Category Archives: Kids’ Projects

Grabbing Life by the Cojones

2013 y’all! I still feel like I’m in the 90s. Or maybe I’ve finally arrived at “that” time in my life – being stuck in a particular time warp.

Quick catch up! I miss this place. Where once upon a time I blogged every other day or week, it has seriously fallen off  my radar. But, this year is looking to be ah-mazing! After a particularly difficult 2012 where I fell into a bit of a funk and didn’t know how to get out, things bubbled up and I found the courage to make many a change and potential difference in my life and that of my kids’. Even if these changes are not supported, not successful, I’ll know that they have made a positive difference and that’s all that counts. Turns out that taking out the trash is a very cathartic experience, especially when the trash was just someone else’s crap that they dumped in my backyard. We are all in such a good place. Finally!

So what has 2013 got in store for me?! Well good question, but here are some of the things I am super excited about it:

  • I have an intern/assistant for my personal projects!! Still in discussion phase, but looking good! 🙂
  • Teaching online. Yes!
  • Visiting artists! Yes!
  • A new community project with students at Chapman Primary School – Yeah!
  • Nearly coming to an end of the community project with the Queanbeyan council and there has been discussion of possible further projects with them. Yes!
  • Mosaic Symposium in Melbourne August 23 – 25

Last year I asked one of my repeat students if she’d be interested in assisting me in some of my personal projects. I’m hopeful this will work out as she’s truly lovely and I really like the way she works. There will be an introduction soon! I’ve been re-working an old design, getting what was in my head out on paper, based on my sister’s mermaids. Just a couple more elements to add and she should be ready to go – though the enlarging on this one will be interesting… It’s a big’un.

Teaching online? Mmhmm! This has been running through my head for some time now and out of the blue one of my first clients who commissioned me to make Odette, got in touch to ask if I’d be interested. So the rundown is this – AU$75/hr. I use either Skype or Facetime. I will cater the lesson plan to your needs/your project and also generalise the information where appropriate so that you can feel confident that what you are creating will last in the area that you live. I am not one of those teachers who tells you what products to buy and then leaves it at that. I get into the details of what to look for in a product and why so that no matter where you are in the world, no matter what the climate is, you have the know-how to source what you need for the project at hand. I feel this is a much more empowering method of teaching and learning. I also include class notes as a pdf. Interested? Email me!

VISITING ARTISTS! Wow, I have THREE (3) confirmed visiting artists this year!!! I know, I’m so excited. Canberra, we are so lucky. Really!! All three artists have very different styles so I think they complement each other well. In addition, all three have been teaching and creating mosaics for a number of years and are well respected in the mosaic world (and further afar too as a matter of fact!)

Susan Crocenzi will be teaching her popular class “TEMPERED, TRANSPARENT & TEXTURED GLASS AND POLYMER CLAY TILES” August 30, 31 and September 1. Susan hails from Northern California in the USA. If you have ever been to one of my classes you will recognise one of the below pieces, Crossroads, which she made for me back in 2008. It sits on my wall in my living room. Hard to miss really and always admired. Don’t miss out on this opportunity! I don’t know when or if she’ll ever be back! Places are limited. Besides, the reunion of Susan and Crossroads will be a thing to behold!

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Also on my list of Visiting Artists this year is Marian Shapiro! She had such a great time last time she was here that she has agreed to come back!! This time Marian is going to demistify “WORKING WITH SMALTI”. I. Can’t. Wait. Because yes, I’ll admit I am a little skeered of the stuff!! This class will be held November 8 – 10 and students will need to come armed with about 1.5 kgs of smalti to create either an indoor or outdoor wall hanging. Smalti Australia has agreed to a discount for all registered participants! If you happened to take Marian’s class in 2011, Creating 3D Susbtrates for Mosaic, you are welcome to mosaic one of your substrates in this class!! Great opportunity to complete a project! Let’s face it, we all have unfinished projects…

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I’m happy to be able to announce that I’ve just secured a third visiting artist. Timing is of the essence on this one as Carol Shelkin will be in the country from  the East Coast in the USA around the same time as Susan. I know, hard on your wallets people, but seriously these are two AH-mazing artists who won’t be making their way back to Australia any time soon!!! Christmas must come early and you don’t want to miss the partay. They each have their own style, their own teaching methods, their own everything. It’s, simply put, not to be missed. Carol’s class is titled “MAKE YOUR OWN MOSAIC WORKSHOP!” She will teach the use of modern mosaic techniques to understand structure, cross contour, highlights, colour, gradation, value, composition, design and types of shadows in realism using Stained Glass. Students will learn how to mix glass values and colors to define planes, and how to use colour most effectively with artist tricks. If your interest lies in creating realism in mosaics, then there’s no one better to learn from in the contemporary mosaics field today. Carol’s class is slated for August 18 & 19 (a Sunday and a Monday). So… think about putting in for leave now! 🙂

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Check out my website for full details on the Visiting Artists Series and check back for Carol’s workshop – my copy of Dreamweaver has just gone bust so I’m unable to update it immediately!

Community projects? Yep – They’re continuing! 🙂 I’ve just been commissioned by Chapman Primary School to work with staff and students there to create three murals that will be permanently installed out the front of the school. The murals are all in celebration of Canberra’s centenary. Exciting stuff! Themes for the three of them have been decided upon. It’s now a matter of designing, enlarging and coding the murals for a term 2 start (no biggie!!). Deadline is the beginning of term 4 with an unveiling in Week 2 of that term as this is Children’s week. We even have rosters ready to go for all students in all years and when they will work on the mosaics. I love how organised this school is.

We’ve just completed the seventh panel for the Crawford st precinct. Pretty satisfying! The kids and staff at the Axis Youth Centre made their panel, mostly independently of me. They should be really proud of themselves! I think they did a great job. I’ve also just got the Landcare group started with theirs. Their theme is River Life. I’m looking forward to how this will turn out! A few finishing touches on the design for the HOME in Queanbeyan panel and the design will be hopefully OK’d by them! Last but not least is a playgroup of 3-5 year olds! Design yet to be determined, but as the playgroup is for Indigenous children it will  involve Indigenous elements. 🙂 Almost there!

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The Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand (MAANZ) is hosting another Symposium, this time located in Melbourne. I will be there. Keynote speaker is UK craftivist, Carrie Reichardt (not Dusciana Bravura as previously advertised by MAANZ). Carrie is AWESOME!!! It’s going to be pretty bloody amazing! I was lucky enough to grab one of Carrie’s flying eyeball mosaics last year. Proudly hanging out the front of my home waiting to be included into a larger mosaic.

Grab life by the cojones! That’s the theme for my year! Life is too short.

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Australia, Canberra, Carrie Reichardt, Community Projects, Events, Kids' Projects, Kim Grant, Marian Shapiro, Melbourne, Mosaic, Murals, My projects, Public Art, Round the World, Susan Crocenzi, Symposium, Workshops

Midnight Garden – a community mosaic project with children

As I’ve mentioned previously I was contacted a little while ago by a public primary school here in Canberra to  lead a mosaic project with their students. What came out of the brief discussions we had was to create a feature mural and some extra mosaics that will float around the courtyard. The theme of which is a macro garden.

I went away and created a design that fit to the brief, but that was also going to be simple enough for a whole school to participate in. In my opinion, too much detail can be overwhelming. I also like stylised designs, as I suppose one can tell from my work. I suggested some colour themes and created colour packs for them to refer to, but emphasised that these were suggestions only. I think ownership comes from choice in process and it was important to me not to take that away. I worked in small groups with kids once a week and the teacher leading the project worked with kids throughout the rest of the week. All the kids cottoned onto the hows and whys pretty easily and then took the information and passed it on to their peers who had not yet participated. As we fabricated, the kids made changes to some of the colour selections. 🙂 The kids have been so great! Most of the panels have been fabricated already. There was always a lot of interesting conversation, a lot of problem solving (not only of the mosaic, but also of social matters in their lives). It was a lot of fun to listen to them all talk. Of course, the part they loved the most was smashing tiles!

It makes my day to hear things like:

“When I grow up, I want to be an artist” and  “This is so fun, I wish we could do it all day”, amongst many other uber cool other statements.

Yesterday I started on the installation. One of the teachers walked past while I was working and she said to me “you are such an inspiration to these kids.” I wasn’t too sure what she meant by this and after chatting with her she remarked on me being a woman doing what I am doing and how it is inspiring for kids, both male and female, to see me creating large scale mosaics: teaching, fabricating, installing etc… I never thought of it like this. Ever! Wow. It was a pretty empowering moment and one that makes me feel like I am on the right path for me. I am exactly where I should be.

Anyway, a year 6 teacher was keen for her kids to be involved. They’ll be assisting me in the rest of the installation as well as grouting the project which will basically happen next week and the week after which puts us in line to completion for the end of term.

I also had a number of students discuss with me the name of the mural. They came up with Midnight Flowers, which I thought was way cool. We settled on Midnight Garden, after some discussion, to include the whole scope of the project.

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Big THANKYOUS to all those involved: students, parents of the community and teachers, in particular Hazel who is leading the project from the school perspective and the Principal, Lindsay whose understanding of the value of art for children is invaluable.

I’ll post final pics when we get there 🙂

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Asian, Australia, Canberra, Community Projects, Female, Flowers, Garden Mosaics, Kids, Kids' Projects, Kim Grant, Mosaic, Murals, My projects, Nature, Ornamental, Public Art, Retro, Round the World, Schools, Uncategorized, Works in Progress

Rosella, Mural WIP Pics & Community Project News

My 9 yo son managed to get his first 3D mosaic completed the other day. It was his first time using glass too. He ended up burning out with the background (all that was really left to do), so I had to help him get that part done, but everything else he did on his own, right down to the cutting of glass. I love that he loves it and doesn’t just do it to please me… He has named the chook Rosella and she sits out by Liberace 🙂

I’ve moved along quite nicely with my Secret Hideout mural. I have three panels left to go. Scored some interesting tile off a tiler in Belco Mall today, who rummaged through his rubbish bin for me. I’ll probably try and use it for the shell section of the snail if I can make it work. I got to use the gran tronconi millefiori that has been sitting in my studio since the SAMA 2009 conference… Almost forgot I had it! I’ve been loving working on this. It’s so nice to work large – I L-O-V-E, love it! Can’t wait to get his one up and start on the next mural for the house. Swimming in ideas. I’m online less (good news), generally more satisfied with life and energised to get on with things. YAY! I love my job.

In other news, the project at a primary school here in Canberra is going ahead. We’ve pretty much started. My design was accepted and now it’s up to me to enlarge, code and chop it into enough pieces so that each class can have a good go. I’ve got tile pack samples to bring in. The kids range in age from pre-school to year 6 and I believe there are about 450 students in total. They will be making their own tiles and firing them in the school’s kiln (yes they have a kiln!!) and these will be used in the border of the mural. Sneak peek of the first draft design:

We’ll be going with a dark blue background on this one as this is the main colour of the school. The flower pods themselves will be bright and colourful with plenty of mirror (of course) and I’ll be using some of the green paua shell tile too. So exciting!! Originally the school was aiming for an end of term unveiling (6 weeks away), but this is now flexible, which is actually good for everyone involved: me, kids and teachers!! Overall dimensions of the mural is 2.1m H x 4m W. So, on my to do list this week is enlarge, code and chop. One of the hardest aspects of mural making. The planning is tedious but necessary or the whole thing doesn’t come together in the end, quite literally! I need to find a good space that is large enough for me to enlarge and template out the design of these sorts of installations. It’s a nightmare doing it in my home as I don’t have the wall space, but by the same token I don’t want to rent space out. Argh! That backyard studio is sounding more appealing every minute of every day, hehehe.

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Filed under Animals, Art, Australia, Birds, Community Projects, Flowers, Garden Mosaics, Kids' Projects, Mosaic, Murals, My projects, Nature, Public Art, Uncategorized, Works in Progress

Mural WIP and other shenanigans

So I finally got around to transferring a design for a mural the other night. I have motivation AND I have energy. It is such a welcome return. Love what Spring can do… I sketched out a design three years ago and it got shelved due to other commitments, lack of sleep etc… For me, the hardest part of anything is the design and for large scale stuff transferring the design and all the prep involved beforehand. One part of me wants to get it all exact and be overly prepared, the other just wants to get a wriggle on. Anyway, the hard part is done and I can’t wait to get a start on it. The mural will be about 2.3m W x 1.6m H. It’s going to be located on my home, in an area that has come to be known as the Secret Hideout. I have a gorgeous Japanese maple that grows out front, perfect for climbing and of course come Spring and Summer no one need know if you are in that tree, watching the world go by! It’ll be great because the tree loses its leaves in Autumn (when it becomes our Not-so-Secret-Hideout). I kinda wanted a feeling of entering another hidden world… I think it’ll be a lot of fun. The first of four murals intended on my home that I already have designed. I’m sure more will probably come, but I need to start somewhere (says my more patient self). Next up after this one will be another mermaid…

Tomorrow I leave for warmer Newcastle, en route to Grafton to teach a six day workshop as part of the Grafton Artsfest. This is their last year in operation so I’m happy to be a part of it again this year. The workshop I am teaching is called Mosaic Sampler: getting back to basics. It should be a good week, with lots of information and hopefully lots of mosaic making using different techniques… I am overfull, so I’m really pleased that the class has been a popular attraction. My car will be chockablock full of all sorts of things. My tile guy has been awesome as far as providing everything I need. Pretty sure the only thing he hasn’t provided is the kitchen sink, though I’m sure he could work with me even on that one!! Looking forward to warm weather as it is still touch and go here in Canberra but I’ll miss the Jacarandas that begin to  flower a week or so after the festival. I love Jacarandas – one of my favourite trees! I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple exercises from one of  Crystal Thomas‘ eTutorials included as part of the week which I think will greatly assist in cutting and setting tile. If you havn’t already seen her eTutes, I strongly encourage you to take a look at her site and buy some! They are very, very affordable and are a wealth of information. It’ll change the way you work – for the better! Thanks again Crystal! Mwah.

I met with the primary school that contacted me the other week. What a great meeting – the principal, teachers and parents totally got what community means and what art teaches our new generation. The principal made a note of saying that she didn’t want any of the students (~460)  to have token involvement. That did it for me right there. Respectful, kind people. My heart beats a little more solidly knowing there are good people in the world who truly do care for our youngsters without letting their egos get in the way. I havn’t been asked to provide permits that don’t exist, nor a bunch of other unnecessary  paraphernalia. I hope I’m successful with the proposal I have put forward as it seems like it would be a wonderful relationship. The theme of the project was already agreed upon (macro garden) and I’ve already actually created a design for the feature wall that will also allow for each child’s addition in and around the main mural!! So exciting… but I need to pace myself 🙂

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Australia, Building, Community Projects, Events, Kids' Projects, Mosaic, Murals, My projects, Round the World, Schools, Travel, Works in Progress, Workshops

How Mosaic Art Assists Childrens’ Learning Abilities

I’ll be meeting with a primary school this week to discuss a potential artist in residence opportunity and create some work with their students. The prospect is an exciting one but I am also keeping a level head about it at this early stage… This, together with the children’s workshop I will be facilitating through the Sydney Children’s Festival in October, motivated me to put in writing how mosaic art affords some real, concrete learning opportunities for children. This is what I came up with. I’m sure I’ll be updating this post as time goes by so please let me know if you feel there is anything not listed here.

Mosaic art assists in the development of:

  • Counting
  • Matching
  • Sorting
  • Recognition
  • Assembling
  • Decision making
  • Manual dexterity
  • Concentration
  • Attention
  • Patience
  • Problem solving
  • Memory
  • Logic
  • Perception
  • Imagination
  • Creativity
  • Intuition
  • Trust
  • Spatial and visual organisation (basics of geometry)
  • Fine motor skills
  • Coordinating a child’s thoughts and actions
  • Hand and eye coordination – extremely important step to help a child achieve difficult tasks easily, including reading and writing
  • Correlation between seeing and doing (sight and touch senses)
  • Math skills as the child learns about basic calculations, surface area, the best way to break down a larger area into smaller ones, shapes, spatial visualisation
  • Skills children will need to learn to read and write
  • Curiosity
  • Language skills as the child listens and follows instructions and talks about what they are doing
  • Creative self expression
  • Self exploration
  • Self discovery

In addition to the above, larger community projects teach:

  • Peer to peer interaction (subtly helps children to understand the relationships between people while learning to deal with them effectively)
  • Collaboration
  • Cooperative learning strategies
  • Self esteem
  • Confidence
  • That a child is one of many, each as valuable as the other
  • Tolerance
  • Difference
  • That a whole is made up of many parts – each one valid, each one value-adding
  • Community spirit
  • Responsibility
  • Safety
  • Friendship
  • That a child’s voice is heard, valid and celebrated
  • Art appreciation

How does mosaic art help the teacher/parent/caregiver?

  • Making mosaics provides an opportunity for formal learning experiences
  • The care provider can watch children work alone or in groups
  • They can monitor they way in which the children speak, move and concentrate
  • It allows for observation of a child to assess their development
  • It also allows for the care provider to understand what interests the child has, what engages them and why

Most importantly, kids love it!!

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Filed under Art, Artists, Australia, Canberra, Community Projects, Kids' Projects, Mosaic, My projects, Round the World, Schools, Uncategorized

Immortalising Childrens’ Art

My 5 year old was playing with sidewalk chalk last weekend on a (very large) stepping stone at the bottom of the stairs of our deck. She drew one of her loveflies, which I adore. I’ve been planning a mosaic rug on this particular substrate and after seeing her gorgeous lovefly, decided to mosaic it instead. It was supposed to be something we did together, however her response to this was “Oh, it’s OK Mum you can do it” 😉

Can I say I love immortalising childrens’ art? What better way to do so than with mosaic!? 😀

Lovefly

Lovefly

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Finished pieces, Flickr, Floor, Garden Mosaics, Kids, Kids' Projects, Mosaic, My projects, Nature, Pavement, Stepping Stones, Uncategorized

Mosaic Workshops, Canberra ACT

So I’ve finally gotten my act together and will be offering classes beginning this Winter. I will be working out of my studio here in Canberra (Northside) and am offering the following workshops:

  • Interior Mosaic Basics
  • Exterior Mosaic Basics
  • Beginning Tempered Glass Mosaics
  • Kids’ Mosaics (two age groups: 3-6 years and 7 and up)
  • Grout Clinic

More will come, eventually. I also plan on doing a reverse indirect class and a mural making class, so they are all in the pipeline but for now I think I have my hands full. 😉

Classes are currently restricted in size to a maximum of 4 students, minimum is 2. Perfect for beginners who have had no mosaic experience and are also adaptable for those seeking more of a challenge.

I’m also offering one on one tuition and can travel, given the right circumstances 🙂 Please just contact me if you’re interested.

All the info can be found on my newly renovated website: kimgrantmosaics.com

Happy Mosaicing All!! 🙂

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Filed under Art, Artists, Australia, Canberra, Events, Kids' Projects, Kim Grant, Mosaic, My projects, Round the World, Studio, Travel, Uncategorized, Website, Workshops