Open Studios

Posted by laura on Jan 14 2010 | Fun, Making


For a long time now I’ve been wanting to host a kind of open studios at our house for kids to come over and make art after school. Turns out some of my friends who have kids in Honey’s grade were interested in the same thing. I finally got my act together and we had our first meeting last week.


It was a very basic still life session with charcoal. I started them out with quick studies, which are unbelievably challenging to many kids, particularly 4th graders – there’s a real drive to work super slowly, small and detailed, barely looking at the subject.

We also explored the material – charcoal is pretty fantastic stuff when it comes to range in line quality, tone and texture, as well as its ability to end up absolutely everywhere.


We also touched on the concept of negative space – just trying to explore different ways of looking at what we’re drawing. Check out this terrific chair study:

E's chair

Pretty great, eh? I’m still figuring out the balance between instruction and freedom – too teachy and it’s overbearing, but I know from experience that too open-ended and it’s chaotic. I think it might come down to a brief time where I lay out a basic concept or two, and then we all work away together.

Here’s the thing: I think there’s something to be said for kids and adults engaging in art together. Not just kids being taught or watched by adults, but observing, working, exploring side by side. Making art (or music, or dance, or poetry…) can be a risky business, and I think it’s exciting to take those chances together.

1 comment for now

One Response to “Open Studios”

  1. Kristen

    You’re a natural teacher, Laura! Mini-lesson, guided practice, sharing. My only question is…do you come to Norfolk, MA?

    16 Jan 2010 at 7:50 am

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