So, the blog has been fairly empty of my work for a while, and there is good reason: I haven't been making much. I have been working to earn money as well as volunteering in a local Junior School to gain some experience with children. The lovely head, Sue, showed me around, and the school is highly motivated on art and so I have been helping in class with academic subjects - spellings, playing with newton metres and making leaflets on computers. However, I have had the great chance to help with art projects, including during their 'R.E.F' week, where everything is focused on the environment and out of class activities. Some great tasks I have helped with over the last 5/6 weeks have included making animals out of milk cartons, helping a class use oil pastels and working with three 10 year olds using watercolour pencils and attempting to teach them how to knit. The knitting was harder than expected, but it wasn't a failure, just a learning curve. The girls enjoyed the hand sewing instead whilst I finished the knitting on my own.
As well as working in the Junior School, I also have become a recent volunteer for Red Hot Press, a printmaking studio in Southampton. Katherine and Sarah founded the workshop in 2004 and have a selection of members who attend regular workshops and even hire out the space. The ladies have a background in the arts, both printmakers themselves, but they also work within schools, youth groups and other organisations to bring print making workshops to them. I helped Red Hot Press at a local Primary School during their art week over two days to print them an hour session of printmaking with polystyrene tiles onto large banners. I didn't get any pictures unfortunately, and I am so gutted I didn't- it was such a great success. Over the two days I saw 8 classes with up to 28 children in a class, and it was fair to say it knackered and even stressed me, but it was mighty fun and messy. The printing was loved by all the pupils[ Reception to Year5] and the banners were vibrant and bursting with lots of creative images! Each class had a theme such as Creepy Crawlies, Princesses & Princes and Monsters. My favourite over the two days was a scorpion by Reception pupil Dominique and a pumpkin wearing a witched hat by a Yr1 pupil [I cant remember his name]. I will hopefully be helping them in the next school year as the summer holidays are nearly upon us.
So yes. I have been quiet due to helping the youth of today learn some arts and crafts. It is mighty rewarding, even if it is volunteer and takes up my days off. But this is something that I want to aim towards- bringing art and craft to children. Who didn't love missing normal lessons for paper mache sessions, play dough or a spot of finger painting?
Please check out Red Hot Press Site. They are great and I am honoured and grateful to be helping them out. They tell me there are not that many studios that do this within schools and from what I have heard some schools don't have the energy or funding for arts.