Monday, June 22, 2009

Community Art with Fort Hunt Youth Softball

The handmade paper "softball" was created by Fort Hunt Youth Athletic Association softball players in the 9 and under division at their annual picnic.
The process began with layering single sheets of handmade paper on top of a circular table covered in canvas. The sheets were formed from recycled paper pulp using a circular mold made from an embroidery hoop with a screen stretched across the top.

Players and friends added names, team names and messages written on tissue paper and pressed into the growing sheet of wet paper pulp.

Teresa works with players from the Leprechauns team, sponsored by Art at the Center.

Adding final pieces of paper around the edges to complete the circle.

The dry paper softball.

With the light coming through the window, the individual circle pieces making up the larger circles are visible.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Blanket for Green

Our exploration for the day began with printing circles with various objects on large circular tables covered in white paper.
We offerd paint to add to the circle designs; Z chose purple and said she was making a blanket.

"It's a purple blanket for green." (the color she was covering)

There was another green shape that Z's mom pointed out because it looked like an elephant. Z added a hat.

"Night Night Green."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

So, What's a Studio Lab?

We call ourselves a studio lab, a place rich in art materials available for exploration and experimentation. Our goal in our work is to provide a framework and structure within which young artists can work independently or in collaboration with peers of all ages. We offer guidance on how to use materials but not on what to make with them. You won't find us offering a recipe or formula to recreate a famous art piece or draw a certian kind of animal. You will find lots of visual material and intersting conversations about why the artist might have chosen a given media or combination of colors. You will hear ideas and suggestions for observing to gather information for a drawing, painting or sculpture and rich conversations among children about the choices they make and the media they use.
We are interested in the artistic and creative process and in setting things up to help artists of all ages slow down and enjoy and reflect on their process and their creations. We are a test kitchen of sorts for artistic materials and processes. (A metaphor familiar to the Evans family, see We hope your visits to the studio will bring ideas for how to set up a painting and color mixing station, experience in the care and use of clay, and insight on how to combine collage bits, paint, and paste into unique multimedia creations. We hope to demystify processes and to be a starting point for continued artistic exploration at home and in schools. To quote (the wonderful) Mary Rose O'Reilley, "Take away from it what forms in your own mind....come into my kitchen, but don't expect recipes."

Documentation - Inspiration from Keri Smith at AVAM

Documentation refers to notes, pictures, drawings, anything that records a place or event and what is happening. Artist and author, Keri Smith spoke at the American Visionary Art Museum event. She draws of inspiration from artists who are collectors of objects, actions, or experiences and focuses on how artists see potential in the world around them and create meaning out of everyday experiences. She connects the role of the artist with that of an ethnographer. Ethnography is defined as "the documentation and analysis of a particular culture through field research." Like an ethnographer, an artist is a keen observer of the world and culture they inhabit. Artists record impressions, look for patterns, organize objects and ideas, try new combinations and reflect on what they create. Practicing these artistic habits of field research can inspire new appreciation for the beauty and wonder in the everyday world around us.
In the studio, we find it helpful to turn this documentary observing eye toward our own work and the explorations of the children with materials. It is a way to do field research into the culture and community that is created by individuals and groups working in the studio setting. We find that by taking pictures of the process, we are able to go back and see more of what happened, to reflect and form hypotheses about what might be interesting to work on next. It renews our sense of wonder in the creative process and the ideas, intentions and capabilities of children.