Saturday, April 12, 2014

Through Your Intentional Practice, How Do You Help Museums Enrich the Lives of Others?

Below is a blog post written by Alli Rogers, an Oil and Cotton educator that leads our art and science based family activity every second Saturday at the Perot Museum of Nature and Sciece.

A baby screams, gravel litters the floor, and I spend the next week shaking topsoil out of my hair. It certainly isn’t glamorous, but my fingers smell like rosemary and a five-year-old is excited about Robert Smithson. Discovery Day at The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a brutal day. Crushing crowds and cacophonous noise combine to create pandemonium throughout the museum. The day’s thematic events attract young families in particular, some of which drive for hours in order to participate. People flood the museum, armed with maps, schedules, and diaper bags. They want to see everything.

They want to visit my art making table, alluring with its herbal scent, small glass jars, and mounds of earth. Today, to go with the museum’s environmental theme, we make tiny terrariums and talk about Earthworks artists. Infants are content to dig their fingers into the soft, loamy dirt and bury their noses in bouquets of herbs. Toddlers funnel gravel,dirt, and pebbles into their jars. We take plant clippings, we overturn beakers of water. It is muddy and wonderful. Adults hover with baby wipes and weary expressions. What these parents may perceive as chaotic was planned. What seems unorganized was an intentionally planned multi-sensory, multi-age activity that provides something, though not necessarily the SAME thing, to everyone that gets their hands dirty.

I work for Oil and Cotton, a creative exchange in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas. Through Oil and Cotton, I have the opportunity to provide arts-based content at The Perot’s monthly Discovery Days as a vendor. From an educator’s point of view, this is a tall order. We need to highlight the symbiotic relationship between art and science. We need to be able to strike a balance between serving the greatest possible number of people in the most efficient amount of time while still ensuring a rich educational opportunity. We need to be a unique experience. We need to account for all ages and abilities. What can we do that is economically viable? Environmentally responsible? Safe? Representative of Oil and Cotton? That parents won’t mind lugging around in their diaper bags while holding a screaming toddler?
Most importantly, I try to ensure that our activities are appropriate in different ways for the myriad ages our table attracts. We typically serve infants, grandparents, teenagers, and everything in between, often simultaneously. What an infant learns from our table, however, is going to be different than what their grandmother learns. The infant gets to feel the soft earth on their fingertips, gets to grasp pebbles and tickle their nose with the rosemary. A teenager tries to recreate a Robert Smithson earthwork in miniature and learns to take a proper cutting from a plant. A mom takes mental notes for home. My intent is to create a community of learners, even if they only stay at my table for five minutes.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holiday Mercantile - Workshops and Gifts

Visit Oil and Cotton's cozy shop and find creative gifts to inspire your friends and family. We have glittery workshops and classes to add sparkle to your holiday. We carry a full spectrum of artist provisions ranging from boutique brands such as M.Graham paints to European brands used in Waldorf and early childhood education. Expect gift guidance from art supply specialists, sweet deals and RADICAL packaging courtesy of Kayli and Shannon!!!

Holiday Mercantile - Grand Opening December 13, 2013
Sweet sales throu
ghout the HOLIDAYS :: Dec 13 - Dec 23!!!

FRIDAY NIGHT - December 13
6-9pm Opening Night Festivities
Workshop: Natural Beauty Balms & Potions
SATURDAY - December 14
10am-6pm Store Hours
Workshop: All Ages Collage Card Studio
SUNDAY - December 15
1-4pm Store Hours with
Andrea Estrada's CALLIGRAPHY by request
MONDAY - December 16
10am-6pm Store Hours
Workshop: Cards & Envelopes with Shannon

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dia De Los Muertos Drop-In Workshops and Celebration on November 2nd

Join Oil and Cotton in a celebration of life, death, and creative expression through workshops for kids, families, and adults. This is a drop-in event that does not require pre-registration.

Penny Dreadfuls
For kids ages 6+
4-6 pm
Cost: Free

In the days of Victorian Britain, the Penny Dreadful was popular among children and adolescents. The flimsy paper books  only cost a penny, and were full of scary and sensational stories. Children of the day would form groups to buy and share a Penny Dreadful. 

 In this workshop, Jason Poyfair will teach children the fundamentals of writing their very own scary stories. They will learn the basics of plot and character development. They will learn how to weave a tale of terror suitable for their next camp out or slumber party.

Jason Poyfair is a Ninth Grade English teacher at Everman High School. He has been teaching English for ten years and has a great love for the subject. Teaching Gothic Horror stories is the highlight of his school year. When he is not teaching, he enjoys writing poetry and novels. 

Spirit Catchers: Day of the Living Dead Pinhole Camera Workshop

For Families
$30 per family

Using the simplest form of a camera, see if you can conjure the spirits of the dead to take home photographic proof to all your friends and family. Attendees to this workshop will use pinhole cameras, props, costumes and creative backgrounds to create Dia de los Muertos inspired photographs. We will also discuss past examples and explore the popularity of spirit photography.

Bring in the whole family to create your own spirit portraits using props available in the studio, or bring your own costumes to see who is still watching over you! Learn the art of pinhole photography and see how images come alive. This workshop is appropriate for any level photographer; no experience is required.

Each person will get the chance to practice to learn exposure and development times. Traditional photography chemicals will be in use at the studio, so we request that an adult accompanies minors. Then it is up to your intuition and imagination to catch the spirit of the dead!

Materials included:
Photo paper
1 pinhole camera to take home

Additional sheets of photo paper will be available for sale in the retail shop. 

In Remembrance:  Life and Death in Relation to the Creative Image.

Artist, Elva Maria Salinas invites you to join her in a workshop that celebrates Life and Death in relation to creativity.  The inspiration for the workshop is Dia Del Los Muertos/Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday celebrating the life and death of family and friends who have passed away.

In this workshop, memories, emotions, and thoughts related to life and death become the focus and are used to create a creative vision for a small on site project and long-term project plan.

The workshop includes a small inspiration lecture on artists that explore the relation of life and death, memories of loved ones that have passed, and the relationship that the living have with death.  Followed with an exploration of the participants unique voice through short writing exercises, and an on - site project.

Participants are asked to bring their choice of medium which can include photographs, the camera, watercolor, acrylics, pencil, and pastels.  

Feel free to bring:
And anything that may remind you of family and friends that have passed.

Oil and Cotton Creative Exchange
837 W. 7th St.
Dallas, TX

Thursday, October 10, 2013

SPRUCE Upholstery at Oil and Cotton!

SPRUCE Upholstery is now touring the South and and will be teaching two amazing workshops at Oil and Cotton! Come join the Sprucettes on November 4th  and explore the basics of upholstery by creating a finished bench or turning your favorite fabric into your favorite lampshade. SPRUCE's aesthetics and enthusiasm to spread upholstery education far and wide has made them a big success and they have been featured in many magazines and blogs such as Southern Living, Good House Keeping, Country Living and Design Sponge. So come join us and learn the ins and outs of upholstery with the experts!

 Bench Class with SPRUCE Upholstery
November 4th

From wooden substrate to finished bench, you’ll pad, staple fabric, and attach tapered legs to complete this 16″-deep by 48″-long bench. Class includes the frame, legs, upholstery materials, and four hours of hands-on upholstery instruction. Bring your favorite fabric and a sack lunch and turn nothing into something by creating this custom bench from scratch.

Click here to register for the class!

Lampshade Class with SPRUCE Upholstery
November 4th

In this one-day class, turn your favorite fabric into your favorite cylindrical shade. Class includes all materials (excluding fabric) and three hours of hands-on instruction. We’ll show you how to determine the perfect size for the drum. Then we’ll mount the fabric to lampshade paper and assemble the project with metal rings and glue. Say goodbye to boring, store-bought shades!

Click here to register for the class!

Friday, September 27, 2013

INVASIVE: Photographic Works by Rachel Rushing

Invasive: Photographic Works By Rachel Rushing
September 28-October 31

Opening, September 28th, 6:00-8:00 pm

Oil and Cotton is pleased to announce an exhibition of the recent work of Rachel Rushing. The opening reception will be hosted at Oil and Cotton on Saturday, September 28 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The event is free to the public, with food and beverages provided.

Invasive is a presentation of photographic prints, installations, and artist books that explore threats to local ecosystems in the form of excess waste and litter. Rachel Rushing has desired to find a meaningful connection to the natural world in the midst of the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolis and through her investigation has come into a greater understanding of her own ecological relationships. Rushing’s work brings awareness and thoughtful consideration to habits of consumption, waste, and apathy within the local biome.

Oil and Cotton Creative Exchange
837 W. 7th St.
Dallas, TX

Gallery hours:
Tuesday - Friday, 1 pm - 6 pm
Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm