Pass the Painting!

For the workshop with The Healing Family Foundation last week (which is an organisation supporting adults living with intellectual disabilities in Chiang Mai), Hayley had the clever idea of using a previous workshop where we used the concept of ‘musical chairs’ (but with painting) and changing it slightly so it worked within smaller groups. 

The other differences would include using various mediums to draw, colour and paint with, and requesting that the art work contain some sort of creative thread throughout its development. Here’s how it would work…

 Each participant in a group of six or seven would be given an A4 piece of card to draw on. The participants and volunteers were separated in to two groups. Each group then received a small cue card with a word written on it such as 'cat' or 'mountain' – the word represented what they had to draw first. 

With some background music to inspire the artists, the workshop began! With Hayley on the timer, after three minutes we asked the participants to move their art work around the circle to the next participant. They then had to continue drawing on their ‘new’ piece of artwork by drawing something relevant to the previous drawing… make sense? Phew.

Hayley and I toyed with the participants by changing the length of time they had to draw, or occasionally throwing in another cue card where they would have to incorporate, for example, a guitar, or a hat in to their art work. Needless to say, we had a lot of fun!

We completed three rounds in total, creating over twenty different artworks, which varied from the very literal (a beautiful mountain scene) to the extremely absurd and surrealist. It was really interesting to watch how the various partricipants interpreted each art work, and even more interesting to see the final results when we shared them with each other at the end.

Dan and Hayley

Wat Muen Ngen Kong 'Goes Bush'


On Thursday Wat Muen Ngen Kong's "Traveling Artists" jumped over the Tasman Sea from New Zealand (where we visited last week) to Australia, to explore some of the traditional practices of the world’s oldest continuing culture, Australia’s Aboriginal People.

Boomerangs have become synonymous with Australian Indigenous culture, despite being used by only some Aboriginal language groups and having also been found in other areas across the world. However, they are highly recognisable and a great tool to use for teaching the kids at the Temple School about Australia’s long history prior to colonisation.

We prepared over forty cardboard boomerangs prior to the workshops, one for each student, and then asked them to paint their boomerang using traditional methods such as dot painting and Australian animal templates including the famed kangaroo, lizard and snake. They used mainly earthy colours, similar to those created from the Earth’s natural resources.

Once the boomerang was completed, the students put them aside to dry, and sat down to watch some traditional Aboriginal dancing, including dances based on the kangaroo and emu. Like last week with the Maori Haka, they were glued to the screen.

With boomerang in hand, we then proceeded to teach the students the dance moves and they took to it with much enthusiasm, strutting their stuff around the verandah to the sounds of the didgeridoo, music sticks and traditional singing. 

It was a great way to share the extraordinary history of this ancient culture with the students, play around with various artistic practices and have a heap of fun all at the same time. 

Dan and Harriet.


Living in an Imaginary World

Today at Starfish Home it was all about imagination.

Starfish Home is a project of the Starfish Country Home School Foundation, the home based in Chiang Mai aims to provide a quality education and living environment for children so that they can lead happy and productive lives. Academic excellence, individual creativity, personal responsibility and concern for others and for the environment are their goals.

This week our aim was to create a piece of artwork that could be used in Art Relief’s International’s upcoming exhibition ‘Imagine Your World.’ The exhibition asks artists to vision their world as a blank canvas and then create how it would look.  As the kids are quite young we asked them to create an ‘imaginary world’ that could include anything they wanted.  This could be anything from flying ice-cream to talking dinosaurs.

To begin we each got our own ‘worlds’ made out of paper and the kids were asked to create an imaginary world.  Firstly, they drew their world out in pencil and then once they were finished they coloured it in with pencils.

Some of the students came up with really imaginative and detailed drawings!  I particularly liked one of the students who created a real-life superhero.

It was great to see the kids using their imagination and putting a lot of thought into their worlds.

The earth without art is just 'eh'

Poi' E !

 Last week at Wat Muen Nueng Kong, our global travellers went to  New Zealand, where I (Elle) am from.

Wat Muen Nueng Kong is a temple school in the heart of Chiang Mai, we go there every Thursday afternoon to do an after school art workshop with them.

The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, they have a really interesting culture and traditions that I wanted to share with the children.

We started the workshop of by asking them if they knew where New Zealand was located on the big map, many of them were unsure and hadn't heard of it before. We taught them about some of the things New Zealand is well known for such as, rugby, the kiwi bird and Kapa Haka.
Kapa Haka is a Maori performance art that has many forms. One of these is Poi, dancing accompanied by song and rhythmic movements of the poi, a light ball on a string.

Knowing that the kids at Wat Muen Nueng Kong always have a lot of energy and love getting up and moving around I thought that Poi's would be appropriate to make.
We started of by braiding flax and tying a clump of fabric onto the end and forming a ball out of the wool. We then got a piece of cloth and plastic bag to cover the ball and secured it with string.

Before we knew it there were poi's swinging left, right and centre. We had to dodge them to prevent ourselves from getting hit with them.

We then put on some traditional Maori music and I showed the kids some Poi moves that they could follow. The had a blast swinging them and copying. It was great to see them so focused, even with half of the cloth hanging out from their poi from them spinning in too hard.

The workshop was a success, they enjoyed the experience of a different culture and walked out of the school gate swinging their poi's.

  Elle x

Radical Recycled Robots!

This rainy Tuesday, the Young Lions experienced a playful and creatively robotic few hours.  Harriet and I led today’s group with the Young Lions. First, rather than beginning our day with coloring books, as we usually do, we decided to create a Young Lions banner. Prior to our workshop, we created an outline and then gave the participants the choice of coloring in or collaging the background. The participants were keen to complete the banner but remained playful and full of enthusiasm whilst they did it. Their energy at this hour always impresses me. Here’s a photo of them creating the banner…


*Here's the final product*

Once everyone arrived, we introduced ourselves using our robot voices (!) and then we began our project for the day, creating robots from recycled materials. Since Young Lions is a group that includes local community members, we thought talking a bit about recycling and using recycled goods could be meaningful. We discussed what recycled materials are and how recycling helps the environment and fosters creativity. Next, we showed the participants images of robots and some examples of some robots that we had made.

Then, we jumped right in, and each participant went straight to work. While laughing and and remaining playful, they worked non stop, each creating their own unique robot.

Here are the boys with their final products

Here our volunteer Elle helps the boys create their own robots


At the end, the boys were play fighting with their robots, giggling and joking around. We showed the boys a video of the robot dance and we all attempted our own version of it. The boys all enjoyed the process of creating their own robot (and so did our volunteers)!

The time we had together flew by and the boys took off in the rain as the clock struck 5:30. I felt very pleased with our workshop because as I walked down the street heading home, I saw the boys outside still playing with their robots. Overall, we taught the boys how to use recycled materials in innovative ways, fostered creativity, AND we had lots of FUN!
That's all from me today,

HOW TO: make a Mini Football Field

This past Thursday Jill and I had the fun opportunity to hang out and kick a few goals with Urban Light. Urban Light is a community center that looks out for boys who are victims of human trafficking and exploitation.

This place provides these boys with a chance to be receive English lessons, meals, health checks and support. ARI usually visits every Thursday with different art materials or dance moves to create fun and creative workshops for the boys to express themselves and have fun.

Unlike traditional football, we ended up using our hands instead of our feet. We created a miniature, handheld football game by assembling different materials to make football accessible to the tip of our fingers. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to create your own mini football field from the boys at Urban Light.

Here is a list of the supplies you need to create a mini football field:

  • Ping pong balls
  • Sharpies (black and different colors)
  • Green foam sheet
  • Cardboard
  • White paint
  • Clear elastic string
  • Wire
  • Little baskets
  • Cups (for water)
  • Newspaper
  • Spray paint
  • White tape
  • Paint bushes
  • Paint palette
  • Hot glue
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife

How to:
First you need to cut a circular basket in half with Exacto knife. Depending on how thick your basket is, scissors will work as well.

Next, spray paint your basket with any color you want. Make sure to put down newspaper or magazine paper so your paint does not stain the floor. The Urban Light boys got very creative with applying their colors. Go wild!


The next step is to cut cardboard and green foam into 6.5" X 12" (16.51cm X 30.48cm) rectangular pieces. The cardboard is your base and the green foam adds the football field effect.

Glue the foam to cardboard piece to the cardboard using PVC glue. You can also use hot glue if the foam is not sticking. Make sure to pat down your foam once glued onto your cardboard.

When you look at football fields, they have white lines to organize the field. To create these straight field lines you can use white thin tape. Thin white duck tape works great! Then, using white paint, whiteout, or even a colored Sharpie, create curved half circles seen on a football field.

Then take your sharpies and create your own design on your field! The boys enjoyed created cool and fun designs on their fields.

Then, poke a hole on either end of ping pong ball with an Exacto knife, this is so you can thread string through.

Next, cut an arms length of clear elastic string (fishing wire works as well) and thread through the ping pong ball and tie. Try to tie three knots with the string, so the pingpong ball does not come loose.

Attach elastic string (tied to your ping pong ball) to your dried basket. Make sure your basket is completely dry, if not your hot glue and spray paint can make a sticky mess!


Hot glue gun your basket to the end of your field and let it dry.

Once you have finished everything it's time to play!

Have fun and kick some goals,

Alexis :D