To see more photos of Collage Collage, check out our Facebook page.
I love to do crafts with my kids at home, but sometimes it’s great to go out for a hands-on art experience. Not only does somebody else clean up afterward, but it’s fun to be inspired by other people’s ideas, spaces, approaches and encouragement. With this in mind, Beatrice and I headed out to Collage Collage for their All Ages Drop-In Make session on a Friday afternoon.
We arrived a little bit late, about half an hour after the drop in session started, and were greeted warmly by Erin Boniferro, the owner and all-around crafty gal who runs the workshops and classes at Collage Collage. She brought over a thick, gorgeous sheet of watercolour paper and a palette of paint in primary colours, and then showed us a book with illustrations of various scenes in the Vancouver area. I glanced over at the sample landscapes that were hanging at the top of the table and at the pictures the other kids had done. They were amazing! When Erin finished explaining how to create a watercolour landscape, Beatrice picked up her paintbrush and got started on her sky.
The space at Collage Collage is multi-purpose, with a big table and benches in the middle of the room where classes and workshops take place, a carpet and rocking chair at the front for reading stories, a tiny nook at the back for playing with felt boards, and shelves around the perimeter of the room with books, supplies and projects for take-home inspiration.
As Bea painted, I watched as she took her own approach to painting a landscape. I started to feel the urge to direct her painting – why wasn’t she painting her mountains properly? I took a deep breath, showed her again how using the water helped the paint spread around the paper, and then got up to look around the shop a little. I flipped through a book about the Reggio approach to early childhood education and read a page or two about encouraging children to have their own experience with art. I took a deep breath and went back to sit beside Bea. She took a big brush full of red paint and started spreading it over her blue sky. I tensed up a little, afraid she was going to turn it all into a big smear of brownish purple muck. “Look mama, it’s a sunset!” she said. Phew.
In the end, we both had fun and Beatrice painted a really great watercolour landscape. Erin was encouraging and gave enough direction to help the kids make something that really looked like a landscape while having fun too. After washing our hands in the lovely, kid-friendly bathroom, Bea played for a while with the felt pieces in the nook and then we went on our way.
Collage Collage is located near the intersection of 15th and Fraser, right across the street from Wee Ones Reruns, and beside a neat collection of art galleries, a sewing space, a clay studio and a bistro. Collage Collage runs drop-in sessions and classes that take registered participants, and can also be booked for Sunday afternoon birthday parties. For more information, check out their website.
Michelle Carchrae is a freelance writer and mama to two little girls. Michelle writes about attachment parenting, parenting resources and life with kids at her blog The Parent Vortex.
621 Kingsway, Vancouver BC | Phone: 604-569-1929 | Website
Michelle Carchrae is often asking those important life questions: "who moved the scissors?", "how would you do that differently next time?" and "are you finished with the glitter glue?" Homeschooling two girls, ages 6 and 3, is her full time job. The rest of the time Michelle can be found blogging at The Parent Vortex, hiking in the forest or knitting and reading simultaneously. She recently published her first ebook, The Parenting Primer: A guide to positive parenting in the first six years, and moved to Bowen Island.