Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Here's An Unusual Way You Can Use-Up Left-Over Wool This Christmas and Keep Your Children Happy Before Santa's Visit...

Looking for Fun-to-Do Art and Craft Projects That Can Be Tidied-Up After Quickly and Doesn't Cost You the Earth? Want to Keep Your Children Occupied? Do You Have Any Leftover Wool You'd Rather Use-Up Than Throw Away?

The secrets of happy children who keep themselves busy (when they could be asking you if Father Christmas is here yet), well, the 'secrets' are all around you. All around your home.

What do I mean by this? Quite simply, the next time you go to throw-out unwanted food packaging, gift tag ribbon, wool, string or even those stringy bags that hold your christmassy satsumas, stop! Think: How can I use this in an arty-crafty project with the kids?

Art and craft need not be expensive.

Did you know that one little lollipop stick could have a quick rinse and be transformed into a puppet? All you need to add is some felt cut into a half circle, make into a cone around the stick, glued on (or tied on) and add wobbly eyes and wool for hair. Check out this book for inspiration either at your library or here: How To Make Puppets

Last night at Art Club, we created some fantastic glittery Stained Glass Christmas Cards and some Angel Puppets. Oh, and a Rudolf Card. All in an hour. 
Here's Our Rudolf Christmas Card. How Cute Is He?
Card cut-out in christmassy shapes can become stencils...

Imagine a group of excited children
all looking forward to Christmas and discussing their various school plays and what they are hoping from Father Christmas. Yet they still come up with some great work :-) Arts and crafts keep kids happy :-)
Did you know that a simple wooden spoon can aspire to become a beautiful,
sparkly Christmas Angel

The only limit is the child's (and yours!) imaginations. Give a child a box of fabric remnants and boxes and glittery things, and they can come-up with some amazing creations.

Have a look at this book that is packed full of ideas...

Now You May Be Wondering What I meant By An Unusual Way To Use-Up Wool...

Well here's how. Copy this idea and you, too can help your kids to create some magical christmas art.

1. A4 Black card. Fold in half to make a card. Cute out a circle in the front of the card or an arch. 
2. Cut-out sticky-back plastic to fit into the aperture, sticking it from the inside so the sticky bit is facing out.
3. Black wool. Press it down on to the sticky back plastic to make your design. If it helps, simply have a design you have created underneath to copy (or use a christmas design from a colouring-in book).
4. Now fill in the remaining exposed sticky backed plastic with glitter. Take care here. Glitter has a tendency to go EVERWHERE! Tell the children they only need a little bit as they can spread it around.
5. There is no step 5, other than to write inside your card! :-)

Et voila! A Sparkly Christmas card in the style of a stained glass panel.

Lovely work guys.... As I said, Christmas is a-coming and children
everywhere are very excited! :-D

Art CLUB has now finished for 2013 but we are back in January, 2014.
I shall keep you posted of new dates and projects coming up.


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Friday, 17 May 2013

2012-2013 Art Club Yearbook Video


  Attention All Parents In Newton Abbot With Children Aged 5-12 Who Love Art!
By Quickly Watching The Above Video, You Can Now See How Other Like-Minded Young Artists Have Enjoyed The Abi Art Skool After-School Art Club at Hobbycraft, Kingsteignton, Devon.

What's more, examples of the children's beautiful work can only inspire you and your children. From creating book cover illustrations and creating artwork in the style of the famous New York Artist, James Rizzi, to getting stuck into messy paper-mache and amazing stained glass designs, the young Art Club members demonstrate how they have been entertained and challenged. And they have made new friends whilst attending the club Tuesday evenings since October 2012.

For the price of a McDonalds meal, these fun and easy art sessions are taught and enjoyed within an hour and 15 minute session. Parents often make the most of their free time either shopping at the local retail outlets such as Next, Boots, Pets At Home and Home Bargains... or you may find them supping a well-deserved cuppa at Costa Coffee!

"I've even managed to fit-in the weekly shop at Tesco one week," reported a parent recently.

How To Turn An Hour and 15 Mins After School On A Tuesday Into Smiles All Round
"I love drawing, mostly," explains Josh who has been a valuable member since October 2012. "My favourite lesson was designing the cover for Michael Morpurgo's book: 'The War Horse'. I love this club!"
Other club members are very happy to be given the chance to learn new arty skills whilst honing their own style and techniques.
   Sophie classes the art club as, "Enjoyable. I wouldn't change a thing!"

You may see your child happily doodling at home, but perhaps they're shy at sampling after-school clubs. It may give you peace of mind that art is therapeutic and extremely relaxing as well as fun. Through our many art sessions, the children find themselves stretching their comfort zones and exploring their feelings. I discovered recently how absorbing art can be for a child - particularly around exam time. My daughter, for example, could free her mind and give it a break from revising for her SAT's by working on a full-colour painting of a golden retriever.

Creating the 2012-2013 Yearbook has reminded me of how much fun children can have after school in our art club, sharing their interest in art and creation. And with ample parking outside of Hobbycraft and with high-street shops within strolling distance, Parents and Grandparents are happy too. 

Click HERE to Discover How Your Child Can Soon Be Learning Some New Art Skills...

Monday, 13 May 2013

Members Portfolio's & Sketchbooks

*  *  *  *    S  t  o  p      p  r  e  s  s  *  *  *  * 

Just a quick update for Club Members.

As of tomorrow night (Tuesday 14th May 2013), Members who have been to at least 3 sessions will now receive their very own Portfolio Case, A quality sketchbook and a Membership Info Pack.
What's more, Members will now have access to a FREE drawing course which they can do with me in-between club sessions! :-)

Here's the Secret to Your Happpiness: Do What You Love to Do... For Me, That's Art, Writing & Family

(26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961) was a Swiss psychotherapist and 
psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology
I love this inspiring Quote Uttered by the Wise Carl Jung:

"What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Here is the key to your earthly pursuits."

Well, for me, this is easy. I doodled and painted and when I wasn't doodling or painting, I was writing and making-up stories and inventing funny characters. Click here to see examples of my artwork...

My first-ever illustrated character I enthusiastically created was called: Dr Fluff. Unfortunately, my original sketches of Dr Fluff have all but since disappeared into the ether thanks to various house moves over the years and my Mums over-eager desire for me to concentrate on my exams rather than idly doodling and writing! 

My old sketches may be up in the attic in a dusty old suitcase that I might come across and re-discover one day. If that's the case, I know I shall be transported back to a time where the summer holidays between school terms stretched like years ahead and the sun always seemed to shine and the sky always appeared blue. Back to a time when I stretched luxuriously out on the wooden chair my Step-Dad had cleverly nailed together thus creating a piece of natural art in itself. (I was always very impressed with his craftmanship). And as I stretched in the heat of the sun on that there bench, sometimes curling-up in a foetal position like a cat, the scene would be set and the feeling thus created to get into my beloved creative 'Zone'.

I would read for hours and hours any Nancy Drew books I could lay my hands on, or an Enid Blyton 'Famous Five' or 'Secret Seven'. I would then feel compelled to invent my own illustrations to these and my own stories, and this was how 'Dr Fluff & Friends' came to be born.

Golden creative moments like these etched themselves fondly onto my brain and have always found themselves at home in my heart forevermore.

The difference, however, is that being an adult with adult responsibilities, creative flashes and inspiration can be harder to glean in-between thinking about the lastest electricity bill and the like. Golden moments in the sun on a bench are fewer between as I juggle school runs and work and de-cluttering the house!

But what I have recently re-discovered, is that art and writing and generally being creative is still a very big part of me, and without it, I'd be very miserable!

There are always new techniques to learn; always new creative learnings to be had by all, and I am no exception.
Click here to discover how Abi's Art Skool Club Members did on a recent 'How to Paint Like Van Gogh' session... they loved this one! 

Since last September now, i've had the brilliant opportunity to work with a group of young enthusiastic Artists during our 'Art Club' time at Hobbycraft in Kingsteignton, Newton Abbot, Devon. To say I'm teaching them would be a major ego-trip to say the least. What they have taught me is worth all their weight in gold. They have taught me to get back in touch with my childhood instincts, the 'I can try and do anything!' mentality that is free from adult constraints.

They perhaps don't know it, but they have taught me how to tap into the old me again and fall in love with art and creativity from a curious childlike standpoint once again, and that, my fellow avid arty enthusiasts, is a precious commodity.

Just this week, I have re-vamped my studio. Out with the old and in with the new. You are never too old (or supposedly too set in your ways to turn over a new leaf and try something new). So I have surrounded myself with fresh new artwork I love by illustrators whose work I adore, creative quotes and even de-cluttered my old filing system to make the working creative process even more fun.

If you are one of the Art Club Artists reading this, praise to you and keep hold of your childhood curiousity. If you are an adult and lost your creative way in the forest of life, seek-out the children you know and allow them to inspire you!

You'll be amazed what you can learn.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Introducing... James Rizzi...

This was a super-fun class with our Young Artists creating explosions of colour and expressing their humorous look on life in the style of famous Artist, James Rizzi.

One cannot help but smile when their eyes meet with a funtastic James Rizzi design and the children absolutely loved this project.

Here is New York Artist, James Rizzi with one of his amazing exhibition pieces. You can see why his art is so popular the world over and a hit with the kids in the art club.

So how can you create your very own James Rizzi-Style original?

You'll Need:
Heavy, good quality watercolour paper
Watercolour brushes
Good quality black oil pastel
Good quality watercolour paints (we used palettes instead of tubes)
Oodles of imagination and the ability to 'just let go' and see what you come up with!

Step 1: 

Step 2: Load-up your paintbrush with oodles of lovely paint, and add the beautiful colour to your design. 

So why have we used an oil pastel for the outline? The beauty is that when you add the watercolour over the oil pastel, your paint will stay within the lines :-)

Here's how Sophie started painting her Rizzi portrait...
Encourage your young Artists to fill-up the whole page... Creates more impact!
 Remember, in creating YOUR Rizzi design, to add lots of bold, simple colour, thick bold lines, and express yourself with punchy patterns in the background!

I'd love to see what you guys come up with. Send your pics to me at:

In the meantime, here are a few pictures of our club members in action last night!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

How to Create a Paper-Mache Puppet

WARNING! This project is NOT for the feint-hearted!

Okay, so you're feeling brave - (braver than normal, anyway) - and you want to expand your arty-crafty activities a little at home or at your own arty gathering. 

Perhaps your young Artists are looking for a project they can really get their hands into and get messy and really let their imaginations go wild...

Let's face it... PAPER-MACHE projects are traditionally done in a room you don't mind getting messy, hence why most messy projects are done at school or at an art club!

This is where we come in. STAGE LEFT, and enter our arty crew at Abi's Art Skool who for the past two weeks have been: Sophie, Josh, Ben, Katie, Anthony, Evie, Alex, Emilie, Dennis and Samuel. Oh and Emilie's Mum, Abbi joined in too!

And so we set about making our paper-mache, plonking it on old milk bottles cartons and creating funky aliens, monsters, human faces and zombies... yes, and complete with hair.

So how do you make a paper-mache puppet?

For your paper-mache, you'll need:
Newspaper (lots!)
White paper
PVA Glue

Simply mix 2 parts water to 1 part glue.

NOTE: For PULP, let your newspaper soak in the mixture and it will naturally soften into mouldable mash (Great for creating brow lines or cheeks, etc). Otherwise, for your layers of paper-mache, dunk strips of newspaper into the mix for a few seconds, flap-off excess water, and start building-up your layers as neatly as you can, smoothing-down bubbles and lumps as you go.

After you have done a few layers using newspaper, simply do one or two layers using a low-quality white paper so as to cover all the newsprint.

Now leave your bottles to dry.

When dry, you now want to paint your bottles. 

Once your paint has dried, you can add wool for hair, stick-on ovals or circles or eyes, and glitter, and even fabric or felt.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

How to Draw Like An Architect and Dream Like Your Dreams Can Come True

This fun drawing session gets children thinking technically whilst delving into the furthest reaches of their imaginations.

At last nights' session, the young Artists were taught about contour lines and patterns and were asked to create either the house they currently live in or their future dream house.

To begin, it was interesting to note how everyone started to design conventional houses with conventional furniture... 

But, as you know, in the world of dreams and the imagination - (and Abi's Art Skool's mantra) - 

Add details to your interiors... encourage discussion

With this in mind, the children were soon inventing and excitedly scribbling elevators, slides and even an indoor swimming pool.

Take a look at the illustrations in any Babette Cole book and you'll see how her interior designs are very quirky and unique. I especially love the double page spread from her book: 'Two of Everything' where the parents have split-up but the children can reach both their parent's houses by way of an underground tunnel. You'll notice Mum and Dad's houses are very different!
Two Of Everything by Babette Cole... Babette creates fun, quirky interiors...
In the world of the imagination, anything really is possible and this way of thinking gets the Artists thinking 'outside the box' and away from their cares and concerns of the school day.

Try it with your children, and you'll soon be discussing names for your new pets and talking about your dream lifestyle... Don't be surprised if they invent a slide that goes from their bed straight down in swirls through the house down to a swimming pool that is as warm as bath water! Or a room so full of technology it would keep your mind buzzing for years... or another favourite seemed to be an indoor theatre. Cool!

This project is guaranteed to get everyone laughing and dreaming-up another way of living. What's more, this project encourages you to focus more or art being a form of expressing yourself and your ideas.  

Encourage your child to add details and to discuss what's going on in their pictures as they go along. It is a very interactive project and keeps the children happy for a good hour or so- (allow for longer if they want to colour their pictures in).

Have a go! I'd love to see your projects. e-mail them to me at:

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Update on Newspaper Photographer

Hello Fellow Art-Lovers, 

Just to update you all, I have spoken to Hobbycraft and was hoping our exhibition would be ready for this evening and for you all to see your children's beautiful work... They are currently understaffed, so they are hoping it shall all be ready to view after Easter half-term. I am then arranging the paper to come in and photograph the children with their art then. I hope this is okay with everyone. 

Tonight, I want to get the children working on some designs for our big exhibition piece that we are planning on creating out of paper-mache after Easter break... so if they have any inspirational designs they have already at home they can bring in to help their design process tonight, that will be great :-) I look forward to seeing you later. 

Have a lovely day :-) Sarah x

Friday, 15 February 2013

Art Club/Student's Noticeboard

I have added a new page called 'Studen't Noticeboard'... this page will be updated with new art club dates, so please check there first if you are either on a course with me already or are looking to book a place in the near future. 
Thank you.... Happy Half-Term! Sarah :-)

New Club Dates for 3rd Term, 2013

Please check back soon to see what projects we are going to do each session. In the meantime, I hope you all have a lovely half-term break. I can't wait to see what creative projects you rustle-up next week.

Remember, no club during half-term, so see you back at Hobbycraft Tuesday 26th Feb, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

How to Create Stained Glass Art

This Week, We are Celebrating Art with an Explosion of Vivid, Mouth-Watering Colours, Producing Stained-Glass Art Fit for a Church.... 
or Your Kitchen or Bedroom Window!

BE PREPARED: You will need glass outlining pens available from all good art and craft retail outlets, acetate sheets or glass, a photocopy of the design you would like to reproduce (or you can sketch your own), and glass paints. Also, you will need a pencil, eraser and brushes. Smooth-tip brushes are the best. 

TOP TIP: Have to hand a sheet of clean white paper to have behind your design/acetate as this helps to trace easier. I'd recommend having wet wipes and a cloth close to hand and preferably an apron, too!

Firstly, sketch, trace or photocopy a design for your stained glass project, then place your acetate sheet or glass on top of your design ready for the outlining pen...
STEP 2: 
Glass painting isn't hard, but as my students discovered at last night's art club, it is best to trace your outlines s-l-o-w-l-y and carefully. If the pen paint starts to run dry, give it a wiggle or press the nozzle onto a scrap piece of paper to release more outlining ink.
Outlining Pen Paints Come in Many Different Colours
STEP 3: 
Drying time varies, but once you discover your outline pen has dried (which can be anything from 2-10 mins, or longer), then the exciting painting part starts! 

Fill in your design up to the outliner with glass paints. Be sure to work slowly but fast enough not to create air bubbles. 

So Just Relax if Colours Accidentally Blend into Each Other... Sometimes, These So-Called 'Mistakes' Can Actually Prove to Create Stunning Effects! 

Now just leave your glass paints to dry. Drying time for the actual paint will vary depending on how much you have painted and how thickly you have applied it.

STEP 4: 
Once your cherished project is dry, simply trim the acetate (if that is what you have used) and hang your design in a bright window. 

Watch the beautiful array of colours flood in and enjoy! :-)

Following Are The Stained-Glass Projects Created Lovingly by Our Art Club Members... They Really Did Brilliantly, 
I Think You'll Agree! :-)

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