Birds of a Feather

A stylised bird made of cut-out cardboard, paper and feathers

Birds of a Feather

With Karen Cromwell

10:30am-12:30pm or 1:30-3:30pm Saturdays

6 – 13 March 2021

$115 per person

Includes all materials
Suitable for ages 7-12 years
Participants to wear old clothes or bring own apron in case of mess

Birds of a Feather is a fun and vibrant workshop created especially for Belco Arts by artist and children’s educator Karen Cromwell. Inspired by the wonderful array of feathered friends whose habitat we share here in Canberra, and a number of contemporary artists and illustrators representing birds in some surprising ways, over two sessions participants will develop both their creative confidence AND their very own unique, breed of bird sculpture or wall piece using recycled, rescued and reclaimed materials.

The Useful Box logo

Workshop Content

Week 1
In the first session, children will use a variety of types of recycled cardboard to create their own imagined bird sculpture or wall piece, making choices about the shapes and types of beaks, bodies, heads and plumage. Following this they will have fun exploring some painting and stamping techniques in order to add colour and texture to their shapes.

Week 2
In the second session (with all shapes now painted, stamped, dry and ready to go), children will attach them together while learning to use a low-temperature hot glue gun, safely and effectively. Next, they will enjoy using a riot of colourful, reclaimed and recycled collage materials to add crests, feathers, claws, and other unique features to their feathered friends. Posca paint pens and chalk markers will be available for children to experiment with adding elements of detail and texture using line work. Early finishers will have the opportunity to create a cosy nest for their new feathered friend, using simple stitching and weaving techniques using cardboard and natural fibres, while other children may take materials to continue with this part at home.


About Karen Cromwell

Karen Cromwell is a Canberra-based visual artist, living and working on Ngunnawal/Ngambri country for the past ten years. She is a qualified primary and secondary art teacher, experienced museum and gallery educator and creative workshop designer/facilitator for children, teachers and adults.

Career highlights include the design and facilitation of the long-running and highly popular T-is-for-Toddler program at Canberra Museum and Gallery, along with creating and facilitating the studio workshops for The Multicultural Festival Children’s Sanctuary in 2017/18. She has also independently designed and run creative workshops across a broad range of settings from early childhood centres to remote Aboriginal communities, local music festivals, and from her studio.

Currently, over at The Useful Box, she specialises in creating playful and engaging ‘creative workshops for big and small’ in her vibrantly recognisable style. Her workshops foster creative confidence and inclusivity, through the exploration of processes including drawing, watercolour, collage, construction, artist collaborations, ceramics, textiles and play and nature-based programs. Both her programs and studio practice have a growing emphasis on working with artist quality materials, from sustainable resources, along with reclaimed, recycled and rescued materials and ‘zero waste’ or purchased plastics principals.


More info

Please contact Belconnen Arts Centre via email, or phone (02) 6173 3300.