This weekend as part of the London City Island Open Studios event I assisted with running a virtual reality workshop at Arebyte Gallery with Studio Above and Below ! This workshop was designed for local children to engage with their surroundings in a new way by Studio Above and Below, and I was there to assist and make sure the workshop ran smoothly. We introduced the children to the concept of Virtual Reality, and using the maps SA&B had already made of the island we encouraged them to draw and add to the maps to use later. We installed the VR application onto their mobile phones, and then took the children out on a walk around the island to photograph interesting textures and colours on their phones- these were then uploaded into the application! We then went back outside to try out our new textures and shapes, using the maps and the app to make our drawings and textures come to life as VR sculptures on our phone screens! This was my first time working with VR and it was really fascinating assisting and learning more about how VR works and can be utilised to engage people in art and the world around them!
(Video clips to follow, I still need to edit them and upload to Vimeo/Youtube)
Today I ran two back to back kids workshops at 3rd Rail Printspace (where I am currently interning). Both workshops had the same format, with the same end goal- every child drawing and cutting their own paper stencil design to then print their own t-shirt with.
They both went as follows:
- Introduction to the task
- showing the children a paper stencil in progress (i.e. some of the drawing still visible, some of it cut out already)
- Getting the children to draw their own designs, assisting with the cutting out with a craft knife or scissors where needed (children were only to use safety scissors provided, not the knives)
- doing a print demonstration using one of the children’s artworks- placing the t-shirt onto the carousel (already prepped with adhesive), taping the paper stencil to the shirt, putting the screen down onto the shirt, getting the child to choose the colours they wanted, blobbing the ink directly onto the screens using a paint brush, then pulling the ink across the screens with a squeegee
- leading the printing, and pulling the ink if the child didn’t feel confident doing it and cleaning screens between children with rags and water
- supervising the children blow drying their designs with a hair dryer
Prep done before the workshops:
- mixing the pigments with binder (making the inks up basically)
- applying adhesive to the t-shirt carousel board
- stripping, cleaning and degreasing the 3 screens used
- taping up the screens
- cutting rags
- drawing a rough stencil design and partially cutting it as an example
- checking numbers and getting the correct amount and sizes of t-shirts out ready
- setting out cutting mats, paper, scissors, erasers and pencils for the children
- setting out t-shirt examples from previous workshops
Overall I am really pleased with how they both went! The first group was comprised of 12 11 year olds, and the second of 10 13 year olds, which are larger groups than I am used to leading an activity for, but I think I handled it really well- all the kids seemed to really enjoy it and were happy with their t-shirts! Both of them ran over time a bit, but I think with a bit more prep work and now having the experience I can keep them within the time limits in future.