By Odalis A. SUAREZ
Instead of a paintbrush there was an iron; instead of paint there was wax, and instead of sewing there was silk screening. These were just some of the unique tools used in art lessons taught at the local Summer Art Camp for T(w)eens at St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church in La Crescenta.
“Every week it’s a different group of 10 [students] and we explore a different medium,” said Libby Ellis, instructor of the summer art class.
This is the fourth summer that Ellis has provided this opportunity to kids ages 10 to 16 years old. According to her website, Ellis’ artwork has been displayed in numerous museums. She has also written a number of children’s books including, “Sew What? First Words.”
She brings her artistic knowledge to the youth of La Crescenta/La Cañada, not only as a summer art class teacher, but also as advisor of Rosemont’s art club as well as providing after school art classes to the local elementary schools.
“Every summer I have been at a different location,” said Ellis in regard to where her art classes take place each summer. “[St. Luke’s is] a big space [and] close to all the schools.”
The summer art camp is divided into weeks. Each week provides a different lesson and classes last from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Students can register for the specific week that they want to participate, with focuses on photography, painting and sculpture. Each lesson or week is open to a maximum of 10 students.
On a recent Wednesday afternoon, students were learning about fiber arts. It was a busy day for the class as Ellis was preparing the iron for her artists to complete their silk screen stuffed pillow. Students took fabric and created their own personalized image, which then was attached to a denim back and stuffed to form a pillow.
“[I’ll] probably put it on my bed, because my room is pink and orange,” stated 11-year-old La Cañada resident Katy Cummings who made an image of an orange butterfly for her pillow.
Also on the agenda for that afternoon was the completion of the students’ batik, a cloth that is painted on with wax. Each artist laid down on the long fabric and struck a pose, which was traced by the wax. The finished product is then dyed and hung up to dry. Since the wax does not get colored during the dying process, the image appears on the with colorful cloth as background.
“The inspiration was the iTunes gift cards, the silhouettes,” said Jessica Palmer of her batik creation.
While some students in the art class approached the projects as intriguing summer activities, others found it beneficial for their future.
“It helps you with your portfolio to get into college,” said 15-year-old Keana Weiss from Montrose who wants to attend an art college when she graduates from Crescenta Valley High School.
For more information visit www.libbyellisdesign.com.