Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Paper Penguins

This project was a combination of ideas from Adventures of an Art Teacher and Mrs Picasso's Art Room. I began by getting the students to paint the background using blue paint at the top and white at the bottom and blending the two in the middle. All the students managed this really well. They then followed my instructions to make the large penguin out of black and white paper. I pre-cut the paper to the different sizes needed.They all required plenty of help from their carers but were able to draw the shapes with assistance and they are all great at gluing things down! The second, smaller penguin was drawn onto white paper using pens or pastels and then cut out and stuck down. They created the snowflakes by tapping a brush loaded with watery white paint. This is less messy than spraying or flicking paint and was a new technique for the students.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Partridge in a Pear Tree Paper Wreath

I prepared for this workshop by cutting the centres out of paper plates and making some 2-piece templates for the partridge.
Students made golden pears by printing with real pears. I was a bit disappointed with the results - I think maybe the knife I used to cut the pears wasn't sharp enough so that the printing surface wasn't smooth. The students didn't mind though! After using the templates and some painted paper to make the partridge, we assembled the wreath, adding in some crepe paper leaves.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Paper Plate & Wool Christmas Decoration

This project uses very simple sewing to great effect. To prepare, I cut Christmas Tree shapes out of paper plates (I happened to find some gold ones) and punched some holes around the shape. I provided students with wool in festive colours and large plastic sewing needles. Students sewed in and out of the holes - some did it very systematically and some did it quite randomly - both techniques give a good result. After they had finished sewing I encouraged them to stick a few (hundred!) sequins around the plate. A loop of wool for hanging provided the finishing touch. Because the plates are gold foil they were quite hard to photograph but I hope you get the idea!
I had kept the cut-out tree shapes (of course!) and we used these to make some lovely Christmas cards.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Papier Mache Toadstools

For today's workshop I wanted to do another autumnal theme but felt that we had done enough autumn leaf projects. I hit upon the idea of making a toadstool. I told my students that we were doing papier mache but in fact this is a cheat's version of papier mache that is more like decoupage. A paper bowl and paper cup were covered in the appropriate colours of tissue. The cup in particular needed a few layers of tissue because it had a pattern on it. Some students (and carers) tried to save time by gluing on enormous bits of tissue but they soon found that this doesn't work because air gets trapped underneath and it doesn't stick down properly. After the pieces were dried with the help of a hairdryer I helped them attach the two together using doubled-up masking tape which worked quite well. The finishing touch was some white painted spots.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Leaf Print Trees

This project was really enjoyed by my students. They began by either placing their hand and forearm on the paper and having their carer draw round it, or by drawing around their carer's arm. After colouring in the silhouette with oil pastels they began adding leaves. I had brought in leaves in various shapes and sizes. I actually washed them before I gave them to my students because most of them really hate getting dirt on their hands and I thought the sight of a slug might really push them over the edge! I showed them how to place the leaves face down and paint the back with poster paint before pressing them onto the paper. A lot of my students have quite severe disabilities but pressing or patting something down onto paper is something that they can all do. I encouraged some of them to print some fallen leaves at the bottom of the picture too.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Tissue Paper Trees

Thanks to Kristin at For the Love of Art for this great idea. The colourful trees are small squares of tissue glued onto card. I made the mistake of getting my students to use chalk pastels for the background and then, of course, found that the trees wouldn't stick. I solved the problem by quickly stapling them on.

Bonfire Night Collage

Remember, Remember the 5th of November!
In the UK we celebrate a foiled plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 with fireworks and bonfires on the 5th of November.
My students used paint and collage to capture the colour and glitter of the event.
We used some lovely deep blue card for the background. The fireworks were made by blowing watered down paint with straws and also by swirling the straw around in the paint to make patterns. The bonfires started with an oil pastel drawing to which they added scraps of tissue paper and sparkly sweet papers. The final touch was some glitter glue which was spread or dotted here and there on the fire.

Painted Paper Cats

Our painted paper came into use again for this workshop. I created simple two-piece templates for the cats which students embellished with cut-out paper eyes and wool whiskers. I wanted to keep the background simple so that the cats would stand out so we just used a contrasting colour of paper for the wall.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Arabian Nights (and days)

Hi Folks,

Sorry I haven't posted for a couple of weeks - I have been off on a fabulous tour of Jordan! Such an interesting and inspiring country!
Normal service has now resumed and I'm preparing for my next workshops. They may or may not include camels...

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Painted Paper Tree Frogs

This was a two part workshop which began with making painted paper according to the very useful instructions on Deep Space Sparkle. It's unusual for my students to spend a whole hour working with paint and they loved it. The resulting painted paper was really lovely.
The next session involved using templates to make the tree frogs. There was quite a lot of cutting out required which not many of my students are able to do but they were able to choose colours, draw round the templates (or hold them down while their carer drew round them), apply glue to the pieces and stick them down.
We made a nice background for the frog using tissue paper prints. It took a bit of experimenting before I found some non-colourfast tissue paper, but once I did, it was just a case of the students creating a very rough leaf-shape, sticking it down with water, then peeling the tissue off to reveal a delicate and beautiful printed leaf.
We finished the project by using strips of brown paper to make a frame.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Leaping Fish Watercolour and Torn Paper

This project was inspired by this artwork by Deborah Angyo Gorman:

Students began by using a wet-on-wet watercolour technique to create a background. I then gave them all a drawing of a fish which I had prepared in advance. They (or their carers) cut it out and they then began covering it in torn foil paper.
This activity was nice and simple to explain and the students became very absorbed in gluing down the paper.
Only drawback is that the reflective foil makes the pictures hard to photograph!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Jim Dine Hearts

I've had this project in my 'workshop ideas' folder for a few months now after seeing it on For The Love of Art blog. I was saving it for a Valentines project but then I decided that there's no reason for love hearts to be seasonal and, besides, who knows what I'll be doing in 6 months time? I started the class by showing everyone this picture:

The bright colours really appealed to my students and they were immediately enthusiastic about the project. I handed out sheets of black paper and initially got them to choose one colour of pastel. After they had added some colour, I got them to swap pastels with their neighbours until they had used a few colours. I then went round everyone individually, folding their paper and drawing half a heart for them (or their carers) to cut out. Once these were done and put aside, I gave out larger sheets of yellow paper and small squares of coloured tissue and glue. I asked them to concentrate on gluing the squares around the outside of the paper because we would be sticking the heart in the middle. They all followed this instruction ok. I made sure everyone's squares were stuck down properly before they glued the heart into the centre. Some students almost spoiled their pictures at the last minute by starting to paint glue on top of their heart or by using gluey fingers to press it down - next time I would warn them in advance about that! They all seemed happy with their creations anyway.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Ingrid Calame

I was through at the Edinburgh Festival last week and stumbled across an exhibition by New York artist Ingrid Calame. She makes art by tracing marks and stains she finds on the ground - sounds crazy but her drawings are really beautiful! She uses sheets of architectural Mylar (top quality tracing paper) to trace marks on the ground such as stains, cracks and graffiti which she takes back to her studio and re-traces using coloured pencils. She layers up the sheets of traced drawings to create what she calls a 'constellation', like the example above.
Tracing paper? Coloured pencils? I feel a workshop coming on......

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Bird's Nest Collage

I got the idea for this lovely project from the Adventures of an Art Teacher blog.
I had not used the technique of blowing thinned paint through a straw with my class of disabled adults before and was sure that they would find it fun. After handing out the paper I went round each student individually and spooned a teaspoon of paint onto their paper and instucted them to blow (not suck!) the paint towards me. Not all of them managed to blow through the straw successfully but tilting the paper to let the paint run also worked well, as did using the straw like a brush to move the paint around. All of their 'tree branches' looked fantastic and very individual. I then showed them how to draw a few leaves at the end of the twigs they had just created. The paint was of course still very wet and I asked them to try not to dip the pastels into the wet paint. When I cleaned up at the end only one pastel had brown paint on it! Most of them needed help from their carers to draw and cut out some egg shapes from patterned paper. I asked them to place the eggs on the picture and let me check it before glueing them down as there was a temptation to spread the eggs all over the branch istead of grouping them together. I then handed out some shredded newspaper and pieces of raffia which they glued down to make the nest. The final step was to use a blue pastel to give the suggestion of a blue sky. I thought that we might have time to draw a bird sitting on the branch too but the activity took up the whole hour quite easily.