playing at work

Just because I haven’t posted anything for a while doesn’t mean that I have been idle on the creative front.  Yes I know I was intending to post daily over the school holidays but what with noisy builder’s electric saws whining away and then the bashing of hammers as they replace the cladding part of my house, and the wonderful distraction of my two grandchildren, well, it just didn’t happen and what is more, I have NOT been beating myself up over it.   But since returning to work . . . I have been playing as part of my work.

It’s been rather more than just doodling in meetings (it helps me focus) because I’m working with a wonderful teacher in a class of 12 and 13 year olds creating individual journals about their developing personal identity.  The class teacher is working on an inquiry about careers based on their strengths and skills and I am augmenting that focus by having them uncover at their personal qualities and eventually, setting some goals.

The planning incorporates several areas of the curriculum: the Arts, PE & Health and Literacy.  I am excited beyond measure!  One of the resources I am using is Violette Clark’s Teen Dream Journal DVD and her book Journal Bliss . . . they’re so user-friendly for teachers!

This afternoon I played around with three very simple versions of the same page, complete on the left and incomplete on the right so the students can see how they are developed.  I’ve used just basic script, circles and lines.   I kept to the KISS principle . . .  Keep It Simple Sweetheart!  The letters for the heading for the first spread are cut out of squares and rectangles of magazine pages . . . a technique I will show them tomorrow.  The heading on the second spread, in Big Fat Letters, was demonstrated last week.

Adding circles and dots to text.

I wanted to show the students that the addition of circles and dots to their writing (on the left) makes a big difference to the overall appearance of the text.

Personal Qualities

This time I want to introduce the students to ‘the piano test’ which I first used in a class about two years ago. We were working on some visual presentations and to have the students critique their own work I had them prop it up on a piano and take four big steps back to view it. This page lacks definition and I’m hoping that is what the students will tell me.

Gone dotty

Again I wanted to show the effect of using simple shapes, lines and dots, and the power of a border . . . this one is just a wiggly line. I also left my pencil markings in the circles so that the students can see that just a little planning is helpful!

Any feedback is welcome as eventually, I’m hoping to come up with a resource for teachers of any skill level on art.

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About late start studio

I think the blog title says it all! Or so I thought when I began blogging. Since then I realise that I began my life as a maker very young. The 'late start' is in taking being a Maker seriously . . . giving it the capital letter it deserves. Over the years I have acquired a wide variety of skills , some through need and other through simple curiosity and now that I have resigned from the paid workforce, I am happily pursuing Making with creativity, originality and discipline.

16 thoughts on “playing at work

  1. Wendy, this is so great that you have the opportunity to work with these children! It’s about that age that self-esteem plummets … this project is a great way to counter that.

    • I agree Jan. For many they want to be part of the cool crowd yet they want to be an individual . . . if only they knew who that was. I want them to see the best who they are now and how they can show it.

  2. Wow – this is awesome Wendy! I’m so happy that my Teens Dream Journal DVD has been some benefit to you and the kids you are teaching. How wonderful that you can utilize your creativity to help kids discover more of what makes them unique and special. So happy for you!
    Just wondered if the kids used white paint pens for some of the pieces? I love the addition of the dots to highlight the letters – makes them stand out for sure!
    Love, Violette xo

    • The teacher is asking where to buy a copy Violette so of course I told her!
      Those pages are very simple ones I mocked up as different examples. Some of the kids are so hesitant that they’d copy if I just did one . . . not that there’s a problem with that as I think any mark-making is helpful as a starting point. I used a correction pen for all the white . . . I haven’t found a white paint pen that is opaque enough.
      I’ll let you know how the class goes today!

  3. Love the idea of these. I have been thinking of a possible in person art journal workshop and am super excited to see that you are doing it sort of. Are the kids receptive?

    Life gets so busy, but I would much rather have a full life than one that is lived on the screen.


    • Hi Natasha, some of the students definitely are . . . others are of the I can’t draw’ ilk so I am deliberately showing models where no drawing is needed. The Big Fat Letters are and magazine letters are easy enough and they can always cut letters out of magazines and make a heading that way. Some of them censure themselves so harshly they can’t bring themselves to even start. So sad to see at just 12 and 13 whereas EVERY 5-year-old knows they are an artist. I think our 5 year olds should get together!

      And I totally agree about real life as opposed to a virtual one! 🙂

      • They would definitely not have any hesitation about claiming the artist title!!

        It is so sad isn’t it in regards to the self-censure. How are you getting the ones to scared to start to begin? Do you have some pre-prepped pages?

        I hope that Victoria doesn’t lose her fearlessness or confidence in who she is and what she can do.

      • For the most hesitant, doing a heading for their work difficult so I say to do it last . . . they have been told to do nothing to the cover as any book has the cover designed last, after the writer has finished.

        Don’t worry too much about Victoria . . . just help her celebrate her success . . . and let her have her own page on your blog! 😉

    • Thank you Quinn. I obviously need to do some updating of this topic on my blog! Unfortunately I have been away with a bad back for almost 2 weeks and haven’t got the permission forms signed by parents and students. This weekend I hope to post an update so be prepared!

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