Doreen Heath May 3, 2021 Dot to Dot
Since its humble beginnings seven years ago, Dot To Dot Festival has gone from strength to strength and has served up sets from bands that have gone on to see incredible success. In the past, this has meant shows from the likes of Mumford & Sons, Florence & the Machine and The XX - but this month it focused back on some lesser-known acts hoping to break through in the same way. Taking place across three cities - Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester - the event has a pretty ambitious mission statement. In Manchester alone, it uses seven different stages at venues like The Ritz, Sound Control, The Deaf Institute, Zoo and Joshua Brooks, but while this is probably something of a challenge for the organisers in terms of business liability insurance, the backing of sponsors Fred Perry probably provides some small comfort.
The great part about mindful drawing is that it is not just for kids! In fact, my wife is a Certified Zentangle Teacher and regularly sees the amazing benefits in adults who practice this form of mindful drawing. Just like meditation, mindfulness with a pen can also reduce blood pressure, reduce heart rate, and have long-term benefits with depression and anxiety. Have you ever found yourself just doodling on a scrap piece of paper. There is a good chance that when you are making lines or dots or shading with your pen or pencil, you are focused on present moment. Perhaps if the idea of meditation seems to be not your cup of tea but you could use to manage your stress; why not consider mindful drawing, doodling, or zentangle. The goal is not to make art to hang on your fridge but rather to give your restless mind a much need break from the endless chatter.
Keep in mind that the level of difficulty of the subject is appropriate for their age and their skill level. This can be difficult when you are working with a number of children of differing ages or when youre working with your own children and they are of multiple skill levels. Please remember never to use competitive words such as wrong, right best and ensure you praise, praise, praise. Even when drawing the same subject, each childs interpretation will ensure a unique piece of artwork every time. After all, how can they be compared, just as De Vinci cant be compared to Monet? If you notice that your child is taking a real interest in art and drawing you may want to get them enrolled in classes so that they can enhance their skills and embrace that aspect of their world. Children who are also experiencing difficulty mastering fine motor skills or displaying poor concentration skills will greatly benefit from these drawing lessons, just be patient. Providing they are not too distracting for the other students and are enjoying their drawing, keep encouraging them and praising them. In the end this will reap wonderful rewards both for the child and the teacher.
It has been a long while since I last wrote. I really miss it when I cant put my thoughts to paper (or keys... as it is). Last week I was teaching a bunch of kids aged 4-8 about the importance of mindfulness. This is a class which I teach every week. If you have never taught little kids before, it is much like trying to herd cats. The mindfulness class is one hour and for one hour I need about ten to twenty different activities as their attention span is so fleeting. Last week I had prepared a very exciting lesson using vinegar and baking soda to demonstrate how, when your mind is racing, it is like bubbles in the jar. I LOVED my new experiment and the kids were mildly amused for thirty seconds. I taught them to put their hand on their belly and breathe down the "bubbles of anxiety in their minds". Naturally as the acetic acid reacted completely with the sodium bicarbonate, the bubbles settled. Seemed like a compelling lesson? But, as with the others, it was... on to the next lesson!
Use Round Objects as Stencils Using a felt tip pen or soft pencil draw around round objects to create a spotty or circle design on your pottery. All pencil and felt tip lines when you paint your own pottery will disappear when your pottery is fired. This is because the professional firing is done at over 1000C causing the pencil and/or felt tip to burn off. You can then either paint inside the circles or leave the circles unpainted and paint the background. Areas not painted will go a creamy white when fired, how white the background is will depend on the type of glaze and bisque used. You can buy stencils with lots of different sized circles but you dont need these, you could just draw round some pots, bottles or lids that you have in the cupboard at home.
Round Stickers You can buy round stickers in various sizes easily and cheaply from stationers and they can be used to create lovely pottery with white spots on a coloured background. All you need to do is stick your round stickers all over the surface your dry and clean bisque (unpainted, unglazed pottery) in a random pattern. Rub the stickers to make sure they are securely attached to the pottery. Then paint all the surface area in your chosen colour, this can be done with a paintbrush or sponge. To get a nice solid even colour at least two coats of ceramic paint are recommended. Once the paint is completely dry peel off the stickers and your pottery is ready for glazing and firing. If you cant get manage to lift the stickers at the edge a good tip is to take a pin and stick it in the sticker and lift.