I had a lot of activities planned out for this group as their understanding and skills were more advanced. The brochures, information leaflets and my website mentioned very little about the activities that would be conducted during the workshop. As all the renovation activity was at its peak I did not get enough time to build upon the detailed activity list. For all who have seen my work know how meticulous I am. On the last few days before the workshop I sat down and compiled the list of activities, I added a few more in case we had extra time. My new venture is not just business, it is more of passion to do things well and to see everyone happy and satisfied.
I planned every activity in minute detail, all tools were organized in each participants drawer. Raw material for each activity was arranged in individual packs and placed in the drawers as I did not want them to waste time searching and waiting. I was looking to cover as much as possible. We even had the needles threaded to save time.
We started with a small talk on recycling and handmade paper. Each participant got a paper sampler that contained swatches of our exclusive and unusual papers to feel and smell them. We also gave them a small leaflet that explained in detail how handmade paper is made. I tried to show them the versatility of natural fibres and a few of the immense possibilities. Since it was my first class it took some time to get into the flow. Our first activity was making a greeting card with glass beads strung on a copper wire. After the initial explanation the participants got busy with the beads. Our second activity was making a greeting card using handmade paper, jute and felt. Participants were told in detail about the jute fibre and tips and tricks in using it. The felt needed some stitching therefore everyone got engrossed in their cards. I in the meantime kept giving them ideas, tips and information about all that we were using. We then moved onto making bookmarks, the first one required the use of a pen knife to cut the paper after which cane was woven onto it. The second one required fraying of edges and then stitching of brass sequins onto it. By the time they completed it was already time to go.
A few participants arrived early, while chatting I asked if they had any suggestions on the workshop; One requested if they could get some tea and coffee as two hours was a long time. I did arrange for water but missed out on tea and coffee. I am an avid tea drinker and I stock a variety of teas like Tulsi, Typhoo fruit infusions, Masala, etc. So I made sure the participants got what they wanted. Another suggested some music, from next time we will have some Buddha Bar in the background. Paper quilling is gaining popularity day-by-day so I thought of it as an activity for the workshop. I have a variety of designs in paper jewellery, cards, etc and we have always used our hands to make them. For the workshop I called for paper strips, quilling tools, paper crimper, quilling coach and circle shaper. We started with our old favourite butterfly, The participants learnt how simple tools if used in the right way can have fascinating results. They then made earrings with quilled paper rolls, sounds difficult but was easy to do as I had step by step instructions for them. Next was a card with quilled paper flowers, by now people were tired of quilling so they asked if they could complete it at home. Yesterday a participant had shown interest in learning how to make an envelope; I too think it’s something everyone should know. It sounds and looks simple but actually it is very technical and is based on measurements. So we got down to making our envelope; measuring, cutting, scoring and folding. As everyone followed my instructions, their envelopes were perfectly symmetrical. Everyone was surprised as they had never imagined they could do so. I told them then that for one whole year I made envelopes by hand using the same long process. Their homework was to make another one all by themselves. You will be surprised to know that not many designers can make a perfect envelope.
Someone asked if they could make a collage as they had been hearing about it from the children’s workshop. Being an impromptu demand I had to quickly organise it. In my work we never waste paper, in fact we keep all of it, I don’t know why and till when; I have loads and loads of it. I called for a sack and laid it on the table. I told everyone that there were no instructions as to what was to be made – they had to use their imagination. Slowly people started composing their collage and by the time it was over it was way past three hours. I was tired but not physically….I guess speaking all the while really sapped all the energy out of me. We then called it a day, many of us nostalgic that the coming day was the last.
Our session started with an activity that I called “Creative gift-wrapping”, my idea was not to repeat the mundane cellophane, bows, ribbons, etc. I had thought of earthy and natural materials as surface ornamentation. Each of the participants got to wrap a box with a natural banana fibre paper. It’s a thin sheet so it adapts well to the shape of the box. Then we tied it with a jute string adorned with beads. I also gave them ideas about a few gift tags using spices. We explored a few more ideas and finally were ready for our paint textures and techniques session. I knew this would be the most exciting activity so I had prepared well. We rolled the protective plastic sheet over the table and settled down. Each of the participants were provided with colours, palettes, a variety of brushes, stamps, stencils, sponges, rollers, wax candles, combs, etc. And we were ready to go. For the first texture I asked all participants to crush a fresh sheet of handmade paper, they were puzzled but continued anyway, I then asked them to open the crushed paper and use colours over them. Many of the textures and techniques had fascinating results. The other textures that we did were stencilling, mottling, stamping, brushing, water washes, wax effects, combing, etc. As the class neared its end all the participants collected their pieces of art, raw materials, etc. I then asked all of them to fill our feedback form. Slowly everyone said their thank yous and good byes and left.
All’s well that ends well.
Age Group – Under 12 Years
Children are always eager to learn and they ask in-numerable questions; I enjoyed answering all of them. A parent travelled all the way from Noida on two consecutive days so that her children could attend the workshop. These days parents try very hard to give the best to their children. When children get different opportunities they get a chance to explore the talents that they too did not know existed. Another parent came along with her five and half year old daughter to register for the 19+ class and asked if her daughter could participate; even though she was below the minimum age that we had set, I said yes and she did have lots of fun.
We started with a small talk on recycling and handmade paper. Each participant got a paper sampler that contained swatches of our exclusive and unusual papers to feel and smell them. We also gave them a small leaflet that explained in detail how handmade paper is made. The first activity was to make a collage using a variety of materials like recycled paper, jute, natural fibres, felt, etc. The next activity was to make greeting cards for anyone they wanted to. We wrapped-up after making a few simple bookmarks.
We started with quilling, all of them were taught the basics and told to practice in their free time. The next activity was paint textures and techniques so when we rolled the protective plastic cover and placed the paints on the tables; they were all smiling. We did a lot of textures like stamping, mottling, comb effect, brushing, stencilling, etc using paint brushes, stamps, stencils, rollers, combs, cloth, etc. By the time we finished it was time to say good-bye, the children gathered all that they had made along with the left-over materials for future use. After all we love recycling!
Crafting Material, Tools & Art Supplies
While holding the workshop another idea struck me – why not retail craft supplies and materials under my registered brand “School for art & craft” as I have availability, good knowledge and experience in sourcing them.
I am planning workshops on the following activities starting July 2010. If you are interested then please email me your name, age and topics of interest. My email is on the contact page.
Batik Textures On Paper | Paper Quilling | Paper Jewellery | Envelope & Paperbag Construction | Box Making Using Threads | Greeting Card Making | Scrapbooking | Paper Cutting | Tie “N” Dye Wrapping Papers | Paint Textures & Techniques | Creative Gift Wrapping
Photography: Rahul Prakash