Back at Hope Home

Our last workshop with Hope Home was quite a long time ago, because the kids have been ill, and they needed some time to recover. Last Friday we were able to return to see how they are doing. It was my first time meeting the children. The hot weather made the children a bit out of sorts, but it was a calm and friendly atmosphere nevertheless.

At this workshop, we tried a new visual art technique with the kids, called Mirror Image Painting. The idea is to paint something on one side of a sheet of paper, then fold it over to transfer some of the color onto the other side. It is a simple technique that can easily be adapted to the physical needs of each child. Since the results are somewhat unpredictable, it is very exciting for the kids each time they open the folded paper. This helped keep their attention!

I was working with Phil a lovely little boy who has Cerebral Palsy. His strained facial and bodily expressions saddened me a bit, but he is wonderful and I loved him immediately! It was difficult for him to hold the brush at first, because his hand was always cramped to a fist. So as we began, I showed him the colors and did my best to calm him down. Soon he opened his hand, and I was able to slip the brush through his fist. At first he didn’t direct the brush at all. I gently took his hand and we painted together. As we worked, I tried to call his attention to the painting. When he was following the brush with his eyes, I gave him a bit more space but continued holding his hand. This way, it didn’t rise uncontrolled into the air, but he still had space to do some of the painting himself. And that worked very well! There were a few moments when he seemed to be concentrated on the paper and directed the brush alone. I was really happy and deeply moved at the same time! But it seemed to be really exhausting for him and he had to work hard, so I let him rest several times. He couldn’t tell me how he felt, but I hope he enjoyed it a lot!

It was a great time at Hope Home and I look forward to see the kids again on Friday!

So long,



Stenciling on Fabric at Baan Vienping - Part 2

Hello, my name is Micha.

I was invited to host the Fabric Stenciling workshop together with Maike this week.

On Thursday, we went back to Baan Vienping orphanage with the CCT crew, for the second part of our workshop. We were really excited to work together with the girls again since we had so much fun at the first part of the stenciling workshop on Tuesday. Our plan for the day was (after another stenciling demonstration from Maike and myself) to create another spray-sample fabric piece and then move on to design and spray a T-shirt.

We set up our workshop outside in the garden of the orphanage, to make sure everybody had enough space to spray and lots of fresh air. The kids were very eager to get back to work and watched closely as we demonstrated the techniques again and gave examples for T-shirt designs. This time there was no hesitation, as the kids grabbed the spray-cans and started spraying onto the stencils like pro’s – creating their very own pieces of ‘street-art’ and having lot’s of fun in the process.

From our first part of the Fabric Stenciling workshop, we had enough stencils to choose from to be able to create exciting designs for the t-shirts.

A quick ‘spray-test-run’ on a piece of fabric showed how far the kids had come since their first try: Hip, colorful designs with typographic messages and street scenes were created as much as enchanting floral designs with butterflies, birds and sunny rays. The designs truly reflected the positive vibe of our workshop group.

And while the sweat was running profoundly over the concentrated faces, we finally moved onto our ‘big aim of the day’: Stenciling the T-shirts!!! After the kids had picked their preferred color shirts, nothing could stop them from making their ‘mark’ on them. All that was learned and tested now got turned into use and by lunchtime the garden was covered in bright and colorful T-shirts with lots of great stencil designs on them.

Happy faces all around proved the success of the workshop, and I’m positive to say that we will surely be back for more. A big ‘Thank you’ to all the kids taking part in the workshop and of course our happy CCT-Team: Zoe, Amp, Kristy and Maike. ;-)

See you next time!



Stenciling on Fabric at Baan Vienping

In the end of 2009 we had a stenciling workshop with the girls from Ban Vienping, maybe some of you remember. This week we are working with them again. This time we are designing shirts with stencils!

We started the initial workshop with a short lesson about the general idea of street art. Street art deals with self-expression and expression of our culture in the public and urban space. The artists use the street as a creative forum to leave their marks. That confronts several questions: How to become noticeable as an Individual in the city in the time of mass media, official messages and advertising which are competing for our attention? How can people express their selves in the anonymous public space? How can we communicate with each other? How can we participate in designing and making a difference the public space?

Banksys’ works were shown as example of famous stencil art. They are known for being very ironic, iconic and funny with a twist. Blec le Rat is considered as the godfather of stencil graffiti art and inspired a lot of stencil artists like Banksy. His earliest trademark stencils were of rats, which gave him the nickname “le Rat”. From stenciling rats he moved on to stencil live sized human figures all over the world using specific places like street corners to surprise the viewer.

The street arts are hybridizing and artists are using stencils on different materials and surfaces such as textiles and shirts inspired by the streetworks. Designing cloth provides an opportunity to communicate the public and to express personal views, opinions, feelings and general emotions in the streets. Examples of stencils on t-shirts were shown to give the girls some inspiration and ideas of what they could create on their own shirts.

After that we started to cut some stencils together. The girls chose a graphic they wanted to use for designing their piece. We provided simple graphics so that they could cut them easily. They concentrated and did a very good job on cutting the shapes. Some younger girls wanted to join us so we made some stencils with crayons on paper with them. Listening to music the kids brought with them it was a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

After that Micha and I demonstrated some shading techniques and how to how to give a design depth and highlights. Enthusiastic to try it by themselves, the girls started to spray on sheets of fabric to get into it.

At first they seemed to be scared of the blank sheets, not knowing how to start. But after a short time they negotiated this first “fear of contact” and started to do some crazy designs. Some of them really got it and did complex and fascinating little pieces on the fabric provided.

For us it was really hard and sweaty work sometimes: shaking dozens of cans for the kids, taking care that everyone was wearing a mask and that the younger kids keep distance from the fumes of the spray paint in the heat of 40 degrees. But I think we did a very good job and everybody was exited and had lots of fun! Thank you to Micha, Amp and Kristy for you dedication!

All together it was a joy to work with such an inspiring and enthusiastic group of girls. I look forward to work with them again in the second session on Thursday when the girls will finally design their shirts and present it in a little fashion show.

So shake your cans and try it yourself – it’s fun!



Recycled Jewelry At Wildflower Home

This Friday we went to Wildflower Home to work with the women on new jewelry-making ideas. We wanted to teach them skills they can continue to use in the hopes that they will be able to sell their crafts at the Sunday Market. Since the women have very limited resources and no start-up capital, we had to keep the material costs low enough so that an inexpensive pair of earrings sold at the Market will still earn them profit. Therefore, we chose to work with recycled materials; in this case, magazine clippings and modeling wood.

Amp began the workshop with a lesson on composition and color. She explained basic design concepts, and how certain colors or lines create different effects. The women listened attentively and discussed images and symbols they associate with each color.

After Amp’s lesson, we showed them examples of the jewelry they would be making: lacquered pendants to be used for either earrings or necklaces. Next, we explained how to make the jewelry, demonstrating each step for them. The women were excited and eagerly started clipping images. It was great to see how excited they were to learn a new skill and we were really impressed by how quickly they learned to construct the pieces and how creative and beautiful their jewelry turned out. We plan on returning next week to go over merchandising and more sophisticated techniques. We can’t wait to see what they make for the Market!