I love my job! Working at The Artful Mind offers me so many opportunities to work with children and art. One of my favorite parts of this is working with tweens at Tween Night – on the fourth Saturday evening of the month. The evening is three hours long, which is enough time to get really into some great art. In February we divided our time into three sections – art journaling, decoupaging desk accessories, and henna / icing piping.
The tween night is for people ages 10-14. So far we’ve only had girls sign up, but boys are absolutely welcome. We start our tween night with art journaling – everyone is invited to bring their art journals, start one there, or work on pages to add to their journal at home. An art journal is a collection of thoughts, lists, a diary or journal on any theme. It becomes an art journal once it becomes illustrated. This can be anything from a doodle to watercolor, embellishments, sewing, collage – anything. This hour is a chance to connect with everyone in the class. There are always snacks. At our last tween night one of the girls made this gorgeous watercolor page with blues and purples. We were all snacking on doritos and I told her that when I looked at her page I wanted to put a big splotch of bright orange in the middle. Then we all looked at the color wheel and back at her page and realized she was holding an orange dorito directly over her page – perfect color combination and we talked about cues that our brains pick up that we might not notice. This is such a great class and something I wish I had had when I was a tween.
Decoupaging desk accessories.
Our second hour of tween night was spent pouring over magazines to find the right images and words to collage and decoupage onto our glass-canister desk accessories. One of the girls at tween night made a DIY video on the entire process. We all watched it and it was amazing to see everyone ask her questions about how she made the video. Everyone there, including me, lives on youtube. This was a great video with music, editing, and direction. The girls worked on their projects as I prepped the final project of the evening.
Henna / icing piping.
The final hour of our tween night was spent with the girls playing with piping bags of icing. We had mehndi designs printed out and taped parchment paper over them. The girls got a quick lesson on keeping the icing in the bags and piped over their designs. Then they moved onto cookies, piping their designs. I was able to show them how the henna cone is shaped similarly but is held and squeezed differently. The girls all had approval from their parents to receive henna body art. They all wanted something different – each girl is unique and I love hanging out with them. Piping henna onto them was such an amazing experience. They all noted that the henna was cooling and felt neat going on. We talked about the eucalyptus oil in the henna mixture, how henna is a plant that is ground into a powder and mixed with essential oils, lemon juice, and water – how henna feels great on a hot day. We talked a little about the cultural significance of henna. Each girl received their very own body art, and just like each time I do this, there is a connection, a way to communicate. I appreciated the chance to practice. They appreciated having their very own piece of art. We talked about how cool it is to have someone walk around with your art on them.
I love Tween Night – and we are thinking about doing this twice per month. Kari, the studio owner, and I work hard to come up with exciting ideas for the class. I really love being a part of this studio. I love that this is a safe space for these kids to come and explore who they are and how to communicate that with themselves and the rest of the world.
On Tuesday, my friend, Eliza and I are going to be in the studio playing around with piping acrylic paint mixed with a gel medium to find the right consistency to pipe paint onto painted canvases. We want to play around and find the right designs and color combinations. This is going to be such a fun time and I can’t wait!
The opportunity to practice my piping skills at tween night is just one of the benefits I receive from working at the art studio. My schedule is fantastically busy and I don’t often make the time I need to for practice. I am one fortunate Kenna.
Just keep swimming.