Sunday, 21 October 2012

How do you like my Squirrel?

I have submitted a t-shirt design to a really cool website called Threadless. You can see it at the link below. You can give it a score out of 5 and if enough people like it they will print some up and put them on sale! Please be generous ;)

Friday, 9 March 2012

Cotton Woolly Spring Lambs

Adorable spring lambs were the inspiration for my workshop today. I showed my students a photograph of a lamb and pointed out the pink in its ears and around its eyes.
The first step was to use a cardboard template to draw and cut out 2 ears. Most of my students, who are all adults with learning difficulties, are able to draw around a stencil if someone holds it still for them. Others can hold the template still while their carer draws around it. I then gave out pink paint and asked everyone to paint inside the ears, keeping a white border. I also asked them to paint 2 pink eyes onto a large paper plate to which we added black painted centres. Now it was time for the fun to start! Students spread glue onto the plate and stuck down cotton wool balls, avoiding the eyes. I demonstrated how to tease out the cotton wool to make it fluffier. One of my students is completely blind and she really enjoyed the texture of the cotton wool. Everyone made a great job of this part of the task. Once they were done, I gave out pre-cut black paper noses and pink felt tongues and bits of wool to make a mouth. The final step was to glue on the ears. Making the ears point out to the sides rather than upwards makes it look like a lamb rather than a rabbit!

Monday, 5 March 2012

St David's Day Rabbits and Daffodils

It is good luck to say 'white rabbits' three times when you wake up on the 1st of March (I've no idea why!) and daffodils are the national flower of Wales, so I decided that this project would be a good one for St David's Day.
I pre-cut some rabbit silhouettes (students could choose between pink and brown) and demonstrated how to use a dry brush technique to paint fur onto the rabbits. After putting them aside to dry, we used petal-shaped sponges and yellow paint to print daffodil petals onto a large sheet of pale green paper. Most of my students are very familiar with sponge printing now and have really got the hang of it. I passed around green pastels so that they could draw some stalks and leaves. The next step was to add details to the rabbits. We just used marker pens for this which worked fine on top of the dry paint. After glueing the rabbit onto the centre of the picture, we created 3D daffodil trumpets by sticking on little paper cup cases. By an amazing stroke of luck I found miniature paper cases which were already coloured yellow. I think the project would also look nice with white paper cases.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Sponge Print Flowers

This was a lovely project which my students really enjoyed.
I began by handing out a picture of a Viking vase which they coloured in using metallic markers. Most of my students are unable to draw or use scissors so this was a nice way for them to create a personalised vase for their flowers. I encouraged them to spend plenty of time concentrating on their colouring. I then gave out paint and sponges cut into flower-petal shapes. I had put bunches of red, yellow and purple tulips on the tables so these were the colours of paint which I handed out. I gave the students lots of large sheets of paper and let them practice printing for a while. I demonstrated how to create different types of flower using the sponges. Once they had got the hang of the printing, we glued the vases onto a fresh sheet of paper and then printed our bunches of flowers. I got them to use green oil pastels for the stems as I anticipated that the pictures could become quite messy if green paint was introduced.
Everyone was very proud of their artwork!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Garden Gnomes

I loved this garden gnome project posted by Laura at Painted Paper:
I decided to make a simplified version for my class of adults with learning disabilities.
We made a background by sponge painting with different shades of green paint. I emphasised that they should only use a small amount of paint at a time and should still have some white paper showing through. Some of the backgrounds looked so good it was almost a pity to cover them up at all!
We put these aside to dry and started working on the gnomes. I wanted to provide templates which were as easy to draw round and cut out as possible and came up with 3 triangles - different sizes for the body, hat and beard. With the help of their carers, students cut the triangles out of the painted paper they made a few weeks ago. I gave out circles for faces and black paper boots which I had cut out for them earlier and we glued all the bits together to make the gnomes. The next step was to draw a face and add any other details they could think up. Most of my students are unable to draw with any control and so they rely on their carers for this part. Some of the carers really went to town and created some very artistic gnomes as you can see from the photos!
We had time left to make a quick toadstool from half a paper plate. We glued the gnome and the toadstool onto the background and some students added some flowers to complete the garden scene.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Love Bugs

For this Valentine's Day project we started by making pompoms using the 'doughnut' method. I have made pompoms with my group before and it is a nice activity which students find quite absorbing. I pre-cut lengths of wool and also provided plastic needles. The needles are easier for students to hold and their weight makes it easier to pass the wool through the hole. It is important not to make the hole in the doughnut ring too big or else it will take all day to finish. A smaller hole results in quite scruffy looking pompoms but students can give them a haircut at the end to neaten them up if they like. To turn them into lovebugs students used templates to cut heart-shaped feet from felt and made eyes from white felt circles which they drew on with black markers. You could use a glue gun to attach the feet and eyes but I find the best method is double-sided carpet tape (which is VERY sticky). I pre-stuck tape to the back of the felt before they cut out the shapes.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Painted Paper

Time to make more painted paper!
For some reason, this workshop didn't work as well as the last session we spent making painted paper. The last time round it was a relaxing, therapeutic session and the students were really absorbed in the painting. Today it felt more like a competition to see who could paint the most paper in the shortest time. After only 30 minutes I could see that the students had had enough. On the upside, I now have LOADS of painted paper for future classes!