Take Part in Art -- Mix It Up

Wings by Laineys RepertoireWings by Laineys Repertoire

Mixed Media Art combines more than one medium -- painting, drawing, collage, stenciling -- to make something unique and new. You can always visit the Art Table downtown to make some cool mixed media art, or you can follow along at home!

Making mixed media art is as easy as can be. Pencils, markers, crayons, interesting magazine pictures, paper scraps and paint -- you can use anything, in any combination! Think about combining different materials to make a picture, or tell a story -- or just have fun with patterns, colors and shapes. For more ideas, check these websites by Kinderart and PBS. An excellent and detailed introduction to mixed media is Donna Hugh's Collage Art For Kids DVD series. This series has four volumes, everything you need to become a mixed-media maestro!

Adults interested in making their own mixed media art can check out Creative Collage by Marie Browning, or maybe stop by the University of Michigan Museum of Art's Mixed Media Workshop Series. To learn more about two excellent mixed media and collage artists read Romare Bearden: Collage of Memories by Jan Greenberg and Ooh! Matisse by Mil Niepold.

Get craftilicious with Yarn Bombing

Yarn Bombing: the art of crochet and knit graffiti is one of my new favorite craft books. It chronicles the start and the phenomenon of yarn graffiti. You may have seen some knitted works hanging on trees and fences around Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. It is a form of street art, akin to graffiti with a paint can, only the tool of choice is knitted and crocheted pieces hung around town instead. “Yarn bombing can be political, it can be heart-warming, and it can be funny.”

The book is a definitive guide to the act of yarn graffiti. It is chock full of examples, photos, and patterns, and offers plenty of information on the history of yarn bombing, and on the individuals and groups who initiated it, including those who continue to tag. In addition to yarn graffiti, there is also plenty of reference on how to start knitting and crocheting, and offers instructions and resources to get you going with needle arts. I find the idea of craft and street art intertwining truly fascinating.

Take Part in Art -- Self-Portraiture

charcoal sketch by freeparkingcharcoal sketch by freeparking
Making a self-portrait is almost a psychological exercise -- a way to examine questions of identity, do some introspection into yourself, and think about how you present yourself to the world. It is also an opportunity to be creative and have fun! To explore self-portraiture, you can always come and check out our Youth Art Table downtown, or follow along at home:

Two excellent books on self-portraiture are Just Like Me and Bob Raczka's Here's Looking at Me. To learn more about one of the most prolific self-portrait artists, read Frida Kahlo: The Artist in the Blue House. Grown-ups who want to learn more might be interested in Frances Borzello's Seeing Ourselves: Women's Self-Portraits.

Making your own self-portrait is amazingly easy. You can use any medium and any style -- all you need is some paper and a mirror. The fun part is deciding how you want to look. You can draw yourself with a pet, with a friend, taking part in your favorite hobby, wearing a costume...or any other way you like! For ideas about how to make different kinds of self portraits, check out the projects on this page by Incredible Art. Grown-ups who want to make self-portraits can check out Mixed Media Self-Portraits by Cate Prato.

September is National Sewing Month!

SewingSewing

Being that September is National Sewing Month, are you looking for some inspiration to help you get a move on with that pile of fabric you keep staring at? Try some of these new books to get you motivated to start a new project or finish that one that’s collecting dust.

Amy Butler's style stitches: 12 easy ways to 26 wonderful bags!

Sewing bits & pieces : 35 projects using fabric scraps

The Feisty Stitcher: sewing projects with attitude

If you’re looking for more, there are oodles of sewing books at AADL to get you going. Or check out Sew green recycle, repurpose, restyle, a how-to DVD featuring a few easy projects you can sew along with.

Locker Makeover

locker makeoverlocker makeover

Create some cool stuff to organize and fix up your locker. Saturday, September 18th, from 3 - 4:30 PM at the Traverwood Branch. From marble magnets to locker mirrors, personalize your space. Other organizing ideas might come from Organizing From the Inside Out and Accessories Things to Make and Do. Grades 6-12.

Make it Happen with a lot of Lotta Jansdotter's crafty books!

Scandinavian born Lotta Jansdotter left her small island off Sweden at the age of 20 to study art in California. After figuring out that she wanted to focus on screen printing she immediately left school to work on her passion, later opening her own business and starting her Lotta Jansdotter line. Her business, designs, and popularity have grown immensely over the years, and she has written books featuring some of her projects.

Lotta Prints: How to print with anything, from potatoes to linoleum is an excellent book for both those who already dabble in printing or are looking to get started. Some projects featured include screen printing, stenciling, stamping, and block printing. For more textile action, Lotta Jansdotter's simple sewing: patterns and how-to for 24 fresh and easy projects contains many adorable projects that aren’t too difficult to accomplish by sewing. And for things to make for the little ones, check out Simple sewing for baby: 24 easy projects for newborns to toddlers, which offers up many clothing and accessories items for the cute small relations in your life.

All the books include thorough directions and illustrations for each project, and there is also a sampling of patterns to use. Lotta also has a darling blog that is worth browsing, and for a look into her studio, check out Etsy’s featured studio tour of it!

Take Part in Art -- Super Cool Stamp Art

stampstamp

Printing has been around since about the year 200AD, and was in use for centuries in the Middle East, Europe and Asia -- especially Japan -- before spreading around the world. Printmaking is still alive and well today, and many artists use a variety of printing techniques to create unique and beautiful works of art.

If you want to try your hand at printing at home with your kids, the most convenient method is the humble rubber stamp. If you happen to have some rubber stamps lying around the house from your scrap-booking projects, it is time to take them out! Try combining the images to make a story. What patterns can your child make with the stamps? Can your child combine stamping and drawing to make a picture? For more rubber stamp ideas, read Cool Rubber Stamp Art by Pamela Price.

Of course, if you have no stamps at all, fear not. TLC Family and Kinderart have plenty of suggestions for making your own stamps and printing blocks. For more ideas read Joe Rhatigan's Stamp It!, The Usborne Book of Printing and Printing by Michelle Powell.

For any grown-ups who want to try printmaking and stamp art, try The Instant Print Maker by Melvyn Petterson, Creative Stamping by Sherrill Kahn, and, for some history, The Woman Who Discovered Printing by Timothy Barrett.

Also, if you act fast, you can see some cool prints at the University of Michigan Museum of Art's exhibit Sister Corita: The Joyous Revolutionary. Admission is free!

Create Something! Make it Happen!

Create!Create!

In the last year we have had many, many different craft programs. We've covered holidays (Thanksgiving, Winter Solstice, Mother's Day, etc.) and themes (Mexican Folk Art, Hawaiian Luau, etc.). And there are always art supplies left over after each program. Now we're trying to clean out all of our supply closets to get ready for the new fall and winter programs coming up.
Come to the Pittsfield Branch on Wednesday, August 11 at 2:00 p.m. and see how creative you can be. We'll provide a wide variety of supplies, you provide the ideas.
For preschool through grade 5.

For some good ideas, take a look at the books Rosie O'Donnell's Crafty U or Crafts for Kids by Gill Dickinson.

Hawaiian Luau Craft Program

Let's pretend we all can take a Hawaiian vacation. Come to the Pittsfield Branch on Tuesday, August 3 at 2:00 p.m. for an island experience. We'll be making grass skirts and floral leis. You'll be ready to learn the hula! This program is for preschoolers through 5th graders. All supplies will be provided, light refreshments will be served.

For children's books about Hawaii, click here.

Make It Happen: Patchwork With Punch and Style

Here are three new, beautiful books to inspire you to add a bit of whimsy into your handicraft.
What do Scandinavia and Japan have in common? Zakka. Translated it means “miscellaneous goods,” which is vague. Zakka is basically a design aesthetic featuring household items that enhance your environment. Does it truly overwhelm with beauty and cuteness? You decide.

Zakka sewing: 25 Japanese projects for the household and I love patchwork!: 21 irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew are two great books that feature projects inspired by the Japanese zakka aesthetic. They are things for the home and self with some kitsch to them. Included are wonderful photographs and easy to follow instructions. Tea cozies, coasters, bags, pillows, quilts, towels are just some of the projects waiting for your crafty hands.

For more on patchwork projects, check out Patchwork style: 35 simple projects for a cozy & colorful life. There are oodles of handmade ideas, everything from potholders to purses, using the patchwork technique.

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