What Happened At Camp – Week 4

Normally when I say a post is going to be short, it doesn’t turn out that way. This is because brevity has never been something I’m good at (just ask my husband). Today, however, after spending a whole morning trying to get my computer to play nice and failing miserably (apparently Macs need their Sundays off), and then having a full blown big kid tantrum, I don’t think I can pull off any witty commentaries.

Last week was beautiful. The weather was perfect, the kids worked well together, and we looked at one of my favorite artists, Yayoi Kusama, and my favorite kid’s book The Dot, and a smidgen of Sonia Delaunay (which really isn’t enough – next year we will revisit her).
The camps are starting to get a little looser, and softer around the edges as we get to the tail end of Summer. The kids seem a little less energetic, and I’m tired. School is just around the corner and I don’t want any kids to go back burnt out. Rule one of running a camp: plan things around how your kids are feeling. So in addition to the art and play, there was some resting on a picnic blanket, eating cookies, making hair wraps, learning origami, and playing board games. Here are some photos, and you can find some of the  resources we used at the bottom of this post.


Hi Konnichiwa – Yayoi Kusama – A beautiful little book with big photos

Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with illustratons by Yayoi Kusama

The Dot – Peter H Reynolds – great for reluctant or unconfident artists
Ish – Peter H Reynolds – same as above!


Watch this video alone first to determine whether you are comfortable with your kids watching it!

Yayoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room

Our badly made version!

The Dot


Want to experience a Kusama installation in the flesh, then go to Houston!

Find Yayoi Kusama prints on shirts from Uniqlo shops or www.uniqlo.com

What Happened At Camp – Week 3

This week was all about Street Art and Parkour, because I think the two go together really well, like tea and cake, or Sundays and naps, you get the idea. There is a cool list of resources that we used at the bottom of this post, if you feel like skipping all my waffling. Otherwise, read on.

We kicked off the camp with a two hour parkour workshop run by a parkour enthusiast and friend of mine. It was hot, maybe too hot, but the kids loved it. They loved it even more when my “friend” suggested that I do a parkour circuit for the kids. Part of my job description is to be a good sport, and constantly available for acts of self humiliation, so I thought “what the heck” and lumbered ahead and gave the kids a good rollicking laugh (video exists but not available here).

The kids went on to look at different examples of street art and public art, and worked in groups to create mini post-it murals. This was a great hit, I mean, who doesn’t like post-it notes, huh?

We looked at Banksy and Ed Roth, and tried our hand at stenciling, and cutting our own stencils without cutting our hands. I’m glad (and slightly surprised) to announce that all the students left with the same amount of digits that they arrived with.

Then onto the big, messy project of the week. The campers painted and stenciled their own designs onto big wooden boards, that will be used to make parkour equipment for the aforementioned friend. They will see images of the equipment once it is made, and, hopefully, get to use it at a camp next year!!!!

The kids ended the week by playing games; one where they made graffiti awards for each other, another that involved renaming paint colors (that one got pretty rude actually!).

It was a heck of a raucous week! There were kids who seemed to be permanently covered in paint, two cases of heat exhaustion, a day when everyone seemed to be obsessed with the word ‘butt’, and a very trashed classroom at the end of the week. Frankly, I’m surprised that we managed to clean up all that paint and stay (relatively) sane!! My throat is raw and I’m exhausted, but it was a blast! And I feel as if we have barely scratched the surface of the subject, may have to do another street art camp.

Here are some cool resources:

Stencil 101 – Ed Roth
The Sneaker Coloring Book – D.Jarosch & H.Klingel
City of Angels – Jaskol and Lewis
A Weekend with Diego Riviera – Braun
The Street Art Book – Rik Blackshaw



Parkour Video:


Taggroo  – free app that can be used to find street art near you.

Two more weeks of camp to go! Check back here to find out about weeks four and five.



Useful Resources from Camp #2

Week two of my little summer camp is over, and what a blast it was! The week was all about illustration and typography, with a hefty dollop of Celtic fairytales and mythology thrown into the mix. The campers love anything to do with fantasy and books, and so do I. More about that, and the list of resources later. First, have a look at some of the things the kids made….


We looked at the history of books, learnt about illuminated manuscripts and how they were made. We illuminated our initials, read stories about mythological creatures, and made illustrations of them. Some of us developed a fascination with Selkies (seal people) and bored everyone else stiff for days. Others were bitterly disappointed that there weren’t any Sauron illustrations.


Then we delved into the fascinating subject of typography, and tried drawing words that conveyed moods and concepts. Things got a little blurry and messy, the kids got a lesson on the difference between nouns and adjectives, and also the difference between the table and their paper.
The kids got crazy excited about having their silhouettes drawn for word portraits, and stood still for longer than I would have expected without fidgeting. We ended the week by looking at artist Christian Jackson’s minimalist illustrations, and created our own versions, which prompted a long discussion about the origins of fairytales, happy endings, and fractured fairy tales. The kids gave a big thumbs up to gruesome endings, gold paint markers, and evil characters. Thumbs down to cleaning up gold paint marker, weak princesses, and musicals. So there you go.


After each camp, I always compile a list of resources for parents of my campers. This time I thought I would share these on my blog, so here are some cool resources I used…..


Celtic Memories – Caitlin Matthews

The Seal Prince – Sheila MacGill-Callahan

Finn MacCoul and his fearless wife – Robert Byrd
(hilarious story)

Marguerite makes a Book – Bruce Robertson
(great resource for teaching about illuminated manuscripts)

Snow White in New York – Fiona French
(Art Deco illustrations, and a 1920’s setting for the story – fabulous!)

Picture This, How Pictures Work – Molly Bang
(My go-to book for teaching about composition and illustration)

The Hungry Coat / King Midas, the golden touch – Demi
(All of Demi’s books are a hit with the kids)

Rump – Liesl Shurtliff
(Truly amazing novel, alternative story of Rumpelstiltskin)


Song of the Sea
(Celtic tale about Selkies)

(More enjoyable for older kids, 3rd grade and up)

The Secret of Kells
(Beautiful, beautiful animation)


See Christian Jackson’s work here.

Learn more about illuminated manuscripts here.