There are two new murals that I painted at the dementia nursing care home where I work in collaboration with the residents. You can see more pictures and some thoughts on the processes over in the mural section.
Rose cottage is our new shed.
The London map mural is in a corridor on the ground floor. A prompt for reminiscence, and decoration.
Recently I’ve been showing various groups of friends my take on backstrap weaving in various living rooms. I think anyone can do it, and I just like showing people because I love doing it myself. I like the simplicity of the process. Also, the variety of artifacts that come out of it are as unique as the people who make them.
The youth at Spotlight (the youth centre) had a great time making pom poms this week.
we used the method where you wrap the yarn around your hand instead of those awkward cardboard circles. It worked a treat!
The other technique we tried was finger knitting, which has some similarities to the very popular loom band trend. We couldn’t really get it off the ground at this session unfortunately. At least 4 people went home with a finished piece of finger knitting but it didnt take off. It just would have required focus and concentration for about 30 seconds more than was given. At least 4 more kids started and gave up just before they got the hang of it. It also could have worked if one of the louder kids had grasped it early on, but you know how it is with social dynamics, especially after a long hard day at school. Anyway the POMPOMs caught on and they were all addicted to that instead.
also didnt get any good pics of finger knitting becuase my fingers were full of yarn during those times!
I did show them how to trim them ‘give them a haircut’ but the scraggly pompom look was more fashionable.
One teenage boy made all these pompoms! 8?! he’s going to make a scarf.
This is the easier way to make a pom pom. It does help to have your friend’s finger on hand to tie a tight knot.
I always loved the illustrator Jan Pienowski’s work with marbling and silhouettes. This summer at art camp we made some illustrations in his style.
I am running a series of weaving sessions at SPOTLIGHT youth club in Langdon Park, London, UK.
Week one was very successful. It is a drop in ‘cafe’ style event so has no clear beginning but the young people can do as much or as little as they feel like, which I quite like, because it’s after school. I dont want to make anyone do anything. Thankfully, they were very into it (because its weaving!) I am always amazed how some people just get it straight away, and the kind of focus that it can inspire.
I had one exchange with an adult there that I didn’t have enough time to talk to properly, it went like this
him: so what will it be?
me: with this, it could just be decorative, or you could make a belt, a guitar strap, a headband, trim.
him: so in about a year you could make a bed sheet?
[aRGH! thats not the point!!!] If I’d had time I’d like to explain that it is about construction, understanding how things are made, how the qualities of weaving (strong, not stretchy) can be used for different purposes. About working together, showing and explaining to each other what can seem a complicated process at the outset. How you can create patterns, how colours can be created by combining yarn. How you can alter the style, thickness, texture by combining different thicknesses of thread or tension as you pull or slacken. Understanding how the clothes, carpet, seat covers, hat, basket, shoes, sails, flags, wallet, tent around you are made. Not by going to a factory and seeing an incomprehensible machine but by understanding the fundamental concept that people have been doing for thousands of years by DOING it for yourself!
anyway, I think the kids got it!
I have these beautiful Indian puppets that hang from strings. we talked about them, drew them and played with them before making our own versions.
I didn’t know how old the children would be when I planned this activity and they were quite small! lots of 4, 5, 6 year olds, going up to 11 years old. I think its important with kid’s art though to have a balance of activities between making something very impressive, and making something very independently. This activity was the former, as the students needed lots of assistance with cutting, glueing, painting, stapling. However, they were really impressed and proud of their results, continuing to play with the puppets long after, and make stories and personalities around them.
This week we set up three tables of objects to draw. We talked about
This picture at the bottom is great especially as the student is only 4 or 5, hasn’t started year one of school yet!
I am an artist, illustrator, weaver and workshop facilitator currently living and working in London, UK.
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