Week 7, day 3 – Aug 9th

MINI MAKERS (Kindergarten)

This morning Mini did a little dancing while learning about RHYTHM and LINE. They visited the vault to look at Bradley Walker Tomlin’s painting, Music Rack, inspired by cubism and formal elements of music. Campers learned about different kinds of lines – straight, dotted, curvy, angled – and drew lines while listening to different types of musical rhythms. Their final project were filled with explosive color and musical lines!


DESIGN I: Spaces & Places (1st-2nd)

Today our Mini Designers learned about furniture design and ergonomics. They checked out the chair collection in the Art Museum vault including mid-century masterpieces from Eero Saarinen, George Nelson, and Ralph Rapson. Then campers sketched their own chair designs on graph paper, built paper models using colored paper, and finally completed their wooden chair prototypes.


MOLD I: Ceramics & Clay (3rd-4th)

Mold I learned about vases and vessels, including the different parts of a vase and what they’re called. They traveled to the ceramics vault to look at Pewabic Pottery’s iridescent glazes. This afternoon the built treasure boxes using a slab ceramic techniques.


MOLD II: Ceramics & Clay (5th-6th)

Mold II started their hanging face mobiles, carving individual facial features to be strung together to create a floating face shape. This afternoon the group learned about mold making from the work of Im Schafer. They brainstormed ceramic sets before creating a serving pair for their favorite foods.


DESIGN II: Spaces & Places (7th-9th, teen workshop)

Teen Designers completed their mood boards and started building conversation pit models after looking at architectural models in the vault.



Week 5, days 3 & 4 – July 26/27th!

Mini Makers (Kindergarten)

Today Mini Makers looked at wooden figures by designer Alexander Girard. They talked about emotion and facial expressions and guessed what each figure was feeling. Then students created their own wooden spoon dolls complete with capes and feather hair! Yesterday Mini’s looked at Kenneth Noland in the vault and created their own geometric 3D collages!


MOLD: Ceramics & Clay (1st-2nd)

Mold campers have moved on to glazing – adding colorful layers to their pinch and coil pots. Yesterday, campers looked at iridescent Pewabic pottery in the vault and created their own colorful vases and vessels. Today, the group built bricks and constructed castles before learning to sand cast.


DESIGN: Spaces & Places (3rd-4th)

Yesterday, the Designers learned from mid-century masters like Eero Saarinen, Charles & Ray Eames, and Ralph Rapson, studying their chair designs in the vault. Then they spent the afternoon drafting, sketching, prototyping, and building their own mini-chairs. Today, the class visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Smith House and created blue prints of their dream homes using the cyanotype process.


EXPLORE: Art & Nature (5th-6th)

Yesterday our Explorers traveled to the Cranbrook Institute of Science to look at fossils, discussing imprint and relief and art as a record. On their walk back they collected materials to create their own imprinted tiles and nature paint brushes. Today, they added color to their paper mache cacti and learned all about plein air painting, spending the afternoon outside painting their own watercolor landscapes.


MOLD: Ceramics & Clay (7th-9th, teen workshop)

Mold II spent the day sculpting lots of little pieces for their figure mobiles and letter banners which will all be fired and pieced together to create moving kinetic sculptures. They’ve spent the last two days working with, and mixing, glazes and under-glaze, practicing with wax resistance and other surface techniques. Yesterday, they looked at samples of Pewabic pottery and created a set of dishes that relate to a specific meal that their family likes to eat.

Week 2, day 3 – June 28th

Midweek, and projects are in full swing! All of our campers visited the vault today to view artwork in our permanent collection. They learned about how we keep artwork safe, and why we can’t touch. (Oils on your fingers!)

MINI MAKERS (Kindergarten)

Minis learned all about shapes today and had two new BIG vocab words: ORGANIC and GEOMETRIC. In the vault they talked about shapes made by Frank Stella which inspired their shape animal artworks.


WEAVE: Textures & Textiles (1st-2nd)

Our weavers have graduated to the large cricket looms! With a partner they wove stripes of color and learned how to beat yarn and use a reed. They looked at textural weaving samples by Robert David Sailors before making their own circle weavings using thick and thin yarn.


SCULPT: Figures & Found Objects (3rd-4th)


Sculpt talked about artists and recycling materials. In the vault they looked at Louise Nevelson assemblage collage, composed of pieces of found materials before creating their own. They added a layer of gesso to their AMAZING wooden dolls, and started on shape paper bowls inspired by artists like Henri Matisse and Folk Art in Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe.


MAKE: Books & Paper (5th-6th)


Today our makers created paper mache bowls inspired by centerpieces made by Alexander Girard (which they’ll paint to look like their favorite fruits tomorrow)! In the afternoon, the class discussed graphic posters by Steve Frykholm, created for Herman Miller’s summer picnics starting in 1970, before creating their own sandwich stacked books!


WEAVE: Textures & Textiles (7th-9th, teen workshop)

The group created their own flags inspired by Alexander Girard’s Republic of Fife – an imaginary country he envisioned while still in school. They also continued to work on their independent projects – pillows, tote bags, embroidery, even a canvas airplane!


Week 1, day 1 – June 19th

Happy first day of camps! We had a BIG and BUSY start to Summer 2017. Thanks to our grown-ups for a smooth and efficient morning check-in. Reminder, all students get a FREE Create Camps t-shirt. Be sure to pick yours up / out at 3pm today, Tuesday, or Wednesday.

MINI MAKERS (Kindergarten)

The word of the day was BALANCE. Our littles learned about balance in Mark diSuvero’s Kinetic Sculpture, drew their own balanced drawings, and created bouncy balance sculptures with foam, wire, and beads.


SCULPT: Figures & Found Objects (1st-2nd)

Our sculptors were in and out of the studio this morning, creating Calder-esque wire face figures; followed by a campus walk to talk textures with clay impressions of the world around them. Favorites were – grass, leaves, rocks, bark – which will all become wearable, tactile art!


MAKE: Books & Paper (3rd-4th)


MAKE camp jumped right in with a morning of paper making! Students shredded paper in a range of colors to create pulp with tissue and newsprint. Then they mixed and pressed their own custom sheets! The afternoon was spent looking at abstract landscapes in Claire Van Vliet’s “Sky and Earth” before creating their own place-based artist books.


BUILD: Huts & Hideaways (5th-6th)


5th / 6th spent the day as drafters and designers, talking scale and constructing their own miniature tree houses. Each student drew their own plan before executing a mini model, with no detail spared – including mini ladders, trap doors, tire swings, and fort flags. We love these potted paradises!


WEAVE: Textures & Textiles (7th-9th, teen workshop)


Teen Workshop spent the morning prepping 2 weeks (!!!) worth of natural and synthetic material for dying, to be used in projects throughout the session. In the Cranbrook Academy of Art Fiber Studio they mixed up black, blue, and maroon dyes (in their “Mad Scientist” garb) and spent the afternoon dipping, dying, and hanging fabrics and yarn.

Meet the Staff – Rachel P!

We’re thrilled to welcome Rachel back for her second summer at CAM CAMPS. Rachel is a wizard with a brush and so adept at writing dynamic, unique lesson plans. (Last year, students we’re pin-drawing on bananas, yep, bananas.) We can’t wait to see what her two summer sessions — SCULPT and DESIGN — will be eating making this year!

Rachel P 3

Name: Rachel P. (We’re lucky enough to have TWO Rachel teachers this summer!)

Summer Position: Teaching Artist for Design: Spaces & Places (Grades 1-6) and Sculpt: Figures & Found Objects (Grades 1-6)

Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

CAA Graduation Year + Department: A (very) recent graduate from the Painting Department

Tell us about your artistic practice, former or current: I paint and draw still lifes — especially flowers and toys! (Check out some of Rachel’s work above.)

How many years have you been with Cranbrook? Two years as a student, and this will be my second summer at CAM CREATE CAMPS.

What’s your favorite place on Cranbrook’s campus? I love the Japanese garden near Kingswood High School — it’s so beautiful and serene!

Tell us your favorite summer activity: Reading a good book under an umbrella on the beach

What’s your favorite food? Ice cream / sorbet / frozen yogurt / frozen custard / gelato… any flavor!

Exhibition Focus: Polish Paper Cuts

CREATE CAMPS projects are rooted in our object-based teaching strategy, which means, we start with the ART! Each day, campers learn from modern masters in our vaults and galleries. Educators facilitate conversation and observation, discussing technique, medium, style, and historical context.

Iconic graphics by Alexander Girard screen-printed onto plywood panels.

This summer, campers will spend time in the galleries with Alexander Girard (1907 – 1993), one of the most influential designers of the 20th century! Girard worked across fields of architecture, design, textiles, and graphics to create stunning environments. His colorful motifs and folk art collection are the jumping off point for many of our summer projects.

After paper marbling and paper making, Make: Books and Paper will explore the art of Vytynanky (or Wycinanki), a Slavic version of paper cutting, and how it influenced the vibrant colors and geometric shapes seen in Girard’s designs. Campers will cut and reassemble monochromatic designs. Learning about positive and negative space, geometric versus organic, and the historical importance of paper cutting across peoples and places!

Meet the Staff – Arielle!

Kicking off our 2017 Summer Camp Session is Arielle, one of our fearless leaders! This is Arielle’s 3rd year managing camp operations. Arielle brings years of classroom teaching experience, impressive organizational skills (really, it’s amazing), and the most wonderful positive attitude to our summer sessions.

Arielle’s smiling face will be there to greet you at the first day (and every day!) for check-in, so say hi and ask her about the great photo below!

Program Manager: Arielle


Name: Arielle

Position: AM Program Manager

Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin

Education:  BS in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin, and pursuing an MFA in Arts Administration at Southern Utah University this fall!

Tell us about your artistic practice, former or current: Though my background is in K-12 Art Education, I continue my own studio practice, which mostly consists of painting and drawing in pen, ink, and watercolor. I am inspired by people, relationships, and psychology.

How many years have you been with Cranbrook? I have been working in the Art Museum’s Education Department for a little over three years as an Education Assistant / Program Manager for Summer Camps. I am so excited for another great year of camps!

What is your favorite place on Cranbrook’s campus? The Cranbrook Dining Hall is my favorite place on campus because it looks like Hogwarts dining hall from Harry Potter!

Tell us your favorite summer activity: I love doing anything outdoors in the summer, especially hiking, swimming, yoga, and camping.

What’s your favorite food? That’s a tough question because I LOVE food. But, I can narrow it down to Thai Curry, because I love the spiciness!