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September 2014, I was asked if I would do a one-off, two-hour ‘holiday program art session’ at our local council, for a group of 8 children, ages from 5 to 12 years old, as a volunteer artist. The theme we decided upon was Halloween and the children made Halloween masks. We had an assortment of materials to work with and I was on hand to assist with any requests the children had; to answer any questions and to offer artistic encouragement during the whole process.
We firstly talked about what Halloween is in very simplistic terms being that it is one of America’s favourite holidays which is celebrated on the night of October 31st. It’s a time putting on costumes, trick-or-treating, and having theme parties. It can also be a time for superstitions, ghost and goblins and also about having lots of fun…
It was very interesting how each child went about producing their Halloween mask and what materials they individually decided to use. We started the process with a coloured rectangle shape of hard cardboard. I had given each child a specific colour and suggested that if they didn’t like the colour they had, perhaps they could ask someone to swap with them. A couple of the children decided to swap and did it in such an agreeable way – that impressed me! Then we glued a white, plain cardboard face onto the square coloured paper, just so that they had a basic face to work on. Paint was a big favourite with the children and glitter became the star product used, both with the boys and the girls. I made a suggestion to use wool for hair and as you can see above, there were some children who took up the offer.
I was so impressed with how the group of children went about studiously working on their Halloween masks. At times I offered further encouragement and input; along with some ideas and suggestions for them to consider; and with lots of encouragement and praise. For me, this was a form of art therapy for children, as it gave them an opportunity to do just what they wanted to do; unrestricted creativity and with total ownership for their end results. It was a good art session and it appeared the children had enjoyed themselves and were genuinely pleased with their efforts.
NB: For the purposes of this weblog, I will not be mentioning any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that ran the session. Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will be about my own experience and broad statements about the session. I hope you will understand.
Whilst you are here – please check out my home page! My Art Therapy Journey – A window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytelling…by Karen Robinson