Monday, January 30, 2012

A BIG smile from Moscow to here and back

"It is so so strange...we are sitting here in the middle of the winter (-20 Degrees Celsius outside) with 63 pages of beauty from another continent in our hands. We even couldn't imagine distance which he has overcome. It is impossible to measure it with the cycling walk... How many elephants and whales should join hands to get the distance from Moscow to Australia?

Oh! The Big Kids Magazine, we enjoy every story, every picture and letter and every spot of colour on it's pages.

The Big Kids Magazine looks so much like us that it seems to us that we  saw it in a dream...or that you, Lilly and Jo invented us."

We have a little bit fallen in love with two creatives living on the Island of the Blue Sun in Russia, Ilya and Margarita (and baby Zoe), known as Zilasaule. They are very special BIG contributors and we cannot wait to share their work with you in the Treasure Maps edition and beyond. Their response to seeing BIG kids Magazine was so beautiful we had to share some of it here. It is these connections and moments that make the late-night work of magazine-making fill with renewed rigour and easy endurance. Thank you xx

We are Ilya and Margarita(or Zilasaule). We collaborate since 2005 on illustration and book design. We use different colors, pencils, photo-cameras, computers and other objects during the process depending on their suitability for defined aims. The style weaves itself with text into organic piece in every our book".

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Side by Side: Lucy Engelman and Tejjas

Tejjas, age 5, India 
We are so excited by all of our treasured contributors to this next issue of BIG Kids Magazine, Tejjas, age 5, flies his work from India and Lucy Engelman is a 22 yr old  artist from Illinois. Lucy has created a sister city to the bulls above that will feature in the BIG pages with a response from our BIG Kids editorial team member Pippa as part of the Child artist Response Project. And we can hint that you might see more of Tejjas as well! 

Tomorrow is the final day to submit your maps and treasure. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Boatbird on Australia Day

Tiny flocks gather on the shore. A slow migration in miniature.

Hatchling turtles make it to seas edge and skim shallow waves over the sand on their backs.  Boatbird whispers toward the thousands of shell-backs surging into the beginning of life, Ahh, I remember that race.

And immediately then he saw a different way. 
And knew he would make the other birds see.
And use his beak to quietly open the doors that housed his family.

He tied boatstings to the anchor of his belief and stepped bravely out of the water.

He would find them, his family. 
And build nests big enough for all the home-seeker birds. And their children.

Boatbird leans in held up by the slipstream of waves. Rests on the weight of too much leaving and steadies himself for staying.

Words Jo Pollitt Image Lilly Blue 26 Jan 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Side by SIDE: Treasure Mapped Portraits

Emma by Isabella, age 10, Texas 
The artist tells us this is Emma, and in the sharing of her name, the paint is readable in so many ways. Layers of attention and a memory meeting the world head on. Beautiful. 
Greenlands by Alexandra Harrison, Melbourne
She said it looks a bit like your sister, or your mother, and I think of the lines in both of those faces, unmet and leaning in worlds away from each other. I think of intersections between edges undoing and careering around headless cross to smallwood. Greenlands. A folk song, a road trip, a way out of there. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Guest Post and Treasure from Japan: JoJoebi

Hi, I am Jo a British designer living in Japan and I have a 6 year old son, Ebi-kun, we are very excited to be here today.
I have always been creative and enjoyed making new things and experimenting with new techniques and I feel that art and being creative is an important life skill, the process is just as important as the final product, sometimes more so.
When working with children it is important to set them up for success although I am all for them making mistakes along the way, it is part of the process so I do try to plan ahead a bit with the projects we work on. With Ebi-kun we have always had an art shelf with materials made available at all times but I also used the Montessori method so that he would learn to prepare his work space, respect the tools that he was working with and most importantly (from a busy mother point of view) how to clean up afterwards. Of course, for a long time I helped in one way or another but by setting the stage from the beginning I have saved myself a lot of work in the end.

So, how do we decide what to create? Sometimes one of us will have a specific idea, such as the treasure chest money box that Ebi-kun wanted to make. He didn't have the skills to make it the shape that he wanted so I helped with that and showed him how to do it and then I left him to it with the painting.

Other times I will get inspired by something I have seen on the Internet or in a book and we will make it together, I love the kind of projects where the end product then takes us off on another journey, the Rainbow Collecting Board started as a discussion about the beautiful natural colours in nature and ended up as an exploration of the neighbourhood as did the spinner.

I am also a big fan of projects that incorporate using different senses, I think that sensory development in children often overlooked these days, things are deemed to messy or too smelly which is such a shame because even messy activities don't need to be overly messy if the environment in prepared properly, if I think a painting project is likely to get out of hand we will do it outside or in the bath, I am all for easy clean up!

As time has gone by I have watched my son grow into a creative and curious little being, I observe him intensely and wait until I see one of those little sparks then I grab that spark and run with it. We find books about the subject and I will come up with some activities and projects, we brainstorm and discuss, we imagine and dream often we will go our separate ways and come back with something new. Sometimes we create together as a team other times we work side by side often using different mediums but joined by a theme or idea. Now we are at a point where we feed off each others ideas and suggestions which how the treasure map came about, Ebi-kun had a sudden interest in pirates, I had spotted a great book to get his for Christmas and decided to make him a map to go with it, since then he has been on many adventures and I suspect there are many more to come. The map then led us to the treasure boats and another project was born.

As I work from home Ebi-kun sees the process of my design work, from the sketches through to the final product, he sees the mistakes, the dolls with wonky legs or the dog that won't stand up and understand that these mistakes are an important step along, I hope that he takes the lesson from me that from a doodle or sketch or an idea or dream, if you work at it and even if you mess up along the way you can create something beautiful and meaningful.

If you would like one of Jo's Treasure Maps there is a 10% discount for all BIG Kids Magazine readers, just enter BIGMAP as the coupon code, it is valid for everything in her Etsy Store until the end of February.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Treasure Maps: The BIG Cover artists announced!

We are very excited to announce that Jacqui Stockdale, together with Makaela, age 8, are the co-cover artists for Treasure Maps, edition 2 of BIG Kids Magazine. 

The BIG Cover
For each of the covers of BIG Kids Magazine we invite an artist to submit work in response to the theme, then we cut the image down the middle and offer it to a child to complete in their own way. In this way a brand new work is created by artist and child, revealing unfamiliar ways of seeing and mapping unexpected meeting points. This responsive collaboration between children and artists is called CARP - The Child Artist Response Project, and is born out of our drive to disrupt cultural hierarchies, bring a sense of healthy irreverence to the art world, and amplify the voices of young people in BIG ways.

Jacqui Stockdale
Cover girl Jacqui on the latest issue of Artist Profile
Jacqui is a celebrated multidisciplinary artist living in Melbourne, Australia. She collects carnival masks, dolls and recycled ordinary objects creating new meanings by placing them next to something unusual or unexpected. Jacqui has been incredibly generous, fabulous to work with, and very responsive in the process of supporting Makaela to reinterpret her complex and poetic image.

Jacqui with her son

When we first saw Makalea's Violissa bird, we had a feeling she would be the one to respond to Jacqui's work and sure enough her response was deeply felt, immediate and surprising - just as we had hoped for!  We cannot wait to reveal  the final co-ordinates of the CARP cover treasure and suspect you will be intrigued by it's complexity and by Makeala's poetic and unbridled response.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Meeting and Magazine Making

First night landing at the Sydney Festival
The BIG begin
Twyla heads off with the pirates while we work
Treasure seeking
A few pages in..
Late night renderings and the pressure is on. 48hours.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The BIG meeting: The making of a magazine and other news

Behind me is a bag spilling over with the papers, reference magazines and treasure I am taking with me for when I land at Lilly's side in a few days.

We have 13 years to catch up on, and a very BIG three day agenda.
There is a magazine to be made. Our 2nd edition. We have 64 pages to curate and already hundreds of pages of copy and images printed ready for a first draft.  Plan is to create a mock up mag to take to the production meeting scheduled next week with the WA based BIG Kids team members, Luca and Pippa.

In preparing for our first BIG meet, Lilly organises a live-in carer for Twyla  (the same Rose who first introduced us 13years ago!), writes up an agenda and asks me what I like to eat. I innocently joke about a coffee machine and turns out SHE DOESN'T HAVE ONE!

We laugh at the sudden descriptions we give each other of ourselves, I frown a lot but am not Grumpi just thinking, and make a pact to work side by side no matter what. Thankfully, we will get to find our feet in the dark quiet of the theatre as we will steal the first night to watch my dance collaborator Paea Leach performing in Babel at the Sydney Festival.
We are pretty much beside ourselves in anticipation of the BIG meet.

In other news
I keep winning things on blogs. The new book by Beci Orpin,  a double pass to the movie Melancholia and a bottle of cake wine (thanks Beci!). You can win a copy of her book, A compendium of Me this week on the The Design Files.

We have just been featured on the very cool Classic Play blog.

The three boys and I will see the Perth Premiere of the new Studio Ghibli film Arietty tonight while Lilly enters the famous Spiegeltent with Twyla to see the the awesome Holly Throsby tomorrow. Such fun!

Treasure Boats giveaway map 
The Treasure Boats exhibition is in its final week and there is a fabulous new map giveaway from Jo at A Little Bit Of This for one boat builder who sails their ship to Lilla a. The final fleet will be printed in the BIG pages. Sail your boats in here!

Submissions for Treasure Maps artwork close on JAN 30th. There are the most awesome contributions flying in and as we collect it with compass in hand we marvel as the story of treasure reveals itself.
Send your maps in to us, it is easy - sit down with your child and ask them to think of a place they would REALLY like to go and then get them to draw, paint, write or dance the way there! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

SIDE by SIDE: Sweet Art and Treat Maps

After seeing the house that daddy built we sent the lovely Jen from The Brothers Trimm an invitation for her boys to respond to the sweet art mastery of their dad with a map of their own treat-art! We love the resulting collaboration and the honest way in which the work was undertaken!  Thanks Jen and boys!

"So.... I tell you, it was quite a challenge getting these guys to entertain the thought of drawing their own lolly map, even with the lure of sweets! 3 and 4 year olds are very impatient these days!! So what we ended up doing to avoid hissy fits and major colour dilemmas was to start them off with a chocolate river and then everyone go for it with any textures they wanted. So out came the glitter glue, markers and crayons and off we went". (Jen).
"The result is our combined effort, our eldest chose to outline the river with glue - 'its the icing', and his brother helped out with the blue corners" (Jen). 
The original river of sweet treats in the making!
Eat your art!
Why don't you try your own sweet art map today and stop the hissy's in their tracks ;) I think we will make a map of blueberries  - trick will be to build the map faster than the two year old can eat it! What would be your treats of choice?

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Obliteration Room: BIG on Location at GOMA

"Can I really stick these anywhere mama, really?!"
Twyla, age 3
 Most people who are blogging about Yoyoi Kusama's Obliteration Room at GOMA in Brisbane say something about kids being given 1000's of stickers, but we were there, and we KNOW that it was kids AND grown ups going wild with colour and sharing the experience side by side. It was wonderful to be in a space where people were interacting with each other and their kids so openly, without distraction. Strangers were talking to each other and most devices were in pockets or handbags as everyone was so busy with the work of obliteration.

"I never thought there could be a whole table covered in spots!"
Twyla, age 3
"I wonder why everyone left the duck so lonely"
Twyla, age 3
Yoyoi Kusama's Look Now, See Forever is on at GOMA in Brisbane until march 11. There is also a wonderful page of Games for Kids where you can participate in a virtual reenactment of The Obliteration Room and lots of other very cool interactive play.

Friday, January 6, 2012

IDEAS for Map-making and contributing to BIG

BIG Kids Magazine is for everyone. Art is for everyone. Everyone can contribute. Grown ups and kids. Artists and gardeners and pilots and kindergarten teachers. Everyone.

We want to make contributing to BIG Kids Magazine as easy as possible.  Here are some ideas for supporting your kids to understand the process of responding to the theme of Treasure maps and helping them enter into an open ended creative process in which they are also guided by simple parameters.

Map to the Land of Islands
Twyla, age 3
 - Think about all the things that are really precious to you. What do your care the most about? Think about all the treasures that are already in your home. They might be toys, books, art works you have created, family, friends, photos, things you have collected, secrets, memories, dreams. Now draw a map of your home showing all these "Treasures" that you have been thinking about.

- Think about a dream you can remember. Draw or paint an outline of your body and then draw everything you can remember about your dream inside your body. This is like a map of your dream. You could draw all the things you wish for inside your body too.

- Collect twigs, leaves, petals, stones, dirt and other things you can find in your garden, or on a walk around the block. Now make shapes and patterns with all the things you have collected. Take a photo.

- Draw 100 lines across a page in wax crayons. Paint water colours or food colouring mixed with water over the lines. What is it a map of? What does it remind you of? Do the lines lead anywhere?

- Choose a marker that is your favourite colour today. Draw one line on the page without taking your pen off the page. It can be curvy, wavy, jagged, rolling, spirally or zig zag. Now hold the paper in your hand and see if you can walk following the line you just drew. Where do you end up?

- Photocopy a real map of a place you have been. You could find one in an old ubd or atlas. Paint pictures of all the things you can remember about being there. You could look at photographs from the trip to remind you, or it could be somewhere you went this morning. Write a poem about all the things you remember about being there. It could be a map of Italy or a map of your local shops.

- Write down everything you eat and drink in one whole day. Get someone to draw around your body on a huge piece of paper and then draw or paint all the food filling up your body. You can draw your lungs and arteries and skeleton too.

- Think about someone you love. Write down all the things you love about them. Cut up all the sentences you have written and paste the words onto a new piece of paper however you like. They could be upside-down or sideways. This is a word map of someone you treasure.

- Write a list of fantastical list of directions to get to a secret place of your imagining and instantly create a micro-map poem!

Map to a secret place no one can know about
Twyla, age 3
Send your work to submit@bigkidsmagazine along with the submission form found here. Ideally we would LOVE your contribution by Jan 14th but the final cut off date is Jan 30th. All suitable contributions will be published on the blog or in the pages of the magazine. We have received some very wonderful maps to where we never expected and can't wait to add your directions to the mix! Be brave and have fun!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Treasure Boats collaboration with lilla a

We are very excited about our first ever BIG collaborative call out with 
Follow the invitation and sail your Treasure Boats 
in an ocean fleet around the world:

We are thrilled to announce the BIG Treasure Boats Exhibition in partnerSHIP with Lilla a.  

To join the Lilla a/BIG sail, follow the call for entries and send in your stories mapped with curiosity and  boats built with treasure. We are looking for an ocean fleet of brave, imaginative and generous Treasure Boats sailing on uncharted maps of discovery and will be printing the exhibition in the upcoming TREASURE MAPS edition of BIG Kids Magazine. 

BIG Kids Magazine is a creative arts magazine that publishes the work of children and artists side by side.  The Treasure Boats Exhibition is a feature of our wider invitation for creative contributions of Treasure Maps from around the world. We invite you all to join us as treasure seekers looking to chart unexpected maps of the imagination! 

Jo and Lilly and the BIG Kids team

How great is that! Here is the theme:
Have you ever found a treasure? Where? In the forest or in your pocket? What is a treasure? Is it shiny and golden, or is it a collection of the finest sticks? Make a boat for your treasure hunt. Use a milk or juice carton for the body of the ship, and build the rest of the ship of your found treasures. Decorate with your treasures or just let them sail onboard. Does you boat have sails or a is it a motorboat?
Find your parts to build with on a nature walk or around the house! Take a picture of your Treasure Boat on a neutral, uncluttered background preferably in good daylight. Send the picture to

The Treasure Boats Exhibition is open for all children, with a little help from their parents.

To enter:
1. Photo of the Treasure Boat on a neutral, uncluttered background preferably in good daylight
2. A short story with the kids own words about the boat and it´s treasures. Max. 40 words in English.
3. City and country where the boat sails from.
4. Name and age of participant, blog adress (if you have one). 

Send it to Deadline for entries is January 20th.

More info about the opening and publishing of the exhibition later. We hope to see both old and new participants! BIG Kids Magazine and I am looking forward to Your contributions. Have fun - I am so excited! 

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