Jewelry Beading Party at Wildflower Home

Greetings all. This week we had an outstanding jewelry beading workshop with the women at Wildflower Home. The workshop was designed to tie into the lessons each of the women had learned from their days of color palettes and creating greeting cards to sell at local markets to generate income for their home. After weeks and weeks of creating gorgeous cards, we thought it would be nice for the women to create something for themselves that they could wear everyday.

I brought almost all of the beads with me from the U.S. and was able to purchase them through the donations of friends and family. It was a delight to bring them to the women at Wildflower Home and see them light up when our translator, Pbut, told them that they would create pieces they could keep for themselves! The lesson started by teaching the women how to cut the wire, choose a clasp, attach it to the end of the necklace and begin to select their color combination of beads to be strung.

The women and young girls dove right in and after two hours had each made several necklaces, bracelets and earring sets. Leading a workshop with the group that gave a gift back to them was one of the most rewarding parts of my time at Art Relief International.  And the women and young girls were so thankful at the end and continued to thank all of the volunteers for a very special jewelry party. They each modeled their designs for us and there was one little boy in the group who turned out to be a jewelry making savant! He designed multiple pieces for his mother and had her come over to make sure they fit just right around her arm! We were all so impressed by the work the women put into the workshop and the volunteers even had the chance to create a few special pieces for themselves. 

One of the best parts of the ARI program is designing lesson plans and seeing it through from beginning to end. And even more rewarding is bringing the supplies with you and seeing them integrated into the lesson plans. If you have the opportunity to volunteer with ARI keep that in mind and consider donating supplies to ARI. You can easily bring them in your checked baggage like I did and carry your clothes in a backpack. It's well worth it and all of the supplies will go to good use here at ARI! Cheers! Jade

A Day of Dot Painting Down Under

Last Wednesday the Young Lions went down under - to the home of the native Aboriginese, Australia!

We revisited a technique from earlier in the semester, making images through dots. These Aboriginal dot paintings weren't on the walls of caves or the inside of tree bark, but rather on small clay pots (and faces!) The children were introduced to the idea and history of the project, and then set out to decorate with dots...judt judt!

Our Young Lions showed a lot of skill and represented animals, flowers, and landscapes through their markings. After all the pots were painted and put aside to dry, we all attempted an Aboriginal dance - lots of arm flailing, chaotic stomps, and laughs. Unfortunately the video of that performance was too big to upload here :)

Our final Australian inspired act was to plant baby seedlings in each dot pot. The kids loved this, and were able to take a little lushness home with them when they left. G'day Mate!


Last Wednesday, we went for our weekly workshop with the kids at Hope Home to continue working with animal puppets and sounds. We warmed them up by dancing to the “Funky Chicken Song.” The volunteers let loose making animal noises and dancing around, much to the amusement of the kids. Boonrat and Phil ,especially, were cracking up and joining us in making noises.

As the rest of the kids got to work painting cardboard to make the puppet stage, I worked with Pancake.

Pancake is blind mostly mute, and does not usually like to join in on the group activities. This time, though, she was happy to sit with the rest of the group while we played with a bell, tambourine and sang Christmas carols. By the end of the day, she was humming the tune of Jingle Bells! After a walk, Annika and Elizabeth put on an encore-worthy puppet show while everyone sang along to “Old McDonald.”

 The kids always have a great reaction to our workshops, but this one was particularly fun because of their response to the combination of sights and sounds. I get the feeling that the art that they have been participating in lately is really stimulating their minds and brightening their days!

Viengping Orphanage Wooden Chair Workshop Springs to Life with Home and Design

Greetings! I'm Jade and I'm here from the U.S. I’ve spent three short weeks here in Thailand as part of Art Relief International and had the opportunity to teach and encourage arts education with amazing groups of children across the region.  I was able to see the Viengping Orphanage Wooden Chair workshop that I envisioned spring to life during my time with 24 lovely young ladies.  

We acquired 30 basic wooden stools and the workshop was planned with home and design in mind as we encouraged each young girl to adorn and decorate a chair that was inspired by their “throne”.  A chair that made them feel happy, comfortable and safe in their everyday environment. This two-day workshop began with the girls starting to map out their design on paper and the ideas began to flow - from magical gardens to an origami bird oasis and down under the deep blue sea with a creepy crawly octopus (photo to left).  Trays and trays of colorful paint where provided for each group and they spent the second part of the day painting the base coats of their chairs in vibrant colors and penciling in their designs as they prepared for next week’s session where they could cultivate their true individual creativity. 

The next Sunday the girls were eager to begin and we had brought a number of supplies that they could use to adorn their chair including scrapbook paper and borders, stencils, stickers, glue, string, creative scissors and tissue paper.  A lot of the supplies I had brought directly from the states (thanks to the many donations from friends and family for art supplies). Their creative juices really began to flow and each girl came up to the tables lined with an endless number of supplies they could choose from. One girl in particular was inspired by the sky and the freedom of birds and she taught a few of the volunteers how to make origami birds (photo to right). She used each of our birds to decorate her chair as if they were cascading over the edges and about to dive straight for the earth!

At the end of the day each of the girls gave their interpretation of their chair and lined them up at the front of the room to show their unique designs.  The ARI volunteers also joined in on the action and painted a few chairs of their own (photo to left)

The chair project was a success and it is our hope that we can use the finished products in a community exhibition in the coming months that has a home and design theme to display the students work. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to volunteer here with CCT and see these children sprout their creative wings each day. I’ll miss the time spent with the young girls at Viengping Orhanage and hope that they enjoyed the workshop as much as all the volunteers did - myself especially! Cheers or Chok dee as they say here in Thailand.


Colourful Flowers and Eye-Catching Cards!

Along a bumpy dirt road, through the rice fields and over potholes and onwards we go until we reach the Wild Flower Home. In the past few months the women living at Wildflower Home have been artfully living up to their name, crafting beautiful hand printed greeting cards using actual flowers, leaves and petals that they collect from the grounds around them. This card making endeavor is helping the women to hone their skills as artisans and create cards to sell at local markets. Our most recent workshop with the women focused on color theory and how to match colors to catch the buyer’s eye.

We came with a  prepared color theory guidebook for the women to use and they were very keen to start crafting! Soon they had set to work mixing an assortment of colors including cranberry red, magenta, and lavender purple and lime green... Everyone put on their “decorator hats” and contemplated which color combination's were going to work best together, and soon the bamboo pagoda where were working was transformed into a card making factory, where every women had the opportunity to make at least one beautiful cad- although some made three or four.

Making cards with the women at wildflower is a delightful experience and the cards produced are a reflection of nature’s delicate beauty and the artisan’s unique artistic flare!


‘Old McDonald had a farm’...

…’e-i-e-i-o’… with this song in our head we went to Hope Home this morning. We started with a walk through the neighborhood while singing with the kids… ‘and on his farm he had a horse’… On the walk we saw two horses, a dog and butterflies. The kids were excited to see them and to hear their sounds.

Back at Hope Home the kids had the chance to choose their favorite hand puppets to play with and to paint. Som chose the frog, Phil the horse, Boonrat the pig and Pancake played with the snake. 

Erin and I worked together with Boonrat. Last week he didn’t feel well but today he was so happy that we were singing the songs and playing with the puppet together. When he started to paint his pig,he had problems doing it by himself at first. But after a while, he moved his arm more and more. It is wonderful to see how he gets better every week, but this day was amazing!

Erin and I were so proud that we began to sing, dance and to applaud. That made Boonrat so happy that he painted the whole time by himself. After painting his pig he started to paint a paper. I hadn’t ever seen him painting so much and having so much fun. 

It was an awesome experience to work with Boonrat today. I can’t describe how he made me feel, proud, happy and useful.
I can’t wait for next week to see him again and to continue the animal-theme with all of the kids.
‘e-i-e-i-o’…. Annika