Dear You Art Project

Mail Art + Pen Friends = Dear You Art Project

Nooralotta Ikonen

It's Art When You Call It Art

8th Grade, 2014, Dear You Art Workshops, Denmark, FinlandArlene TuckerComment

The last session in Meilahti started off a bit differently than the others before it. I had a special guest: Arlene, the founder of Dear You workshops was there with me to tell about her latest installation piece. So we plunged to the world of installations and scratched the surface of performance art with a seasoned guide.

The outcome of the workshop was creative as always! We got a taste of Du Champ -style piece called Pen on the Floor, a miniature Pollock, Magic tricks of expectations, surprise performative art and framings and of course the Illuminati had it's hands on this workshop too.

We discovered that art is dialogue, a process where we interpret each other. Sometimes we get the gist of things and sometimes we get lost in translation but that's okay. No matter the distance we can always try to reach out to understand and find our horizons being broadened in the process. It's art when you call and treat is as such!

Using some of the words that the Dear You Artist in Meilahti mentioned, all in all we had a fun, new and magical ride on our Dear You journey!

- Nooralotta Ikonen

All That Talent for Christmas!

2014, 5th Grade, Czech Republic, Dear You Art Workshops, FinlandArlene TuckerComment

Do you know how to play the guitar, do the baby freeze or do you just know really much about ice hockey? I surely don't but the talented fifth graders in Helsinki English School know!

This time at The English School we looked at our gifts. We pondered about how can we give them as presents to our friends. The word present has two meanings: one is something you give away and the other one is something you receive right at every moment, at the present. So a gift in it's most heartfelt way is you being present to the people around you. That means everyone of us can give a special gifts this Christmas by just being present and using the talents we have.

Some of us had a hard time seeing our own talent. But we needn't worry too much! Help was always near when friends cheered on at how good someone was at so many things. Sometimes we can't see our own talents because to us they're just everyday things while to others they might be a wonder. If you know how to do something really well, you might just need a reminder now and again from your friends on how good you actually are! We drew our talents in the stars that we sent to Prague and hope that they'll bring at least as much cheer there as we experienced when making them.

This gift giving doesn't have to stop at Christmas. We can all use our gifts and talents, no matter how small we think they are, every day and bring cheer and ease to others around us.

Let's have a gift filled Christmas and a talented new year!

- Nooralotta Ikonen

Tunes and Tints at The English School in Helsinki

2014, 5th Grade, Finland, Czech Republic, Dear You Art WorkshopsArlene TuckerComment

"Look! The girls are dancing ballet!" a boy from The English School in Helsinki hollers. We're listening to music and some of us are feeling courageous enough to take a step or sway to the beat and melody. The song changes from an old school video game theme to more classical tunes. "A trip to Paris!" a girl says. "An afternoon playing games with my friends." "All of us as video game characters are inside the game!" another artist sees in her mind's eye.

The music stops and it's on to painting! The images inspired by the songs and our dance start appearing on paper in wonderful colors. The paintings tell of dreams, travels and time with friends.

Music is like a key. And different kinds of music equals to lots of different keys to lots and lots of unique worlds! I wonder what sort of doors will our Dear You friends open for us in Praque?

- Nooralotta Ikonen

ps. If you would like to hear what we made our paintings to please click here and here.

Symbols of Good Times in Meilahti

8th Grade, Collective Art, Dear You Art Workshops, Finland, DenmarkArlene TuckerComment

Mail! We received our earth art pictures from Denmark with the Danish artists' twist on our photos. It's fun how the pieces evolved with their visit in Denmark. We see that the artists there really took the time to sense our world. Thank you!

To keep the communication going we took on the art from Denmark as our inspiration for November's Dear You assignment here in Meilahti, Helsinki. We thought about what symbols could communicate our thoughts of their artwork and our thoughts about the Dear You project in general. The symbols that popped into our minds were ones of mysticism, hope and celebration. We made stencils out of these images and started painting.

After our creative efforts our vast canvas had filled up with shooting stars, meatballs, bottles and variations of the symbols of social media and internet phenomena. This is who we are, this is what we see. Will you catch what we meant? Maybe you will, maybe you won't. The main point is that you try and in doing so, we'll meet each other half way.

- Nooralotta Ikonen

Sweet Times at Helsinki's English School

4th Grade, 2014, Czech Republic, Dear You Art Workshops, FinlandArlene TuckerComment

Have you ever eaten a small black square that tastes like salt and medicine? Well, it's called Salmiakki and it's considered quite a treat here in Finland.

This time in our Dear You workshop we shared delicious tastes and sweet sights as we made candy arc pop-up cards for our friends in Prague.

We drew some candy and glued our art on our pop up card arcs. Then we described in writing what our pictured candy tastes like. Some of our candies were real while others were make believe. They all looked pretty delicious to me!

Everyone can enjoy these sweets, even the ones who are missing a sweet tooth. I hope they munch these sweets up with their eyes back in Prague!

- Nooralotta Ikonen

Creative Sensing Across the Baltic Sea

Finland, Dear You Art Workshops, 2014Arlene TuckerComment

Silence. Not a sound anywhere... except ... Clink! "The sound of keys hitting metal." Wroooom "The sound of the printer working." Fifteen different sounds found in silence.

This time during the Dear You Art Workshop Meilahti's eighth graders focused on their physical senses: touch, vision, smell, taste and hearing. We started off our second workshop with the small meditation on sound. This meditation showed us that silence wasn't that silent at all. Do we take all our body's sensory data as self granted?

We pondered what senses we mostly use when getting around in our day to day lives. Do we just use our eyes or do we open up all our senses to be here now?

Since we don't have the chance to visit our new Danish friends right away, we decided to take a different approach. We drew on top of the printed out photos from Denmark, sensing the environment and artwork they've made through our imagination and our own creative process. We represented our sensory feelings through the use of form, color and lines.

After much creating we made a video message to Denmark, but alas, the camera didn't record. But fortunately we still have these beautiful creative pieces that truly speak for themselves. And so, we'll let the art do the talking on our behalf in Denmark!

- Nooralotta Ikonen

The Art of Choosing with The English School

5th Grade, Finland, Dear You Art WorkshopsArlene TuckerComment

The Fifth Graders at The English School of Helsinki collaged whimsical portraits of themselves for our new friends in the Czech Republic. We thought about the art of choosing. What do the things we decide to show and hide tell about ourselves?

We took inspiration from Johnny Amore's humorous collage characters. The young artists cut out textures, images and words from magazines to form a collage representing themselves. It was wonderful to hear laughter around the classroom when the young artists discovered new and unexpected ways to mix and match the clippings out of magazines to form hilarious combinations.

- Nooralotta Ikonen
Dear You Workshop Leader

Meilahden Yläasteen School in Helsinki kicks off their first project!

8th Grade, Finland, Dear You Art WorkshopsArlene TuckerComment

The eighth graders of Meilahti School in Helsinki, Finland took part in the first Dear You workshop of this fall. We explored our surroundings through Environmental Art. In the upcoming sessions we're going to explore our inner environments with mindful art and top it all with explorations and meetings through performance.

During the first workshop we took our art gear to the park next to the school. We talked about how forms and colors affect the message and harmony of the art work. We took inspiration from Robert Smithson's Jetty Spiral and Kaija Kiuru's Hahmotelmia. Why had Smithson planned his work in a spiral form? Why had Kiuru chosen red strands for her work instead of green?

Most of the participants worked in teams. Every artist took the environment into account while planning and making their pieces.It was wonderful to witness the flow of ideas and how the artists came into a mutual understanding to ripen the ideas into fruition in the short time we had to execute our art work.

Next time we'll start working based on the art we receive from our new friends in Denmark. Can't wait what the wonderful artist of Meilahti school think of next!

- Nooralotta Ikonen
Dear You Workshop Leader