Category Archives: Creative Catalyst

Creative Catalyst – Visual Arts

Creative Catalyst opens the doors to the wide world of visual art for participants aged 7 years +.  With students as old as 16 it features a wonderful multi-aged learning experience using a broad range of art materials and techniques to explore and enjoy. There are great opportunities for older students to participate in extension programs and develop their own projects.

Features creative modalities spanning the Visual Arts:

Themed workshop projects are selected from an astounding repertoire developed by Artist and Artistic Director Teffany Thiedeman and the Creative Catalyst collaboration of Canberra visual artists.

Emphasising inspiration, imagination, adaptability and positivity the Creative Catalyst approach is a hallmark of Canberra as the creative capital with the future of our nation’s bright sparks in mind.

Explore our range of workshops by clicking here.

Mega Collage (Palimpsest)

Palimpsest – ‘a manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed. Something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form’

Palimpsest Richard Pousette-Dart 1944 Abstract Expressionism

This is a Mega Collage involving drawing, rubbing, transferring, cutting, painting and assembling. It investigates the differences between and possible combinations of abstract and representational art, using a mix of mediums and visual elements.

ANFITRITE by Henri Matisse gouache on paper cut and pasted 1947

Over a series of exercises colour, shape, balance and context will be explored. Cutting and reassembling images from glossy magazines can also be used to add to each student’s diverse collection of textures, details and surfaces which will be brought together to build large compositions, both individually and collectively, over a full day of creative and experimental art making.

A portrait by Picasso made with collage


Avian Animalia

Avian Animalia
Egyptian Falcon God Horus

A celebration of our magnificent feathered friends this ceramics workshop explores the many forms birdlife can take – from small, sweet songbirds to fast, fierce and fabulous falcons. Inspired by the beauty of birds students will learn techniques to build their forms and express their grace.

Avian Animalia
‘Bird in Space’ 1928 Constantin Brancusi

We will look at examples of bird sculptures across cultures and time and be inspired by the beautifully detailed work of ornithological illustrators. Participants will then choose an ave to focus on and begin sculpting it in white,  earthenware clay.

Avian Animalia
John James Audubon – Carolina Parrot

Starting with little models to work out scale, shape and possible textures for surface treatment the class will then learn larger, hand building construction techniques to build their chosen bird/s. These figures will be glazed minimally to highlight major features and then be fired in a kiln.

Spring Alcoves

Alcove, niche or shrine. These concepts are the inspiration for a handbuilding ceramic workshop that incorporates modelling, installation and structure building. Shrines are found in many of the world’s religions- Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto as well as secular settings like War Memorials, places of natural beauty and even Pooh Corner on the Clyde!

Spring Alcoves
Iranian Silk Rug

Investigate different motifs, shapes and symbols and produce a little shrine of your own. Get ready for the change in seasons by focussing on natural features like plants, stones, water and animals.

Spring Alcoves
Madonna and Child Medieval Europe

Learn and hone clay building techniques using coils, slabs and carving, then decorate your structure using stamp work, fine coil relief and figure sculpting. Finish your alcove with painted underglazes and some gold glaze highlights.


Wearable Art

Have a go at badge making, belt buckle creation, macrame and more. No need to leave your art at home ever again!

Scarf/Bandana fabric painting

Art jewellery and costuming has been an essential part of all cultures, communicating both meaning and value. Since pre-history, the more intricate, ornate or specific the design and the rarer, richer or more prized the material, the greater a person’s status or role has been. From head dresses and crowns, to richly embroidered, beaded and painted cloaks. From elaborate tattoos, to priceless jewels, humans have always appreciated a bit of ‘Bling’.

Shrinky Brooch

Art you can wear is both decorative and expressive and can tell us something of the person doing the wearing! From a detailed art badge, hand crafted ‘shrinky’ brooch and macramed stone pendants, to a beautifully painted cotton bandana/scarf, this workshop offers many forms through which your art can shine.

Macrame Pendant

Drawing inspiration from the decorative traditions of jewellery making and fashion design, students will plan their wearable art pieces of choice, learning new skills such as macrame weaving and fabric painting, whilst refining others such as detailed drawing, to create a variety of decorative art pieces.

Shrinky Brooch



Xray Drawings


Double Exposure photograph, Liam York

From the creative origins of animation and photographic superimposition through to modern anatomical illustrations and state of the art design techniques this workshop explores the creative possibilities of working with layered transparent drawings to build an image full of both depth and variety.

Black & White Photography Superimpostion, Wanda Wulz 1932

Ever wished you could look inside someone’s head? Can we peel back the leaves, skin or cover to unmask the true form of a plant, creature or object? Building from the ‘bones’ of your basic prototype what features might you add to your living or inanimate creation?

‘Red Tree’ Ardan Ozmenoglu, prints on glass

Using a range of pencils, pen, ink and markers we will work onto separate overlapping sheets of tracing paper to build up our finished image. With texture, tone, line and colour we will bring to life our unique multi-layered design.

Drawn portraits on tracing paper layers.

Scrimshaw Tales

An art form for over 13,000 years, Scrimshaw is the relatively modern name given by whalers, in the 1750’s, to the practise of carving images into the bone, tooth, tusk and baleen of whales and other mammals. In this workshop, students will enjoy etching their designs into recycled, PVC ‘ivory’.

Scrimshaw Whale’s Tooth & Tusk pieces 19th Century

A pastime of sailors, scrimshaw themes would often be of love and longing, or nautical in nature, with images of lasses, anchors, compasses and ships often featured. The Inuits have their own traditional themes, used to engrave their tools and sculptures, with hunting scenes and fauna frequently featured.

Inuit carved whale ivory

Using our etching tools, students will carve into warmed/softened recycled white plastics (from yogurt and other containers), to create intricate images of their own design. A whale or shark’s tooth? A bone bookmark? Or a token in the form of a heart, eye or circle?

Love token 1807

Once cut, engraved and sanded, we will apply a black ink to highlight our line work, followed by a polishing with a stained wax to emulate the effect of ivory, and give a time worn finish to their art piece.

Spring ‘Junk’ Sculpture

This workshop invites students to rethink familiar materials and capture a little of spring’s exuberance in a dynamic mobile sculpture. Drawing inspiration from the work of Glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, and recycled materials sculptor Aurora Robson, students will create a hanging garden, from upcycled and new materials. Flowers, fruits, foliage and seeds can all feature here. Add birds, bees and some of the buzz and movement of the season.

Aurora Robson plastic sculpture

Cut and heat shape old P.E.T bottles, then paint to form fabulous foliage, birds or beasts which can be strung, to fall through space and move with the breeze.

Dale Chihuly glass art

A bit of abstraction won’t go astray, with whirls of wind, rays of light and rainbows all possible elements, in this sculptural celebration of the season of renewal.

Plastic Bottle Sculpture

Botanical Oil Painting

Botanical elements, in their many forms and extraordinary beauty, from both exotic and more familiar landscapes, have been a compelling subject of many famous painters, across continents and centuries. From Australia’s own Margaret Olley to Holland’s Van Gogh, flora has always held a fascination for artists.

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

Used in christian religious images for their symbolism of purity (white lily), fertility (pomegranates), or humility (violet), they reached their zenith as a serious art subject in the Netherlands, in the 1700’s with Jan Brueghel.

Jan Brueghel

Working from a collection of cut flowers, fruits and various leaf forms, complemented by images from Aeoncademy’s own fabulous art library, students will compose their own still life arrangement, from which we will create a lustrous and original oil painting, over a full day.

Margaret Olley

Early pencil sketches and studies, will enable students to develop a monochromatic first layer, in acrylic on canvas. After drying, we will return with coloured oil paints, to furnish a rich, textured and detailed finish, on our botanical works.

Printmaking: Into the Future

Using the versatile technique of Relief Printmaking create a rich and detailed landscape of the future. Are we in a futuristic jungle? Or a sci-fi city? Is this a vision of Atlantis or are we looking at a Mad Max dystopian future?

Printmaking: Into the Future
Tato’s Flying over the Coliseum in a Spiral (1930)

Designs can draw from diverse habitats, and different architectures to build multilayered compositions over 3 weeks.

Etching onto Scratchboard printing plates students will first design and print their background scene to be populated over the following 2 weeks with a second layer of printed plates detailing the creatures, structures and objects that inhabit their world.

Cities of Light Dioramas

Construct a world in a box with Cities of Light. Dioramas are a great opportunity to try many different art techniques in a day. Design your city street  based on photographs, architectural drawings and creative brainstorming. Draw and colour, paint, paste and collage. Cut and reassemble. Model clay, wood, plastic and more to construct the miniature versions of life in your scene. Use a vast range of recycled objects and materials to realise your vision. Glow- in-the -dark paint an option!

City of Lights paper lantern