Category Archives: Creative Catalyst

Feathered Headdresses

Feather Headdresses

Wearable art is compelling and transformative – humans have been creating it for as long as we’ve been human. In most cultures feathered headdresses have been used to communicate power, meaning, magic, mystery and/or beauty – from the warrior cultures of the Native Americans and Papuans to the drama of the Mayans and Africans. Chinese Empresses have long enjoyed their exquisitely intricate head combs and tiaras coated in the tiny iridescent blue kingfisher feathers. The Torres Strait Islander culture boasts some of the most ornate and the British Georgians too were nuts about big feathers in their millinery: it seems everyone appreciates a good feather in their cap.Feather Headdresses

In Creative Catalyst we’ve been drawing inspiration from these diverse cultural artefacts to design and create their own wonderful headwear using fabrics, beads, ribbons and of course: feathers.

Nesting

Spring is springing! To celebrate we will be inspired by all things nest like… did anyone see Fiona Hall’s amazing exhibition at the NGA, Wrong Way Time? We did and loved her recycled paper sculptures of real bird nests.

Fiona Hall, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, 2005
Fiona Hall, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, 2005
Nesting
Laura’s nest

Using clay extrusions, free form sculpting and joining lets see what everyone can hatch in clay.

 

Quilted Bags of Holding

Bags are amongst our earliest artefacts: native peoples prized their medicine, pipe, knife, fire starter and amulet bags.

Papuan Marupai magical charm in its Bilum

Like our ancestors, Monday’s Mixed Media class will pay homage to the wonderful utility of the ‘bag’ in it’s many forms as we design, construct and decorate our own quilted bag of holding.

Is it a satchel or a purse? A pouch or a backpack? A saddlebag or a handbag? Does it hold treasures? healing herbs? or secrets?

We will explore the daunting world of sewing: from pattern making to fabric selection, from hand sewing to ironing on our quilted design. Then we’ll add bead work, buttons, straps and cords to finish off our various bags ready for carrying our own precious ‘somethings’.

Apache Beadwork bags.
Apache Beadwork bags.

Potion Bottles

Shrinking Potion? A bit of Polyjuice perhaps? Some Elixir of Life? Or is Truth Serum more your thing?

Potion Bottles

Creative Catalyst gets mixing with this project designed to wet your whiskers…Tuesday’s class will be experimenting with sugar solutions, dyes, glitter, spices, herbs, scented oils and a few other top secret ingredients to produce a truly one of a kind magical potion. Combining graphic design labels, fine sculpture and found objects we will create unique vessels to cater to their extraordinary contents.

Bejewelled Wands

Everyone needs their own wand… Is it a Wizard’s or a Fairy’s? Our Monday Catalyst class will create spellbinding and powerful wands that will explore their creative potential.

Bejewelled Wands

Working from aromatic pine tree roots we will start out by whittling a fine staff to enhance with sculpted polymer clay and embedded jewels learning many new skills and refining others along the way; object design, whittling with a craft knife (under close adult supervision), sanding, oiling, fine sculpting, detailed paint work and finally heat setting the finished piece. The possibilities are truly magical!

Seed Pods and Genie Bottles in Clay

Seed Pods

Thursday ceramic classes have been getting their hands dirty with a lovely, smooth, rich terracotta clay. Perfect for modelling the varied sculptures we have been creating, based on the amazing world of seed pods.

seed pods from the garden
Some of our models

Using coiling and pinching techniques the class has made hollow forms and then explored texture using a range of ceramic tools. This week we will be glazing them, hopefully to show at the Open Day coming up soon.

Genie Bottles

Our next project, Genie Bottles will be drawing upon the Arabian Nights story of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. We will be playing with bottle forms to make intricate and fascinating little containers out of clay. Unfortunately we probably can’t supply the wish fulfilling genie…

Bunch of vessels possible containing magic Genie
Genie in a Bottle. Which Bottle?!

Seed Collage

seed for collage
Some of our art materials

Wednesday drawing and painting class has been focussing on collage for the the beginning of term. Using seeds, spices and grains they have been building up faces using the contrasting colour, shape and size of the materials.

collage of edible seeds
spice seeds and sago

Magnified Drawings

This week’s project involved getting out the magnifying glasses to take a really close look at found objects like a moth, feathers, and cut vegetables. Using fine permanent pens and pencils, the class drew accurate versions of what they saw under the glass.

drawing class with magnifying glasses
Drawing in action

Story Book Illustration

Once upon a time…
If there is one thing we all love its sharing a good story and this term Catalyst kids get to do this on a grand scale. Bringing together the skills of creative writing, illustration and bookmaking we will tackle a collaborative project: a set of handmade storybooks complete with original illustrations and a very original tall tale full of Wicked Wizards, Fabulous Fairies and a pair of Intrepid Twins!
books around the world
Chinese Accordion fold Book
From the initial group brainstorming to storyboarding to detailed illustration design on their individual pages this project will span 4 weeks (spread across the term) and culminate in the scanning, printing and construction of our books which we will then read to/share with the Sparks class. We hope this is only the beginning of our creative writing adventures not…
The End


 

Shadow Puppets

Welcome to the wonderful world of Theatre! And what’s not to love about the magic of theatre? Step into a world of silhouette and create your own tale of shadowy adventures, drawing inspiration from the work of German animation artist Lotte Reiniger and Australia’s own shadow puppet genius Stephen Mushin.

Shadow Puppets
Shadow Puppet Theatre in Progress!

Working in small teams, we will work collaboratively to make stories for the Shadow Puppet Theatre.  Together, we will build scenes (using card and other mixed media -grasses, wool, fabric and more).

Peacock Feather
Materials to set the stage

These we’ll populate by our own individual shadow puppet characters as we play with design and moving parts to build animate our characters on the screen. A dog with a wagging tail? A wizard on a magic cloud?  A walking tree?  Anything is possible in this creative mixed media workshop. We will then bring these character creations to life in a  tale to be collaboratively developed and performed to the class (and probably the Sparks as well) using our beautiful, red-curtained shadow puppet theatre and lights.

Shadow Puppets
Shadow Puppets Performance in progress!

The Sparks will get involved in some of their own Shadowy Puppetry as well – with the same mixed-media construction, to help them understand how shadows and silhouettes work, how we tell stories, and what impact different storytelling mediums have on the tales they tell.


Our earlier dip into Puppetry and Performance produced some stunning results too.

Creative Catalyst – Winter Program

Soup Kitchen Ceramics- Monday 4th July.

Soup Kitchen Ceramics

A ceramics workshop especially for winter. Explore hand-building techniques like coiling, slab building & mould work. Produce some functional ware & glaze it raw with stencils and brush work.


Winter Drawing – Tuesday 5th July.

Winter Drawing

Enjoy the winter light as we go on an outside walk to collect branches, feathers, pinecones & more. Set up your own still life and have a go with charcoal, pastels, pencils, graphite & other more unusual drawing materials…


Hibernating Animalia- Wednesday 6th July.

Hibernating Animalia

From bears to long-necked turtles, many creatures hide during the coldest part of the year. Bring them to life in this ceramic modelling class. You will learn techniques that will help you make sculptural forms of various critters in their hiding places.


Staff of Power!- Thursday 7th July.

Staff of Power

Following in the tradition of famous magic users (Harry Potter, Hermione, Gandalf, Merlin, The White Witch etc) be the owner of an individual Staff of Power! We will go for a walk in the forest and find the right stick to start your staff. Back in the art workshop, you will design and then construct (from mixed materials) an original staff topper. Think dragon eyes, vine wrapped crystals, feathery owls, jewel encrusted toads. Take your staff home for your next fancy dress party!


Spanish Tiles- Friday 8th July.

Spanish Tiles

This workshop will be an opportunity to both create your own original ceramic tiles and/or glaze pre-fired terracotta tiles with intricate designs. Tiles have an ancient and widespread history which we will investigate before starting our designs.


Bones and Skulls- Monday 11th July.

Skulls & Bones

Bleached and bare, this is a sculpture workshop using clay. Be inspired by the curves and negative spaces of bones and produce an artwork in response. It might be the rib-like hull of a boat, a Viking chalice or something very abstract. All work will be fired in the kiln.


Miniature Magic- Tuesday 12th July.

Miniature Magic

From The Borrowers to Alice in Wonderland we have always been fascinated with smaller scale models of real life objects. Choose from a huge range of materials (eg: acorn caps, pebbles corks, air drying clay, wire, feathers…) to construct details of your tiny world, like cooking pots, furniture, pets, vehicles etc. This workshop combines well with Terrariums.


Wired- Wednesday 13th July.

Wired

A wire & metal sculpture workshop. Warm up with continuous line drawing and then try your hand at bending, twisting and shaping wire into form. A great way to create action figures like athletes, dancers and leaping horses suspended in motion.


Little Shrines- Thursday 14th July.

Little Shrines

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!

Investigate different motifs, shapes and symbols and produce a little shrine of your own. Dedicate it to your own pet, favorite place or loved one.


Terrariums-Friday 15th July

Build a world in a glass! Design and construct a miniature garden scene using large glass goblets, earth, pebbles, found objects and plants. Make miniature people, animals or objects to live in your tiny world. This workshop combines well with Miniature Magic.

 

Six more fabulous art workshops for the Summer

Creative Catalyst classes have roamed widely this summer holiday from hand made paper to ceramic gingerbread houses. We are halfway through our third week and still going strong.

We have an incredible supply of tools and materials covering disciplines such as ceramics, printmaking and painting. The art room is a unique space for developing artists and we encourage teenage students to use the studio and its wide  array of supplies to work independently and create their own projects under our guidance.

Younger participants are introduced to tools and techniques which enable them to realise their creative visions.

ceramic totoro
a Totoro from the past

The last six workshops of Summer are;

Birdbaths– Thursday 21st Jan  Ceramic bowls to cool down our lovely local birds and beautify the garden. Using moulds and coils, these vessels will be decorated and glazed.

wire and scrap parts make up a pair of wings
Steampunk wings for a cyborg assemblage

Action Art on 22ndJan is featuring tie dye and colour splashing in All Tied Up! Make sure you wear old clothes and expect to go home more colourfully than the morning.

 

 

 

Mobiles & Windcharms– 25th Jan.  Enjoy a day of Ceramic construction, using stamps and garden objects  make an original and musical hanging. Decorate your trees and eaves with these melodic and earthy offerings to the wind.

Wednesday 27th. Hand build a large original Ceramic Gargoyle to adorn the walls of your Gothic castle or at least your house in Curtin.

Thursday 28th Kites of the World. Take a whirlwind tour around the globe on the tail of a kite, from glass stringed battle kites to sky dragons, Construct your own kite.

Finish with a bang with  Action Art, mechanical artist, Friday 29th January. Make simple catapults to move paint through the air and onto your paper. Have a go at remote controlled mark making!

3 girls painting a diorama
Trio of painters preparing a background