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    Features

    Nature Art Project Round-Up

    Working with art and nature is a popular combination, and one that I find I return to again and again, yet it occurred to me that I have never brought these posts together into a single location which can be used as a resource for parents and educators. The activities and resources listed below offer a wide variety of cross curricular activities, suitable for a range of ages and circumstances, from outdoor education to activities which combine art with science. I have also listed a few inspirational books on this theme which may be helpful too. Projects Beautiful Books to Inspire & Inform The books listed below are books that…

  • Display,  Projects

    New Colourful Gallery Wall

    We’re currently planning some decorating at home, so I’ve been busy getting samples of paint and trying them on the walls. Looking in the garage I find I have dozens of these sample pots since I never throw them away afterwards if there is still paint in them – after all they can be useful for touch-ups, or for small projects etc. So all this activity gave me an idea for a new gallery wall. Our existing chalkboard gallery is great, but I find I would like to have the wall back to draw on rather than just display artwork, so I thought I would create a new gallery wall.…

  • Display,  Projects

    The Art Wall Evolves….

    After a long, I might say unplanned break, I’m finally back and blogging again. I think that’s the longest break I’ve ever had, though I suspect more might be on their way as Christmas approaches. There has of course been lots happening behind the scenes, and hopefully I’ll have time to share some of the projects we’ve been up to, the new products we now have available, and other news before the madness starts. So I thought I’d start with an update on our Chalkboard Art Wall. This has been a really successful addition to our home – I don’t think I would ever be without a chalkboard wall now,…

  • Features

    Creative Cardboard Creations

    I love the amazing versatility of cardboard. It’s a fantastic material for creativity, being cheap, light, strong, and sustainable. We have lots and lots of it at home, since all the stock for the Artful Kids store arrives in boxes of various shapes and sizes, and we manage to recycle and re-use a large quantity of them ourselves, either in the business itself, or for various creative projects. In spite of its many uses however, you may not normally associate cardboard with furniture even though the use of paper for furniture, (in the form of papier mache particularly) has a venerable history. Cardboard is in fact an ideal material for…

  • Display,  Projects

    Children’s Artwork Mobile

    This project offers an alternative three-dimensional way to display children’s artwork. It’s a simple concept with multiple potential variations so you can make it as basic or as complicated as you like. I love it’s kinetic qualities, but unfortunately this made it astonishingly difficult to photograph properly, so all I can say is that the photos don’t really do it justice. You can make them as big or as small as you like depending on the space available. I think a few really long ones would look fabulous suspended down a stairwell. However we don’t have the house for this, so a corner of my kitchen had to do!  …

  • Features,  Techniques

    Mixed Media Experiments

    It seems to me like the more creative projects I get myself involved in, the more I want to do – my mind seems to be in a state of creative overdrive at the moment so that I have at least half a dozen projects on the go.  Of course I don’t really have time for it all, hence I have been somewhat quieter than usual online! At some point they will hopefully all come to fruition, but in the meantime I wanted to share one of the projects I’ve been working on. This combines several different areas I’ve been exploring of late – layers, spray inks, and oil pastels,…

  • Features,  Projects

    Gallery Walls – Old & New

    This week I thought I’d share with you our new Children’s Art Gallery Wall. This is to replace our previous Chalkboard Art Gallery, which we are now using more for creative drawing, messages etc. The new display uses 3 Hanging Wire Picture Holders, which are of course a variation of the traditional ‘washing line’ display, using steel wire and clips, only this one uses a vertical wire, weighted at the bottom, with tiny strong magnets to hold the pieces of artwork in place. I love it’s flexibility – artwork can be changed or adjusted (slid up or down the cable) really easily, and you can have just one vertical display,…

  • Features,  Projects

    Creating Thank You Cards with Kids Artwork

    It’s that time again – time to make thank you cards for the Christmas presents the boys received, and get them sent off. I have to say it seems to take us longer and longer to do this every year – but I at least, feel guilty if it’s not done, and it’s not really something I can or should do for them. This year I persuaded my younger son to draw some pictures specially so that I could create some cards from them. This I thought might be easier than expecting them both to make a whole pile of cards, only for them to lose interest half way through,…

  • Features

    Kids Artwork – Choosing what to Keep

    It’s a perennial problem – of all the mountains of artwork that young children produce, how much of it should you keep? Maybe you are sufficiently ‘ruthless’  to be able to throw it away without a qualm, but at the other extreme if you are a hoarder like me, you may find it difficult to throw any of it away.  There comes a time however when rational decisions have to be made if you’re not to be swamped. But how to make them? It can be difficult to create hard and fast rules here, because what makes something special for one person will be entirely different for another, and ultimately…

  • Features

    Photographing Children’s Artwork

    If you want to take photos of your children’s artwork for your own projects, perhaps to create your own cards, or to make a photograph, the quality of the photograph is of huge importance. For this reason, I thought it might be worthwhile offering a few simple pointers to getting the best image you can. After all, not everyone has access to a home scanner, and if the artwork is large, then your average home scanner is not an option. At this point I should make it clear that it’s not necessary to have a super dooper all singing all dancing camera to get a good photograph – these days…

  • Features

    Making Arty Party Pieces

    It’s all been a bit hectic here recently, so I didn’t get a chance to post last week. What with sickness (mine), injury (husband’s), life in general, and the fact that I’m in the process of trying to complete a major project at the moment (watch this space as hopefully all will be revealed shortly) time is a bit short for blogging and creative activity with the kids. So it was rather nice to be invited to a craft themed birthday party for a change. We’ve been to lots of 5th birthday parties recently, the vast majority of which have been in one local play centre or another. The kids…

  • Features

    The Art of Travel

    There is a long history of artwork created while out and about. From the truly inspirational sketchbooks of JMW Turner to the ‘plein air’ art of the impressionists, art produced ‘on the spot’ often has something which art created later from notes, photographs, memory etc. lacks. Travelling or going away on holiday is also no excuse for kids to stop being creative – in fact it offers lots of new sights, materials and inspiration for artwork. The opportunities are not just confined to those while you’re actually away, but the time before and after your trip can also be used to get creative with a travel theme. Here are just a…