Four Saturdays this summer are jam-packed with fun family events + one-off classes!
Fyi – Summer starts next week (eeek)! … In case you’re wondering why all the little people in your house are still in bed when they are normally supposed to be catching a bus!
As much as we love our weekly summer camps, a lot of kids are either too young for camp (they start at age 4) or aren’t able to attend a weekly camp. We miss those kids during the summer!
We normally have birthday parties all day on Saturdays, but we’re excited to announce that we have carved out four Saturdays this summer and jam-packed the day with fun family events and one-off classes! These are going to fill up fast, so enroll online asap to secure your spots! We’ll be doing different projects each week so feel free to attend all of them! See our Events page for details and enrollment links!
TODDLER + PRESCHOOL PROCESS ART PLAYGROUP:
June 15, June 29, July 13, & Aug. 17, 9:30-10:15am
Join your child (ages 18m to pre-school) as they discover the uninhibited joy of process-based, open-ended art invitations. Our “Escort Your Artist” playgroup is the perfect opportunity for your child to experiment with colors, shapes & enticing sensory materials. You or another adult sidekick (nanny, grandparent, etc.) will engage, inspire and challenge your little Picasso alongside our teaching staff, as they move freely throughout the studio working at their own pace at a number of creative art stations & prompts. This special DROP IN playgroup is for mixed ages 18m-6 yrs. $15/child, 10% sibling discount.
3-6 Yr. OLD DROP OFF PLAYGROUP:
June 15, July 13, & Aug. 17, 10:30-11:30am, and June 29 1:00-2:00pm
We love our preschoolers but many of them are too young for summer camp, so we’ve carved out a few special Saturdays in the summer for them! Each of these special Saturday DROP OFF classes will explore a different art medium – so sign up for all of them if you’d like! Your child(ren) will explore enticing art materials and tools, experience the magic of turning their shapes into recognizable images, and learn foundational art techniques! All while enjoying some messy fun, in an engaging classroom dynamic. Drop Off, Ages 3-6 (must be potty trained and independent in the restroom). $20/child, 10% sibling discount.
FATHER’S DAY CRAFTERNOON:
June 15, 2:30-4pm
Join us for this special Father’s Day themed Family Crafternoon! This special event is your one stop shop for all things DAD! This could be a super fun outing for Dads + their little sidekicks to do a little man-crafting, or moms can come with their child(dren) to make surprise artsy gifts for Dad – you decide! We’ll have lots of fun and inspiring art materials and prompts (adaptable to a wide range of ages) to get those creative juices flowing! $25 / child, 10% sibling Discount. An adult caregiver required to accompany children. Not recommended for kids under 4.
FAMILY FUN CRAFTERNOON:
June 29 2:30-4pm, July 13, & Aug. 17, 12:00-1:30pm
Beat the heat this summer and drop in to enjoy some artsy indoor family fun! It’s a priceless family bonding experience as you collaborate, make creative choices together, cooperate, laugh + have fun! We’ll have a smorgasbord of stimulating art materials + creative prompts set up to get everyone’s creative juices flowing. Our staff is happy to offer suggestions, or just stay out of your way and refill your paint & wash your brushes! Assist & collaborate with your child(ren), or do your own crafting (in which case, enroll + pay for yourself as a participant). Not recommended for kids under 4. $25 per “crafter” / 10% sibling discount. Drop in during the 1.5 hr window or stay for the entire duration.
This Textured Paper Fringe Wall Hanging project was inspired by our friends at Raw Art Workshop in Australia.
One of our favorite kindred spirits to follow on Instagram is Raw Art Workshop in Australia! They are such a continual source of magnificent creative inspiration! We admire their distinct style which shines through in the creations of the little artists they teach! And they also seem to love layering different types of mediums as much as we do (chalk or oils rubbed onto painted papers decoupaged on cardboard, and so on)! Our only complaint is we wish they’d do more talking in their Instagram stories! Cause we love a good Aussie accent!
When we first laid eyes on this textured, fringe-y paper wall tapestry on their feed, we lost our minds a little. We loved the simplicity and creative use of up-cycled materials. And how paper was such an unexpected medium for a this type of wall tapestry! We loved the dramatic colors, shape & form of these amazing wall hangings and couldn’t wait to introduce it to our 9-12 yr. old class!
As additional inspiration, we looked at traditional fabric and fiber texture wall hangings. We observed the layers of yarn & fabric, texture and blocks of colors that worked together to create a pleasing effect. We discussed how to transform flat two dimensional art materials into an interesting three dimensional piece with texture. And we talked about the challenges that they could anticipate while trying to create this effect with paper instead of fibers.
To prep the materials, the class layered some rich acrylic paints on 50# kraft paper. The color palette was limited to no more than three colors, with some black and white accents. Limiting the range of hue seen within the art piece can help provide unity, as well as convey emotion. Students used various tools to create depth and texture in their paint, such as old credit cards to scrape, patterned sponge rollers, and texture paint scrapers.
As their painted papers were drying, they sifted through mounds of colorful, patterned scrapbook paper to find sheets that would compliment their palette. That’s as far as we got in the first week’s 1 hour class.
The following week, it was time to start cutting and arranging their layers of paper. The goal was to create a layered, sculptural wall hanging using various cutting, folding, twisting & weaving techniques. Once they got going, they realized how limitless the possibilities were! They could create interesting lines by making accordion folds. The paper could be ‘spun’ into a type of twine by rolling and twisting it into long cords. Students could cut or tear layers of fringe and curl the edges by rolling them onto a dowel or marker. They could create dimension and depth by folding or crinkling papers. And the list goes on and on…
After manipulating all of their raw materials, they arranged and re-arranged the placement of their pieces until they settled on an overall layout that they were pleased with. They had to decide which order they wanted their papers to cascade & descend.
To assemble the sculptures, we used a heavy mat board base. They worked from the base layer up, using masking tape and glue sticks. They were careful to focus on craftsmanship as they strived to make the tape and glue invisible. The overall construction had to be strong and stable.
Lastly, some chose to embellish their sculpture with black and white contrast in a meditative drawing session of tangling.
They came out really stunning, don’t you think? Thanks again, Raw Art Workshop, for inspiring us to try these!
This is HUGE for us!! We are so excited to be able to have our Pottery Summer Camp within about 27 steps of our Mixed Media camps at our main studio at the Fountains Shopping Center!
And SOOOO convenient for parents!
For the last eight summers, our Pottery Camps have been at a facility a short drive from here. We’ve outgrown that facility and have been on the hunt for a better and more convenient option! And we finally found it, right under our noses!
Our friends at Steps N Motion took over a space in our shopping center that was formerly occupied by Funkytown, and have generously allowed us to use it for pottery! It’s literally right through the breezeway from our main studio! It’s big and spacious and we can’t wait to get in there and make some cool pottery!
This opens up so many convenient options for parents! Both our Pottery and Mixed Media camps run from either 9am-12pm or 1-4pm.
And now we can offer a FULL DAY “Combo” Camp – half day of Pottery and half day of Mixed Media! It’s like two completely different camps all in one spot! And lunch time childcare is included (you provide the lunch, we provide the fun).
In addition to the full day option, there are now so many options for siblings with different interests or schedules. For example, you can drop one child off for Mixed Media camp and the other for Pottery. It also means our teaching team can be really be a “team”! We can all traipse back & forth between Pottery & Mixed Media, helping & supporting each other! (Secret code for: delivering iced lattes and sharing funny stories of camp happenings!)
This jellyfish weaving project was the perfect unexpected and unplanned experience for our 9-12 yr. old class!
We’ve wanted to do a radial weaving project with this older group ever since we did this amazing circle weaving project with our younger students. But to be honest, we had no idea that it would morph into this beautiful jellyfish weaving project! Our original idea was to incorporate a lesson on color and texture. We selected a wintery cool palette of shimmery blues, purples, grays & turquoise. The mix of textures included lots of different types of yarn, ribbon, twine, tulle & cellophane. We didn’t have a pre-conceived plan for the final presentation of the radial weavings. We thought perhaps we would give the students a few suggestions to either mount them or hang them onto a mobile.
First, we demonstrated how to warp the loom. We used 10″ cake circles with an odd number of pre-cut slits. Anything round will work – a paper plate, etc.
A wide assortment of fibers of varying textures and dimensions were available (ranging from fine to super chunky). It was a bit of a surprise how meticulously everyone was weaving, very slow & super tight. We envisioned each student whipping out about 3-4 in an hour long class period. Some students were just gravitating to the super fine and very thin strands. After about 30 minutes only had woven about an inch, so we had to suggest they incorporate some chunkier fibers to pick up a little speed!
When we snipped the warp yarn off the loom, someone thought they looked a bit like a jellyfish! We loved that idea and decided to run with it! Those who didn’t love the jellyfish concept had the option to mount their weaving or come up with their own idea!
One important step: after you snip the warp strands to remove it from the loom, you have to tie two tails together to make a fringe – this keeps the weaving from unraveling.
For the jellyfish lovers, they selected the strands of fibers for their tentacles. We secured them with a little twist of wire and cinched them underneath in the center. We hung them with fishing line.
The jellyfish were all very impromptu and unplanned. Next time we do this project we are going to intentionally set out to make jellyfish! We’re already imagining the backdrop the students could paint to display their jellyfish! They would also be cool swimming in a cluster on a mobile, with ocean inspired do-dads like shells and glass beads.
Our local PBS station recently showcased our fabulously talented teacher, Val Chan!
We are so excited to share this spotlight from our local PBS station about our fabulously talented teacher, Val Chan!
Our paths crossed randomly a few years ago and Val’s passion for living a creative life was so infectious, we just knew we wanted to be friends & hang out! We recently had the crazy idea to give her her a personalized Small Hands Big Art apron and secretly tell all the kids to start calling her Miss Val, & set more specific hours for her to stop by to “hang out”! (without her dog, sorry Barkus). We’re not sure she’s noticed that she’s actually WORKING here now…shhhh!! clever, huh??!! hahah – kidding!!! We feel so lucky to have whatever small part of her bustling busy creative life she can share with us! She is a natural teacher and the kids are soaking up everything she has to share!
She truly inspires us, and Val is living proof that you can be whatever you want to be in life, and you don’t need a formal art education to share your talents & creative joy with the world!
Katie has had a very personal experience with cystic fibrosis. In December, 2015, her beloved twelve year old niece Gracelyn lost her battle with cystic fibrosis after a long and courageous fight. In an ironic twist of fate (or maybe not so ironic), her husband Nick now works for the Charlotte Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Cystic Fibrosis kids are so susceptible to infections that they are often isolated from other kids, and it’s challenging be out and about, doing things like other kids, least of all, attending art class! Katie has been inspired to share her time and talent as an art teacher to facilitate private one-on-one painting dates with local CF fighters.
If asked, Katie wouldn’t take an iota of creative credit and would say all she is doing is pouring paint and refreshing rinse water. She would say that these kids teach her way more than she could ever teach them. But she is pouring way more than paint during these sessions. She is pouring out her heart and soul, her infectious creative energy and spirt, and (I believe) her love for Gracelyn. And it’s obvious that Gracelyn’s spirit is pouring out through her. It’s truly remarkable and utterly awe-inspiring.
Last Saturday, a piece made by her first charlotte CF Fighter student Palmer, was auctioned off for $36,000. THIRTY. SIX. THOUSAND. DOLLARS. Goosebumps. I hope little miss Palmer and everyone who witnessed this amazing moment and are working so hard to make a difference, are still floating on air!
Watch the exciting video about the momentous event with Derek James from WCCB-TV here.
Our tween / teen class created these amazing contour flowers using india ink and acrylic.
We wanted students to practice working on a very large scale, to create a contour drawing using gestural line work and motion, and to explore how to build up a painting layer by layer.
We set up a fresh arrangement of winter blooms as inspiration, and started by drawing directly with india ink on large white heavy weight sulphite drawing paper as we worked to create a gestural drawing of their still life.
We explained that when we work gesturally it means that we can see the movement of our arm within the mark making method on our paper.
Students were challenged to make a continuous contour line – never lifting their ink and moving quickly.
We guided them to explore a variety of organic shapes found in flowers – we don’t always see simple and spread out petals. Flowers are made of a variety of organic, twisting, and intersecting lines.
This is a 90 minute class. The above photo is about how far they got during the first class. The following week, they worked with gestural brush strokes to add color to their arrangement of winter florals, greenery, and sprigs. They were so beautiful and these kids were so proud of their amazing creations! And we loved how each student’s unique style emerged as these evolved, and they all looked so different in the end!
Basically, our year goes something like this: summer summer summer SUMMER fall wint… summer summer summer SUMMER…
Literally the split second that Winter Break wraps up, we’ve already got our summer planned and ready for our eager Early Birds in January! We’re buttoning up our summer camp plans and starting to plan our projects, supplies and staffing!
This year is no different! Here we are in the midst of winter, but we’re already dreaming of long summer days in the studio, kids rolling in with bed heads and milk mustaches, laughter and silliness and fun, and piles of the most amazing artwork you’ve ever seen!
Summer Camps are when we get to spend an entire week (3 hours a day!) with kids! We get to know them well – their favorite colors, what challenges them, what they love, what makes them tick, & what makes them laugh!
Summer is when we get to see a lot of our friends who only are able to come to camp – they have busy little lives that prevent them from coming to an after school class during the year. It’s always a fun shock when they walk in the door an entire foot taller, or with a few less teeth, and seemingly all grown up compared to last summer! We share fun memories from previous summers, and they find comfort in being back in such a familiar, creative environment!
Our half day camps are a fun mix of boys & girls and ages (5 to 14)! If we end up with two distinct younger and older age groups, we try to group them by age so that we can modify a project either to make it more complex or simplified as needed. It’s a tried and true format that has always worked really well for us and enables siblings, cousins for BFFs with a few years between them to attend the same camp and all enjoy creating at their own pace and level!
Summer is also a time of forging new friendships! We take a short snack break about half way through the three hours, and play fun, interactive, off-the-wall crazy creative games. It’s fun to watch friendships developing and kids running up to their moms at pick up asking to exchange phone numbers for play dates!
This fun video from last summer is like literally being a fly on the wall for an afternoon of camp! And enjoy some of these fave memories from last summer! We hope to see your crew in the studio this year!
Early Bird pricing ends March 1! Grab your spots now!
We are always teeming for new topics, art movements, techniques, and mediums for our teen art tribe to experience.
Over the past two weeks, these crazy creative students (ages 12-15) tackled the topic of surreal collage art. **Warning!** Prepare for your mind to be blown! Yeah. Would you just take a close LOOK at these!!
Each artist was given homework the week prior to gather up an array of magazines, images, photographs, and 2D memorabilia. Everything had to be free game to cut up and use in their collage. Every single one came to class with an arsenal of goodies. In addition to the supplies they gathered, we of course had a smorgasbord of old books (Alice in Wonderland… an apropos surrealist novel), sheet music, painted paper, magazines, and printed papers to play with.
One of the challenges was to break down the idea in their head that they were creating a bulletin board or scrapbook page style of their favorite things. This wasn’t intended to be a yearbook page. It was an adventure in surrealism. Each student stepped into a world of bizarre and dreamlike mixing of fact and fiction. We looked through a variety of surreal art – including traditional work by Salvador Dali & Rene Magritte as well as contemporary collage artists. We investigated how to take multiple images or subjects that don’t “seem to belong” and create a scene or theme that ties them together.
They had fun playing with pictures, tearing through magazines, and dry fitting different arrangements. Each student had to “pitch” their concept to us, work through any holes in their vision, and get to gluing! After assembling each collage with glue on matte board, students worked back into their composition with typography stamping, hand lettering, and illustrative design.
Everyone was so “into” this project. They supported and encouraged each other as they figured out how their intertwining and overlapping layers could come together in a cohesive composition! They fearlessly explored themes like identity and beauty, a spirit of wanderlust, and the importance of community. Students composed images around an inspirational quote, the loss of a loved one, and simple, joy-filled whimsy!
We loved this project as we watched their limitless imaginations unfurl! We’ve gotten to know this crew well over the past year, and are so proud to see so much of their unique personalities reflected. Kudos to these kids for pouring themselves into their artwork. Literally!