Interview with Jen Beetson of The Colour Club

Founder of The Colour Club, Jen Beetson combines stories and art to inspire children’s creativity. Collaborating with Wall Works on Animal Art Adventures on 19 December, which runs alongside the “Fikiria” Exhibition, Jen speaks to us about how The Colour Club started, what the animal themed art sessions will entail and her exciting plans for 2019.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am a mum of three who believes very strongly in the power of creative education. Following degrees in Interactive Arts at Manchester Metropolitan and Production Design for Film and TV at Kingston University, I worked in the film industry for seven years before settling in the Cotswolds in 2005 and training to be an Art teacher.

You run the very popular The Colour Club, can you tell us a bit about what it is and why you set it up?

Following the birth of my twins I decided to leave teaching and set up “The Colour Club”. I am at my happiest when being creative, whether on my own in front of a big canvas or leading a team. One of the reasons I love teaching so much is that you have to be creative and respond to your students with lots of new ideas.

A participant at The Colour Club’s “The Gruffalo” workshop this autumn

A participant at The Colour Club’s “The Gruffalo” workshop this autumn

I set up The Colour Club because I wanted to teach but not in schools. My mantra is that I want people to become “creatively independent”. I noticed that some children were coming to my Year 7 classrooms lacking in confidence with precious little in the way of practical art skills and some children were really experienced and the difference came down to the interests of the individual child’s primary teacher. 

My sessions always start with a story and this is the springboard for discussion which leads onto an art activity based around the story. Through The Colour Club I want children to develop their early years visual language and the ability to express themselves using a range of materials.

We are thrilled that you are running the Animal Art Adventure session alongside our “Fikiria” exhibition - can you explain a little about what the participants will be doing?

We will be listening to the Eric Carle story "Polar Bear, Polar Bear what do you Hear?”, having a chat about the beautiful animal paintings in the exhibition and about how important it is to learn about and respect wildlife. We will then be using tissue paper to collage our own animals, which the children will add to a wonderful wildlife display before taking them home for Christmas.

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When you're not teaching art classes what kind of creative activities do you enjoy doing for yourself?

I love painting murals and big paintings of the sea.

We hear there are some exciting new sessions on the horizon - what's next for The Colour Club in 2019?I

2019 will be a big year as I collaborate with several new venues and establish some new weekday sessions. 

I am also planning a cross between a Book Club and an Art Club for 10-14 year olds. This Club will  meet once a month and will ask participants to make objects that respond to a book that is set for them to read. I do miss teaching tweens and teens so I am really looking forward to this. Details of this will be on my instagram soon:

www.instagram.com/thecolourclub2018

To book a place on one of two Animal Art Adventure sessions on 19 December, please click here