Meet the Future Creatives Tutor: Antonia Harrowing
Mixed media artist, Antonia Harrowing, has always had a love for colour and texture. Now a passionate Future Creatives tutor, Antonia is keen to help young people find their creative voice and currently offers a range of face to face and online art classes for kids and teens. Antonia also recently started running creative wellbeing art sessions for remote workers and is the official wellbeing artist for consumer electronic company, Sony.
We caught up with Antonia to find out more about her work and discuss why it is so important to give young people the opportunity to explore new techniques and ways of making when it comes to art and design. We’ll also share some colourful student work from a selection of Antonia’s recent Future Creatives classes.
Read more about the importance of art and creativity in a child's development.
Since graduating with a BA (Hons) in Illustration, Antonia has had many creative roles and has worked on a variety of exciting projects including illustrating shows at London Fashion Week, creating topical illustrations for election coverage and drawing sustainable fashion designers’ creations for print publications.
Recently, Antonia has been enjoying sketching and experimenting with collage. “I love drawing out and about with my sketchbook, and have just come out of an egg-stravaganza making period, using Eastern European techniques to dye eggs and narrating the visuals of the Easter story through giant Nalepianki-style colourful collaged eggs,” she says.
Antonia is passionate about experimental imagery and loves working with different materials to achieve unique results. “I love creating mixed media pieces and experimental imagery,” she tells us. “Playing with materials is a really important part of the process for me. I actually found myself inspired by a print exploration course I ran last year, and created endless monoprints of textures. I then used them to cut out shapes influenced by houseplants I had been studying and created some beautiful graphic illustrations.”
Alongside her printmaking work, Antonia has also recently been exploring drawing techniques and making hand-built pottery. “I delved deep into observational drawing last year,” she explains, “and in my enthusiasm (and great age!) gave myself tennis elbow, so I’m currently trying processes that don’t put too much stress on my elbow and wrist! I also like to hand-build pottery, and am trying out making larger vessels and using slips (liquid coloured clay) to decorate them.”
Learning through play
Antonia believes that young people can learn a lot through experimentation and play, and encourages her students to explore new techniques to find their voice. “Encouraging play, encouraging that visual expression alongside exploring new techniques and ways of making is so important,” she explains. “A lot of school experience is understandably designed to make it possible for teachers to communicate ideas to a classroom, but it doesn’t necessarily help children get in touch with their own instincts, or foster a thirst to lead their own learning development. Time to create is an opportunity to experiment with another facet of themselves.”
Building a positive space for students to experiment is important to Antonia, who works hard to create a supportive environment that enables students to pursue their natural interests. “We can get so funnelled down particular paths,” she says, “and it’s important to explore our whole being and make space for creativity.”
Developing fine motor skills
The role of art and creativity in the development of fine motor skills is clear to Antonia, who notes how valuable these practical skills are. “So much of our lives is based around screens now – and I love what it is possible to achieve with the technology, but we also need that time to use our hands and create physical tangible things too. For younger children, developing that manual dexterity is really important, and understanding processes of making is really useful for sparking off further experimentation and pushing what they can do.”
“Teens and older children can really benefit from time spent creating art,” Antonia says, “because it takes discipline and focus to make. Additionally, you’ll find the conversations that occur between them as they work very companionable and community-building. Art requires perseverance, you’re not going to love everything you make, but it’s worth pushing through the terrible drawings to get to the ones that delight you!”
Find out more about Antonia’s work by following her on Instagram.
Are you looking to try something new? Find out more about how you can unlock your creative potential at Future Creatives. Take a look at our Future Creatives classes to find out what's on in your local area.