This is my regular series catching up with some of the local folks that make West London such an interesting place to live.
This time we’re meeting Celia Pickering who runs art workshops for children. Read on and find out why London blue plaques, Dukes Meadow and displaying kids art in scrap books and frames helps make up Celia’s West London life.
Ofsted registered Childminder and Pre school art class, Art with little pics on a Monday morning 9.30am at the local bakery (Plum duff, Southfield Road) and the afternoon 1.30pm in the scout hut (Acton Scout hut, Rugby Road)
How long have you lived / worked in Chiswick?
I have lived in Chiswick for 8 years and worked in Chiswick for 5 years.
What’s your top local tip?
Try to leave your car at home, parking is a nightmare and the ticket guys are really good at their job. Plus Chiswick is very Green and we have so many parks and greens why not walk! Also try spotting at the London blue plaques
, where famous and iconic people lived, I think we have about 11 but don’t quote me on that!
And your hidden gem?
Not sure it’s hidden but Dukes Meadows
outdoor paddling pool and playground is a real favourite for the kids in the summer. Get there early and parking is easy, however the E3 drops off pretty much outside. Pack a picnic but still buy chips and ice cream from the café, also the coffee isn’t too bad (always good with kids having a toilet nearby). Perfect meeting place for friends with or without kids.
Once everyone has had enough of paddling and playing the River is just behind so you can enjoy the Thames and all the great sights along the river (boats, wildlife and pubs) or why not do it the other way, start with the walk along the Thames and finish at Dukes meadows.
What’s your perfect Saturday in Chiswick?
As a family, walk our Labrador around Chiswick house
, stop at the café for breakfast and tell the kids for the 100th time ‘The Beatles filmed a music video here’. Then head to home with friends for BBQ lunch, relaxing outside and let the kids play. Late evening Me, the other half and the kids go to Fouberts for ice cream (me pistachio, the other half rum and raisin, daughter mango sorbet and son blue banana – every time) and head home in no particular direction, the kids pick the route and we take our time getting home.
The houses and street in Chiswick are beautiful and we chat about which house we would buy if we won the lottery. Simple but perfect. I love Chiswick in the Sun. It has a holiday feeling about it, the high street is buzzing with people eating and drinking and it has a really relaxing atmosphere.
Tell us about your day job in a nutshell..
I care for babies and children from my home, offering a home from home environment. This allows parents to return to work or simply have time to themselves. Over the years I have made some amazing friends and my children have now an extended circle of friends.
I do pre school art classes each Mondays during term time, we look at a different artist and materials each class, allowing children to enjoy art and learn something new. The children can socialise while parents get to meet new friends and take a seat back of preparing entertainment for their little ones. All my details and references are on childcare.co.uk
or my webpage www.artwithlittlepics.com
How important is painting and crafts for children?
Art and crafts such as painting, colouring, drawing, cutting, all require your child to use both of their hands. This skill is important in other areas of their lives as they continue to grow, such as writing, tying shoes etc.
Once children can start enjoying art and crafts it help to teach them fine motor skills, hand eye co ordination and expression, also what a great way to learn their colours and make a mess.
When a child or young person is able to express themselves via art and crafts they can use this to explain their feelings or a personal situation if they are not able to speak about their problems or relax.
I think being creative with the children is essential, children learn a lot of confidence when being creative and can help them express themselves e.g. fancy dress, having their face painted at the local fair. It can encourage their imagination which helps them at school and with many of their subjects.
I really think allowing children to be creative, not just with art and crafts but with the way they dress or play helps them at school and making friends, it allows them it show individuality confidently and to enjoy life with whatever they are doing.
If someone wants to start doing crafts with their kids but doesn’t know where to start – what would you suggest?
Obviously I would tell them to come to my art class or defiantly find a local club or class, however I appreciate most art classes can be expensive (due the materials) so it may not suit all families.
I know a lot of parents that struggle with getting creative with their kids either because of the mess or the time it takes to tidy up. For some parents arts and crafts just doesn’t come natural to them but if they really want to allow their kids to be arty at home a great place for children to start could be a colouring book, felts, crayons and pencils can be used, it’s a lovely way for parents to have one and one time with their little or big ones. Also put them in your handbag and it help when the food it taking ages to come in the restaurant?
Maybe think about buying basic kids friendly paints in a block (less mess than poster paints), paint brushes and stamps with loads of big sheets of paper (ideally the area needs to be spacious and clear). Finger and hand painting is a great way of allowing them to enjoy mark making when they are first exposed to paint.
Remember little ones will put the brushes in their mouth, keep one brush new and clean for this and buy non toxic paints…it won’t kill them if they put their hands in their mouth.
The most important thing is for parents to relax and not to tell them what to do but to guide them and give them ideas, keep it basic! The internet is full of simple art ideas. Over time is great to collect materials, as children get older they will learn to use differently. Once the children start nursery or school they will be exposed to being creative as the first few years is learning through play and arts and crafts is a massive part of that.
Kids create 1000s of pictures over their childhood. Any tips for displaying kids’ art?
WOW only 1000, my pair sometimes have done 10 drawings before breakfast!
I bought my children an A3 hardback scrap book, it was a little on the expensive side however it worked well for us. All their pictures and doodles are stuck into it every so many weeks when I finally get around to sorting out the piles of paper. As my twins have got older (they are 7 years old now), they do it themselves (especially my daughter) and really enjoy looking back at the things they have done. They are nearly on their second book.
During my art class I have A3 plastic sleeve folder which parents or carers can buy, not just for the art work done during class but everything they do at home also. It’s a quick way to keep the work safe but also great show Grandma and pa all the stuff they have done. Also the kids love looking at their art they’ve done as they get older.
Another great way is to buy box frames and display they work. By displaying their work it encourages them to do more and fill them with confidence and trust towards you as a parent or carer.
Quick fire round
Clean as you go, or manic post session tidy up?
Clean as you go
Collect junk in your kitchen for crafts, or keep it decluttered?
Decluttered…I put the junk in other rooms
Paint or crayons?
The finished product or the process?
Philosophy on life?
Glass half full or half empty?
Find out more about Celia’s art classes at https://artwithlittlepics.com
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