Baan Nokkamin's Broken Perfections

Last Monday Cultural Canvas Thailand partnered up with the Jump Foundation and CMRCA, groups that we collaborate with and travelled to Baan Nokkamin, the house of the hummingbird. CMRCA had a group of International Students visiting from Singapore and one of the things in their planner for their stay in Thailand was to see how a NGO operates.
Baan Nokkamin Foundation is a house for girls who are orphans, street/homeless kids.

The crew from Art Relief International had designed a fun interactive workshop that allowed the girls at Baan Nokkamin and the Singapore Students to communicate and work together.

We were going to be creating a image by assembling smashed up tiles, ceramics and stones. This is also knows as mosaics!

We arrived at the beautiful home with the lush green gardens, cute puppies and super sweet girls in a very heavy van. Packed with concrete blocks to mosaic on and many colourful tiles.

We started the workshop of by introducing ourselves and saying where we were from. A very international bunch we were, after this the Singapore students paired up a Baan Nokkamin girl and with sign language, patience and broken English/thai the groups of two were able to come to a decision on what image they wanted to create with their tiles and stones.

They got into it straight away, gluing the tiles onto the concrete stepping stones they all got given.

Once they had assembled all their tiles onto the concrete and they were happy with the happy the created it was time to grout!
I did a quick grouting demonstration, its like mixing a cake, first the dry ingredients and then slowly adding the wet ingredients. The students and girls loved being in control of making the grout and spreading it onto the tiles, filling the gaps and smoothing it out.

Time to dry, we placed the stones in the sun and moved onto transforming the bare fences surrounding the house into beautiful colourful murals. Such a magical creative day, merging and learning about different cultures. The girls really enjoyed it and its always so heart warming and rewarding seeing their smiles. The mosaic stones are a great addition to their beautiful garden, something that was created with love and that will be treated with love.

     Elle x

Hello from Paula!


My Name is Paula Moskalenko  and I am from Hamburg, Germany.
I am 18 years old and I just finished school in Germany. I was in the art class at school and I am very interested in working with art. In my free time, I like doing sports, meeting friends, and listening to music.

I always wished to go abroad after school, that's why I am very happy to be here in Chiang Mai! I am staying in this program for 6 months. ARI so far is great and I am having so much fun at the workshops with all of the lovely people here! I arrived 8 days ago, but the last week was so busy because of the exhibition we had on Friday! The exhibition was amazing and we had a lot of visitors! :-)

I also took part in some workshops already, for example at Hope Home, where we work with disabled children. The photo you can see here is from that workshop!

I am already so happy about everything I experienced, and it's only my first week! I'm really looking forward to the next 6 months in this project.

All the best wishes,


Painting Pots and Planting Seeds!

    Another great afternoon spent with our Young Lions! Every Tuesday, children from our local community join us in an art activity held at our office here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. For today's activity, Young Lions painted their own terra cotta flower pots and potted seeds of local plants. The Young Lions used an array of color to decorate their pots.


The pots were diversely decorated with flowers, hearts, or flags from different countries. All the participants were giggly, their usual happy selves, and well focused on painting their pots.

    Once the Young Lions were done decorating the pots, we began to fill each pot with soil. Then, they pressed into the center of the soil to create a divet for the seeds. The seeds were sprinkled in, topped with soil, and then the Young Lions watered their freshly planted seeds. Everyone was excited about their new garden they just created all on their own.

All of the Young Lions' flower pots turned out beautifully and it was a fun day creating little homes for their plants. I can't wait to watch their seeds sprout and grow!

Take care,

    Anna Marie


Thai Freedom House Thinks About Love!

Today at Thai Freedom House we designed the our activity around the word “Love”. Together with the students we wanted to think about whom we love and why we love these people.
In the last few workshops we've had a lot of self-reflecting ideas, so it was nice to think about other people this time.

For this we asked the children to design a treasure chest in the middle of their sketchbooks and then we drew energy lines, flowing out of the chest, filled with all the things we love about other people. 

When we shared, they told us a lot of amazing stories about their loved ones and some hard stories as well. Most of them were thankful to their parents, because they care for them. 

In the end we had some glitter to make the energy lines shiny. Everyone was so excited about the glitter but as by magic they we very calm and the glitter didn’t turn out in a total mess!

Their artworks looked amazing in the end and were very thoughtful and eager to share.
What a nice ending of a wonderful day! 
Hannah :)

Hello from Esther!

Hello everyone. My name Esther Cromie. I am one of the new Art Relief International volunteers. I live on a farm just outside a small town called Rathfriland in Northern Ireland. It's in the middle of nowhere but its a beautiful place to live. My house looks out on to the Mourne mountains and surrounded by fields of animals.

I studied design at Newry tech and went on to get a degree in textile craft at Huddersfield University where I specialised in embroidery. In university I realised that not only do I love to create product but loved to work with children. This interest started my volunteering and organising of workshops for different age groups while at university which I carried on doing when I went back home but mostly working with older ladies. Not long after I was talking to a friend about his travels around India, I started to get the travel bug. I left for 4 month to work in an orphanage in India. I watched kids come out of their shell just by playing game and doing workshops. After this experience I started to get an interest in Art therapy this was when I found out about ARI and knew that I would love to volunteer with this organisation in Chiang Mai.

As I am not used to living in big cities Chiang Mai has been a completely crazy experience. Over the last week I have fallen in love with the place and its constant buzz. The people are by far the nicest people I have met. This is part of the reason I wanted to voluteer for ARI. I believe that when you go somewhere you don't really get to know the culture or the place until you get involved with the people. We (my travel mates and I) decided with our art background and the goals of the ARI organization that ARI was perfect for us. I can't wait for this next few week getting to work with the different groups and coming up with creative activities we all can enjoy. 
Super excited! 


Resist Painting with Glue at Healing Family

Today at Healing Family we painted with watercolor... And glue!
We asked the participants of Healing Family Foundation, a community center for adults with intellectual disabilities, to think of a landscape where they feel safe, comfortable, or where they would like to travel to. 

Once they had a landscape in mind, we started to draw the outlines with rubber resist. These lines will turn out white in the end result, because the dried glue resists the watercolor paint. Once the glue was dry, we could start to color our pictures with watercolor.

We saw a lot of homes and very colorful landscapes. In the End, when the whole paper was colored, we could peel off the glue. That was a lot of fun and the pictures turned out amazing in the end. The members of Healing Family were very creative!

We saw a lot of Homes in different landscapes, like a beach or the mountains and Duean painted an amazing underwater world.

Today was fun and we created some wonderful paintings.

 Hannah :)

Family Portraits at Thai Freedom House

Last week at Thai Freedom House the word we focused on for our art journals was Family.

The students at Thai Freedom House are refugees from Burma and members of minority groups living in Chiang Mai.
They all have different backgrounds and their own stories,  so first of all I wanted to make it clear to the kids that a family isn't a social group in society consisting of two parents and their kids, a family doesn't have to be blood or marriage related.
A family is who you feel connected to and who you share the same values with.

Each student got given an envelope and a blank postcard, they stuck the envelope into their art journals so they could later put the postcard in there along with other scrap pieces of paper they wanted to keep.
On the blank postcard I asked them to draw a family portrait of who they consider their family and on the back write who they drew and why.

The kids got very creative in the way they drew their portraits. We had cats, dogs, friends, volunteers, sisters etc. being drawn.

When it was time to share who they had drawn to were all eager to do so. They were very open and honest with us. At the beginning of the lesson I was a little nervous about how they would respond to this workshop as I am aware that some of the kids have lost one of their parents, live with someone who isn't blood related etc. so I was very surprised and happy that they all got really into it.

Elle x

Hello from Rachael! :)

Hello my name is Rachael and I'm from Manchester, England. I am volunteering with Cultural Canvas Thailand for three weeks and I have learned so much already from the organizations who are doing such amazing work giving individuals a voice who are marginalized within Thai society. I studied Textile Crafts at university and specialized in Print. In my spare time I love walking in the countryside with my dogs and taking photos of beautiful places.

For the last few years I have been saving all my pennies to go traveling and this wonderful opportunity has arrived. I am fortunate to travel with two of my bestest friends who I studied with at university; we started our travels in Australia and arrived in Thailand a couple of weeks ago and we are currently staying in Chiang Mai. The Art Relief International program really appealed to me because I felt like I could share the skills and techniques I have learnt with individuals and other volunteers at the centre. I believe art is a wonderful outlet for people of all ages to express themselves, for children and communities to work together and share thoughts and ideas, to build confidence, learn valuable skills and most importantly to have fun and enjoy that moment of creativeness.

During my time here I hope to be part of welcoming, supportive environment for all the social groups I get the opportunity to work with and I hope to be able to help plan and run outreach workshops. Through this experience I hope to challenge myself, learn new skills and enrich my traveling experience by learning about the people and their culture. So far I have found the people in Chiang Mai to be so friendly! :)



Hello from Laura!

Hey! My name is Laura and I am a new volunteer with Art Relief International. Coming from a small town in chilly Northern Ireland it has been quite a culture shock to stay in Chiang Mai with the heat, humidity and friendly hospitality!! 

Thailand has been so welcoming so far and so full of new experiences, colours, textures and people so I can't wait to see what else it has in store over the next three weeks.
Having studied Textiles and art at university I have a real passion for creating new pieces and developing new concepts within my area of study. While I have enjoyed exploring my own artistic practice I also relish in the opportunity to share my knowledge, skills and love of creativity with other people. This has led me to run my own workshops as well as gain employment as an art facilitator at the Ulster Museum where I'm from and an art technician at a local secondary school. I enjoy working with a variety of ages and cultures which became particularly evident when I volunteered at an orphanage at North East India for four months a couple of years ago. It was really great to see the children open up and develop their personalities through art workshops, playtime and basic English lessons. I really enjoyed doing art with the children in particular and felt like I learnt a lot about them when they were explaining their work to me. It was a great way to communicate without language and it let them show their emotions clearly!

When I decided to have another adventure and travel around Australia and South East Asia I thought that volunteering for a few weeks would be great as I think it is one of the best ways to really understand a culture. I researched art organizations on the Internet and came up with Art Relief International. I immediately felt drawn to the ethos and goals of the organization: to provide relief to people who may be struggling, disabled, suffering from mental health problems, single mothers and young offenders to name a few groups that ARI work with. I eagerly applied to come here for three weeks and now I'm here and have already been moved by the people I have met and the things I have learnt about the local community. 

I'm looking forward to working with all the different partner organizations and bringing my own skills to help others less fortunate than me but I'm sure they will probably teach me more than I will teach them!


Trifold Shutter cards with Wildflower Home

After a four week break, it was time for Wildflower Home on Monday afternoon. Wildflower Home is a home near Chiang Mai for single mothers and their children.

The women at Wildflower Home often make greeting cards to sell in nearby markets as a way to start generating their own income while living at Wildflower Home. 
Because the women and the volunteers from Wildflower Home at first struggled a little bit to make sellable cards, they asked us for some inspirations and teaching a new kind of card technique. 

So I decided to show them how to make Trifold Shutter cards, because not everybody sells unique cards like this so maybe they can sell more of them. And for the cards we could use the banana leaf "saa" paper, of which there is plenty at Wildflower Home, so that it's cheap for them to make.

At first I explained and showed the women how to make one, so that it is easier for them I made some templates, so that they don’t have to measure the length or the angle and that they already have the cutting lines.

The difficult thing about Trifold Shutter Cards is the folding part. You have to fold it like an accordion, but the middle part, which we’ve cut in the first step, you have to fold in the opposite direction. But after the troubles with the folding, the women found out how it works.

When they finished their card base, the fun part started – Decoration!!

For the writing I made some templates and I also brought some decoration ideas for them, like weaving a ribbon in the card. But it was very nice to see that the women also came up with some own ideas!

Normally at Wildflower Home it is very quiet, but this week there were some girls because it is school break in time. The girls also participate at the workshop and I liked to see how they enjoyed it and give all to make a nice card.
Some of the finished cards:

We left all the templates there, so that the women can continue their work. I really hope we helped Wildflower Home with their card project and that they will sell many of the cards.


Hanna :)