Amazing afternoon at the Montessori School

When we arrived on Saturday at the Montessori school ground I felt enthusiastic be there!   
The school is located in a beautiful garden and the people around were all very friendly and interested to participate at the three craft stations we set up:  mask making, kite making and  free drawing. 
At these stations we worked with many really young kids- at Montessori school some children begin as young as 18 months! It was so cute to watch them drawing, gluing and cutting….after awhile there was glitter everywhere. 

We had a lot of fun while being creative, enjoying live-music, delicious food and cold drink. People of all ages had a great afternoon creating and playing in the garden.

We had also the chance to display and sell some of our other projects like paintings made at Hope Home and lomo photos made at Freedom House.

It was great to speak with people about our projects and to see that they are interested in our work!
I really enjoyed the time at Montessori School , Annika


Young Lions Roam into Indonesia!

It's Erin again, here to report on another amazing adventure with the Young Lions.

Last week I was able to fulfill my life-long dream of traveling to Indonesia. We landed on the island of Bali, where the Balinese people are incredibly spiritual. An important event in Balinese culture is the Barong dance - a representation of the fight between good and evil. 

The Young Lions made Barong masks, as the Barong represents good. In the Barong dance, the Barong fights the evil witch, Rangda.

This was a good learning workshop for the Young Lions. As a Buddhist society, the Thais are also very spiritual. The Young Lions were able to learn about a culture similar to their own and compare the Barong dance to important events in Thai culture.

I love working with the Young Lions. Despite coming from difficult circumstances, they're always appreciative and ready to learn something new. I can't wait to travel with them to the Netherlands! (I'm a big Dutch enthusiast.)

Chok Dee Ka!


Collage and Compliments

Last Thursday, we went back for another lesson with the older kids at Wat Pa Pao. A couple of weeks ago, we lead a self portrait workshop that allowed the kids to explore their identity through a combination of collage and oil pastels. We used the same techniques for the follow up workshop, but put a spin on the concept and asked the kids to express how they view their peers rather than themselves.
The kids explored the idea that our identity is influenced by the way others perceive us. They were split into groups and asked to pass around their self portraits so that their class mates could add their positive opinions and thoughts. I was really proud of the kids for being able to dig a little deeper. For example, some of the kids described their friends as honest and as someone that makes others happy. 

In the end, the kids told us that the activity made them feel kind and happy! For me, this lesson, and the Wat Pa Pao kids smiling faces, was a reminder of the power of a compliment and recognizing the good in others. 
Until next time!


bubbles and banana watercolors

on wednesday we went to hope home, the home for children with disabilities, and worked with watercolors outdoors! for the past few weeks we've used acrylic or tempera paints, so it was a fun new experience to work with a different medium. we made scenes with sticky shapes of trees and flowers and stars stuck on big sheets of watercolor paper, and helped the kids spray water on the paper and then roll on the color. the twist was that the sprayed water was scented! we had all sorts of scents: lemon, rose, orange, cream soda, and phil's favorite-banana!

the kids had a blast smelling the scented water and rolling on the watercolor paint to produce beautiful pictures once the sticky shapes were removed.
we broke out the bubbles and blew them all over the yard, while watching a bubble video set to music. phil got a kick out of the bubbles on his feet and hands, and we trailed a stream of bubbles and banana scent behind us as we walked around the neighborhood.


Dancing till we dropped

On Friday evening we went to Freedom House, a school for Burmese migrant and refugee teenagers. We split the children in two groups. Half of them began with painting a T-shirt in Jackson-Pollock-style and the other half started with the dance workshop.

After a while they changed places. The dance workshop was my first self planned lesson, so I was really excited that the children liked dancing and that my ideas were working. To warmup and have fun, we started with the “Funky-chicken-game”. It was so fun to move and make sounds like funky animals together. 

After a second warm up-game we started with Freeze Dancing. I couldn’t imagine before that they could move to the music so easily. They loved to dance and to try their own dance styles.

When the song “Macarena” began to play, we showed them the choreography and they copied the moves so easy and fast. It was great to observe them because they looked so happy.
After all of them finished their T-shirts, Mona and I showed them a short Choreography to the song “Cotton Eyed Joe”. They learned it so fast and it was so funny to do it with so many people in a small room. 

After two hours of dancing we sat together, so tired and really happy to  have a drink and eat snacks. I was really happy and proud of the children.
Soon, I want to do a dance workshop again at freedom house because they are so talented and motivated.
It was an amazing evening!

Stratton's Mural

Hey Everyone,
last Saturday we had an amazing day!! We all went to the Stratton ABC Foundation to paint the front wall. Although it was probably one of the hottest days and the sun was burning on our faces, everyone especially the kids did such a great job. I am very happy that everyone had so much fun.

So when we get there we already felt that everyone was excited to paint. We set up the scenery put out the colors and let the kids starting. Before that day, on Thursday we already went to Stratton to paint the design so that last saturday the kids only had to fill in the color. However we also had little bubbles in which the kids could paint whatever they wanted and whatever makes them happy.

It was fascinating to see how concentraded they worked on their design of the bubbles. A lot of them painted houses, their families or friends. But some of them also painted pigs or other funny animals.

Later that day when the sun was so hot and the mural was almost finished we also set up other activities such as friendship bracelets or banana-boat-making with regard to the upcoming festival Loy Krathong where the people party the end of rainy season. They set either lanterns free to the sky or boats on the river to make a wish.

However this was one of my favorite days and I am so glad that I got the chance to take part in creating this mural-design and collaborate in that workshop. This mural turned out so nice that even local people who drove past the wall started saying: "suay suay / beautiful, beautiful"!

Bye Mona


Wildflower Color Wheel

On Tuesday a group of three volunteers and translator Bat visited Wildflower, a home for single mothers and their children. It is a beautiful compound about 20 minutes from the CCT office. The women have been making cards from homemade paper and painted leaf and flower prints. They showed us their cards and we helped to package some of them, including in each a slip of paper which explains a little bit about the cards and the women who make them.

We also led a color workshop and went over the color wheel and how the three primary colors can be combined to make various secondary colors. The women seemed very interested and the information will hopefully give them a new sense of empowerment in their artwork. We hope to continue to visit them and expand on this workshop that will lead to even more beautiful cards for the women to sell.

Making acetate hanging mobiles at Hope Home

Hello everybody, its Mona again

On Wednesday we went again to Hope Home. This workshop was so much fun. We created acetate hanging mobiles. We used acetate sheets on which the kids could paint. After the painting we cut those sheets into squares and weaved with yarn the sheets into frames. In the end the outcome was so beautiful, that we hung them up on the big tree in front of the house.

It was nice to see how much fun the kids had. I remembered Joy - the little girl - smiling when she first saw us preparing for our workshop and when she saw her finished mobile she even had a bigger smile on her face.

 And Phil the boy who cannot use his arms properly due to Cerebal palsy, but can use his feet very well had so much fun painting with his feet!! 

I really enjoy the time staying at Hope Home and i am looking forward to the next great workshop next week.

Young Lions Tie Dye in Jamaica, Mon!

This week was another amazing week with the Young Lions.

We traveled to Jamaica this week and I noticed that some of the Young Lions passports are getting full. For those of you keeping track, we've been to: Japan, France, Nigeria, China, India, England, Canada, Tibet, Trinidad, Mexico, USA, Morocco, and Jamaica!

I love that the kids are able to see so much of the world through art projects done in their own neighborhood.

Tie dye was so much fun this week. The kids made some really cool designs and used beautiful color combinations - my bandana ended up brown and gross. Some of the kids are so talented, I'm glad we're able to provide a creative outlet.

I can't wait for next week!



Who am I? & Who are We?

Last Friday the art relief team and visited Wat Pa Pao a second time.  On this visit we spent our time with the older children (ages 11-14) and made identity collages.  The kids used coloured oil pastels and magazine cut outs to illustrate who they are and what they like. 

Some of the students gave literal representations of themselves whereas others looked at the self from the inside out and drew their family, their favorite place or their favorite activity.  

 The kids were all so friendly and keen to practice their English that it was great fun just getting to know them.  Although our conversation abilities are still quite limited we were able to introduce ourselves to one another in picture, using our artwork as a window unto our lives and who we are. 

At the end of the workshop the students shared and explained their portraits to the group.  Overall, it was a wonderful afternoon getting to know the kids and a great way to kick start a workshops series with them for the future.  I’m looking forward to another trip back to Wat Pa Pao!