Creative Catalyst Art Program

Aeon Academy’s Creative Catalyst program is renowned for it’s inspiring & engaging Artist-led workshops. Children & Teens, aged 7 – 16, have the chance to immerse themselves in the wide world of Arts where they can unleash their creativity! They’ll spend a day creating their very own masterpiece, learning new skills and bringing their designs to life.

They’ll learn a range of ways to transform their ideas into reality, and everyone gets the opportunity to create at their own pace. The program encourages students to take the time they need to finish an artwork while exploring the process and journey of making.

Creative Catalyst champions Picasso’s famous words: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. Our dedicated team of art educators , led by Aeon Academy Founder & Art Director Teffany Thiedeman, all graduated from the Canberra School of Art & Design and bring their specialised skills to each of the different workshops. Children & Teens can choose between a suite of exciting workshops across a range of mediums including Ceramics, Mixed Media, Sculpture, Painting & Drawing.

Choose your next Art Adventure…


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 Winter Holiday Workshops

Week 1.

Animal Closeups- Painting & drawing.    Monday 4th July

We share the world with other animals. Sometimes as tame pets, as livestock and more rarely as wild creatures. Bring along a photo of your pet animals or work from our library of animal books. Practice quick sketching, using a range of pencils to capture the texture of animal bodies, feathery, furry, scaly and slick. Observe images of wild animals and learn some watercolour techniques for creating our animal close-up paintings.

Led by Painter and Educator, Lauren Van Der Hoek.

beautiful painted eyes of a leopard

Take a look through animal eyes

Viking Ships- Ceramics. Tuesday 5th July

Viking longboats, Celtic coracles, Aboriginal ‘nawi’ canoes and Inuit kayaks are all inspiration for this workshop. Sail away from pots and turn your hands to the time honoured craft of sea faring vessels. Embark on this sculptural, hand-building, Ceramics workshop using techniques that incorporate figurative and abstract decoration + armoury elements. All work to be fired in the kiln and collected next Open Day.

Led by Painter and Educator, Lauren Van Der Hoek with Teffany Thiedeman, Ceramicist and Educator

Set sail for uncharted waters

Winter Scene- Oil Painting. Wednesday 6th July

Winter, the season of short days and long,nights. Here in Canberra we really get to taste the bite of winter cold and use it as inspiration for our oil painting workshop Although winter brings its own pleasures it has always traditionally been a time of introspection and quiet thought as people try to keep warm and eat food they have stored away after Autumn harvests.

Led by Painter and Educator, Lauren Van Der Hoek.

Still Life with Skulls, Paul Cezanne 1895-1900

Under the microscope- Drawing & Painting. Thursday 7th July

Truth is stranger than Fiction! Take a scientific view of the world using USB digital microscopes to explore the smallest details of objects and transform them into our own macro drawings in various shades of lead pencil. We’ll also use a hand held magnifying glass to get a focussed view of tiny things.

During this day you will practice observational drawing and use a variety of drawing and painting techniques under the guidance of artist and Educator, Ingrid Hunter.

Observe the details

Rain Sticks & other Noise Makers- Instrument making. Friday 6th July

Feel the rhythm of art in this instrument making workshop! Rainsticks, rattles and drums are some of the sound makers we will be exploring..

We’ll be using recycled materials to make percussion instruments and looking at a range of decorative techniques for personalising your work. There will be plenty of opportunities for musical moments and to try out your instruments during the day.

 Led by Musician and Educator, Rai Andrews.

Week 2.

Little Folk Diorama-mixed material sculpture. Monday 9th July

Dioramas are miniature worlds in a box. The imaginative world of the fairy folk. These secretive entities populate stories from all over the world; from the Mimis of Arnhem land to the Leprechauns of Ireland. Our dioramas will be constructed of natural, gathered materials like sticks, feathers, acorns feathers combined with recycled objects.

We will work with a range of joining and making techniques to create our own Little Folk Diorama.

Led by Crafter and Educator, Lucy Marshall

Build furniture for Pixies

Marsupial Animalia-Ceramics.  Tuesday 10th July

Australia is home to many unique animals. We will be exploring the Marsupials- animals with pouches. The rich diversity of marsupial wildlife ranges from tiny hopping mice to fierce carnivores like the Tasmanian Devil. Learn how to make animals out of clay using hand building techniques like pinch-pots, slabs and coiling. These creations will be painted with ceramic stains and fired in a kiln for a permanent and beautiful finish.

Led by Crafter and Educator, Dora Porfirio with Ceramicist and Educator, Teffany Thiedeman

A clay striped numbat for your garden?

Dinner on a Plate-Ceramics.  Wednesday 11th July

Don’t play with your food! Unless you make it yourself…What will you make for dinner? Spag bol? Brussel Sprouts and chips? Chicken curry and rice? Use tools like garlic crushers and chopsticks to make realistic items of food. Mix colours and glaze your clay creations. They will then be fired onto ceramic plates to make a delicious permanent dinner to enjoy looking at forever.

Led by Crafter and Educator, Dora Porfirio with Ceramicist and Educator, Teffany Thiedeman

A never changing dinner!


Dragon Drawing-ink work.  Thursday 12th July

The Dragon is a symbol of power across the world. From the fluid sky swimming dragons of China to the ravenous wyrms of Europe they have enchanted our imagination with stories of their savagery, wisdom and great hordes of wealth. Choose your dragon tradition and set out on a one day quest to recreate it in pencil and ink. Learn drawing techniques to sketch out your beast and bring it to life , add colour and detail with ink.

Led by Painter and Educator, Ingrid Hunter.

A JRR Tolkien dragon drawing

Leather Craft Coin Purse- Friday 13th July

Experience using one of the oldest natural, craft materials from around the world. In this one day workshop. Work with an experienced leather worker to make a small purse and learn some decorative stitching and knots to work into your design. There will also be a chance to make an other small craft item such as a bookmark or charm and individualise your work with some decoration.

Led by Crafter and Educator, Dora Porfirio.

Use leather to make your own purse.


Creative Catalyst – Summer Holiday Program

Week 1

Monday 3rd January – Public Holiday

Tuesday 4th January – No Art Program today

Develop your observational skills

Wednesday 5th January – MiniBeasts – Watercolours

Truth is stranger than Fiction!

Take a scientific view of the world using hand held magnifying glasses to explore the smallest details and transform them into our own macro drawings in various shades of pencil. Take a really close look at some of the insects (and other mini beasts) around us- we’ll go hunting to find a selection of dead and living minibeasts to be our models. Take a look at old scientific illustrations from the early 1800s. Use a range of drawing tools, from fine pencils to charcoal and metallics to capture these amazing animals on quality paper.

Work with artist and painter Lauren Van Der Hoek


Be expansive

Thursday 6th January – MEGA Painting Action ArtAcrylic Paint

Art for kids who don’t want to sit still!

Combine movement, fun and a variety of approaches – textured paints, spray bottles, splattering, throwing and more. Brilliant and dynamic artworks will be created on a large scale. A great way to combine physicality with art making and be inspired by famous painters who really used their body to move paint around!

Do wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting art actioned…

Led by artist and painter Ingrid Hunter

Clay words for anywhere

Friday 7th January – Words of Clay – Ceramics

Make your words art as you transform the ancient art form of calligraphic drawing into sculpture. Blur the boundaries between writing and making as you model animals, vines, people and structures into the letters that will generate words. This ceramic workshop will allow participants to explore and test the limits of clay as they twist and shape it. The final touch will be the addition of colour as glaze is swept across the surfaces of the formed letters.

All work will be fired in a kiln for a permanent finish.

Led by artist  Lauren van Der Hoek or Isabelle Mackay-Sim

Week 2

Express yourself!

Monday 10th January – Mad Hatter’s Tea Party! – Mixed Materials

Enjoy Tea Time with a twist as you design and construct your very own sculptural Hat.

This is a wearable art workshop and we encourage you to let your imagination fly! From clock top hats to Bowling Hats with a swimming pool in them, here is your change to make the zaniest hat you can conceive…Our hats will be constructed from a base of firm foam and then we will use an immense range of materials to make the most original hats ever…In the afternoon we will all have a very special afternoon tea/performance in our wonderful hats.

Led by artist and painter Lauren Van Der Hoek.

Explore the majesty of trees

Be inspired by mighty trees

Tuesday 11th January – The Tree – Painting & Drawing

Trees are some of the oldest living organisms on the planet. They are vital to life on earth and providers of shelter, food, oxygen and energy. Cultures from all over the world recognise the importance of trees and their powerful symbolism; representing the cycle of life and the interconnectedness of living systems. 

Take a look at some beautiful trees from across the globe including mighty and ancient trees still living today. Be inspired to draw and paint your own Tree. We will experiment with inks, paints, markers and different drawing materials on paper to express ourselves using this wonderful symbol.

Led by artist and painter Ingrid Hunter

Make your own magic

Wednesday 12th January – Magic Potion Bottles – Mixed materials

Part design, part sculpture, part science experiment; enjoy a day of assembling materials and working on your graphic design skills to create beautiful bottles containing mysterious magic potions.

Use a range of materials to create intriguing components for your spell bottles and fill them with shimmering, coloured, dynamic liquid.

Create original labels for your potion bottles and take them home for a magic party!

Led by Artist and painter Lauren Van Der Hoek

An image of a tree spirit on a ceramic plate

Tell your story

Thursday 13th January – Story Bowl – Ceramics

Write your story in a bowl.

Learn how to use moulds and tools to create a range of different sized and shaped bowl forms. Have a go with scraffito, slip trailing and underglaze painting to decorate the surface with a narrative.

Learn about glazing and have your work fired to midfire temperatures (1200C) in a kiln.

Led by artist and ceramicist Isabelle Mackay-Sim


Go searching in nature

Friday 14th January – Nature’s Treasure Hunt – Oil Painting and Drawing

Transform the ordinary into the sublime!

Go for a treasure hunt to collect flowers, fruits, various leaf forms, pine cones and other natural objects, complemented by images from Aeon Academy’s own fabulous art library. Students will paint from life and create a lustrous and original oil painting, over a full day.

Spend the day training your eye and developing your oil painting skills.

Led by artist and painter Lauren van der Hoek

Week 3

Weave your World

Monday 17th January – Yarn Bomb!- Textiles

Ojo de Dios is Spanish for Eye of God.  They are simple to make and can be striking to look at. Starting here we will look at colours, textures, scale and contrast. We will also be using all recycled or found materials, including our weaving sticks.

Enjoy playing with various threads, wools, strings and wires to create a range of sculptural forms from small to very large outdoor ‘nests’.

Led by artist and painter Lauren van der Hoek


Build magnificent monsters

 Tuesday 18th January – Fantastic Beasts- Ceramics

Learn clay techniques to bring a Fantastic Beast into three dimensional life.

Phoenix, Hydra or Kitsune- the world is populated with wonderful mythical creatures to inspire your clay making. Discover techniques for making heads, bodies and legs and then covering your beast with scales, feathers or fur. Work with a wide range of ceramic tools to produce different sculptural effects.

We will finish our creations with glaze and fire them in the kiln for a permanent finish.

  Led by artist and ceramicist Ochre Bodhi    


Bunny Bell

Wednesday 19th January – Beautiful Bells – ceramics

Bells are sounded to call attention to a change or mark a transition: in time, in activity, or in mood. Bells and bell-like objects have been used for religious and meditative purposes in cultures all over the world, and their clear ring is associated with tranquility and peace. In this workshop you’ll develop your ceramic skills, working with pinch pots, coils, and hand-building techniques to model and construct your bells. After they’ve taken shape, you’ll look at different ways to finish them using simple slip trailing, carving, and a little bit of glaze. All bells will be fired in a kiln to produce a lovely note!

Work with artist and ceramicist Ochre Bodhi

small and beautiful

Thursday 20th January – Mini Bird BathsCeramics

Create miniature, beautiful birdbaths to adorn your inside pot plants or create amazing props for dioramas, fairy gardens and more.

Hand craft your ceramic water bowl and experiment with melted glass marbles to create pools of water.

Clay is a natural, non toxic and lovely material to work with allowing both functional and sculptural elements to be explored.

Led by artist and ceramicist Ochre Bodhi

birds and their shadows

Friday 21st January – Shadow drawings – Painting & Drawing

This drawing workshop will show you how to use shadows as a starting point for amazing drawings.

Using natural light, light boxes and lamp light we will cast shadows onto paper from various objects including our own bodies! We will be using a range of drawing materials, different hardness of pencils, charcoal and graphite powder and combining them with watercolour, acrylics and ink to make a large image. Work both as a group and individually.

Led by artist  Lauren van Der Hoek

Week 4

Monday 24th January – Pet Portraits– Painting & Drawing

We share the world with other animals. Sometimes as tame pets, as livestock and more rarely as wild creatures. We will imagine a well loved pet (or wild animal) turned into a human and dress it accordingly.

This attribution of human behaviour and personality to animals is called anthropomorphism. If we make our portraits kind of funny they can become caricatures- where we exaggerate certain qualities- the stylishness of the fox, the clumsiness of the bulldog etc. 

Led by artist and painter Lauren Van Der Hoek.

Tuesday 25th January – Succulent Pots – Ceramics

Become a master pinch pot maker and learn how to stack these basic forms together to construct more complex shapes. We will consider the requirements for drainage, balance and function in making our little pots for growing hardy succulents.

All work will be finished with ceramic stains and slip and then fired in a kiln to make them permanent

Led by artist and ceramicist Ochre Bodhi

Wednesday 26th January – Public holiday 

Thursday 27th January – Babushkas – Ceramics

Babushkas are traditional wooden nesting dolls from Russia. They have captivated people’s imagination and are now found all over the world taking many, sometimes surprising, forms.

Enjoy the challenge of hand building a series of ceramic nesting figures and then decorating them with glazes. Use a range of clay techniques to decorate the surface.

All work will be fired in the kiln.

Led by artist and ceramicist Teffany Thiedeman

Easel painting is fun

Friday 28th January – Liquid Landscapes – Water Colours

Capture the movement of texture and light across a landscape to create a luminous watercolour painting in this workshop. 

Drawing inspiration from an array of wonderful Australian landscape artists: Namatjira, Heysen, Penleigh Boyd and Streeton, we’ll learn how to manipulate colour transparency, intensity and temperature to make our scenes come alive.

Led by artist and painter Lauren van der Hoek