep their drawings on during the week long camps. It's another way to keep the studio organized, because we do a lot of drawing during our camps. It's such an important way to allow kids to develop both hand-writing skills, drawing skills and their own ideas.

We have more materials donning our shelves in the back part of our studio. We pack them in baskets, vintage pots , glass jars found at thrift stores and even drawers pulled from vintage furniture. We use what we find whether it be materials or containers.

Our students are really what keep our space feeling creative, warm and full of vitality. The children, whether age 2 or age 10 are really up for exploring whatever materials and projects I offer them. It's such pleasure to watch and participate in.