Tuesday, 30 October 2012

I may look like as mad as a box of frogs...but the children had fun!! An Arty(pops) walk with Samantha Barnes

Filling up a half-term day nicely, come walk & draw with me!

The sunshine helped, but even in the rain it's do-able (with a brolly or two) to take the babes on a countryside walk.

All we took with us was an A3 sketchbook, some children's felt-tips, a crayon or two and a couple of pencils.  The children pretty much did it all themselves but we had much fun and hopefully our short film will inspire you to try it yourselves.


Children's Art telly programmes..all hail 'Deadly Art' (CBBC). Also turning mega lions into ducks...

In our house, during school holidays and on weekend mornings (when mum and dad get the chance for an extra hour in snooze land) our babes are allowed telly in the mornings.   It's called 'Saturday morning telly' whatever the day...much easier this way.

Darling son hauls himself and his duvet downstairs on the the massive snuggly sofa to burn his brains out on whatever he fancies from the children's channel, Darling Daughter comes down about 20 later and they snuggle on the sofa until our day begins.

This morning however I have work to do so leaving a snoozing daddy, I am in the office doing exactly NOT what am supposed to be doing, blogging.     I am however, stupidly inspired artistically from watching 'Deadly Art' a children's telly programme that I sat glued to with both my babes under the duvet on said snuggly sofa.

Now then...in my day we had 'Take Hart' 'Why Don't You' and 'Magpie' along with 'Blue Peter' for creative inspiration.  All of which were wonderful, basic but wonderful and I think I actually owe my artistic career to Tony Hart, who, sniff died last year.

Today my babes are 8 and 4 so we have (endured) 'Mister Maker' (queue the theme tune in my head...NOOOOOOooo!) and I think thats about it really.

This morning though I watched the afore mentioned 'Deadly Art' and it made me really happy to be doing so.

Mixing up footage of 'deadly animals' (this morning was the lion) and then taking that back to the art studio where two (very young...why?) Artists where ready to 'make art' from the link.  Nice.  In one programme we had a 3d model of a lion's head, a large 2m x2m squared canvas painting (that was the BIG reveal at the end of the programme) and during the programme, lots of drawing of a lions head.

During the filming of this programme, the crew had set up camp somewhere to call an event of lion-drawing to film...queues of children waiting patiently with less patient parents lining up to get drawing...I found the whole thing ace in fact.

Children create naturally.  This programme was all about getting them inspired to draw and get arty around the subject that they had chosen and were enthusing massively about...and...proof of the pudding...8 year old Darling Son is now all inspired to draw (albeit still on the sofa) so today, we are going out for a walk in the countryside to find some lions...oh alright..some ducks.

Hope they strike the same cord...may have to do some creative imagining with them...

Will report back later, well done 'Deadly Art'.

Sam x

Saturday, 27 October 2012

A brilliant thing to do with that pile of wonderful beautiful drawings children's drawings...that pile that just keeps on growing. MAKE WRAPPING PAPER from them...genius! Enjoy x

Don't feel bad, we have all done it.  Binned (ahem) recycled some of those beautiful drawings that fall fresh from the hands of our babes...it's the quantity of them that is the problem, we have gazillions of them..all gorgeous of course.    

Once your albums are full, and there is no space left on your bedroom walls we are in trouble.  

As more drawings roll off the dining room table rising panic begins to kick in...I know, we have all been there.

No longer dear hearts...homemade wrapping paper...genius.

Gather together all the drawings you can muster....children LOVE to do this bit.

Place them face down and secure into one large sheet with selotape. (Scroll down)

Marvellous stuff.  Then quite simply wrap your pressie.  Finishing it off with a bow works wonders too.  Below are lots of shots to get you going...great for Granny especially!

Fab Christmas Pressies for Arty Children. 'Art in a Box' by the wonderful Sarah Richardson & The Tate.

Quite frankly I have to ask myself 'whats not to like' about 'Art in a Box'  by the wonderful Sarah Richardson & The Tate (Darling).  

If ever I run dry'ish of ideas of things to do with my children and those in my children's art classes I head straight for the Tate (Modern normally) as they are stuffed to the brim with innovative ideas of high creativity for children.  Learning by mistake as it were - actually is this not the holy grail of teaching?  

I digress.  Inside of this natty little magnetic box (very Tate sweetie) are 20 cards with well known and mainly contemporary Artists work on. Peter Blake, Chris Offili, Cornelia Parker cards sit alongside Picasso and Albert Irving.  On one side of the A5 card is a well known work, covering the whole side bar a couple of mm at the edge.  On the reverse are the Artist's details, birth, death etc and up to 8 bullet points about their work and thought provoking questions for for the children to read and think about themselves.

Lastly, the 'Your Turn' section.  An activity to make something along the lines of said Artist.  For example, Albert Irvin.  'Make your own abstract painting in the style of Albert Irvin'.  Using suggested materials that are easy to grab, using two colours from the included colour chart in the box (LOVELY touch) and suggested materials, we are guided to produce something akin to the Artist's work itself.

Tactile, easy to comprehend and frankly delicious for parents and children to work on together I fully endorse this pressie.  Enjoy. 

ps.  Find it here  for £9.76.  nice.

Monday, 22 October 2012

'Open Art Sessions' for all those interested...children, adults and families.

The children's art classes that am doing after school, are proving to be very popular.  They begin the week after half-term and are going to be small sessions of 8 children at a time.

In fact, so popular that am considering doing another open day rather like the one I did this time last year.

That was a 'Art Family Day on the Farm' and we had a ball.  68 children and 40 adults in a barn on a farm doing art...perfect.  Enjoy the movie..its only 2 mins long and tells you all you need to know.

I have slightly held off doing more events as I wasn't overly sure exactly what it was that I am promoting!   Now I see it's important to do them quite simply for doing them and having a ball.

I can village-hall it, perhaps get the day sponsored, plonk ourselves somewhere and make lots and lots of Art...yummy.

Please register your interest in attending by emailing me info@samanthabarnes.co.uk  marvellous stuff!


Monday, 8 October 2012

A trip to the shop at The Tate Modern...items to inspire children's imagination..

This weekend we went to London.

That is the husband and I went into London to help my old mucker Katie Turner move studio.  We worked like trojans and had a ball at the same time...result.  See here to read about that very special day.  

On the Sunday bruised and tired, we went for a beautiful walk along the Thames to the Tate Modern, the mere sight of the place (although particularly the shop) fills me with possibilities - its very exciting for me to go there..even more if I have £50 in my pocket to spend on some beautiful items, books, a few trinkets for the babes and a long latte in the restaurant at the top.  It's a brilliant place to go...for everyone, Artists, families, on your lonesome and particularly with children.

I wanted to go to the Tate for two reasons, firstly to walk off a thick head (from the evening before) and secondly to find some fresh input for my children's art lessons.

I wasn't disappointed.   The Tate Modern  is fresh thinking and welcoming.  It realises that it belongs to everyone and everyone is invited.  Having set their attitude so well, the merchandise reflects its values brilliantly.  The items sourced for children are encouraging, inspiring and easy easy to comprehend.

All the items that I am listing below are for children.  Things that I have purchased for my own babes and to keep for my art lessons.  Each I love and would happily encourage to you to get ordering for birthdays looming and of course..shhhs (say it quietly) Christmas...sh!

First up we have:

'Lets Make some Great Art'  by Marion Deuchars.

Wowzers what a book.  Its big and thick and made of recycled paper.  All a bonus.

I believe its about 200 pages?  About that thick anyway (that is about 2.5cm)  Each page is a delicious task or activity that draws you in...ahem...I mean the child in.

My son is now 8 and its his idea of heaven.  An activity per page, or spread over two maximum.  The children is encouraged to think about perspectives, colours, animation, drawing, expressions, comics, composition.  Blissfully each page is about DRAWING...yum.

Seeing my son (particularly as he seems to be a millions miles a minute 99% of the time) sitting at the dining table with his pens...head tilted to one side and his tongue ever so slightly hanging out in concentration, is utter bliss for me.  Enough to fire off a feeling of 'happy child, happy parent' moment from my synapses....a complete result for £12.99.


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Making Bat Puppets. Fantastic for boys & gals, aged from about 7 or 8 upwards. Fab for birthday parties, Halloween or just busying little fingers!

Darling Son's birthday....10 Boys, aged 7/8...aaargh!!   Fab crafting activity needed..like now!  

Musts:  To keep them engaged.  To not involve paint.  Must involve goggly eyes, To do something that doesn't involve them getting changed, just school jumpers off.  For the activity to be done and completed, (with 3 breaks for running off energy half way through - keep them fresh, to consume heartily hot dogs & pizza and lastly to play skylanders...of course!) within 1hr 30 around said breaks. Peasy...ahem!


My lovely childminder taught me this one, the technique also works really well for making monsters...just use different coloured tissue paper.

Here we go:

Gather together:
  • Scissors
  • Old Newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Black tissue paper, cut into approx 3cm square pieces or smaller.
  • PVA Glue
  • A paint brush 
  • Plant Sticks - easy to find in Homebase or B&Q  (to hold the bat up with)
  • Googly eyes

Children will most likely need quite a bit of help to get the shape right but will indeed be chuffed to nuts having made the whole thing.    However..if time is tightish or you fear your wee cherubs could lose interest, do this first bit yourself...for my son's birthday crafty tea, I made all the bats ready to be painted with glue & tissue in advance (that is far too late the night before...think 5 P's!)

Righto...gather your gubbins:

Dig out some old newspapers, from a broad sheet you are going to need about 3 sheets if not more. Screw up to make a long body thing, about 7inches long (will do the cm thing soon I promise) and about 2 inches round in diameter.  Twist the newspaper round to get this shape then hold into place with strips of masking tape.

Keep shaping using the masking tape..big bits that you can twist around...don't be shy with it.

The wings are just as simple.  Take a sheet of paper, fold into a square, then make triangles so they are quite thick with paper.  Then...using more masking tape (little bits now) make semi-secure for cutting purposes.

Cut a bat-wing shape, secure with more tape and then add wing onto your body until it looks a bit like this...and you have your shape...albeit very unperfect which is just fine (remember its the doing not being perfect!)

Next slather on some PVA glue over a good wing, body or other chosen bit,  You are now ready for your tissue paper.    (This is a great time for the children to take over).


Get your tissue paper ready to go.  Children LOVE this bit.  Cover as much as you can generously lapping on the glue.  

Once you have your model covered entirely, leave to dry or take a hair dryer to it.  (Not too close though obviously)

Artypops Tip*  Your model can become over glued and when little fingers try to put our object down, they can take a load of tissue with them!  At this point, pop in the sun, airing cupboard or take the hair dryer to it.  If you are leaving it to dry au-natural, it should only need about 40 mins.  Feel free to turn it over if its drying in a funny shape.  

When its all dry, you will find our model wonderfully secure..hence all the glue drying and protecting it...lovely eh?

Righto then, we should be at this point:

Now add on the all-important googly eyes and the fangs (tiny white triangles under the eyes at the front) for instant recognition.  (nearing the end now)

Next, take our plant stick.  Adults, make a hole underneath near the centre somewhere.  A good deep hole but not wide, I used the end of a pair or sharp scissors.

Insert your plant stick and it should be pretty secure due to the density of the rolled up newspaper inside.

Lastly...whilst your bat in on the stick and needs no holding, touch up any black bits with either newspaper or marker pen, either is dandy.


Well done everyone! 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Beading, Bonding & Birthdays...making 'Hearty Hang-ups'

My favourite time of year.

It's getting to be crafty time, I mean all those delicious events that need celebrating...Halloween, Guy Fawkes and all the things to get ready for the Red Guy to come on the 25th December...my idea of bliss, my husband the opposite (bah humbug grumpus mcflumpus).

So...kicking it all of is my DS's 8th birthday on Monday...aaargh.  Stress.  10 boys for tea, so it's making we shall do.  Monday's weather is looking good so am thinking that a picnic tea in the park might well do, but for now...am planing a 'make-along'.

Am thinking bats.  Bats for Boys.  Making Halloween Bats.  Good for being in season (Darling) good to take home (Happy Mums & Dads) and great to make (happy children).

Have the materials and the plan so oft I go.  Will let you know how we get on.

In the meantime...I have my beautiful nieces and nephew here today alongside my own too.  Organisation is the key and in fact, the day has flown by so fast that am willing the two big ones to come back from swimming now, to cram in the pizza/movie and popcorn part of the plan which is scheduled to start at 4.45...must...stay...on ......schedule!

This mornings activity however was a rip-roaring success.  The tines (ages 4 & 5) made airplay necklace pendants complete with tons of beads kneaded into them, and the older gals made beaded heart pendants complete with hangy bit.  Both went down mighty well.

So with that in mind, I decided to record it to pass on the (mega basic) idea.


'Making Hangy Beaded Hearts'.

Brill for:  Ages 7 or 8 years up.

Whats needed?

Wire, gardening is fine.
Seed beads...(little tiny weeny beads to put between the bigger ones)

Gather your stuff altogether and get comfy.. 


Make yourself a tiny wee loop at the top of the wire to stop the beads coming off as you put them on!  

Then, (this is the important bit) take a seed bead (that is the tiny ones) and put between each big bead.  This does two things, a:  looks very pretty and b:  beefs out the big beads beautifully.  Making your bead collection last twice as long.

Keep beading until your line is about the length of an adults hand, in a line..big bead, then a little one.

Once you are there,make a circle & tie up the ends together by winding and winding.  

Now you have your beads on the wire, you can make the heart shape..remember to make a kink at the bottom of the heart... to really make it sharp and obvious its a heart.

Once we have our beaded hearts, fill up the remainder of the wire with the seed beads and then bend over into a loop, fastening at the bottom.

We are finished and it looks...

Perfecto.  Wonderful as a window decoration, a Christmas tree decoration or for wrapping up and giving as a personalised gift.

Well done x