Wednesdays is my day for teaching Art to a group of teenagers who’ve become disengaged from school for various reasons. The idea behind the program they are doing, is to create a pathway for them to reenter education at a post school level. Most of them are around 15 or 16. We decided as a group to create giant spiders for Halloween. On the table in front of them I placed black crêpe paper, goggle eyes, PVA glue, foam insect bodies, newspaper, pipe cleaners, wool, feathers, tiny pom poms and wool rovings. While they looked at the materials, I made a web on the window from some wool I had found in an op shop and some spider web stuff I found at a craft store.
They sat for quite a long time, not doing anything. This group has been so used to flying under the radar at school, that often they can be a little afraid to start. One student started reading the newspaper. Oh dear, thought I. Suddenly though, he asked if he could make a Kim Kardashian spider. Of course you can, I replied, as long as she has 8 legs. He busily got to work as did the others. They were happy with their end results and gave me permission to put them online. I think perhaps, Kim might like her spider likeness!
“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web” Pablo Picasso
Last year, I lost my job of ten years at a university, our course was cut. I taught young adults with mild intellectual disabilities and I wanted to continue, but felt disenchanted about working for another large education institution. In March this year, with a friend, I was fortunate to be able to set up a group one day a week at a Neighbourhood Community House.
We teach our young adults literacy, numeracy and art and craft. I love working there, but just didn’t have enough work. Exciting news for me though. I am going to be running an art and craft class for a group of adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities as well as an art class for a group of teenage boys who have become disengaged from education for various reasons. I’ve had the boys for one class so far and we did Zentangle style drawings of our arm and hand which captured their imagination as most are fascinated with tattoos. Some of their drawings were amazing and I think there are definitely a few budding tattoo artists there. I don’t know a lot about tattoos; I think I’m going to learn a lot more from this group. They will be a challenge to keep motivated, so if you have any wonderful ideas, please let me know! If you want to know more about Zentangle drawing then visit here: www.zentangle.com
You might wonder why I have photographs of cupcakes, I think I will not do cupcake decorating with the boys(they wouldn’t even use the pink Sharpie pen on their drawings). The cupcakes were decorated by my group of young adults. I gave them piping bags with coloured frosting and some decorations and then left them to it. At the end of the class, some were busy photographing their cakes for their Facebook pages. The highlight for me, was looking at their proud faces.