Monday, January 20, 2014

Teaching and Stitching and Dreaming

 I started teaching a Messy Business class at Elmhurst Art Museum on Mondays.  I have two sections of 18 month to 5 year-olds and their respective grown-ups.  The challenge is coming up with projects that are interesting and accessible for a variety of ages.  The upside is that the accompanying adult can help out with the more advanced skills, but it is a balancing act keeping the adults enough out of the way so that the child can really experiment and have creative control.  I'm still struggling to find my teacher voice but am hoping that my enthusiasm for the process is being translated.  My main objective is to simply expose the kids to lots of media and methods and occasionally give them scissors. (Ha Ha!)  Here are pictures of a couple of projects. I'm trying to draw inspiration from Africa whenever possible.  The collaged faces are painted with dots which I experienced first hand while dining at Moyo's, a fun, South African restaurant chain.  I think painting with q-tips was a hit and limiting the pallet to black and white can produce great results. 

The other project involves tracing or drawing various sized circles and coloring them in with oil pastels.  Then the children painted over them with watercolors achieving a wax resist effect.

Finally, they worked collaboratively on painting a cardboard, cut-out zebra.   This was fun, and I plan on having them continue to add layers of black and white with other materials.  

In terms of personal work, I've slowed down a bit with everything happening--holidays, trip to South Africa, major school fundraiser sewing project, and new teaching gig.  I was able to eek out an embroidered pillow commissioned by my friend for her new niece, Cora.  I took Cora's embroidery with me to Africa and was delighted to be stitching an elephant while on their home turf--so to speak. 

I'm feeling hugely inspired to paint large pieces.  To accommodate such grand plans, I removed a table from my studio and shifted a couple things around.  I think the result is more organized and airy and less congested.  I'm hoping this helps with the creative flow and productive energy.  It certainly feels improved and better suited for giant paintings and humongous dreams. 

Cora's pillow

My desk organization.


  1. Cora made the blog! That pillow looks fantastic. I love the elephant's patterns.

  2. So glad you like it Mary! I hope your sister and Cora are equally as pleased.