Observational drawing

One of my favourite part of children in galleries is seeing how engaged and engrossed they are with observational drawing. This is always the children's choice and not something they ever have to do yet often an activity they absorb into so naturally. 

Parasol Unit

It is always a pleasure working with Parasol Unit and I am delighted to be devising and running a series of free workshops for Under 5s and their carers. The next workshops will be in September. See website for more info. Below are images from Julys workshops.

Eileen Agar 'Angel of Anarchy' 1936-40

Moving away from conventional art materials and using found objects this Eileen Agar piece really grabbed the children's attention and was something they wanted to return to again throughout the day. 

Kate Davies says 'her angel/warrior flaunts common forms of feminine decoration on a classical subject: the sculpted head.  Patches and layers of materials fighting with each other are visible. It is not a representation of these objects, it is the objects themselves, but not as we may expect to see them. Agar was obviously well aware of the need to re-create chaos to build a new kind of order. She rose to the responsibility of both looking at her world and pushing on from what may become conventional in visual language at a certain time'.

Making Cocoons

These 'cocoons' encompass hidden secrets buried inside. The children drew their secrets and then formed their cocoons around them using various materials to wrap and thread. These later formed a temporary under table installation at Tate Modern. I adore how the children interpreted this starting point and immersed themselves in the mysteries of their imaginations following on from our Magalena Abakanowicz viewing.

Tate Modern

During our HALF TERM 'Textile Special' series of workshops we investigated artists that use different materials in their art practice. What better place to begin this investigation than Material Worlds at the Tate Modern. Magdalena Abakanowicz's work presented the children with mounds of cocoon-like stitched rags, stockings and rope, and provided an excellent starting point for discussion as the children began to wander 'what's inside?'

Young children are more likely to be familiar with drawing from their 'imaginations' which is of course a beautiful thing. However observational drawing; looking and drawing what they see particularly when it comes to viewing artwork really gives children the opportunity to see the intricacies if a piece, and they love it. 

Urban Village Fete

Thanks so much to everyone who came to visit Starting With Art at the fantastic Urban Village Fete last Sunday. It was a wonderful privilege to be asked and we were blessed with the sunny weather. Families were invited to construct their very own 'Fantasy' urban village which included a bubble factory, a cuddle corner, paradise park, happy hospital, lollypop shop amongst others. Hundreds attended throughout the day and got stuck right in!

Christo and Jeanne-Claude inspired session

The way the children during our Easter workshops responded to the work of Christo and Jeanne Claude is summed up by one of my favourite educators Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia approach.

“Children, above all when together with other children, are inventors, "safecrackers", and re-builders of theories and behaviors that elude any presumptuousness or predictability of methods. Children do not wait for our permission to think. Indeed, children are bursting with ideas that are always impatient to escape through language (and we say a hundred languages) to connect and communicate with the things of the world."