Making art in the summertime

LA CRESCENTA — Ten-year-old Alexia Ouzounian was applying the finishing touches to her homemade scarf Thursday, the last day of art camp.

In between scrunching its corners and applying purple spray paint, the Fremont Elementary School student said her summer at the Summer Art Camp for Tweens and Teens was full of new techniques and projects she doesn't see during the rest of the year.

"There's been a lot more this summer," she said. "All of [the projects] are fun, but I like the ones where you have to work with your hands."

But more than that, the roughly dozen teenagers and pre-teens enrolled in the art camp can take ownership of their projects. Instructor and camp operator Libby Ellis said the camp is more collaboration than it is teacher-to-student interaction.

"It's about confidence and trusting your intuition, and knowing when something's done," she said. "They get to say, 'No, I'm the creator. You have to trust me.' It can be very empowering."

Jessica Palmer, 15, said it was more about spending her free time constructively.

"I do a lot of drawing and I like painting," she said. "It's something fun to do."

She wasn't able to take any art classes last year at Crescenta Valley High School as they filled up too fast, she said.

Even if she had gotten into a class, she said she doubted that they were doing Indonesian-style works.

With camp ending Thursday, students were focused on finishing their batiks, a fabric and wax work from Southeast Asia.

Emily Blaisdell, 11, worked a hot iron across her fabric, trying to dry up wax in the process.

"It comes off on the newspapers, so it's just fabric that's left with no wax on it," she said.

The camp — a private group with students paying a fee and Ellis renting space and purchasing supplies — is ending its fifth year.

"Some people think teens are fine on their own," Ellis said. "Teens especially, they need opportunities."

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