Cut paper cards at Wildflower home

Last Friday we went to the Wildflower home and continued our card making workshops. Four of the lovelyresidents continued to build on their previous card making skills and learned a new technique. This time we used cut paper shapes to make designs and pictures. We gave them a basket of several pre-cut shapes including hearts, circles, lines, and ovals, and had them do four different designs.

They had five minutes to do each design, and would then pick their top two favorite to glue down onto a card. I did a few examples of possible shapes and designs, but it hardly seemed needed because the women came up with some very cleaver cards towards the end. At first there was some hesitation, but after the first preliminary design the women really began let their imagination flow. One of the lady’s during the first five minutes only put down a couple of shapes and seemed rather frustrated, however, towards the end she gained confidence and began to make some pretty impressive design and even cut out her own shapes.

At the end we had our discussion with Pbut and the lady’s on what they liked about each other’s card and what they would maybe change. I felt that it was a successful discussion because most of the women expressed their opinions with confidence, while giving constructive critiques. Many of the women said really enjoyed this technique and wanted to show their children and continue to do more workshops with other cut materials. It is important to build these women’s confidence in their own unique designs.



'Here Comes the Sun' at Hope Home

Hello everyone,
My name is Gaby I am the newest volunteer here at the Art Relief Program with Cultural Canvas. I am currently a senior at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. Yesterday, I did my first workshop at the Hope Home, which is a residential home for children with motor-disabilities along with children who are sight, and seeing impaired. In many developing countries, including Thailand there is often a negative social stigma towards those with disabilities and little or no resources are available to care for those with special needs.
We did the first part of our two part lesson today on day time. We played video clips of The Tale from the Sun and Moon and Mr. Sun. Phil, one of the children was especially amused and requested hearing the songs throughout the workshop. We made sky pictures today using paint and paper cut outs.

I was bit nervous at first because I was not sure what to expect and had never worked with motor-impaired children, but as I started to get to know the kids their smiles and laughter were contagious. I got to paint with Boonrat, a seven year old with Cerebral Palsy, who was truly a joy to work with. We painted sun beams, and glued on clouds and birds in our sky palette. When we first started the painting he seems a bit uninteresting, but with some encouragement he smiled and laughed, and enjoyed rolling the paint. While the paint was drying, we played ball. He would hold on to the ball and let go of it so it would roll to me. Despite limited motor control, he makes up for it in excitement and effort. Joy also enjoyed bouncing the ball with the Pat today, and made an attempt to get up on her own, by raising her hands and moving her body.
It was a gift for me to get to know these children; they smile and laugh at the simplest things. I’m excited for next week when we do our night time workshop.


Young Lions go to Japan

Greetings Everyone,

Yesterday was the first day of our weekly art class called Young Lions, Global Artists, and I am proud to say that it was a tremendous success.  For the past two months, Princeton graduate Jessica Lander along with Art Relief staff have been working on the preliminary ideas, concept, and curriculum for the art class, and all our hard work showed beautifully yesterday when fourteen kids turned up at our front gates ready and eager to create some art. 

The concept behind Young Lions is to have our participants experience and learn about their world through the pleasures and power of art.  Each week our participants will journey to a new country and the art project for that day will be inspired by the traditions and culture of that region.  This week, Young Lions ventured to Japan! 

At the start of the class each kid received a 'passport', where they had to fill in their name, where they are from, and date of birth, as well as some of their favorite things, including color, animal and food.  The children's pure creativity really showed when we had them draw a self-portrait. Some kids drew themselves with a winking eye, and others with spiky blue hair.  We also had a Japan Visa glued inside the first page of their passports, complete with a map of the country and a photo of the art project we were going to make.  Yesterday's class focused on the art and history of the Japanese folding fan.  After a brief introduction to Japan and a short history of the folding fans, the kids were given some cream-colored parchment paper and watercolors, and left to their imagination to paint their designs.  The kids absolutely loved color!  And did not shy away from using as much of it as possible.  Once the paintings had dried, we taught them how to fold them accordingly, much like an accordion, and helped them to tape the bottoms together to keep it in place.  We even attached some string so that they could wear it around their wrists. The end products were beautiful--some splattered with paint, others intricately detailed with shapes; some with rainbows and others with flowers.  The kids really seemed to enjoy themselves!

Once they finished their fans and got their snack, they were stamped out of the country and sent on their way.  Young Lions, Global Artists is truly a wonderful new project.  Most of these children have never traveled beyond the walls of Chiang Mai, no more the borders of Thailand.  At least they have a place to come to every week where they can learn about other countries and explore their creativity without limits.

Check back next week to see where our Young Lions will go next.



The 'Good and Bad' of Cardmaking at Wildflower Home

Hello All!

My name is Ashlie, and I work for Cultural Canvas Thailand and Art Relief International.  You will usually find me doing busy work in our office most days of the week; however, when I do find some free time, I like to hop on the Art Relief train and venture out into the field to work with some of our partner organizations.

Last Friday, Pbut, Susannah, P'Ben and myself took our good ole' CCT van to Wildflower Home about 30 minutes outside of the city.  It was quite a beautiful day, minues the scorching heat.  When we arrived, five lovely ladies were patiently waiting for us in the sala where we usually conduct our workshops.  The goal of last week's workshop was to focus on effective cardmaking.  First, we showed the women a series of cards we had purchased at Sunday walking street, the hilltribe store near our office, and other gift shops in the city.  Pbut lead the group in a discussion on each individual card, focusing on what the ladies liked or did not like about the design, who they thought would purchase the card, where the card could be sold, and what they would do diferently if they were to reproduce the card on their own.  We followed this same sequence for all seven cards, then transitioned to a discussion about the key factors they should think about when brainstorming an idea, designing a card, and, ultimately, selling their products. 

We tried to make this lesson fairly simple and easy for the women to remember, so we broke them down into six questions they should always ask themselves: who, what, where, when, why, and how.  We mentioned things like Who will you be selling your card to? What will the design be? Where will you set up shop? When will you make your cards to have them ready in time for the markets? Why would someone buy your card over others? And, How will you make the card?

Once Pbut and the ladies had gone through the six questions, we returned to the stamps the women had made in our last workshop.  We took a few minutes to talk about how they could improve their stamps and what they would do differently.  Then we let them to their imagination, and had them design and make yet another stamp.  The task this time around was to not only make something that they liked and represented who they were, but also a design that would be put on a card to sell at Sunday walking street.  I think the ladies really enjoyed the lesson, and they seemed to understand the ideas we had presented to them.  However, Rome wasn't built in a day.  We are looking forward to returning to Wildflower to continue our lessons on effective cardmaking techniques and designs.

Stay tuned for our next workshop!



Cellophane Kaleidiscopes with Baan Vieng Ping

RED, BLUE, GREEN, ORANGE! Today we explored colours with the children at Baan Viengping Orphanage. They were excited, lively and energetic this morning. The first task was to make a Kaleidoscope. The children used crayons and texters to decorate the base. Then volunteers attached a coloured cellophane lens for them to view the world through.

Pat then introduced the next task of making a cellophane stained glass window and taught everyone how to say the colours in English. In groups we all worked together sticking bits of cellophane down onto framed clear contact. The children loved the sticky feel of the contact and were a flurry of productivity as they worked together filling any remaining clear contact with splashes of colour. The end results were beautiful as the sunlight illuminated the reds, greens, blues and oranges. The children were rightfully proud as they collected their kaleidoscope in our little handing out ceremony. I would love to thank each one and all the staff. They were all a joy to work with, full of great energy!


Hope Home

It was just a small crew today. Pat and I worked with Boomrat and Phil on some water colours. Phil was quite productive today and did two lovely paintings and enjoyed playing ball. Pat and Boomrat made up a new massage style you may soon find on the streets of Chiang Mai. It consists of rubbing balls of clay over your body and had Boomrat in stitches. Pancake was up and about and on the move always attracting people to take her on walk outside and sing along with her. Joy was the surprising new artist. She made prints with her foot and palm onto paper. With Natalie and Paradon  gone for their first day at school it was a small group but we all had fun!



Clay Mobile at Hope Home - Part 2

Stage 2 of Susan’s clay mobile workshop extraordinaire was done this Wednesday. Pat Ashlie, Wad and Myself took out the hope home kids, minus Paradon, for a walk. A huge walk! Natalie was the little explorer. She was so interested in all the flowers, dogs and a huge tractor. She and Pat skipped and marched all the way home.
Then it was down to the art project. Natalie was off on a mission just like last week. She was rolling out clay, making great shapes and then decorating them with beads and sequins. The turned out beautiful. She was so concentrated the whole time and wanted to continue even when it was time to pack up. Pancake was in a good mood as she drew and sang with Natalie.

Boomrat and Phil painted on rolled out pieces of clay. They produced multicoloured designs that looked great when cut into pieces for the mobile. Their contributions are really going to brighten up the mobile.

We look forward to completing the mobile with Hope Home next week and seeing the clay master Paradon return.



Family dinner at the volunteer house

Hi everyone! My name is Pat, a project coordinator at Canvas Art Program. I would like to present you my beautiful moment at family dinner that we always have on Thursday night at the volunteer house. May I introduce "C" who wears the white t-shirt on the left hand of the top picture. "C" always cooks lots of delicious food for us. Tonight, she cooked 3 different dishes and they were all yummy; especially "Kaeng-Som" , a special kind of chilli sweet&sour soup with shrimp, fried-egg and vegetable.UMMM YUM
We also "thank you" to Susan and Sara who brought us some wine that tasted awesome to me.
Tonight is special because it's Laurie's Birthday so we had a little surprise for her. Best wishes, Laurie!
I hope that you would have a great time doing yoga course in the Sourthern Thailand. Also, I wish Susan to have a good luck on her trip to Sukhothai.
"People come, people go but they will always stay in my memory."


Wild Flower Print and Card Making Worskshop

Last Friday Susan led a full team including the ladies from Wild Flower and their family members and Pat, Sara, Ashley, Michael, Ben and myself in a print making workshop.
We started with a discussion led by Pat and Susan on how some shapes and line drawings can express different emotions. We were then asked to think of words that expressed who we were and translate that into sketches of shape and line. Not the easiest task but everyone did a great job and each participant came up with a design they were able to adapt into their own personal stamp.
The table was then a flurry of people working at all different speeds. We had some cutting their shapes out of foam. Then Michael was helping everyone stick their shape to a stamp and the ladies got to work printing. They produced these great bold designs in red and black on all this different textured paper. There seemed to be lots of determined activity as print after print was turned out.
Once the prints were dry we got down to the details. The prints were taken to the next level with metallic accents and made into cards. Everyone was pleased with their final product and expressed lots of interest continuing with the card making to see where else we can take them and to hone their skills. It looks like this was a very successful workshop which will be expanded on in the near future!



Week 1 of Clay Mobile Making with Hope Home

What an amazing morning. The children at Hope Home really showed some artistic flair and passion today and we were so thrilled.

Michael, Pat, Susan and I headed down to Hope Home and were greated by Pancake and her improved walking skills. She was unstopable and all the kids were excited to start the morning at the playground. Bunnies, swings and races had us all smilling.

Susan then lead the way with the start of a great 3 part project she has designed. We set to work making clay sculptures that will be the first step in creating a colourful mobile. Natalie and Paradon were little artists. They immediately took to Susan's concept and were rolling and bending clay like pro's. Beads and colours were then added and Paradon aranged the final pieces into a beautiful still life. They both relished the ohhhs and ahhhs of the impressed CCT staff. Phil and Boomrat with the help of Michael and myself were able to push clay placed in their hands. It was really when we added colour that their interest started to pick up, especially Boomrat the little painter. I think they will really enjoy the following session's when we add colour to the sculptures.

We have definitly found a calling for Paradon the little man with precision and an eye for shape. I cant wait to keep on developing this project with Hope Home over the next few weeks!


Newbie to the team

Hey, I'm Susannah, the newest volunteer with the cultural arts program of CCT. Im a university student from Australia on my way back home after one year abroad in Canada and now South East Asia. But first I get the amazing opportunity to help out at the CCT office. Today I met the team here and am really looking forward to getting to spend 3 weeks helping them out and getting to know Chiang Mai a bit better. So far I've loved the food, heat and friendliness Thailand has shared and can't wait to participate in some workshops that spread creativity, colour and joy in many peoples lives. What a great idea this organisation has, can't wait to dig in and get my hands dirty with great projects, people and some laughs along the way.



Thai Freedom House - Paper Wallets and Clutches

Up and coming designers
Cheers to everyone for a brilliant time spent, making paper wallets, last Friday night at Thai Freedom House.

Gathering together with a great group of Shan youngsters, Erika, Pat, Michael and I spent two hours weaving strips of magazines, folding, laminating, and laughing with the final outcome being beautiful paper wallets and clutches. It was Erika's concept and plan as well as her elbow grease the put this activity in to action.

For days Erika folded magazine pages in to strips. She then assembled them just enough so that the children could successfully weave all the strips together. As always Pat is our communicator and she does it so well. She brings great energy and enthusiasm to each workshop clearly instructing the students throughout the process with Michael and I jumping in where there is need. Michael soon realized that he has a great talent for laminating just perfectly. And I was pretty handy at sealing and folding over the edges of the wallets.

The rains came heavy and loud as we all worked, the children so intent on their weaving I am not sure they even knew how hard it was raining. They quickly finished the initial weaving and went on to add pockets of their choosing to their wallets. When this was complete they immediately figured out how to fold the magazine strips and got to work on yet another piece. And many of them asked just how much did we think they could sell them for? This project really got them thinking and rightly so. The wallets and little clutch purses were stunning. I even made my own but it did not hold a candle to those of the children.

So keep your eyes peeled for some new designs in paper fashion. There are a lot of really creative children over at Thai Freedom House. And we in the Canvas Art Program were more than happy to spark their imagination. 
Happy New Design Students
- Susan