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  • Skribentens bildSuzanne Axelsson

Inspiration for the art studio/atelier

Here are some images that I have found, images that I have taken... images I thought might inspire you one way or another...

Chalk board table... for free creative art that can be done over and over again... documenting images as you go and maybe creating a chalkboard table book of images..? how to instructions here...

Thinking abut how you organise your materials is important... how easy is it for you to access things, for the children, more importantly.... is it easy to put things away later, to make space for other art activities and creations...? image found here

think about loose parts for the atelier... not everything has to be paint and drawing and crafts... sometimes it can be a temporary artistic expression... rocks, conkers, sea-glass... white cloth and frames... and so much more can be added... check here for more ideas... in action at Mid Pacific Institute

don't forget the ceilings... they can also be a source of inspiration and not just where you have the lights... here ricepaper lampshades have been used... this lowers the height of the room and makes it more child-friendly... don't forget to think about lighting if you do hang things from the ceiling... you could also place artwork on the ceiling isntead of the walls... think Michaelangelo... inspiration from In the Light Garden

think about your work surfaces... traditional tables to sit at, to stand at... how will this affect how the children interact with their creativity and each other? Should the surface be mirrors (or the chance to use mirrors on occasion) - what about light tables? inspiration from Inch by Inch preschool Facebook Page

think about size... how big do you want to the table... how much space do you have... how will the size affect projects done alone, done together... what is your priority for the atelier AT THE MOMENT (as this can change) is a big floor space more important than table space... or is the room to push the table to the side to create floor space when needed? I love to use the floor to create big artworks where the children can use their whole bodies, and lots of action.... even to the extent of painting directly on the floor. I like doing this kind of pipette and colour art using the insides of felt tips/markers that I put in water, so that it colours the water -

the above image come from Casa Maria

what are your feelings about mess? is it Ok to splatter all over the floors and tables... or do they need to be kept clean? Important things to talk about with colleagues as you start developing an atelier/art studio... this image comes from the art workshop at The Modern Art Museum here in Stockholm... images shared on this blog

there are many possible ways to arrange an atelier - if you check out this gallery link you will find lots of possible ideas...

ateliers can also be outside, art is not an indoor thing... Let the Children Play have shared LOTS of inspiration for Reggio Inspired ateliers... so pop over...

how are you going to use your wallspace... as an area to display the children's work, as an area to project images on to inspire the children's creativity as an area like a easel... what about mirrors how can they be best used? and as you see in this photo from Ruseløkkabarnehage facebook page shelving can be used very high up to store things (useful if you do not have storage rooms) and the use of clear boxes means the children can still see the materials... Always remember though about how much visual stimulus you want to give your children... if you have children with autism in your group then areas with lots of visual stimuli can be overwhelming and have the opposite effect on creativity... it is about knowing your group...

think about jars and bowls and various containers that can be used for beads, paints, pens etc... when table are big and there is a community project then sharing the same bowl of beads can be asking for trouble... unless your aim is turn taking practice... so a small jar/bowl/container each can ease accessibility and increase creativity... the beading tree insoiration comes from Mairtown Kindy

Now for some photos that I have taken

and don't be afraid if it doesn't work... because it is all part of the process of getting to know how the children use a workspace/artspace/playspace - also remember to talk with your colleagues about how the space should/could be used... if there are any rules - as you can see a red line on the shelves in my atelier where the items above the red lines the children need to ask for a teacher to get down for them... this space did not work at first, I had to think and rethink about how I could enable the children to create collaboratively...

an outdoor art studio from AnjiPlay, China




AnjiPlay... it is orth thinking about providing art and creative activities in different kinds of environments... not just indoors, not just one kind of outdoors... grassed, areas, wooden floors, gravel... etc etc will all add different inputs and elements...

AnjiPlay... and offering large areas allows collaborative art as well as plenty of space for side by side art..

Överby Preschool, Vaxholm

Överby Preschool, Vaxholm

Anden Preschool, Haninge

Anden Preschool, Haninge (set up for 1-2 year olds)

Tjädern Preschool, Haninge

Aspen preschool, Norsborg (set up for 1-2 year olds)

Anden Preschool, clay...

Not all art studios need tables for displaying work, or being creative... here the children got creative making a magical garden. Anden Preschool.

Tjädern Preschools shows that art studios do not have to be paper, pens, paints and clay... it can be leaves and sensory experiences too

Clay studio area at Aspen preschool

materials set out to inspire the one year olds at Aspen preschool - all on a low table. The belief in the competent child

A fabric atelier, Aspen Preschool... again, it does not have to be paint and paper... (I have actually created a lego art studio once)

digital art studio - Aspen Preschool

Aspen Preschool

and don't forget woodwork... an art form and craft worth experiencing with young children Ur och skur Mulleborg

Here I gave the children a way to experience their own art in a new way, by projecting it onto the wall through two layers of mosquito netting

light and shadow art studio/atelier

more light and shadow - using projected images rather than just light

photography is another form of art - so why not create a space where children can take photographs, but also then work on them afterwards to create something new... this can be done on their own (there are great apps for art, and photography and art, and also animating photography) - it can also be done together with educators... projects can be done together

Hopefully this post has given you some inspiration about the possibilities of designing an art studio... and maybe even rethinking what can be done in an art studio/atelier...

What is important is thinking about what opportunities do you want to offer the children you work with, what may they have access to? What age range is there and how does this impact your design? Do some things need to be higher so that the children ask for adult support or supervision when using certain tools? Does the space enable or limit? is it safe, is there a reasonable amount of risk - is it dangerous? What is dangerous, and why? How can it be made accessible in a safe way? What sort of interactions are you creating? What relationships can be formed? is the space enabling a community of learners to be created? Read my post Together Painting for more about this. and is this a space of joy, exploration and imagination?

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