A museum of characters

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This week, I wrapped up my time at the Customized Learning Centre in Coquitlam as artist in residence, working with a group of fabulously creative and enthusiastic teens.

These kids attend CLC for a number reasons to do with anxiety and stress, and this workshop series was meant to give them a place where they could come and create in a safe and imaginative atmosphere.

For the past few months we’ve been designing and building all sorts of props to do with characters, as well, as imagining characters appearances by costuming mannequin heads. Yes, this is not how one traditionally imagines an art therapy classroom, but there is something wonderful about working with your hands and trying to figure out technical problems associated with the intricacies of prop-building.

We drilled, we sanded, we glued, we painted—and had a whole lot of fun.

I’ve posted several of these in the past, but am repeating some of them here, while also adding some of the latest shots. First, here are some of the props and character kits the students crafted:

 

And here are some of the final head designs. Of course, being teens, many of them are wired into The Walking Dead and stories of that ilk . . . hence the dark and sinister appearance of many of the character designs. BUT, as I look at it, better out of your subconscious than in it. Once again, I’ve posted some of these before, but I consider this kind of the final gallery . . .

I’ve been invited to return for another workshop series next year, but for now I’m going to miss my gang of awesomeness.

 

 

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Costuming characters ~ 3D style

In past workshops, I’ve done plenty of projects where kids design, sketch, and imagine the costumes the characters in their stories might wear. In some cases, I’ve even brought in fabric swatches for them to help imagine the process.

For the artist-in-residence/art therapy program  I’m doing for at a local centre for teens, I decided to take it up a notch. So we’ve spent our time building character survival kits, but most of the students have finished them and are now working on a new project: to costume a character using a mannequin head.

This is my first time trying out this project (as was the case with the character kids), and I can’t even begin to express how much the students love it. They seem very invested in these characters and I am really enjoying helping them whittle, drill, paint, and sculpt their way through this project.

First, here are two of the recently completed character kits:

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Next are the mannequin heads. Many of these are in progress. Don’t blame me for how terrifying some of them are . . . these kids seem to all love The Walking Dead and everything zombie. Though, at the same time, they have spent their hours with me arguing over which is the best Disney movie. (Apparently, Atlantis is highly under rated and should be given a higher place in the echelon of animated films. Or, so they tell me.)

In any case, here are some of the character heads . . .

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Character kits, step 1

I just completed my second day at a local centre where I’m doing some art therapy work with a group of teens.

I’m breathing a sigh of relief that my participants have embraced our project to build and design characters through prop-building and costume design, which, let’s face it, isn’t exactly what you think about when you think of art therapy.

One of main projects is do design and “build” character kits. I showed photos of my own kit in a previous post, and below are some photos of the starts of my participants’ kits.

They may not seem that exciting yet, but I wanted to capture the different stages of the process, and step 1 is painting the kits themselves. Most of these aren’t completed yet—they still need to be weathered and decorated (or more so than they already are). It’s all part of a process . . . over the next few weeks, these will be transformed into vampire hunting kits, apocalypse survival kits, dream stealer kits, and you-name-it kits.

It’s so fun to see the students’ ideas coming to life in this form. I’m starting to think of this whole project as “art therapy through cosplay.”

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