OOPSWOWMESSYART is all about reminding people that art is fun, and important.
I run sessions for toddlers & parents, primary school age kids, families, grown ups, and the passing public.
The toddler sessions are an opportunity for toddlers to explore a wide range of materials and processes together, in a big way, in a big space without worry of making a 'mess' . Working with other toddlers can really motivate them to try new things, focus for longer, notice what the others are doing, try it out for themselves, copy & share ideas, bounce off each other...both literally and for inspiration/ extension.
The activities are designed to appeal to all characters - big full body energetic activities, art they can wear and play in, or roll around in, as well as fine motor skills, small world, story making type activities.
For the parents, these sessions are an opportunity to be guided to see the value in the chaos and the mess, see the value in the authentic marks made by their children, the decisions and discoveries made, the problems solved, and the skills being developed.
For school aged kids, the sessions are an opportunity for them to carry on playing and exploring in a free, no pressure environment. The art they get to do at school often seems to be very prescriptive and focused on specific learning outcomes in the national curriculum. They all make the same pictures. During these sessions I continue to introduce them to different materials, and techniques as well as different art forms, often based on the work of contemporary artists.
The Family sessions are an opportunity for families to work together in a way that they don't usually get to do. The parents get to have a go and join in, and the kids get to see their parents having a go at making art. Parents remember how brave you have to be to try something new, but also how much fun, and how absorbing it can be. The family members often experience different kinds of relationship with each other as they work together on the project that has been offered.
The sessions for grown ups came about because parents at the toddler art groups kept asking me to run sessions where they could have a play, without their kids being there, so that they could have a proper go with the stuff. So that is the premis of the grown up sessions, that we do the same activities as the toddlers get to do. As with all of my sessions I introduce participants to the work of modern and contemporary artists who use the same materials, processes or approaches as we will be using in the sessions.
It comes up time and time again how people feel that they cannot do art, that they haven't done it for years, that they are often too scared to do it with their kids because they lack confidence and feel stuck. There is always so much talk about harsh words from parents or school teachers in their past which crushed any enthusiasm or confidence they once had for making art. People soon remember how much they enjoyed it when they have a go, when the opportunity is presented in a way that they can let themselves join in and overcome their quite significant anxieties about art and art making.
Due to the pandemic, I have not been able to run face to face messy art sessions for almost a year. I have developed a series of Art Play boxes which are available from my Etsy shop JoBurlingtonArt . There have been a couple of online invitations - the October Big Draw Along and the Longest Drawing Competition in the summer of 2020. I have also been running kids & family sessions over zoom more recently.
When it becomes safe for outside activities to resume, I intend to start up the Family Art Club in the Woods again, as well as various one off sessions. Please follow me on facebook or join my mailing list if you would like to be informed when these are happening.