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

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.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wishing Flowers

In the Spring when it begins to get quite warm here in Southern California, the wild irises bloom and the air smells of the orange blossoms. This can be celebration enough but we also like to commemorate the coming of the Spring with these hanging wishing flowers. When hanging these sweet frozen trimmings in a tree the kids each make a wish.  If they catch the flower when the ice melts then their wish comes true.

We enjoy every step of the process from the picking of flowers to attempting to catch the flowers when finally freed from the ice.

What you will need:
1. cupcake tin
2. flowers
3. water
4. string

I like the large flowers and put one in each cup but many of the children love to fill the cups to the brim with flowers before pouring in the water.

When adding the string, it helps to place it in a circle around the tin before hanging off most of it.

Place in the freezer.

Once frozen run the backs of the tin under warm water to release the frozen flowers. And hang them in a tree or somewhere on a deck or play structure making sure the child can reach them.

Then the waiting and watching begins.

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.