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STAFF SPOTLIGHT: ANDREW

By | Art, Disability, Lifestyle

Andrew is one of our glass fusing and lead light teachers. He is also responsible for kiln maintenance firing schedule development. If anything goes wrong with the kilns, both glass and clay, it is Andrew who is comes in to save the day and keep everything running and stopping general panic amongst students wanting to know where their work is. He also works on expanding our capabilities in glass.

Andrew looks so weird without his curly hair!

Andrew sees the studio as a great place to destress and develop your creativity.

He is also an artist and manages to find time to work on his own glass work. He’s also had his work in several exibitions.

Andrew showing a young student how to cut glass.

Andrew’s background is in process engineering in heavy industry. He has “always had a fascination with the beauty of glass”. He started out as a student at Art Mania “just to give it a try”, and the rest is history!

Andrew demonstrating his glass expertise at our open night event this year.

When asked how he connects with the ethos of Art Mania and the inclusivity, he wrote:

“The highlight of my time teaching has been teaching Sam, who is blind, to cut glass and use the flat bed glass grinder by feel. I love that we encourage anyone to have a go.”

STAFF SPOTLIGHT: JHARNA

By | Art, Lifestyle

Jharna started at Art Mania in the mosaics class last year. She wanted to volunteer at the studio and from this, gain a job. Her role is floor manager and as of last week, teacher’s assistant for the Wednesday morning mosaics class.

You may not realise it, but you have probably met Jharna as she quietly goes about her work. Jharna is the kind of person that everyone needs to know.

She is always happy, always ready to offer a helping hand, and has a fantastic sense of humour.

Jharna is also one of the NDIS participants enrolled in our Business Development Support program. She is busy getting a body of work together for her first solo exhibition. Jharna mainly works with mosaics and drawing. This exhibition will be at the Hunter Wetlands Centre in September.

In her own words: “I am so happy to be working here with such amazing staff”.

She describes the studio as “a beautiful environment” and she loves all of the areas of art available at Art Mania. She “wants to try them all.”

Jharna with some of her mosaic works at an exhibition.

Jharna embodies the ethos of Art Mania. With her openness and generosity, she both wants to learn and offer support and guidance to others. We are incredibly lucky to have her as part of the Art Mania family.

STAFF SPOTLIGHT: CHERYL

By | Lifestyle

To say that Cheryl’s role at Art Mania is simply admin, is a huge understatement. She is one of the rarely seen, but crucial members of the Art Mania team. It’s Cheryl who does all the fiddly stuff!

In her own words, Cheryl describes her role as: “in administration- training admin staff; back-up if front desk needs manning; creating the flyer; and overseeing the rolls and organising paperwork.”

Cheryl believes in Art Mania’s motto “this is your happy place” and believes that it is possible to see this in action for both our students and staff.

To Cheryl, Art Mania is a warm, caring and supportive place for all. Cheryl is a great example of this. She is always smiling and offering happy and genuine words to both staff and students.

Cheryl has a background in admin and enjoys making organised and efficient admin systems to help with the day to day running of organisations. We were lucky enough to gain her services when her daughter Jen first joined the Art Mania team. Cheryl had retired and was looking for some volunteer work. She decided to come work at Art Mania with her daughter. And even though Jen has moved on, Cheryl has chosen to stay on.

Until recently, Cheryl’s grand-daughter Ellie was also a regular part of the Art Mania family. She took part in our weekly kids class. Cheryl also works with her grand-daughter, helping her collect cans for cash. They have a box set up at the studio, where you can put your cans knowing that they are helping a resourceful girl to make a bit of money.

When asked how she felt about Art Mania’s ethos, she replied: “These are also my values, so I enjoy ‘walking my talk’.”

STAFF SPOTLIGHT: SAM

By | Lifestyle

MEET OUR ART MANIA FAMILY: SAM

Welcome to our second staff spotlight! I’ve decided to get the hardest one out of the way. You may think it’s easy to write about yourself, but I find any kind of bio really hard. Part of me also finds this a little self indulgent- after all, I’m writing about myself every time I sit down to write a new post.
How did you come to be at Art Mania Studios?
Sam: “I chose to take my first class here because Art Mania had the word ‘inclusive’ on their website. I came looking for a pottery class to get me out of the house and found a family. An incredible group of people who support and encourage me.”
Samantha Ogilvie has only come to take her art seriously in the last two years. The main reason for this change, is Art Mania. Sam’s background is in writing and her role at Art Mania is to write the weekly blog posts. She has had both poems and a few short stories published in various literary journals. She has also worked in community education for Guide Dogs NSW and ACT, giving talks to schools, clubs and training bus and taxi drivers and other community services.
How do you see yourself fitting in to Art Mania’s vision?
Sam: “I see Art Mania as a place for anyone, no matter their level of ability. Students of all ages and abilities can come together and support and inspire one another.”
When not writing or creating art, Sam likes to read, go to the movies and work in the garden.
Sam: “Art Mania is one of those places that have that little bit of magic about it. A place to call home.”

MEET OUR NEW DRAWING TEACHER

By | Art, Lifestyle

A big welcome to our drawing teacher, Gail!

Gail has lived in Wallsend for 30 years with her husband & 5 children.

Gail completed her Fine Arts Diploma at Hunter Street TAFE, graduating from Newcastle University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, then with an Honours degree in 2011.

Her work is inspired by an interest and love for people & community.

Gail works in painting, drawing & textiles. These disciplines often cross over producing interesting hybrid art works of colour, image & stitch.

The essence of Gail’s art practice is acknowledging people’s lives, validating & empathising with their experiences. She finds teaching & exhibiting rewarding as she is able to connect with the community.

 

Gail has exhibited widely, she has shown her art within:

  • John Hunter Arts & Health programs
  • Wallsend Library
  • Watt Space Newcastle
  • Newcastle Art Space
  • Art Systems Wickham
  • Maitland Regional Gallery

Gail believes the world is the richer for the contribution of the creative soul.

She is looking forward to cheering others on to discover their unique voice & mark so that they can confidently express who they are & what they have to say.

WHEN ART MEETS ECOSYSTEM

By | Art, Lifestyle

WHEN ART MEETS ECOSYSTEM

The beginning of the new year at Art Mania brings along with it some exciting news for our kids and teens. We have established a new class which will take place at the Hunter Wetlands Centre. This 8 week kids program combines the amazing natural world of fauna and flora with the incredible wellbeing and expression that art provides!

This partnership between Art Mania Studio and the Hunter Wetlands is a unique opportunity that has been brought into fruition by local artist and teens teacher, Ashlee Jedrzejak.

The classes will focus on the calming and relaxing aura of the wetlands, and how to use art as a mindfulness activity. Classes will focus on students slowing down and really enjoying the creative process.

Art is a harmony parallel with nature. – Paul Cezanne

Our teachers will encourage students to use the Wetlands vibrant ecosystem as a source of inspiration. They will then assist in turning this inspiration into a resolved piece of art. Students will experiment with a range of mediums and materials, giving them the opportunity to express themselves in many different forms.

As a haven for wildlife (and people), the wetlands are a vibrant ecosystem bursting with life. This thriving wildlife sanctuary allows the community to get close to nature and we at Art Mania Studio cannot wait to get our senses delighted by all the beauty the exploration of this special place will offer. 

 

KIDS ART SCHOOL AT HUNTER WETLANDS

8-WEEK BLOCK / SATURDAY starts 15 FEBRUARY / 9 – 10:30AM

The cost for the entire eight weeks is $265. Creative Kids vouchers are also redeemable through Art Mania Studio, and can be used to subsidise costs.

Top 5 points why one should do a pottery course with Art Mania Studio!

By | Art, Lifestyle

Top 5 points why one should do a pottery course with Art Mania Studio!

 

Something that comes from the earth, tactile, resulting in engaging in the creative brain which can be described as relaxing and therapeutic at the same time! When we work with clay, through hand-building or spinning clay on a wheel, our mind and body are in a state of synergy while being focused on the tactile process: the touch and the feel of soft clay between our fingers. 

The perfect mindfulness process to creating a door for your outside worries to fall away.

 

1. An outlet for ‘Self’ 

We all need an out from time to time! Too often than not, everyday life gets in the way of allowing us regular weekly time out to truly do something for ones’ self! There is a plethora of documented statistics, evidence based which demonstrate the importance for both physical and mental wellbeing, by engaging the creative brain. Pottery offers you an outlet for self!

2. The Brain’s Pleasure Centre

The brain produces many natural chemicals, dopamine is just one.  Dopamine affects your emotions, movements and your sensations of pleasure and pain. When our sensors kick in with the tactile processes or  hand-building with clay or working on a pottery wheel… BINGO! The brains receptors kick in and you start to feel good, hence the term ‘Pleasure Centre’!

3. Improve focus

When the pleasure centre kicks in while working with clay or on a Pottery wheel, you will notice improvements in areas including: flow and spontaneity, reduction in grief related thoughts; assists with self-identification and self-expression while also bolstering confidence and self-esteem. Being able to fully focus with the combination of hand and brain engagement assist the mind in coping with everyday life.

4. Reduces stress

 Our hands can be the answer to the reduction in stress, depression and anxiety! The importance of touch opens the flood gates to the pleasure centre.  Think about it…! Our hands can be the perfect outlet for creativity and focus; therefore outside distractions and influences are reduced to allow you time for ‘self’.

5. Helps reduce pain and discomfort

The movement of working with clay and creating on the pottery wheel is gentle yet strengthening to the hands, wrists, and arms. This can be beneficial to those prone to arthritis in the hands, as it promotes joint movement and dexterity. It’s common knowledge ‘stress’ can lead to feeling sensations of pain and discomfort. Creative hobbies – pottery is known for reducing stress and boosting self-esteem! It’s the natural chemical released in the brain which alleviates pain receptors while working with clay!

So tap into your pleasure centre, and get your clay on at Art Mania Studio’s fantastic welcoming studio space!

UPCOMING POTTERY CLASSES

Why enrol your child at Art Mania?

By | Art, Lifestyle

Creative Kids Voucher

Do you remember the look of pride and joy in your child’s eyes when you put their first piece of artwork onto the fridge? Remember the sounds of excitement and enthusiasm as texta’s or pencils scattered across the kitchen table as they decided to start their next creative project?

Recapture that excitement and pride by taking advantage of the $100 Creative Kids vouchers! Kids are taken on the most amazing journey over a term here at Art Mania Studio, they visibly blossom as their skills improve and their perspective on what’s possible widens.

Creativity is a foundational key to life. Kids shine and the ripple effect can be seen across every area of their life.

Art Mania Studio offers their After School Development Program for kids (age 5-12) and teens (age 13-18), to make sure that every child who wants to get creative, can! Wednesdays and Thursdays 4-5:30pm for 10 weeks of term is when it’s on! Weekdays no good for your family? The Krafty Kids Sat morning class also runs for the 10 weeks of term and gives an equal opportunity for growth and creative expression. These classes are a fantastic way for your child to delve into the creative world, and explore a variety of methods and techniques each week.

As parents and caregivers, there are a million different activities you can register your child for. So why should you choose to enrol your child at Art Mania?

  • Creativity is for every child (and adult!). It isn’t about having a special inclination towards being artistic; it’s not about how talented you are; it’s not even about whether or not you like your own work. Skills and techniques can be learned (just like riding a bike!), under the guidance of our wonderful tutors. Being creative has its own benefits – benefits that are just as important as those your child might get from team sports or similar.
  • Did you know that encouraging creativity in children encourages concentration, critical thinking and problem solving? Our classes engage participants in receiving and giving feedback – an essential social skill. Also, being creative helps your child learn to express themselves in different ways – this is a particular benefit for teens and preteens!

One thing that is so important is helping your child find their niche in life. The way of the world is changing and learning to use different parts of the brain will help your child in managing the demands of living in contemporary society and finding creative solutions to what life throws at them.

Our after school and weekend programs at Art Mania are a safe, fun space for your child or teen to really experience the world of art. They’ll explore different techniques and artists each week, with practical experience at the heart of each session.

Every child deserves the gift of creativity and expression.

APPLY FOR A CREATIVE KIDS VOUCHER

AVAILABLE KIDS & TEEN CLASSES

Creative Kids Voucher

By | Art, Lifestyle

Creative Kids Voucher

We’ve got some fantastic news – we are now a registered provider of the NSW Government’s Creative Kids rebate offers! These rebates give you $100 towards your school-aged child participating in our awesome kid’s art programs!

Parents and Carers can apply for a Creative Kids voucher through their MyServiceNSW account (you will need to log in or register) link here. You get one voucher worth $100 per school-aged child, and there’s no need to print the voucher after you have applied for it – all we need is the voucher number, expiry date, and your child’s name and date of birth.

From there, your child will be ready to enter an amazing world of creativity!

What do our Kid’s Art Programs offer? Your child will have the opportunity to express themselves in new and exciting ways, experiment with a whole smorgasbord of art mediums, but most of all, have FUN! To date we’ve experimented with painting, drawing, clay work, basket weaving – students have even created selfies – self-portraits away from the screens!

Kids need regular opportunities to work out their creative intelligence: it gives them a chance to make choices, express themselves, be creative (applying techniques in new and unusual ways), and to gain confidence in the process of creativity, rather than focusing on the finished product. These things are so important for kids of all ages, so that they can really hone not only their sense of self but also their ability to make choices. This program also helps kids who may not excel in traditional after school activities such as sport: we give them a chance to find something they can excel at, and spark a lifelong passion for creativity.

We’re running special Creative Kids classes for term 2, for new participants. If your child is already enrolled in our exciting kid’s art program, they can continue in their regular time slot. For new participants, we are opening two special classes for you to choose from.

Wednesday afternoons, 4pm – 5:30pm (two classes: one for primary and one for high school)

Saturday mornings, 10am – 11:30am (one class, with all ages learning together)

Both of these classes run for ten weeks, and the total cost is $300. For that, your child receives expert tuition, all gear required, new friends, time to explore, the chance to learn creative skills and the chance to explore art theory (this is always incorporated into practical and fun activities!).

With your voucher, you will get all this for $200! Awesome!

APPLY FOR A CREATIVE KIDS VOUCHER

AVAILABLE KIDS & TEEN CLASSES

Mosaics & Bling

By | Art, Lifestyle

Mosaics & Bling

Mosaics is an ancient art form that dates back to 3000 B.C. and beyond – yet mosaics are still just a popular, if not more so, in the creative arts arena today.

As a lover of texture, colour and bling, Art Mania Studio has so many options to take this art form further than where we’ve gone before with Mosaics…

Does the word Mosaics make you think of chopped up tiles?

Yes, most of us do.

It is only when we are exposed to the many creative options available in the world of mosaics, it then tweaks interest.  For many of us, we don’t feel we are creative or artistic in any way, however this is merely a confidence barrier. Most art or creative options are ‘learned techniques’, similar to that of learning to drive a car, or cooking!  Yes some of us are gifted and have the vision that makes it somewhat easier, however with instruction it is achievable for anyone to embark on the creative journey.

So, as we embark on our latest mosaic course, tiles are certainly one of the first things we look at, however it doesn’t end there! We call this class ‘Mosaics and Bling’ purely because we use so many different options to make our mosaic art work come to life, creating that WOW factor.

How good does it feel when you make something you love?

What does it do for you, the individual? A sense of pride and achievement!

Once the initial hurdle of making your first project has been  completed, the urge to move onto the next challenge is fueled by the self-satisfying feeling being creative offers. Taking a chance on the unknown and not only doing well, but making something beautiful, gets the happy endorphins kicking in and there is no stopping you! The way you look at everything changes…– ‘wow, I could mosaic that’… and that is really how it all begins.

A favourite reference material is a book by Tracy Graiver Bell called ‘Crazy Mosaics’, which transforms shattered treasures into inspired creations. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, however it demonstrates a number of options in the mosaic arena that really inspire.  I especially like the recycled options, given the disposable world we live in today. The thing about most creative adventures is they are continually evolving, coming in and out of vogue, and the next new extension of how you can push the traditional or contemporary boundaries is what makes it exciting!

I’ve been teaching mosaics for over 20 years now, and it never ceases to amaze me how addictive the creative endorphins are!

So, tiles are generally first on the agenda for newbies, however in our studio there are many completed mosaics to offer inspiration.  Throughout the course we look at beautiful coloured stained glass inclusions, recycled jewellery, mirror, crockery, fused glass petals and leaves, buttons and other blingy bits to add spark and a point of interest into the artwork.

We also look at different options for project bases, metal shovels, totem poles, types of woods and how to prepare them, grouting options and sealing. We can continue down the rabbit hole and explore different techniques, such as micro-mosaics and using a huge range of resources to bring texture, colour and life to just about anything you can think of.

Mosaics may be an ancient art form, but here at Art Mania Studio we give it a new lease on life, with lots of fun, laughter and imagination along the way.

AVAILABLE MOSAICS CLASSES