Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Business

Art workshop allows students to tap into their creative side

SPRING HILL — Eleven-year-olds Kamryn Johnson and Elijah Murphy wiped their muddy hands and announced they had finished making their clay fishbowls.

"Okay, grab a book," offered their teacher.

Kamryn and Elijah chose Italian artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo's Hello, Fruit Face, settled on a bench in the sunshine and perused, commenting to each other page by page about the 15th century sculptor's unusual creations.

"I'm a Florida-certified art teacher, so everything's academically inclined," Becky Brooks, 48, founder and instructor at Tree of Life Creative Art Workshop, explained.

"It's geared to their individual abilities," Brooks added as five others in the class continued to squish, roll and pinch globs of earthenware clay.

For three years, the commercial artist with a degree in art education from the University of Illinois has been teaching weekday private classes for youngsters, mostly homeschooled students for whom their parents have sought out art skills.

Saturday classes attract public and private school students who don't have art opportunities in their everyday curriculums. Monday classes are geared for special-needs students.

"My workshop is ... not a fancy-schmancy art studio," Brooks said. "It's a safe place for kids to create and learn about art in an atmosphere of respect and kindness and creativity."

While the physical workshop is a standalone block building, the area for exploration and inspiration extends to the surrounding woods.

Classes may work with clay, metal, papier mache, oil paints, colored pencils, charcoal, or pen and ink.

"We're going to work with clay today," Brooks announced to a class on a recent Thursday morning. Ten-year-old Sarah Rice whispered, "Yay."

No hand went up at the question, "Does anybody not like to get dirty?"

Constructing a fishbowl was the goal — but whatever kind of a fishbowl each student envisioned. To prompt creative juices, Brooks showed off a finished bowl in the shape of a turtle.

"I can show them a technique, give them a subject, and they'll all turn out differently," she said.

Kamryn proved her right, aiming to pinch clay into a puffer fish.

"I touched one in the ocean and, poof," he said, puffing his cheeks to demonstrate.

Another youngster screwed googly eyes on an attempted turtle that transitioned into a, hmm ... . A shark? A rabbit? She said she would decide as the work progressed.

The pieces would sit for two weeks to dry before going into 2,000-degree kiln for firing.

"Blah, I don't like that," Sarah said of the wait time.

In the meantime, the children moved on to another art media, after cleaning up. Students clean their work space and organize materials they have used after each session, learning responsibility and taking ownership of the workshop, Brooks said.

Learning ranges beyond the walls.

"We take nature walks and find things and draw them," said Brooks, whose own artworks in pencil, charcoal and paint focus on nature and animals. "We play. We climb trees, play in the sand, create games. I see everything as a learning experience."

Each student comes to class equipped with a professional-grade sketchbook, in which they have done their own work during the week.

"I don't grade them, but I make comments," said Brooks. "It's a growth thing. I get to see how a kid works, their personality, so I know how to work with him."

Brooks photographs each child's finished projects and posts the photos in an online portfolio. She stages an annual art show in which every student can exhibit his or her work.

Hands-on classes — skill levels 1, 2 and 3 — run 1 1/2 hours one day a week for eight weeks, $120 for an eight-week session. Daily weeklong summer camps during June, themed and grouped by ages, are filling up at $160 per week. Classes are limited to 10 students each.

Brooks also teaches an evening group class in drawing for adults.

As for what's next, the artist said, "I have thousands of ideas. I can make a project out of anything."

Contact Beth Gray at [email protected]

Comments
Carb bonanza: Three new bakeries open, including an Australian bakery, new La Segunda

Carb bonanza: Three new bakeries open, including an Australian bakery, new La Segunda

LA SEGUNDAA Tampa Bay giant has stirred and is on the move. La Segunda Central Bakery, a family-owned Ybor City institution for nearly 103 years (they celebrated that birthday Jan. 15) and the largest producer of Cuban bread in the world, will open a...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Behold: The fastest cars at this year’s Detroit Auto Show

Behold: The fastest cars at this year’s Detroit Auto Show

DETROIT — Despite all the hype surrounding auto shows, let’s get real for a moment: The majority of the vehicles on display will end up ferrying kids to soccer practice, embarking on road trips and commuting between work and home each day.That’s unde...
Updated: 2 hours ago
This is why clothing companies want to know about your weight, jobs and past pregnancies

This is why clothing companies want to know about your weight, jobs and past pregnancies

The first step for a shopper buying a suit at the fast-growing menswear retailer Indochino is sharing his personal information: A salesperson armed with an iPad measures nearly everything on his body, from the distance between his belly button and re...
Updated: 4 hours ago
TECO, Duke linemen to help restore power in Puerto Rico

TECO, Duke linemen to help restore power in Puerto Rico

TAMPA — As more than 1.5 million people in Puerto Rico remain powerless, local linemen are stepping up and flying out to the island to help restore electricity. On Wednesday morning, 25 linemen boarded a flight from Tampa International Airport to Pu...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Pasco goats somehow make yoga less weird

By Phyllis DayTimes Staff WriterDADE CITY — More than 36 million Americans practice yoga, but many people still feel intimidated by the ancient method of controlling the body and mind through physical and mental practices.Perhaps it is the daunting t...
Published: 01/17/18

Pasco Business Digest for Jan. 19

Updated: 2 hours ago
Attorney accused of secretly videotaping women agrees to permanent disbarment

Attorney accused of secretly videotaping women agrees to permanent disbarment

By SUSAN TAYLOR MARTINST. PETERSBURG — Attorney James Patrick Stanton, accused of secretly videotaping nude and partially clothed female employees of a Tampa company, has agreed to never practice law again in Florida.Before a brief hearing today, Sta...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Hernando Business Digest for Jan. 19

Business digestEventsLOCAL BUSINESS INPUT SOUGHT: The Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Committee Region 1 will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 19 at Papa Joe’s Italian Restaurant, 6244 Spring Lake Highway, east of Brooksville....
Updated: 3 hours ago
Career Q&A: What to do when your boss is stealing

Career Q&A: What to do when your boss is stealing

Q: I strongly suspect that my boss is stealing from our employer. As the property manager for this apartment complex, she handles all payments, deposits and other financial matters.A few weeks ago, I accidentally discovered some suspicious discrepanc...
Published: 01/16/18
Pinellas is at the center of a rise in Florida flu outbreaks

Pinellas is at the center of a rise in Florida flu outbreaks

Feeling a little sniffly or scratchy or stuffed up? It may be the flu, and you don’t want to wait around to see a doctor this year. This is not the time to write off flu-like symptoms, Tampa Bay area health officials and doctors warn. The influenza v...
Published: 01/16/18