I remember the feeling of teaching an age group I hadn't had much experience with, 5 - 8 year olds, in the early days of working as an art educator at Auckland Art Gallery. I wasn't sure how to speak to them, how to be myself with them, how to structure the class to suit them best and what to expect from them. I had to find my junior children teaching voice.
This was the case in my art workshops for adults which I started this year. I had taught art to teachers in a professional development capacity but our BE CREATIVE workshops for adults were something new to me. Again, I initially wasn't sure how to speak to them, how much to be myself with them, how casual or formal I needed to be, how much instruction to give, how much encouragement and positive feedback I should give them (without seeming patronising), how to structure the class to suit them best and what to expect from them. I had to find my adult teaching voice.
And I think I have.
And this is what I've discovered.
Adult learners have similar needs to child learners. We appreciate being given a chance to explore, experiment and practise, we like being taught some actual skills and techniques, we like being given space to be creative and approach our art in our own way, we like options and an element of freedom, we love a bit of positive feedback and encouragement and also some extra help when necessary, and we feel proud of ourselves when we have achieved something.
And I loved that these adults I worked with took the techniques and ideas to their own place, creating works that meant something to them and that they felt comfortable attempting, with only a vague reference in the end to the original theme of pattern.
Some feedback from the participants: Unique ideas I hadn't tried before; Acceptance of whatever we do; Encouragement and affirmation of our creations; Relaxed evenings with great company and professional facilitation; Exposure to new techniques; Loved getting the creative juices flowing!; Really fun and a nice break from life; Convivial, supportive atmosphere - totally relaxed; Working with colour and materials that can be easily found so I can create these again; LOVED IT; Keep it up, this is a fabulous opportunity to be young again!
Can't wait for the next Be Creative course!
Linocut Print Making Tue, 1 Aug 2017 to Tue, 5 Sep 2017
Our very first art workshop for teens took place in term 1 and it was one of the most beneficial, worthwhile, important workshops I think I have ever been involved in. The teens were exposed to and developed an understanding of art elements, techniques and skills such as balance, scale, colour, shape and composition, 3D cardboard construction and design. But this was only the beginning of the learning that took place. Working in a group, making connections, building relationships, collaboratively establishing goals and timelines, researching artists and their work, sharing opinions and responses, problem solving, making decisions, thinking critically and creatively, helping and encouraging others - all this in a happy, calm, positive and supportive environment. What more could you ask for!! I loved it and the teens loved it. And I think the parents were pretty happy about the experience for their children too.
FEEDBACK FROM A PARENT: Just wanted to let you know that my daughter has gained so much from your art workshop for teenagers. Admittedly her first reaction of “I’m no good at art” was not encouraging but she quickly moved past this. There have been so many positive outcomes, from her positive interaction with a varied social group, a realisation of the creativity inside her and the growth in her confidence. I love the shared dinner, it is so great from a social perspective (especially as it’s one less meal to cook!) and we will be first in the queue if you run this great workshop again.
FEEDBACK FROM THE TEENS:
I look forward to this every week.
I liked that we had to problem solve to find out what we will make and that we asked questions with the group.
I liked having dinner and getting to know everyone in the group.
Being in this group made me more creative,
I liked this workshop because it makes you think and brings out your creativity. You discover problems and overcome them.
Final creations were shown at the Muriwai Arts show Off the Grid
I'm so thrilled to be able to do this all again this term, starting May 8th.
To find out more and book a place in our PROJECT PAINT workshop::
OK, I admit, this workshop was initially created as a way to hold on to the amazing children I have worked with in my primary school workshops who were heading off to high school. I didn't want to lose them out of my life!! Actually, I didn't want to halt the artistic momentum or the strong connections I had built with them and their families. So yes a little bit selfish...but I think they will gain even more than me from the project based teen workshops we have created. Next week our very first workshop for teens starts up on Monday evening at the Muriwai Surf Club.
The positive, collaborative nature of the projects encourage students to build relationships and make connections, cooperate with others and grow in self confidence, as well as learn visual arts skills and techniques. The participants will work closely with their peers; problem solving, sharing, reflecting, making decisions, cooperating, discussing and working towards a common goal.
Project Cardboard is this term's exciting challenge to collaboratively create an art installation or sculpture for the Muriwai Arts show in May, made predominantly out of recycled cardboard tubes. We will explore installations and sculptures around the world, artists who use recycled objects in their work, and the ways cardboard tubes have been recycled and used, then design, build and decorate our very own.
Monday evenings 6pm - 8pm; February 13th - April 10th; Ages 13-18; Muriwai Surf Club; $198 including all materials and dinner (pasta and salad).
Yep, it's taken 5 weeks, but hey it was all worth it! 8 - 16 year old children from The Homeschool Group have patiently cut egg cartons into flower shapes and painted them, in a huge variety of beautiful colours (all mixed by the children using only primary colours, black and white), then threaded and knotted them on to cotton to be hung on the mobile. This masterpiece now proudly hangs in the Massey leisure Centre, where our art classes take place on Fridays, and each child will take home one flower to remind them of the experience. The leisure centre manager has asked when we will make the next art installation!
I'm currently working with The Homeschool Group to create a beautiful art installation, using recycled egg cartons, to add to our work space at the Massey Leisure Centre. Working with the children on this project has really made me think about how we value the visual arts and the potential for incredible learning on so many levels.
This collaborative project not only gives children skills in colour mixing (creating tints, shades and hues with acrylic paint using only the primary colours, white and black) but also allows children to work together towards a common goal, helping, encouraging and guiding each other along the way. We have discussed the space and what sort of works would suit and the children have become aware of considerations that need to be made before choosing a suitable work for a particular space. We are contributing to the space we work in, to make it feel like we belong, to help us connect and to give back to the centre we work in every week. We are adding something special to the space, and we can enjoy and gain satisfaction from the work we have created together, as can other visitors to the centre, for months to come.
We have talked about other artists who use recycled materials for their work and the fact that their work is valued, no matter what materials are used, where they come from or what they look like. It is the thinking behind many of these works, the ways they interact with the environment, the aesthetic value and the audience appeal that adds to the value of the work.
Here are some images of other installations using hanging found materials.