Colorful Collages at Thai Freedom House!

Last Friday was the final class for Thai Freedom House's term 27 "Art Journaling Unit." We finished the unit by introducing a layering, mixed media technique that the students would collage with in their journals. This is a personal favorite technique of mine that I use often in my own artwork, so I was very excited to share it with the students and see what kind of work they created. 

Each student received two pieces of watercolor paper, and over the workshop they would use four different mediums, layered on top of each one, to create "patterned paper" which they would ultimately cut up and use for their collages in their journal. The collage can be anything they want- abstract or representational. 

The students had a great time doodling on the paper, not needing to think about what kind of imagery they created. It was all about enjoying the material and using all of the different mediums. Each student created patterns and layers that were very unique and colorful! 

Then, the students cut up their patterned paper and created collages in their journal. They were hesitant at first to cut up their paper, but created some beautiful images! We encouraged them to cut up and share their paper with friends, to trade and use more colors, but most students were possessive of their own paper and used it all for themselves! Most collages were abstract, but several students made objects like flowers, houses, animals, or spelled out their names. 

We are sad to take a break from Thai Freedom House- but this unit was so much fun and we think the students really enjoyed it too! They all have more paper in their journals and we hope that they use them to be creative over their school break. Art journaling techniques can be adapted for all ages and are a great way to combine experimenting with different materials and introducing creative exercises that are a bit more self-reflective and personal.

and as always, Be happy and make a difference,

Mandala Magic

 After the great response of the "mandala's in nature" workshop I led at the hill tribe school last week, I decided to repeat it. This time with the Healing Family Foundation. A space for adults with disabilities.

My intention with this workshop was to combine nature and art into one workshop. And by doing so creating something beautiful with resources that most people across the globe have access to.
Mandala's are a circular figure representing the universe, the different circles within a mandala symbolize a story or a journey
For most people forming a mandala is a very therapeutic and meditative experience because of the rhythm and repetition of the circles forming, I therefore figured that the adults at healing family would benefit and enjoy this activity as their weaving work also handles a lot of repetitive and rhythmic movements.

They started of by going outside and seeking for organic matter to assemble their mandala's out of, they were ever so gentle and treated all plants with love and respect.

After about 15 minutes of searching they went back inside and with the help of a volunteer each participant started to assemble their found
materials onto the cardboard sheet. Placing it with a lot of thought and care.

There was a lot of variety in all of the mandala's, no one copied each other and they all participated, even Ting-Lee decided to join in after standing by the entrance watching the others construct their mandala's.

After committing and gluing down their leaves, flowers and twigs they all received a postcard sized piece of watercolour paper. They were to repeat their design they created with pencil and watercolour paint.
I found this part very interesting as they way that the participants interpreted their own deigns were quite different.
Some of the students really analysed their mandala's and made sure every little detail also featured in their drawing and others still had the same number of found materials in their mandala and drawing but were placed in a different order.

At the end of the workshop we all sat in a mandala and shared our stories and favourite parts within our artworks. Some of the stories were quite literal and others were very abstract.
It was super interesting to see and hear the different ways the participants interpreted the workshop, I felt like I got to know them better and am really happy I got to share those moments with them.

Elle x


Inspirational Garlands of Wat Ku Kam

Hello all! Today was a great time spent making garlands with our friends at Wat Ku Kam. Wat Ku Kam is a local temple school where we hold many art activities.

The purpose of today's workshop was to create something that the kids can be inspired by and bring home to keep. In so, we made garlands that have an inspirational word and painted feathers strewn across it. 

The materials of the garlands included painted canvas and hemp string. The students first painted their inspirational word onto their blank canvas strips and then painted their own feathers. Once the paint was dry, we cut out the painted pieces, made small holes, and strew the string through the pieces of painted canvas.

The kids' inspirational garlands turned out beautifully! They all were colorfully painted and had a unique variation of words. The words varied from "love" to the name of a local television show the kids love.

 All in all, it was a wonderful time making art with the kids from Wat Ku Kam! Thanks for reading and can't wait to share again soon.

Take care,

    Anna Marie

Destroying Magazines and Expressing the Self

I had never been to Urban Light before, but heard so many positive things. The centre provides a safe place and services to boys at risk of sex trafficking in Chiang Mai. Something I regret to know very little about, but from the onset I was impressed by Urban Lights facilities and services on offer. I was greeted with a warm welcome, guided tour through their lovely facilities and treated to a delicious lunch. The staff there were incredibly friendly and I couldn't wait to get started on the workshop.

The aim of the workshop was to create a collage about themselves using cut up images from magazines and mixed media. I wanted the participants to get a little personal, to express who they are and who they want to be through an abstract self portrait. By focusing on the present and future the images should be a positive little insight into the minds of the boys and men seeking refuge there.


Only expecting 2-3 boys to show, instead 6 attended including 2 older men, creating a real buzz and creative atmosphere. I was really impressed with how they focused and knuckled down the the task at hand. Some spent ages with minute details such as using a toothpick to apply glue rather than the sticks we provided. After making a real mess, the finished pieces were individual, interesting, creative masterpieces that everyone was proud of.

Working with the guys at Urban Light was a special and unique experience for me. I'm sorry I won't get the chance to go there again as next week is my last week, but I am grateful for the opportunity I had to run a workshop there. I loved playing with magazines and materials in the collage workshop and chatting to the boys, and I hope they enjoyed it too.



Painting a Poem in the Hill Tribe School!

Painting a poem in the Hill Tribe School!

This week we had a great day at the Hill Tribe School! It is a school placed in the Hang Dong mountains of Chiang Mai with a great view, where the kids from the villages go to school.

We had one workshop in the morning and then the kids had a long lunch break. In the break we played soccer and badminton with them, made bracelets or climbed the trees.

After that my workshop started. I handed out a Thai poem to every child with the English translation. Then we read the poem out loud, first the kids read it in Thai and then all together in English. We also practiced some vocabulary from the poem.

Then they painted their own interpretation of the poem by painting things that appeared in it.

 In the end we took a group pictures with all the wonderful paintings that the kids created!

 All the best,