Dear You Art Project

Mail Art + Pen Friends = Dear You Art Project


Expressing ourselves with carbon transfers

2017, 1st Grade, 6 years old, China, FinlandArlene TuckerComment

Teacher Tian Tian and her young artists in China have been busy making art!  They were experimenting with the carbon transfer technique and then used marker to add color to their self-portraits.

Their friends in Finland cannot wait to meet them!

The 6 year old artists at Shenzhen Primary School in Shenzhen, China are making and sharing with the Explorers, 5-6 year olds, from International School of Helsinki in Helsinki, Finland.

ISH Explorers create self-portraits!

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

It was so nice to see the two groups of Explorers have Morning Meeting in their own classrooms. Both Mrs. Nikurautio and Mr. Prebble have their own lovely way of being with their students. We then got all together to talk about the first Dear You project- Unique You!  Everybody was so excited to hear that we have new friends in China who will be making and sharing art with us. We talked about when we first meet somebody new, what would we like to share with them?  What would we like to know about our friends?  This guided us in making our self-portrait.

We first used pencil to make the carbon transfer and then added charcoal.  Once the mark making started to come through, their curiosity grew bigger and bigger.  The artists could see how the charcoal was also adding elements of their fingerprints, which is a part of who they are!

Some reflections from the artists are:

Enzo said, "me playing with my dog. My dog is barking at his dog friend. I held my dog so he didn't run away."

Devansh said, "I'm in a boat going to India. There's a submarine and fish following us.

Deethya said, "She's at the hairdresser because she needs short hair. She's with her mum and there's a rainbow behind you since it's a beautiful day."

Aishiki said, "There are hearts in the sky. Because I like them. I feel like I am hearts in the sky."

One little artist said, "My picture makes me happy."  

They all make me happy!!

Before closing the package we all sat down to write a letter for our friends.  We have lots of questions!

Do you like frogs?
Do you like fish?
What do you do in China?
What are your names?
What language do you speak?
Where do you go in China?

We can't wait to see your artworks!

With love,
The Explorers, Arlene, Mrs. Nikurautio and Mr. Prebble

The Explorers, 5-6 year olds, from International School of Helsinki in Helsinki, Finland are making and sharing with the artists aged 6 years old at Shenzhen Primary School in Shenzhen, China.

Monkeys make magic

2017, 5 years old, 6 years old, Australia, FinlandArlene TuckerComment

The Monkeys are very excited to have new friends from Australia!  We looked on the map to see where Australia is in relation to Finland. It's a looong ways away.  They already had a sense of that because one of their teachers is from Australia.  They are looking forward to making more friends from there!

We started off by talking about what it means to make a self-portrait.  We looked at one other and tried to be eachother's mirrors. As we were investigating ourselves, we were thinking about what part of us would we like to share and tell our new friends.

This was the first time using carbon transfers and they all did a great job! As they were understanding how the technique works, they were coming up with their own ways of drawing. At that time, the Monkeys were learning about space so a lot of the artists incorporated the moon and stars into their self-portrait.

Everybody got a chance to talk about their self-portrait.  Rafael said, "I have shabby hair and eyes."  Miro said, "I am playing a game on my tablet."  Adripto included a pictures of himself and his sister.  Alia said, "It's me and my little brother. We are looking at the shooting stars and there is the flag of Somalia."  Do these sound familiar to you?

We are very curious about you all and where you live!  The Monkeys would like to know, what do you see in Australia?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

My best,
Arlene & The Monkeys

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

The Tigers are great storytellers!

2017, 4 years old, 5 years old, Dear You Art Workshops, Finland, USAArlene TuckerComment

The Tigers are super welcoming with their big smiles and good creative energy!  Today was extra special as I got to tell them that we have new friends from Moonstone Preschool in Philadelphia. Immediately the questions started buzzing and they tried to make connections.  They started sharing stories of who they know in the USA and if they have ever visited the country.

This was the first time the Tigers had ever made carbon transfers.  I am so proud that they all took their time to cover their paper with graphite.  The magic started when they began to draw.  That's when they got extra excited and thought it was magic at first!  Some got frustrated when the marks didn't go through, but they persevered and got it to work for them!

When we were finished we all sat down together to look at each other's artwork.  The pictures are so descriptive of who the artists of, where they live, and what they like.  Erik said, "I am on a bus. I am riding the bus to my home. This is big me and little me."  Mikelus said, "I am walking outside and stop in the forest for the postman."  Vanessa decided to make a family portrait.  Leevi said that this picture is of a happy person.  I love the positive image Leevi has about himself!  Reno said, "a tiny baby superman is playing basketball with me."  Who wouldn't want to play with you?!

Can you find the portrait of the carpetman?
Which pictures are of a happy person?
Which picture has somebody walking through an apple orchard?

We are so happy to make a collective book with our Moonstone friends!

With love,
Arlene & The Tigers

The Tigers from Your School Espoo, Finland are making and sharing with the Full Moons from Moonstone Preschool in Philadelphia, USA. Both groups are 4-5 years old.

Our first mail art exchange!

2017, 10 years old, 3rd Grade, 9 years old, China, United KingdomArlene Tucker1 Comment

Hey! Dear You!

We are from Taizhou Phoenix Primary School of Jiangsu, China. We are the children of Class 3 Grade 3 who are aged from 9 to 10. We just start to learn English recently, so we can not write well in English. But we can express ourselves by drawing or doing art works. You can guess how I look like and how I feel by our pictures.

On Sept. 26, the art teacher Miss Liu Chunjuan took us to the art room. Firstly, She drew a big body on the blackboard and let us discuss what makes humans unique to each other. For example, the DNA, the fingerprints, personalities etc. The children shared ideas and wrote many key words on it. Secondly, she asked us to draw a self-portrait . We took many pictures about them. Thirdly, Miss Liu showed us how to cover the parer with graphite, and we tried. Wow! The paper turned dark soon and so did our hands. Everybody was happy! Then, we took another different colour of paper to make a transfer drawing. Some of the kids used fingers , some used feet, some used hands, some used arms. All of us laughed happily. At last, we wrote ours name on them to let foreign friends know who I am.

Children’s comments :
1. I won’t forget this drawing lesson one hundred years later.
2. It is the first time for me to make pictures with fingers. That looks great!
3. I want to try again to make it more clearly.
4. I know that everybody is unique .

Teachers reflection:
1. The children enjoyed the process of doing the art work. They are eager to be my little teacher to help classmates to finish. They become more helpful.
2. The open question ‘what is unique?’ expand the children’s thinking . Everybody learns to share.
3. We are eager to see the art works from the UK. Exchanging ideas makes human get close.

Thank Dear You for linking us together!

Miss Liu Chunjuan

The artists in Grade 3 (9-10 years old) at Taizhou Pheonix Primary School in Jiangsu, China are making and sharing art with the artists in Class 4 (8-9 years old) at Sneinton C of E St Stephens Primary School in Nottingham, England Both groups are aged 8-9 years old.

From single to double self portraits

2017, 5 years old, 6 years old, AustraliaArlene Tucker1 Comment

We had fun on our first Dear You !

The kids had done the priming activities before the day, discussing identity and DNA etc with Barbara Turner, the classroom teacher. 

They had also spent some time preparing their "transfer paper" with 6B pencils so that when it came time to doing their self portraits, they were able to hit the ground running.

On the day we did two activities - the first was doing a self portrait with the eyes closed, and i did a demonstration of this on the whiteboard, which was a source of much hilarity - the resulting self portrait is pretty odd! 

Self portrait with eyes closed using hand to feel the face. Demonstration on whiteboard for K1HT class, for the Dear You Art Project with a class in Finland.

Self portrait with eyes closed using hand to feel the face. Demonstration on whiteboard for K1HT class, for the Dear You Art Project with a class in Finland.

Some of the kids were able to concentrate on this for a bit - many of them found it challenging to keep their eyes closed and focused, perhaps because of the proximity of all their friends - but at any rate it offered an alternative way of "seeing" the world through touch. 

For the second activity, I had found some double mirrors from the university - our visual arts students use them for a self-portraiture activity in first year. They are on a hinge, I think these mirrors are designed for hairdressing apprentices originally.

So I asked them to do a 'double self portrait'. There were a few tricky things about this - the mirrors were standing up at 90 degrees on the desk, and so their reflective surface was a bit low for them to see their own faces. So Barbara got them to take away their chairs and kneel down on the floor so they could actually see their own faces. 

The other tricky bit was just how to do a double self portrait. I didn't give them a demonstration - partly because I wanted to see what they would come up with - but in retrospect it might have been good to do so. There are some basic things about drawing your own face in a mirror which would have been worth pointing out - like observing specific things about the visual characteristics of one's own face, rather than just taking for granted that we all have two eyes, a nose and a mouth. You know, the usual "draw what you see, not what you think you see". 

So I reckon if we were to do something like this again, I'd focus more on the actual mechanics/principles of observational drawing, so we would generate more specific, less generic, faces.

However, some of the kids did do some really interesting double self portraits, strange doublings, where two faces sit side by side, or one next to the other, or one slightly at different scale but otherwise almost identical. 

We then got them to do their transfer print, using their double self portrait. This was a process involving a normal pencil - so that a harder tip could push the image through the 2 layers of paper onto the sheet that was receiving the image. 

The transfer prints came through successfully, a bit faint perhaps, but it worked. They have a nice low-fi feel to them I think.

Barbara had photocopied lines onto the back of the paper, so the students then wrote a letter to the Monkeys in Finland - they enjoyed this process - for some reason a lot of them want to write "Kind Regards" at the end of their letters - very formal!

After the class, Barbara and I (together with a couple of young artists)  experimented a bit with using crayon or pastel rather than 6B pencil as our transfer medium. This has advantages, as its much faster to cover the surface of the transfer paper with crayon, and the image transfers much more darkly to the final print. I reckon if we were to do this activity again, that's what we'd change. 

I think Barbara was going to post them to you in the day or so after the activity - so with any luck the Monkeys will receive our parcel soon!

All the best,

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.