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

Friday, May 31, 2013

Clay with Children

We use clay a lot here at the Purple Twig. It's a fantastic material that is suitable for most ages from 2 up to adults. It's easy to manipulate for little hands and as the child grows they can make objects that are more and more articulated. When using clay with ages 2 and 3 we do sometimes fire the object but mostly we use it as a base for so many other materials. We make ..........

fairy houses using seed pods and pine cones and a lot of glitter and we make.....

bird's nests using sticks, fabric, string, beads and bird seed and we make....

bear caves and forests and underwater worlds. 

Sometimes we get ambitious and do projects we fire in the kiln. We made these mobiles with ages 2 and 3. This is a great project because the kids can manipulate the clay in a few ways and watch the transformation from the soft wet clay to actually being fired. 

The kids made balls out of the clay. I then gave them doilies that I found at flea markets. They smash the doily onto the ball of clay with a flat wooden spoon to make great textures. The result is these beautiful little medallions.

 I fired the medallions and then the kids glazed them. I did these with a parent and me class and as you might have suspected the parents had a pretty great time doing some glazing as well. It is such a great collaborative project. 

You can make so many things with clay. We make a ceramics project in most of our classes no matter the age.  It's a material that fits into any subject. We use both a white and a terra-cotta, which are both low fire clays and we use both underglazes and over glazes.  These low fire glazes are perfect for kids because they are so bright and there are so many colors.

These whimsical pinch bowls were made by a 6 year old. It's a process where you paint the underglaze onto the bowl when it is leather hard and then draw into it. That way the clay underneath shows. We then fire them, clear glaze them and fire them again. 

Flat slab works are great to start with that way you know there won't be air bubbles caught inside and the kids can roll it our with a rolling pin. This bird wall tile is the same process of drawing into the underglazed clay made by a 6 year old.

In our Animals in Art class we made these carrier pigeons that hold secret messages. This was done with over glaze. I gave them slabs to roll out and then they cut their pigeons out of the clay. This one was made by a 7 year old.

You can get really complex with the flat works like with these fairytale wall tiles. The kids can really get into adding details and drawing textures. These are made by a 6 year old. When we make more 3-dimensional pieces we use newspaper to hold the shape while it dries. These beauties are adobe inspired bird feeders made in our Gimme Shelter class by ages 5-7. 


Friday, May 24, 2013

Ice Catchers

I just love it when a project exceeds my expectations with the kids and there excitement is more than I could even imagine. Sometimes I like to do projects that are experiential that go beyond just making the object.  We did a little science project about solids and liquids by making these ice catchers. We added a little mysticism as well to top it all off, by telling them if they made a wish when hanging the catcher and caught the flower inside as it melted, their wish would come true. That is what legend says anyways.

This is a simple spring/summer  activity that anyone can do at home with a free afternoon. All you need is a muffin tin, some flowers, some string, water and a freezer.
We took a walk around the neighborhood ( which I love to do with the kids) picking flowers as we went.

Each child chose a few flowers to put in one of the muffin cups and added a string. Make sure that the string sinks into the water, maybe buried underneath some of the flowers. We talked about the 3 forms of water while filling the cups then placed the tin into the freezer. We had to wait overnight, which is the hard part. They kept asking if it was frozen yet. We must have checked on them 5 times in an hour. 

The following day they could not wait to get them out of the freezer.  Look how beautiful they look hanging in the tree, like ice jewels. 

They each made a wish and we watched them melt. I tried to convince them that the ice catchers  would take a while to melt  and that maybe we should do something else while we wait but they weren't buying it. It was difficult to drag them away from theses beautiful ice charms. 

He caught his flower and his wish. Look at that excitement. So amazing.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Field Trip

I was fortunate enough to tag along with my son's young kindergarden class on their field trip today. We spent the morning visiting the Audubon center in Debs Park. This Center is one of the best kept secrets in Los Angeles. It's both incredibly beautiful and educational.  If you live in LA or are just visiting, I highly, highly recommend making this stop for yourself and your kids.

Our family has been visiting often for a few years. They have strollers, and kid backpacks, they have binoculars and field journals all to borrow for free while visiting the center or for going for hikes in Debs parks.  There is a small cave to play in, two ponds and rocks and trees to climb on. It's a little paradise for kids. But I had never experienced a field trip or had the pleasure to see their teachers in action.

I was so incredibly impressed by their curriculum that I had to write about it. The kids started off under the pink pepper trees for their bird anatomy lesson. In this beautiful outdoor classroom they learned all the parts of a bird, what they are for and  how these parts vary in different kinds of birds. Then they looked at a few taxidermy local birds.

This one is an Oriel. We then explored the indigenous plants in the center and what kinds of birds and butterflies like each plant. The kids could touch and smell. Some of them smelled incredible (the plants, not the kids).
After having a picnic lunch in the shade and playing in the center a bit, we all went on a bird-watching hike. The kids got real binoculars and were given some safety tips about hiking. They were told about how to respect the land while walking on the butterfly trail.  We stopped to listen to birds and the kids looked for them in our binoculars. One of the teachers carried large laminated images of the birds we listened to. 

 After a short hike we sat together while one of the teachers read a story about birds. We then all closed our eyes and listened for 2 minutes, which really one incredible to all sit together and listen quietly to the birds around us. The kids then described what they heard and we learned a few bird calls too.

We then hiked back to the center. All in all the hike was maybe a mile. The kids looked at all kinds of things with their binoculars, spiders, ground squirrel homes, plants. The kids had so much fun exploring this natural world mainly because the curriculum was so rich, age appropriate and layered.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

I love this card from Reform School in Silverlake. 

My Children surprised me with this card along with these little treasures they made. They are little message scrolls wrapped up on a vintage wooden thread spool and beautifully decorated with beads and buttons.  My daughter, who just turned 8, wrote a lovely poem and my 4 year old son made a fantastic extra long drawing. It just doesn't get much better than a hand made gift.  My husband made them with the kids at the Purple Twig. 

I absolutely love them ( both the scrolls and my children).What a sneaky sweet man.

Happy Mother's Day!!!
 Purple Twig would not survive without your support and kindness.