Dear You Art Project

Mail Art + Pen Friends = Dear You Art Project


Artists from Australia make art from “Words that describe me”

2019, 8 years olds, 9 years old, Australia, Dear You Art Workshops, FinlandArlene TuckerComment

The students really enjoyed the first Dear You project. 

Firstly, we spoke about the word translation, and what it means to communicate verbally or visually over long distances. I showed the class a map of the world and showed them where Finland is, they were excited that our artworks will be travelling so far around the world. 

I showed the class some photographic portraits and discussed what the pictures are translating to a viewer. We got a little stuck on visual appearances, many of the responses were superficial, for example “tall, smiling, happy, sad”. I had to encourage them to look beyond the outward appearance and try to decipher what the person may be thinking. After this guidance some deeper thinking became apparent and the students commented that the people in the examples were “lonely, determined, excited, responsible”.

I then gave the sheet and asked them to write down “Words that describe me …”. I modelled a few examples on the board to assist with spelling. They first wrote down what words that they think about themselves, then I encouraged them to brainstorm, walk around the room and ask their peers what they think that they translate to the world around them.

We then spoke about photography and how we could translate these attributes into a photograph, we talked about using perspective, props, light and shade to communicate meaning to a viewer. We practised picking objects around the room (e.g. book, pencil, chair) to use as props, experimented with our body position to communicate a feeling (e.g. looking away from the camera, blocking our face with our hands, leaning into or away from the camera, etc).

I asked the class to prepare props and choose a site in which to have their picture taken. Once they were ready I took their photograph with the school’s digital camera. I invited them to either take the picture indoors or outdoors, I feel like this was a setback because the majority of the students outside choose to perform athletic tricks/moves/positions, rather than communicate an emotion or feeling like we had spoken about earlier. If I did this again I would ask them to create both an indoor picture and an outdoor picture. This strategy would produce improved results I feel.

Nell, choose to communicate “Sensitive”

Nell, choose to communicate “Sensitive”

I printed the photographs, the students cut them to size and glued them onto the sheets. I asked them to underline what single attribute of themselves they were attempting to translate to the viewer of the picture.

On the back of the sheet the students all wrote a short message to their “sister class” in Finland, “Hei”!

Jeremy Gudze 

1/2G Classroom Teacher
Bulli Public School

Harvey, choose to communicate “Brave”

Harvey, choose to communicate “Brave”

The 2nd graders from Mäntykankaan koulun in Kokkola, Finland are making and sharing art with the 1st and 2nd graders from Bulli Public School in Bulli, Australia.

Do you have Jellyfish in Ireland?

2019, 3 years old, 4 years old, 5 years old, 6 years old, 7 years old, 8 years olds, 9 years old, 10 years old, 11 years old, AustraliaArlene TuckerComment

After life had taken a hold of us all here in Australia with the colder weather upon us, two of the families finally managed to meet for our second session.

All were super excited to open the parcel from Ireland and see what our friends had sent. They were very impressed with the drawings but also with the information that they conveyed. They all started asking so many questions, which was great because that was exactly what today’s session was about!

After introducing different types of graphics and typography the group got to work on the question/s they wanted to ask. They all naturally began by drawing what their interests were and the question they wanted to ask their Irish friends came later in text form.

Due to the age range from 3 to 11 the questions varied from ‘Do you have Jellyfish in Ireland’, ‘Do you like swimming?’, ‘Do you like rain?’ and ‘Do you like monsters?’

Looking forward to the next session seeing what our friends have to say.

Amal Laala

The home schoolers in Geelong, Australia are making and sharing with the homeschoolers in Derreen, Ireland.

Integrating Celtic calligraphy into our art

2019, Mixed age groupArlene TuckerComment

On this 2nd project "The Art of Asking Questions" we provided for inspiration a couple of printed letter books. One with old fashion printing fonts and the other with intrinsic Celtic calligraphy. Also letter stamps and different art materials brushes, watercolour and acrylics, oil pastels...and so on. We talked about friendship and what sort of interests do they share with their friends and what would they like to know about their new friends in Australia. They were asked to incorporate one question only in their art work which took them a while to decide since naturally they were curious about many things. It was suggested to add a letter with their artwork if they thought a question was too little to express. But eventually they were happy with painting while talking about all the possible questions. The interesting thing was in order to cultivate this friendship they thought of asking questions about their opinions on certain topics. Topics that are relevant to them now and not so much about differences of lifestyles between Australia and Ireland which we also talked about but they decided to focus on what do they have in common instead of what it was different.

Another enjoyable session that could have last for hours. Thank you!

Marta, Carol & Gabrielle

Derreen home schoolers in Derreen, Ireland are making and sharing art with the homeschoolers in Geelong, Australia.

Artists from Australia gather for a day of making art!

2019, AustraliaArlene TuckerComment

We began home schooling our 6 year old daughter last year and were thrown into a new area where we have bonded with some wonderful families here in Geelong, Australia. As an artist myself I had been thinking of doing workshops with a small group of the community and Dear You seemed like a great way to begin the journey.


I asked two other families to join us as a pilot (so we could all fit into my house) and we began. The kids were all excited to see each other so they had a run around and catch up - as did us mums – and then we gathered around the table. We began by discussing about ourselves and about what uniqueness means. Many of them wanted to get into the activity and were shy to discuss so after a short discussion we began drawing and each talking while we worked about our travels, the things we like and our body parts. They were all interested in learning more about Ireland, the other group and children. They were not sure exactly what to share but enjoyed the notion of someone far away sending them something.


Next session we will incorporate geography and speak about the country and area our friends are from. Also showing them what our friends have sent them will encourage them to share more about themselves as it all seems much more real. Looking forward to the next meet up and in getting something special in the mail.

Amal Laala

The home schoolers in Geelong, Australia are making and sharing with the homeschoolers in Derreen, Ireland.

Photographs from the other side of the world have arrived in China!

2018, Exhibition, ChinaArlene TuckerComment
Photo by Ina, "Esbo, Finland"

Photo by Ina, "Esbo, Finland"

More beautiful artworks have arrived from the other side of the world to partake in Shenzhen Senior High School art exhibition, "Sharing Nature". Here, we can see photographs from artists living in Finland and in Australia.

Susie say, "I live in Sydney where there is lots of parks and wildlife. There are lots of national parks. My family usually go to the Royal National Park. The Royal National Park has lots of different hikes and beautiful sights. My dad and I even saw a wild kangaroo with a joeg in it's pouch! This one of the reasons why I love Australia."

Wow! This world really is gorgeous! Let's keep it that way, by taking care of it.

To read more about the event, please click here.

K/1HT on art

2017, 5 years old, 6 years old, Australia, Dear You Art Workshops, FinlandArlene TuckerComment

Hi Arlene and the Monkeys!

We really enjoyed your little movie where you answered all our questions. We have watched it a few times! Thank you for taking the time to make it for us!

We have sent an audio recording with our thoughts about your art works. We have some funny bits in there as well from our teacher who kept forgetting not to interrupt!!!

This will be our last project with you because we will finish our school year in 5 days and when we start our new school year at the end of January, we will be in different classes with different teachers. It's been great to have been able to share our art and our ideas. We will miss you all!

Keep up the great creative art works - we'll check out the website from time to time to see how you are all going.

All the best
From K/1HT xxx

The K1HT class from Bulli Public School in Bulli, Australia are making and sharing art with the Monkeys from Your School in Espoo, Finland. Both groups are 5-6 year old artists.