Adventures in Teaching

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I spent the last 10 weeks teaching a wonderful teen workshop series at the Palo Alto Art Center. The program was titled Compose Yourself and gave students the opportunity to create a collection of visual and literary projects of their own design. They learned about methods in, dark room photography, papermaking, collage, drawing styles, encaustic, bookbinding, and much more. I'm not going to lie, it was a lot of work. Each week was a different medium and that takes a lot of prep. The materials list was crazy, everything from photo developer to Sumi ink and shaving cream. The Palo Alto Art Center was amazing though and always had everything I needed.

I really enjoyed the age group, young teens 13-16 years old. I found that they were open minded, curious and still had a sense of wonder. They were a fun and silly bunch of kids and sometimes I think I learned just as much or more than they did in regards to process and myself.

On the last day we had an art party and exhibited all of their work gallery style. It was really rewarding to see everything they had produced and learned over the 10 weeks.

student gallery

I also thought it would be fun to bring in a white fondant covered cake for them to decorate and art up. They really had fun with that and it was another way to express their creativity in a non-traditional way. Plus it was a delicious way to celebrate the end of the program.

Art Cake Decorating

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At the end of the art party I had a simple and fun project for everyone, an accordion envelope book. It was great seeing how the parents got into it as much as or more than the teens.

Parents and Teens making art together

Teen Book Art Workshop

I had a great time last week teaching a book arts workshop to teens at the Sunnyvale Public library. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I have taught small workshops with adults and young children but never young teens and never more than 10 students.  It turned out to be a really cool experience. There were about 18 students mostly young women but a few creative young men as well. I started by telling them about the anatomy of a book, talked about how to check if a book is first edition or valuable and then showed them different things they can make with old books. Then we made a bunch of paper feathers to get comfortable with cutting, gluing and shaping. Then we jumped right in and started making the hanging book mobiles. This is where they had a chance to get really creative picking out the book they wanted to use, how they wanted the pages to hang and the finished piece to look. Some got through the project really quickly while others took their time and were more meticulous. One fun thing that I didn’t anticipate was that several of them decided to use the feathers they made to decorate the outside of their mobile.

The staff and facilities at the Sunnyvale library were fantastic too. I appreciated all of their help. I am really glad I had the opportunity to teach the workshop and hope I can do more in the future.

Teen Bppk Art worksop

book arts class