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April 04, 2011


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I can imagine them loving the printing, but sewing can be surprisingly popular, too, even for young, rough, kids. Do you have good liability insurance? Before you jump into a commitment about doing this, is there a way that you could just go and spend several hours observing there?


Hey TJ

This post has really touched me, as many years ago, that your girl in your photographs would have been me. In fact my ex husband had many home made tattoos, one of which said Punx Not Dead :) he’s not German though, so not the same guy lol. But I know what it was like to have people treat you like some kind of leper because you look a little different (once when I was shopping with my then newborn son – who will be 21 next week! gosh that makes me feel old! – I overheard some middle aged ladies speaking about me, and one said that it was a disgrace that “people like HER” should be allowed to have children when there are good people out there who are infertile. I was a university graduate, looking after my child very well, with a husband who may have had a foot-high Mohawk and a mess of homebrewed tattoos, but who was working and supporting us. But because I had facial piercings and brightly coloured hair, I was apparently some kind of untouchable) So thank you, for befriending this couple and giving them some reassurance that not everyone thinks they are to be shunned. I personally think they look incredibly sweet!

As for your classes with the troubled youngsters, that’s brilliant. But at the risk of contradicting everything I said above, don’t forget that these aren’t just kids who’ve chosen an alternative look and lifestyle, these are kids who have done something fairly bad! I'm not saying don't be their friend, but be aware they might not want to be yours :| Not to mean that all of them are bad people, but some of them will be. And the chances are they will be fairly vocally disinterested in anything you have to show them. This takes time, time to build their trust and their interest. My sister mentors and fosters troubled teens, and many of them have reduced her to tears over the years. Some have physically assaulted her. Almost all have verbally abused her. For her day job, she works for a great organisation called Art In The Park who do a lot of community art projects , some of which are in the poorest areas of London, and she says she never fails to be disappointed at how unenthusiastic SOME of the young people are towards art projects (of course there are always a few who DO get it who make everything worthwhile). So please, prepare yourself for some serious resistance from these youngsters – but stick with it, earn their trust, and their enthusiasm will follow. Perhaps trusting THEM with sharp objects in the form of carving tools will help this process! But please do stand at a safe distance :D


Wow Sarah, thank you for the touching comment! No wonder I love your journal pages so much, you've got Punk in your veins!

How crazy is it that your hubs would have the same tattoo as Toby?? Makes me think we ought to make a stencil tutorial from it...
And a foot-high mohawk? Unreal..!

I'm sorry to read that you've experienced such hurtful judgments for your appearance. (It's hard enough being a mom for cripes sake). You know, people are just full of fear.

This just reinforces that I gotta go into this with an open mind and open heart and just see what turns out!

Hugs from germany... xxx tj


I wish you great success with the kids. I doubt that many people would take the time to teach them and that's the sad part. Knowing that you're willing to do it might just be enough to get them interested. I think Sarah summed it up perfectly.


I loved this whole story TJ - you can do it. Maybe not with sharp knives though... how about paintbrushes?


hey I read all the comments very interesting and touching. I think you should teach them how to make Tessha Moore art journal, and then teach them about stencils and stuff,



Thanks for all the support gals! It's actually quite a small group so I'm not too worried. Yet. LOL...!! xxx tj


I LOVE the way you describe your broken German conversations. It makes me totally giggle every time.


Hi TJ...Kat had a great idea...you might start with a paintbrush and move into the carving tools after you get to know them. It is incredible that you are taking the time to work with them and want to do something to help them. BTW, look for a postcard from me. I recognized your nick when you commented over at Janet's blog and came here and when I found out you are in Germany...I thought, yep, it's the same TJ. Good luck,


Hah! My broken German is even funnier IN German. And the looks on the other people's faces: priceless!

Hey Mary, welcome!! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. You gals probably have a point easing me into this without weaponry right off the bat...


German Gems

Why not keep it simple and stick with something you know -- mixed media -- noodles, glitter, yard, old magazines and a huge piece of paper. It may be old fashioned but kids of every age love it.

I posted a pretzel today and thought of you.


Popping in here to say that I received your wonderful card and oh, do I love it! This post touched me a great deal...maybe do some visual journaling with them. Writing down what's in your head..and then collaging over it or painting over it is wonderfully freeing. Best of luck with it all.


This is definitely going to be a good source of stories for you! I bet they'd love spray paint. Or, um, a workshop on something the Germans call "implantating."


i think carving would be fine- they would probably balk at cut paper and glue. find some really cool examples of things kids their age would be into and create come carvings beforehand so they can get an idea of what's possible. how about your spray paint stencils? they might get really into that. bringing something of theirs into it to use - make some postcards or posters. i think if you just treat them as art students they will be more open.


oh, I'm so glad I found your blog. Your sensibilities are cool!

I did the sketchbook project, too. I loved that thing. I'm off to look at your pages if I can find them!


Just thoughts:
*To imitate spray paint, you can do splatter prints with toothbrushes & stencils. Take a couple of cardboard boxes turned on their sides as a "spray box" to protect surfaces.
*Many colors of markers and a stack of cardstock for graffiti-style lettering.
*Take some paints for the more sensitive types.
*Girls love glitter, but check for rules in case they end up with it in their hair, etc.
*Check for rules if they paint/etc. on their arms & hands.
*Try to limit workshop to one day. If they get comfortable, the mood changes.


Ha ha TJ I love reading this... (thought just leave you a thank you note for visiting my blog, but my eye felt on this post...)
I have dealed with a kind of same problem a few years ago... Me and one of my friends were going on a campweek with a couple of kids in the age of 7-11 years old...! Not so bad... would you think... WRONG! We planned a fairytale camp for them... but almost all the kids saw all the movies of Nightmare on elmstreet.... So no fairytalecamp succes! It is hard. But I'v found out that most of the kids like something to do with playing acts and karaoke and making music. Painting and make things messy are also always a big succes.
I wish you good luck and a lot of creativity!

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