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

Monday, December 4, 2017

Citrus Ornaments

Wow! November absolutely passed me by without getting a chance to write a post. Now that we have finished up our Fall Classes at the studio and before getting ready for our Winter Camps and Classes, I have a chance to take a breath. What do I like to do when I am taking a breath? Make things at home. I have been dying fabrics for Holiday gifts, baking cookies and making granola and making new ornaments for the tree.  I love a handmade Christmas.

Our family has made a lot of ornaments over the years. Our tree is now filled with ones from Christmas past. We have ornaments made form pinecones, ones made from wood and ones made from tin. This year we went with what was growing on our trees in the yard. Winter is the season for citrus. Our trees are full of oranges, lemons and grapefruit. I am not sure of the history of the dried citrus to decorate the holiday tree. If anyone knows please reach out and let me know. The different fruits dry up in different colors. The lemons turn dark almost blood red, while the oranges are a deep orange. The ruby grapefruit become a deep pink.

When drying the different fruits, I cooked them separately because they dried at different speeds.  This one is with a white grapefruit.  I sliced the grapefruit as thin as I could and placed them onto a baking sheet.

My oven's temperature does not set lower than 250 Fahrenheit and this works better with an oven heated to 200 degrees. I put them in the warm oven for 45 minutes at 250 then turning them over and turning off the oven, leaving the citrus in  for another 45 minutes until they are dried. Just keep checking on them.

As you can see a few are over cooked and some are perfect on the same sheet. Oh well. 

When cooled, I punctured holes near the top and used fishing twine to hang them up,  but you can use ribbon or string, depending on the look your are going for.

The light shines through them and gives off such a warm glow. 

This one is the ruby grapefruit.  

I've hung them on the tree and hung them on on our wreaths. I love the combination of the deep green from the tree and the orange from the fruit.  You could also create a garland and use them to decorate the presents along with a little tag.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Spider Houses

This project was made in our Bug's Life Class for ages 3-4. Making a spider house was perfect for both the theme of the class and for a spooky Halloween project.  When creating projects for kids, I like to offer many different materials and techniques to layer together. 

We started with wood scrap blocks. You can find scraps at lumber yards and probably online somewhere. I have a chop saw so I cut up scraps in shapes I like or need for the kids. I gave each child a rectangle and a triangle, but you don't need to be this literal. A house can be shaped in many ways. I also gave each child some glue and a brush to spread it on.

While the glue is drying on the wood we start to browse through magazines. For this project I tried to find animal or nature magazines to cut out. This girl wanted a bat house so she cut out a few images of bats to use.

We waited for the glue to dry before starting the next step, but if your child is up for it, you could start the next part. If working in a classroom with many kids, I would wait until the sculptures are dry. I bought short flat-head nails to make it easier for the kids to hit with a hammer. I gave them as many nails as they wanted. Some nailed in just 3 and where finished and some really took advantage of the opportunity to use a tool and hammered in up to 15. 

 Then came the web part. I offered many different colors of yarn both bright and dark for them to wrap around the nails to make a spider web. We did talk about who spider webs are all kinds of shapes, big, round and intricate or small and huddled into a corner.

Each child had their own idea of what kind of house, bat or dog or forest or garden type and took delight in the choices they were allowed to make as to hammering and which color of yarn.

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Fall Celebration

Fall is my favorite season. After the long, dry and hot summer of Southern California, the fall is crisp and full of color. It's a quiet time for reflection after the bustling summer season in the studio where we have 18 spirited children creating and talking for full days. Fall is a time to exhale. Before that though my teachers and I thought it would be fun to have a celebration telling a story of the seasons.
We thought telling the story of Persephone and her mother, Demeter would be a wonderful way to celebrate the coming of fall and to show appreciation to our supportive families. If you do not know this Ancient Greek myth, please look it up. It's such great story of mother and daughter.

I take great pleasure in shadow puppets. The mysteriousness of the dark shadows allows for some great story telling and traditionally shadow plays are of folklore and myths. I also like how they are also slow with information. The lack of detail on the puppets allows the viewer to use their imagination to fill in the details. 

My own children, who are now eight and twelve, helped in making the puppets and performing the telling of Persephone's tale. My daughter created the upper world and my son created the underworld. Although the spider webs were my daughter's idea and add so much to the scenery. My children drew the sets individually on large pieces of card board and I cut them out. I the taped the upper world and underworld together. 

The kids waited anxiously but patiently for the show to start while the translucent scrim displayed the set stage for our story. 

Here is an image of Demeter and her reunification with her daughter, Persephone while Hade's empty throne sits below in the underworld.  

After the puppet show and some refreshment that included pomegranates from our tree, we offered a workshop for the kids to make their own shadow puppets. It's not so easy for kids to just create s a silhouette and not add detail of facial features and clothes. 

 And parents loved getting involved. I think the parents enjoyed it as much if not more than their children, which is one of the reasons why we do family workshops. Parents so enjoy the creative outlet but sometimes need the excuse of their children to be creative.

We had all kinds of puppets join the theatre and play in the shadows, alligators, turtles, super heros, cats and snakes.  Happy Fall to everyone. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Salt Paintings

Our goal is to foster children's curiosity by discovering materials in a unique way. We sometimes combine those materials with themes so that not only are they exploring the art methods, but also using their imagination to do so.  Like with most of the projects, I do this one is layered with many steps to move through, exploring each material as they do.
Most children have used glue to bind two materials together and most children are familiar with salt for eating and most children have painted using liquid watercolor, but this project puts all three together with the idea of a labyrinth.

I read the story of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth from Greek Mythology  to the children. This gets  the thoughts flowing about the idea of labyrinths.
With the young kids, ages 5-6, we gave them glue to squeeze onto the paper while discussing with their peers about making a maze and how it might work.  They might not look like labyrinths but the ideas are there.  With the older kids, ages 7-10, I gave them pencils to draw out their labyrinth. Each took their time to draw and share ideas about the trap doors and dead ends. When finished I gave them glue bottles to draw with. 

After they felt satisfied with the glue drawings, I gave each child a cup of salt and asked them to sprinkle it all over the glue so that the glue sparkled.

The last step in this process is to add the watercolor using a pipette.  We really stressed how to be careful and just drip the color and watch it spread through the salt, creating these lines of colorful crystals.

The ooooohs and the wows of excited children exploring the materials is so delightful to hear. 

They dry overnight and after you shake off the excess salt the combination of glue salt and watercolor leave a crystallized masterpiece with thick and thin lines and degrees of darkness of color.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Celebration of The Moon

With the eclipse approaching in our corner of the world I thought it would be a nice idea to do a post on celebrating the moon. During our Potion Lab Summer Camp we created moon phase banner using the power of the sun.

We talked about the phases of the moon and a few ways to represent those phases. The phases of the moon is a wonderful way to discuss how we are all connected together. Even if the moon seems so incredible far away, it has an affect on how the oceans move here on earth. 

These are the two ingredients you will need to turn any piece of fabric into a sun print. The possibilities are so fantastic. This Solar Fast solution doesn't wash out so you could make t-shirts or pillows and so much more. It also comes in other colors.  I water the solution down with water 1:1 in a cup for the kids to paint on.

The kids cut out shapes of the moon phases from paper to place onto the sun printed fabric. I cut a sheet into rectangular small banner sizes.  You just paint the solution onto the fabric and place the shapes you like onto the fabric. We did tape the fabric onto a piece of cardboard to make it easier to carry outside. Once the sun hits the painted fabric it starts to turn blue. We counted to 20 then brought them inside.

Place 2 capfuls of the solar was into a tub of water to wash away the chemicals. Then rinse ad hang to dry. A few of my kids wanted to experiment with the  shades of color so they would paint on some solution them paint on some water in order to make some parts faded.

Lastly we cut slits into the tops of the fabric and passed a stick through the slits to create a way to hang the banners on the wall. It's such a beautiful project to celebrate celebrate the moon. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tiny Cameras

Relevant joyful learning is what we strive for where children can make their own choices all the  while learning new techniques and furthering old old ones through practice. We practice by cutting, and glueing and drawing and stacking. This week at our summer camp the theme was Teeny Tiny Things. It's a theme that sparks the grand imagination of even the smallest of our artists. It's a way for their small hands to work their magic to create little art projects.


I so enjoy offering materials that are well known as an everyday objects. By altering those seemingly mundane materials into art objects kids learn about the possibilities of transformation.

I gave the children match boxes, buttons, beads and tiny pieces of paper for this project. All the kids needed was some paint mixed with glue to turn those boxes into a little cameras.

 We talked about he kinds of things they would like to take pictures of sisters, brothers, moms and dads, their cats, or maybe flowers or a forest. The children used the small pieces of paper to make drawings to be their photographs like little polaroid cameras.