Let's Make Art

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
If you were to ask any creative person, when was it they first fell in love with art, they would probably say when they were small.  Children are naturally creative, scribbling, sloshing with paints, building detailed structures out of Lego.  Unleashing our inner artist must come from an early age, and be allowed to flourish. Local duo Karen and Alice believe in encouraging children to be creative by providing well run, and professional workshops throughout the City.  We totally love this idea, and had to find out more...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about Let’s Make Art? 
We are Alice Hendy and Karen Davies of Let’s Make Art. We started our company in the summer of 2012. We are both parents of young children and we wanted them to participate in art activities in the school holidays, but there was a lack of classes in our community. We hired a hall, combined all of our art materials and borrowed some equipment. Then we invited some friends to join us. Each week more families came and by the end of the summer we had a busy hall of little artists. We carried on providing workshops due to the demand from the parents that attended.

Since then Let’s Make Art has grown at a steady and manageable pace. We continue to provide a wide range of professional and inspiring art and craft activities that are enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. We give children and adults the opportunity to explore their creativity and imagination using the best quality materials in fun and exciting ways. We now provide art sessions at different venues, including; schools, playgroups, homes, parks, galleries, restaurants in the form of children's workshops, birthday parties, community events, wedding day crèches, hen weekends, adult craft groups, Christmas markets and summer festivals.
You both have a background in the arts and teaching, and have children, so was it a natural progression into forming Let’s Make Art? 
It was definitely a natural progression for us to use our skills as artists, teachers and parents in creating Let’s Make Art. In many ways this departure combines the best parts of other incarnations.

Karen is an artist and designer with a degree in Textiles and Fashion. She has over 10 year’s experience of teaching art to young and older children. She has assisted at Reception level and provided art workshops for secondary school children. She is currently an artist-in-residence at Henbury School, assisting in the Art and Textiles department. She has also run workshops in printmaking and sewing at the registered charity One25.

Alice is an artist and a teacher. Her degree is in primary education and she has a background in fine art. Alice has taught in Finland and the UK, specialising in literacy and art. She also runs workshops for children at the RWA and is the specialist photographer for Art magazine. Alice is an award-winning photographer, working freelance in Bristol and beyond.
Where does your inspiration come from in designing your workshops? 
Japanese collective, Tupera Tupera and Australian company, Nest Studio, hugely inspire us. Tupera Tupera thinks big and helps children create bold characters and scenes in a riot of colours. Nest Studios are supremely talented at providing skills based courses for children in an intelligent and imaginative way. We particularly like the efforts they make to give children’s ideas status and opportunities for them to display and exhibit their work. We also take inspiration from projects we’ve done in schools, found materials and patterns in the environment. 
Who is your biggest artist crush? 
Karen – Will Barras – a friend from art collage, he never ceases to amaze me with his drawing and painting and I will never forget his skills on an etch a sketch. 
Alice – Christian Boltanski – a French sculptor, photographer, painter and filmmaker. His thoughts on childhood and his powerful installations concerning remembrance are fascinating to me. 
What is your favourite piece of art your children have produced? 
Karen – Edie’s monkey and Peggy’s lion My eldest daughter, Edie painted this monkey when she was 3 years old with her first set of paints. Peggy used air drying clay (a firm favourite!) with a vintage animal mould to make this lion. 
Alice - Willow’s portrait of me and Robyn’s chalk pastel drawing. 
Could you give parents some tips on encouraging their children’s creativity in the home? 
We understand that it can be a struggle to think of new ideas for creative play and it can make a bit of a mess at home. Approaching creativity as a way of seeing rather than as discrete activity is a good place to start. Being creative doesn’t just mean getting the paints, PVA, glitter etc. out. There are lots of other ways in the home to be creative – making dens, baking, and dressing up, etc. We have a Pinterest board dedicated to art activities for the home. If you prefer to do messy stuff outside; gardening, building sand castles, chalking on the pavement, water with paint brushes are all activities that will keep little ones occupied. 
You have workshops running all over Bristol, what is the best way we can keep up to date? 
Currently the best way to keep in touch with our workshops and events is to sign up to our Facebook page. Our new website is about to be unveiled and will feature a wonderful online shop and timetable of events .
We understand you are running a collaborative workshop with Camp Bestival, can you tell us more about it?
Yes, we’re excited to be taking part in Camp Bestival’s Travelling Circus this year at Yurt Lush and The Goods Yard. The organisers approached us to provide a family workshop for them and we’re thrilled to be part of the fun. The theme this year is ‘Circus’ and we’ll be offering the chance to create a fancy, circus themed costume to dance about it. There’ll be Camp Bestival DJs, fantastic food and creative fun. 
Finally, do you have any clever tips on how to display our kids ‘masterpieces’ at home? 
Giving your children’s art status in the home is so important and because of this we’ve created a Pinterest Board devoted to display. We also love the IKEA picture shelf  and the Ferm living frame.

Thank you Karen and Alice, your workshops are creative and inspiring.  A perfect place to let little ones realise their creative ambitions.

If you would like to find out more about Let's Make Art and their workshops for children and adults please have a look at their website.

All images courtesy of Alice Hendy.

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