Floating Themed Sensory Workshop at Hope Home

12th February 2010

Hi everyone I’m Catherine, and I arrived in the office this week to help out with the Cultural Canvas Art Project. This morning I went to my first workshop - which Krissy and I had loads of fun planning this week – and this is the story of our morning…

So we set off on a sunny February day with a box full of excitement for the gorgeous children at Hope Home. As Krissy and I hadn’t met the children yet, we had planned a workshop that tried to take into account all the different ability ranges and ages that would be there. They had a newcomer, Joy, who was 2 years old but astonishingly tiny and only weighed 5kgs! While her movements were limited, her eyes were attentive and responsive and revealed a curious and alert side to her that was lovely to see.

The workshop followed a theme of floating and there were several different aspects to it but the most popular by far were the bubbles!! Bubbles provided infinite amounts of soapy fun with the making, watching, and chasing and popping when the kids from next door joined us. Boomrot especially was full of smiles at being absorbed in a cloud of bubbles for the majority of the workshop.

The smelling games (we had wrapped up various substances with strong odors for the kids to experience) were also entertaining and prompted smiles, wrinkled noses and sometimes even hungry open mouths that wanted to eat them! We’ve actually just realized that we’ve missing a carefully wrapped bundle of orange peel so I hope someone hasn’t tried to eat it and given their taste buds a nasty shock! Yuk!

The workshop went well, with each child being encouraged to explore the aspects of it that they were more able to participate in or showed a preference for and everyone found something that amused them. Pancake even took a shine to Christa’s shoes and while they were less musical than any number of the toys lying around, they were just as much fun to bang on the ground for the best part of an hour.

As they say…‘time flies when you’re having fun’… and the time did indeed fly for us and so as playtime came to an end we packed up the sensory treats we had brought and waved goodbye…


My Shadow and I –Showtime excitement at Baan Vienping!

Hello again,
This week the CCT team and I returned to Baan Vienping Orphanage for not one, but tw
o jam-packed sessions with the girls. As busy as ever here in the office with a zillion other things going on, and me leaving for a couple of weeks, we had to wrap up the project and get the show on the road, so to speak.

I spent the best part of
Tuesday at the office constructing a stage for them to begin rehearsing in the actual performance space. With a giant cardboard box, some future board, fabric for curtains, and lots of black spray paint, I managed to make a Shadow Puppet stage that would hopefully do their work justice. With the CCT team, the stage and boxes of puppets, we squeezed into a red-truck taxi and headed off to the Orphanage.

Tuesday was rehearsal day. The plan was for the girls to combine their efforts of
story devising and puppet creation, and put together their show for the stage. This activity requires focus and concentration, and the girls at Baan Vienping are a lively bunch at the best of times (as much as we love them) and can be quite hard to settle. Today was no exception, and with the addition of the younger girls with their non-stop chatter, we were in for a long evening. However, with the excitement of performing on an actual stage, and having their own show they pulled through, and with great teamwork and skill, they worked together on their stories, and each group came to the stage area for a ‘dress rehearsal’. We left the girls that evening in a state of excitement, looking forward to they’re opportunity to shine. I don’t know how much performance work these children have done in the past, but I felt extremely proud of their dramatic ability. They took to the stage like ducks to water, and I was very excited about Thursday’s Showtime!!

And so yesterday we returned laden with materials, ready for the evening’s events. Upon setting up the stage, and distributing the puppets. We sat the girls down for one final rehearsal. With Amps help, we worked quickly with the younger groups
to write down their lines, creating a short script to aid they’re performance. The older girls were happy to ad-lib, and for some of the groups, one member was decided on to narrate the whole story while the others performed. It seemed that our instructions on stage rules, script, audience and cast had some effect today, and the girls, eager to put on a good show, listened and learnt! Watching them work together and make team decisions was great. They discussed music, lighting, and practiced lines and cues. They showed a greater understanding of the importance of teamwork, and prepared for their show with the enthusiasm and dedication of actors on Broadway. At least that’s the way I like to see it.

We were ready to begin! As pre-show excitement rippled through the room, we sat everyone down in front of the stage and each group in turn were bought to the back stage area. With a hush to the audience and soft flow of music between each of the shows, the girls belted out their lines with energy and enthusiasm, putting all their hours of effort into a wonderful little performance. Running between backstage and audience, I watched them perform, and although in Thai, and understanding only a fraction of the lines, the visual effects were amazing and their stories unfolded. Through the excitement and laughter of the crowd, it was clear they did a wonderful job. We watched the shadows of dragons fighting princes, a handsome prince fight for the affections of a beautiful princess, while an evil witch stood bye and cackled, and the lights backstage changed to a deep frightening red, we watched a dancing troupe of snakes and rabbits, and we listened to the laughter of the delighted audience. With a big cheer, each of the girls had their moment to shine, and shine they did!

The girls at Baan Vienping worked really hard and showed a great deal of dramatic skill, imagination and creative flair, and I noticed an increase in confidence in some of the quieter children, which is always wonderful to see. I’m delighted to have worked with them on such a rewarding project. They did us proud. It really was an absolute pleasure. We’re always made to feel most welcome, and with immense gratitude, they thank us and send us off with smiles and hugs! It’s clear to all that they always enjoy and get great pleasure from the sessions with CCT, as we do with them.

Thank-you Baan Vienping from the bottom of our hearts, for your hard work and wonderful company. Thank you to all the volunteers that attended the sessions, it was hard work at times and involved some long, late and tiring sessions. Thanks Amp for all your translating, I know there was a lot to do! Thanks Zoe for photographing and filming the whole thing. There are some beautiful shots, and we’re putting together a DVD of the show for the girls to keep.

Until Next time - Goodbye and Thank-You,

Alice x


Big World Map for Wat Papao

Hi everybody,

Have you ever heard about scrap art? Scrap art is the art of making sculptures, cards, paintings, and pretty much anything, with bits of materials which are gathered mainly through recycling. It is a collage and is very popular.
At Christmas I had this idea to collect all the beautiful cards people had received and where going to throw away, and used wrapping paper to make a collage with the children here. I also collected buttons and leftover pieces of fabrics from family.

With the CCT team and volunteers we set up two workshops at Wat Papao, a school for the children of Burmese refugees. We used scrap art and the stuff I had collected over Christmas to create a big world map with the children and also took the opportunity to teach them about world’s continents, main countries and flags.
The children had already studied the world map and knew a lot about world countries. They were very interested to also learn about the countries’ national animals.

We came with photos of animals and flags, and had a small competition consisting in matching countries with photos. After that we taught collage techniques.

Collage is very creative because you can use many different colours, shapes and textures. You can also vary the media used and mix paint with materials.

The children did a very good work when creating the map. They first painted the background, using contrast effects for the sea. Then they glued beads around borders to delimitate the continents. And finally they finished the collage inside the continents with various different elements.

As you can see on the photos, they had a great time, and the volunteers too!


Activity Day at Wat Papao

Hello everybody out there!

It’s Krissy the new volunteer from Germany working for the great art project at CCT for the next three weeks!
Since September 2009 I am in Chiang Mai and worked so far for the non-government, not-for-profit organization and also partner organization of CCT called Freedom House. I had the chance to teach there and also learn a lot about the students and art!
With the beginning of February I started to help and work at the CCT office and I already participated in a lot of great workshops (Guys you all do an amazing job!) and could even start to plan together with Amelie (the cute French girl =)) two workshops for two classes at Wat Pa Pao Learning Center, a great school for the children of Burmese migrant workers.

Thanks to Alice’s Drama workshop, I have found out that the students here are so thankful and happy. I had the same feeling when entering Wat Pa Pao and when, immediately, a group of students came and took all the bags I was carrying (even though I tried to tell them that they are heavy and even bigger than their bodies  ) . They all gave us hugs and smiled and giggled so that I didn’t feel nervous at all having my first workshop there.
Amp, Christa, Alice, Ruthanne, Amelie and me finally entered one of the classrooms. For this day we had planned two little workshops with two groups, the younger one (4-6 years old) and the middle one (8-12 years old).
We started with the youngest ones and as soon we entered the room with our hoola-hoops, balloons and a bunch of other materials, the kids were totally excited. They screamed, laughed and… what can I say… just loved us! And we decided that we love them too :) .

We started sitting together with the 30 students in a circle playing the “Names game”. We all had fun introducing ourselves by saying our name and connect it to an action everybody else had to imitate. Lots of laughter again!
After that the hoola-hoops were needed. We all grabbed our neighbors’ hand and then all of the sudden the hoola-hoop came and, holding on to the kid standing left and right from you, you had to try to swing the hoop around your body and pass it to your neighbor. Of course it is easier when you are 4 years old and small, so I think the staff had more problems, but everybody enjoyed!
Finally we decided to dance, but not normal dancing. Have you ever tried to dance with somebody while having a big balloon between you two and you are not allowed to let it drop?? I think the kids experienced it for the first time too and were screaming and laughing again!

Before we left, Amelie distributed some Candy to the children and I think they are soon asking their teachers when we are coming back :)!
But we did not want to let the others wait, so we grabbed our material said “good-bye” and went next door! The desks were already put away and again a big group of students welcomed us like heroes! We decided to start with the names game and the students were great with doing different kind of actions! Then we started with our main game “Kabish Kaboo”, I know interesting name and it is an interesting and somehow confusing game, but it is basically a catching game and honestly who does not like a catching game in the age of 8 to 12?? (Well, I still love to play these games and I am 19!)

So all in all, lots of laughter and giggle and I just wanted to stay forever or at least take some of the kids home with me 
I absolutely cannot wait to experience more workshops and meet more partner organizations of CCT!

Thanks for your attention, see you soon :)


Baan Vienping make Shadow Puppets!

Last Thursday we returned to Baan Vienping Orphanage to spend the evening making shadow puppets for our upcoming show. This is the second in a series of workshops we started last week, and is an introduction to Drama through Shadow puppetry.
Using the stories the different groups created in our last session, each child made a character for their shadow puppet play. It was great to see their excited faces again, as we turned up laden with art materials for the workshop. We handed out the big sheets of paper they had recorded their stories on, both in writing and beautiful illustrations, and in their groups, they got down to business, discussing what characters needed to be made. It was great to see the interaction, the team-work and animated conversation as they picked out templates, or designed their puppets for their stories. Some of the older girls completely eschewed our ‘stock’ character templates, and created from scratch some beautiful puppet designs of their own.

Their wonderful stories, translated for me by Amp, were strange, funny, beautiful and some just very typical of young and teenage girls. Stories of dragons and princes rescuing princesses, beautiful witches falling in love, and an inventive take on the ‘Hare and the Tortoise’, where the tortoise was replaced with a snake.
We also had some very imaginative characters, including an angel-dog (our wolf template with added wings), and a monster-dragon (with human legs from the prince template).

It was fun watching them work at their puppets with such skill, focus and concentration, helping out here and there with cutting templates, punching holes or putting all the pieces to together with paper fasteners. Lost limbs here and there and the odd squabble over ‘who’s got my dragons tail?’ were all part of the fun. As the girls gathered all their pieces and finished their puppets, they were able to bring them to the stage area where we had a set up a spotlight and screen, and watch in
amazement as they bought their creation to life!
At the end of the session, all puppets made, and into neat little piles according to the story groups, we said our goodbyes, and took the puppets away, promising to return the following week with more shadow puppet activities. Next week we’ll return with the puppets for a big rehearsal session, and I’ll attempt to build a shadow stage to bring along to do their brilliant work justice!
Thank you to the lovely girls at Baan Vienping for all the fun and creativity, and to all the volunteers and Amp, thanks for your help in running a great workshop.

Looking forward to next week!
Alice x