Wednesday, July 1, 2015

DIY Accessories and Storybooks- Summer Camp!- BCA

Ah, summer camp. 

The joy and simplicity of art lessons that don't need grading, crafty projects with no agenda.  It is summer number nine for me at BCA, and my twelfth summer teaching art camps.

For example, duct tape purses: questionable educational value, but invaluable fun!
The first two camps of the summer I had the pleasure to teach were a DIY Accessories class and a writing+art class called Storybooks.

Fabulous ribbon headbands- all made by a single happy little camper.
No surprise, the DIY accessories class attracted all girls.  These ladies were very into all of the most glam-tastic options, including metallic spray paint, giant rhinestones, and feathers.

Feather clip-on earrings!
 The class was small, so they could really go all-out on projects- lots of hands-on help, plentiful materials, and many options of things to make each day.

Summery flower and tulle-ribbon headbands
 Each project could be customized in fun ways.  These headbands could be designed several different ways, and the girls added little extras like a bell or big ol' gems.

Fluffy ribbon barrettes
I took it back to the 80's for several projects, including these ribbon barrettes which were in a book I had as a kid, and friendship bracelets, the official staple of summer camps nationwide.

Made, obviously, by looping it around your foot or toe.
I stopped us short of sewing scrunchies, because even though I made dozens of them as a kid, it turns out that they didn't actually look good.  At all.

Not me- but I wore my hair like this all the time. Oh, well. At least it matched my tube socks.
The campers were not so into projects that involved sewing. They vastly preferred the immediacy of every crafter's best friend, the hot glue gun.

Yes, I let small children use hot glue guns. Yes, they sometimes touch it by accident.  And yes, they go right back to using it again, because like other real and satisfying tools (saws, sewing machines, drills, hammers), there is an substantial element of self-confidence that rises out of knowing that they are trusted with a potentially dangerous tool. It builds their sense of responsibility, especially knowing that they can teach that tool to others.

Bejeweled ribbon belt, brought to you courtesy of a hot glue gun.
The spray paint we used helped the girls make these gorgeous wooden bangles.

And this one, which deserves its own closeup, for the tiny owls drawn on afterward.

Why owls on a bracelet? Because she's eight, and she rocks.
Designs made this week ranged from the sweet...

to the fierce.

Made by a seven-year-old. What?! I want that.
There was so much more. More earrings, more hair bows, more projects we couldn't even get to this week because they were such busy bees.

A couple of the same campers were with me all day, and for the other half we did Storybooks. Many of these kids are such writers, from their souls, that it blew me away. They came loaded up with stories in the mind and tales to tell, and all I really did was provide a platform for them to put the stories forward.
First page of a pop-up book. Watch out Robert Sabuda!
My job, as I saw it, was to introduce interesting book formats that stimulated the artists to conceive of its content.  For example, we made these books with pages offset slightly from one another, a style which lent itself well to acrostic poetry, counting, chapter, or alphabet books:

 Students made field guides, which could either be based in reality or in their own imaginations:

We experimented with different types of book binding, including sewing with a needle+thread, using a hole punch+embroidery floss, and straw+rubberbands:

Hole punch+embroidery floss binding, with a styrofoam print cover illustration
Artists also tried several different ways that book printers make fancy papers, such as marbling and bubble printing:

       Folded journal-style book with Velcro closure. Several kids used this for non-fiction fact books with glossaries.
Anyway, are you still with me? Thanks! This post is long, but barely touches the tip of the art-iceberg produced by my lovely campers this week at Burlington City Arts.  Welcome summer!

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