Hello Chiang Mai and My first Workshop

My name is Robson Silva and I am from Brazil. I decided to leave my job in my country and join with ARI in Chiang Mai. I'm going to be volunteering here for 11 weeks.  I’m a guy who loves the arts and I want to bring a few of our Swing, rhythm and the best of my culture from Brazil to Chiang Mai. Helping other people through art is rewarding for me.  

Thai People are wonderful and I feel at home, like I would in my city.

I led my first workshop on August, 13, at the Wat Muen Nuen Kong School and I had the opportunity to show one part of Brazil through assembly of the wood aircraft - with wooden pegs (or clothes pins) and lolly sticks (popsicle sticks!) - which symbolizes 14-Bis, The first aircraft made by Alberto Santos Dumont, the Brazilian aviation pioneer.

The Children drawing on the Popsicle Sticks

Assembling with glue

We began showing two figures: one Brazilian Flag and the "14 Bis" aircraft. After that, I made a short explaination about Santos Dumont and we began our aircraft assembly. With 1 peg and 4 Popsicle stick we assembled our Aircraft and with many colours available the children could explore themselves creativity. They were really excited and focusing on the activity for the whole time during the workshop. After finished the assembly, they played with their aircrafts.


I am here for 9 more weeks and very excited about my future workshops and next week I have two more!!!


Making Animal Balloons with the Young Lions!

We had an awesome time making some animal balloons last Tuesday during our after school community art class! The kids were a little scared at possibly popping these little guys but that was quickly over come and a Zoo was soon formed!

 Dogs and Swords!
Happy campers all around!



Drawing Games at Thai Freedom House

This was the final workshop with Thai Freedom House for the term. Because it was the last workshop, Donna and I wanted to do something that incorporated different drawing lessons from the unit while having a really good time and enjoying each others' company.

For this workshop, Donna and I decided to do a series of drawing games! We planned five drawing games for the students: blind drawing portraits, contour line portraits, two different drawing games that involved the group, and "exquisite corpse." We only made it through four of the five games, but all of them were a major hit!

The atmosphere was really upbeat, and the kids stayed engaged throughout the entire workshop, which can be quite a challenge for the full two hours.

Everyone had fun laughing at the blind portraits of each other and enjoyed the artistic and creative collaboration that took place during the group games. Smiles and giggles all around! Saying good-bye to the kids of Thai Freedom House was hard, but all of the volunteers were happy to end the term on a positive, fun note!

Thanks for reading!

Jelly Cube Fun at Hope Home

Last week at hope home we introduced the kids to some jelly fun! We had a variety of colours and the jelly was set in ice cube trays, the perfect size for them to play with. It was great to see the kids engage with the activity and some really got into it! The jelly was a hit, and I think the kids were ready for this jelly! 

We had a surplus of volunteers so some of us began a mural on the grounds of hope home. A beautiful bee was completed and is the start of a larger mural, which will be completed over the following weeks. We had loads of fun with the kids this week as they all seemed to be in good form. 



Hello from Samantha

Hello there, my name is Samantha and I am from Ascot in the UK - famous for horse racing and fancy hats!

In June I completed my 3 year Masters Degree in Art Psychotherapy at Roehampton University in London and I'm now a real life Art therapist! Hooray!!! Art therapy is something I am incredibly passionate about. I have learnt so much about myself and about others during my training and I hope to learn more during my time at ARI and share some of my experience and passion too.

I am so delighted to be here. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly and even though I have only been here for a week I feel completely at home (though haven't really found my bearings around Chiang Mai yet - but there's still time!) I was fortunate enough to go on a trip last weekend to Mae Sot on the boarder of Burma to run workshops with Burmese Children and with Teachers from the local area. It was such a humbling and magical experience and I feel so lucky to have been part of it. I am here for 3 more weeks and so excited about all the fun, adventures and surprises ahead!!


Pen pal Postcards to Ireland... and my last leading workshop.


Last Friday, I led a workshop at Wat Pa Pao. It sadly was my last workshop to lead. The activity was pen pal postcards which will be sent back to a Youth club in Dublin, Ireland.

Last year,  Nyasha who was here for eight weeks with ARI carried out the same activity with a group of children and asked me if I would continue this workshop so the children she volunteers with at home could receive another postcard from Thailand.

I had a sample postcard with me for the children to see along with sample sentences for the children to write on their postcard. I explained the pen pal concept to the children and they appeared to be very excited. I had written all the sentences on the whiteboard and Wad translated them into Thai. I gave the children the option to write their postcard in either English or Thai. There was a mixture of both postcards.

Once they had all written their postcard, the students designed a stamp for the corner of the postcard along with adding the address of the youth club. After this, they could turn it over and decorate it however they wanted. The postcards were designed really well. Everyone seemed to have a good time completing their postcards with some children asking for a second template to work on, which they could keep for themselves.

On another note, I spent my first birthday away from my family this year, which CCT, ARI and all the volunteers here made so special by having a surprise party for me in the volunteer house with party hats, cakes (two of them), crisps, chocolates and some Minnie mouse ears which I had to wear for the night. Thank you to everyone for the memories of my birthday!

Lastly, it is so hard to believe my time at ARI is over this week. It went so quick and I had such an amazing experience. I have met some of the most amazing people here, who I know I will keep in touch with. Everyone at ARI and CCT are amazing and I cannot thank them enough for the experience they have given me here. I have three workshops left to attend and the art supply room to finish painting. I plan to make the absolute most of the time I left here and cannot thank everyone enough for making my time here so memorable. It is time and people I will not forget!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Melissa J

Creating Animal Homes with Young Lions

 It was a relaxing and fun afternoon with the Young Lions as the students created animal homes out of paper cups and used foam paper to cut out their animals. Although there were bee, butterfly, and bird outlines, some of the students wanted to create their own animals. They had a lot of fun coloring and cutting out their animals. 

After creating their animals, the students spread glue around their paper cup and wrapped different colored yarn around it. 

They then glued their animals to their cups, creating their animal homes. They were very creative with their animal homes, in which some made trees and nests on their cups. 

 The students were very energetic and enthusiastic making the volunteers wish they were children again. 

Nicole Breiner


Sock Bubbles at Hope Home!

Our workshop at Hope Home was a bit subdued today; a few of the kids were particularly sleepy and feeling a little under the weather. I also have a cold, so I tried to avoid directly interacting with the kids.

As you can see, it was a good day for naps.:)

All that aside, BUBBLES. Bubbles seem to be a universal happiness creator. I knew that the kids of Hope Home really enjoyed normal bubbles, so I thought it would be fun to show them bubbles taken to the next level.

The bubbles blowers are made with a dispensable water bottle, sock, and some dish soap. They are really easy to create and my test trials with these sock bubble blowers went really well. When dipping the blower in dish soap, blow through the mouth of the water bottle and a long stream of bubbles should come out!

Originally, these bubbles were going to be long, luxurious rainbow bubbles. However, there were a few issues with the food coloring at Hope Home, so we settled with more standard, un-rainbow bubbles, which were still fun.

The kids generally enjoyed them; especially Mali and Chati. Chati really wanted to touch them, while Mali was happy blowing at the bubbles and staring them down. No one else was too into the activity due to naps and coughs, but we enjoyed ourselves. 

Melissa and Mali had a lot of fun being girly, doing nails, taking selfies, and dancing. Overall, it was a bit of an off day at Hope Home, but everyone still enjoyed spending time with the kids and the bubbles!

Adorable, dancing, painted baby toes :)

North American Totem Poles at Wat Muen Nung Kong

Do you think you're more of an owl than an eagle? Or maybe you feel as strong and wise as an elephant and just a tad bit mysterious and independent like a cat? At Wat Muen Nung Kong we learned that totem poles originated from North America and what certain animals and colors represented!

We were quite the bunch this afternoon! We learned that totem poles mostly originated in the northwest region of North America such as Canada, south of Alaska, and the northern region Washington state. We also learned about a variety of animals and what they represent! Some of us drew owls with cute little beaks and colorful wings or a determined ant with fuzzy gold antennas!

All in all, we all had fun with the kids and volunteers, per usual! The energy these kids bring is beyond this universe and continuously brings smiles and laughter to everyone participating.
See ya next time!

-Kim Vongkhamchanh


Batik bags at Urban Light!

This week at Urban Light we designed and made some tote bags using the ancient Indonesian art form of batik. Batik is a painting technique in which areas of a cloth are painted with a hot wax. The cloth is then dyed or painted on with some colour. The wax design resists the colour and produces beautiful and often elaborate designs, and it most certainly did in Urban Light!

 I asked the artists to recall a positive past memory, be it a place, a person, an animal, anything at all and use it as an influence in their chosen designs. We opted for a more user friendly version of batik in which we used a gel based glue in the place of hot wax and watered down acrylic paints in the place of dye. The artists really did get stuck in to the process, and a wide variety of memories were represented. Nationality was something that was explored , with an interesting trend of Burmese, Thai and oddly enough American flags emerging. 

We took the chance to reflect on our memories by writing a little bit about them on some paper tags that we crafted out of card and thread. We attached the tags to the bags and put them aside to dry. I suggested that once the bags had dried, the artists could use them for storing some of their things at the Urban Light center. Overall, a successful workshop with pretty interesting results!


Young Lions- Teach me how to Takraw

Teach me how to takraw, teach me, teach me how to takraw. Well, weave a takraw style ball. What is Takraw you may ask? It is a sport quite popular in Southeast Asia. In a sense, it's kind of like a mix of volleyball because you have a net, but soccer because you use your feet and other body parts that are not your hands.

Yeah, it's actually pretty hard. This is some acrobatic stuff we're witnessing. It's extremely popular here in Thailand so why not try to learn how to make the ball itself with our Young Lions!

The weaving of the ball was just as difficult as the game of Takraw itself. But afterwards, we assembled the balls pretty well, decorated them to our liking and played with them! We had a hackie sack circle going and it got everyone up and playing in the courtyard!

Thanks for reading!
-Kim Vongkhamchanh