Creations for exhibition: Beauty in us

Sadly, it was my last day at Baan Piranan today and my time here in Thailand is drawing to an end but what a wonderfully inspiring time it has been. Thank you to everyone at CCT for your supportive and encouraging nature. What an inspiration. I had very mixed emotions today but I was very happy spending an enjoyable and relaxing time creating paintings for an exhibition with the boys.

The work they created today for the exhibition 'Beauty in us' was gorgeous and it is a shame I will not be around to help finish the project. The idea is to layer the paintings the boys have done on acetate with photos of them during the workshops that they have been doing and these will then be framed for an exhibition.

Although I was sad that it was my last day being creative with Nong Mai it was also a wonderful day. I could feel his hands grip strongly around his brush and paint all by himself with just the smallest bit of help from my hands as he rested the brush on them. He was definitely eager to paint and over the very short time I have spent with him I have noticed how strong and alert he is becoming. He is now more aware of the paintings he is producing and smiles brightly as he looks over at his own beautiful work. I look forward to hearing about all the wonderful things he will do next as I believe there is a lot of talent buzzing about this little man. I wish all you future volunteers a wonderful journey while you are here, what an amazing experience it has been for me and I only hope I can make it back here again some day. Goodbye for now. Liz.xx


Animal creations at Wat Pa Pao

As we drove up to Wat Pa Pao, a school for Burmese refugee children, we could see all the children learning their lessons while curiously wondering who we were. As we walked over it was wonderful to see all their eager faces excited by all the art materials we were carrying over to them.

The first workshop was with the youngest children there who we did crayon resist paintings with. Before creating their own unique animals in wax crayon we introduced them to some animals and their names in English. Their reactions to the animal sounds we played to them was wonderfully amusing as they jumped at the bear growling and giggled at the monkey and enjoyed acting out all the animal movements and noises. We had meowing cats, little flapping chirping birds, cheeky monkeys and powerful grizzly bears all roaming around the floor. The children then separated into groups and began to draw their animals with concentration and imagination. Outside we set up a painting station for them so they could cover their pictures in watered down paint and enjoy the finished result of their creations which then dried in the heat of the day, which i was beginning to melt in!

The next workshop was with slightly older children who we carried out the same workshop idea with. They also enjoyed the animal sounds, especially when we taught them bird and by accident played the bear sound which produced much hilarity throughout the classroom. All their artwork was very colourful and it was a joy to watch them enjoy creating their masterpieces. We then worked with the oldest group who did stencil work with animals. They then wrote their animal's name out in English that we had written for them on the board. After this they designed wonderful environments for their animals to live in. More glorious artwork was produced by the children who proved to be very inspiring little artists. Seeing the joy on all the beautiful children's faces there will be a treasured memory. Hopefully more photos will be added soon. Liz.xx


Exploring art: crayon resist painting

We are just back from a beautiful morning spent with the children at Baan Piranan. Today we were doing crayon resist paintings with the children.

Drawings of animals were created in white crayon onto white paper before the workshop. During the workshop the boys painted onto what appeared to be a plain white piece of paper. As they happily painted onto their pieces of paper these fun and magical images of animals suddenly appeared incorporating an exciting surprise to the workshop.

I was painting with Nong Mai again and after setting up his art station he was eager to get painting. We definatly have a master artist at work when Nong Mai paints and what beautiful images he produces. It is heart warming to watch him brush the colours across the paper and see the enjoyment he feels inside from the huge smile from cheek to cheek across his precious little face. He loves to ring the bell on his brush and definately has developed a talent for painting while creating music, what a joy, what a wonderfully talented little boy.

Nong Dodo's family drove miles to visit him. It was very lovely to view this family-reunion. Because Dodo was busy playing with his relatives, I painted with Wichai. Wichai is the oldest boy at Baan Piranan and knows exactly what he wants to do: Playing with water and watching it's effects on the paper. We tried to exchange water for paints, but he is a smart boy and didn't fall for our trick. When he recognized the outlines of cats on the paper, he looked at them fascinated and showed us his beautiful smile. Verena


Animal sponge stamps at Baan Piranan

My first workshop here was held on Friday 12th June, at Baan Piranan, a residential home for children with cerebral palsy, run with complete love and dedication by Khun Piranan, an occupational therapist who takes care of the four boys there just now.

We decided to plan and run a workshop to introduce a few animals to the children through pictures, sounds and sponge stamps. To increase the children's interest in stamping, the stamps were made out of sponges in the forms of animals (cats, birds and elephants). I was very excited to meet the boys and interact with them through art and play. We started with an ice-breaker and showed the children pictures of the animals and linked these with each animals unique natural sound played to them through the speakers. The boys responded positively to this and the room was filled with a wonderful combination of children's laughter and animal noises. We then set-up the art stations and began to paint and stamp with the boys.

The echoes of laughter throughout the house from the gorgeously happy Nong Mai who I was working with added to the fun and creativity we were all sharing during the workshop. Through progressive interaction and understanding I was able to connect with Nong Mai and enjoyed tapping the table with him and ringing the bell on his sponge extender while he painted, he also enjoyed holding and tapping my arm while painting. The work produced by the boys was beautiful. The whole experience was amazing and reaffirmed my decision to follow my dreams and study Art Therapy on my return to Scotland. Liz.xx

A roof for the Unwinding Wall

This is Verena from Germany. Taking part at the volunteer programme at CCT I had the chance to work at the amazing project of the Unwinding Wall at Wildflowers. This wall is built up out of mud and bottles and shall provide a meditation centre for the residents of Wildflowers, a home for single-mothers and their children.

On Thursday morning, June the 11th, a van full of volunteers drove into the middle of nowhere to Wildflowers. Although the unwinding wall was already up there was something left to be done: The residents of Wildflowers needed a roof to protect them from the Thai heat and the Thai rain. So a company of Thai roofer, Thai women and international volunteers chopped and carried bamboo to cover the wall with it, while another group of volunteers were cleaning bottlenecks which protruded from the wall inside and were full of mud because of the rain.
In the afternoon different obligations called the volunteers to go back to Chiang Mai. So they got on in the van again: dirty and smelling, but with a smile on their face. Knowing that they will come back again. Although they brought the project a big step forward, there are still a lot of bamboo rods to add on the roof and a lot of bottlenecks to be cleaned.


Hi this is Suzy from Ireland .I m approching the end of my three weeks as a volunteer with Cultural Canvas. I only have two workshops left, both tomorrow which is also my last day. The bookmaking workshop with freedom house has really come together and is looking pretty amazing.The students in Freedom House were such a great bunch of people to work with.
Working with Ban Piranan has also been a wonderfull experiance. When the kids in Ban Piranan smile and laugh they light up the room. Last week we done some stenciling with them which they enjoyed. We stenciled images of bugs onto leaves which were suspended from the ceiling.This will give the kids something to look at when they are lying down and resting. Tomorrow we are going to introduce them to sculpture in the from of building blocks and homemade non-toxic play dough.


Bookmaking workshop

Hi every one.This is Suzy from Ireland .I have been volunteering with cultural canvas for the last two weeks, and what a busy two weeks they have been.I have been working with two groups.One group are from Freedom House and the other group are Ban Piranan.
Before I arrived in Chiand Mai I had come up with an idea for a project to make a small book of local stories with accompanying images.It was decieded that working with Freedom House was a good option for this book. The students at Freedom House are mostly Shan from Burma,now living in Thailand. They range in ages from 5 to young adults.Each and every student took on the project with enthusiasm.The first step in the project was to get the students to tell stories.This brought great joy to the group.The next step was to translate the story into thai and English, Amp from the office worked very hard on this.Two of the students who have beautiful Shan writing started to document the stories in Shan.
After much work was done on the translation we started work on the images for the book and the book covers.Each student made a fantastic job of both. This group has been so great to work with, and so helpfull to each other when they work.The older one helping the younger ones and sometimes the younger one helping the older ones. All that is left is to print he pages and bind the books