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

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!!!!