Last night was my first art workshop at Supportive Housing for Young Mothers (SHYM). I think all in all it went quite well – not judging from spectacular artwork produced or anything like that, but the vibe was good. I think most of the women enjoyed themselves and I feel that we started to form a report.
This was the first of a series of workshops that are part of a larger project to support family literacy. Supporting Literacy is really about supporting people in many different way. Positive learning environments and experiences are part of that, and that is one way that art fits in. (It “fits in” in many ways, but I won’t go on and on about that here!) When I was initially discussing this project with the coordinator, we both identified right away that though we wanted to give these women the tools and opportunities to interact with their children through art, it was equally important that they have their own enjoyable creative experiences. So I’ll be doing some adult workshops, and some with both moms and babies. Last night was just moms and the project was Collagraph Printing : Initial Art!
In the past I’ve noticed that leaving things too open can make people insecure, so I tried to start with a project that was comfortably specific. First I had them cut out a letter (or two) – perhaps their child’s initial. Then, after the cut out letter was safely filling a bunch of space on the printing block, I invited them to decorate around the letter.
We only had an hour, and they were really particular about getting the letters cut out perfectly, so many didn’t do much decorating! But we did get a chance to try out the printing process, and come to grips with the whole “backwards image” thing.
I think we may try some more printing at a later date. Most importantly, the atmosphere in the room was good, which bodes well for the coming workshops.