Archives for posts with tag: Science

It’s a blessing to be hosted by a pre-school! So for a few weeks, l’Observatoire has been collaborating with children to figure out what might be the interesting and exciting questions to ask about rubber trees and rubber seeds.

Artist Isabelle Desjeux has been sharing some of the pods collected around Singapore, and the students are sharing their thoughts… the result is a classroom environment called “HEVEALOGY”. Step right in!

Poster Observatoire.jpg


Classes have started again this week! We never have more than 7 student per class, so at the start of a new term, when some students move on, there are often a small number of spaces available. Look below and see if there is something for you. If you have a group of 3 or more students, however, we’d have to start a new class for you.

Painting Our Book Covers...

Painting Our Book Covers…

On Monday (3:30-4:30 class), in Drawing Class, the 5 year olds took inspiration from simple bottles and learned to see the details that makes one different from the other, and started drawing their own.

Teacher: Richard. Number of places available for new students: 2

Still-Life by a 5-year old

Still-Life by  5-year old student

On Monday (4:45-6:15 class), in the ArtScience Class the 7-10 year olds discovered the wonders of magnifying glasses, fresnel lenses, magnifying with water, and projection on frosted sheet. The went home with their own home-made Camera Obscura!

Teacher: Isabelle. Number of places available for new students: 0

Shoe-box camera obscura

Shoe-box camera obscura

On Tuesday (3:00-4:00), in Drawing Class it was the first class for a group of enthusiastic 6 and 7-year olds. They tried mark-making with a variety of media, and drew the first element of the large drawing project that will continue over the weeks.

Teacher: Richard Kearns. Number of places available for new students: 0

On Tuesday (4:00-5:00), the more advanced 6 and 7-year olds tackled the same project: Looking and Drawing a coffee cup from different angles.

Teacher: Richard. Number of places available for new students: 1

Looking at and drawing a coffee cup, with Richard.

Looking at and drawing a coffee cup, with Richard.

On Wednesday (4:30-5:30), in Art and Crafts (for ages 6-8 or older), we started looking at how to make books, looking through the studio’s collection of hand-made artist books. The students then painted sheets to be used for the cover of their first book…

Teacher: Isabelle. Number of places available for new students: 3

Some acrylic-decorated papers to inspire the budding artists

Some acrylic-decorated papers from the studio, to inspire the budding artists

On Thursday (3:30-4:40) in Art and Science for the Little Ones, we also started with some art, and looking at the “technology” required to make a book, the different parts of a book. The students looked at the collection of artist books, taking in how each did not comply with the classic definition of a book, but argued about whether they were still books or not! They each chose their favorite book (based on colour, story, format…), and set out to also paint a cover to start their book.

Teacher: Isabelle. Number of places available for new student: 0

Showing off their favorite books from the collection. Some made by students, some by artists.

Showing off their favorite books from the collection. Some made by students, some by artists.

on Saturday (9:30-11:30), at the Open Studio for teenagers (from age 12), we welcomed 2 new students and the first class was aimed at getting to know each other, exploring styles and finding out what everyone’s favorite medium was. Easels will come up next week! Upon my remark that the class was so quiet, Emma (16) remarked:

“It’s like when you give a small kid an ice cream. They go quiet as they enjoy their treat. It’s the same for us when you give us something to draw”

Teacher: WeiXin. Number of places for new student: 2

Drawing still life with WeiXin

Drawing still life with WeiXin

On Saturday (12:00 -1:30), Drawing Class for advanced 8-11 year olds, children decided to fold origami cranes. The first decorated a variety of papers with a chosen patten and learned to fold their animal step-by-step. Those will be used as drawing props for next week before going home as mobiles.

Teacher: WeiXin. Number of places for new student: 0

If you are interested to enrol in either of these classes, you may go and check the Classes page for details, and drop us a line with the form below and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Our beautiful view outside the studio, a perfect set-up to place our home-made cameras. Below, picture captured by on of the students.

Our beautiful view outside the studio, a perfect set-up to place our home-made cameras. Below, picture captured by one of the students

If you haven’t yet booked you place for the camps this summer, head over to the PinHole Camp page! There are a still a few spots left in both weeks…

Week 1 : 23 – 27 June 2014, 9:30am-12:30pm

Week 2: 7 – 11 July 2014, 9:30am-12:30pm

Learn to make your own camera, the basics of dark room, develop your own pictures and this will set you up for a summer full of investigations. We promise the kids won’t be bored for the rest of the summer once they’ve attended this week-long hands-on course! You can even buy the material to set up your own dark room on the spot at the end of the camp.

Where: l’Observatoire, Blue House International School, 2 Turf Club Road, Singapore (287988)

Who: For kids 7 to 17 years old…

How much: $350 includes all material. Add $50 if you are not yet a Blue House Member.

Register here


Contact me




June 2012 ; June 2013

June 2012 ; June 2013

In June last year, the walls were being painted, some plugs being fitted. Tables made their way in, as well as some high tech and much low tech. One year on, it is time to reflect on the journey so far.

The plants have grown and are now hiding the fish, giving them, hopefully, all the privacy they need to make new babies… something we’ll need to follow up on.

The year has gone by to the rhythm of regular drawing classes (now being documented on the  Isadora’s Workshop’s blog) and crazy week-long workshop for kids of all ages (from book-making to exploring weeds, creepy crawlies and learning to make knots, we’re moving to stop-motion this summer).

Being at the Blue House also means that I had some “scientist-in-residence” calls of duty from the 3 to 5 year-olds in the Blue House International School below (asking questions ranging from tadpoles, to space, water, bending metal and others in between).

Finally, we’ve also started the Tinkering Sundays with the help of the community (Blue House parents and artists).

Let’s hope the year to come brings as much joy to all who step into l’Observatoire as it has this year. And if you’d like to get involved, we’d love to hear from you. Just leave a message below, or better still, come and visit.

It was an amazing week of running after bugs, understanding what makes insects special, discovering new types of insects… and project making! 10 students aged 6 to 11 took over the Observatoire and spent a week familiarizing themselves with the small insects. We were lucky enough to have the support of Gladys, a gap-year student very keen on environment issues. Gladys volunteers at a number of places from NUS to Coastal Clean-ups and is keen to help bring people closer to the environment and science issues in general. We also had the visit of Sean Yap, another energetic gap-year student keen on all sorts of insects but more specifically involved in a ladybug-census project. He came to talk about these insects with the students and walk outside with us. This led to a very informal and fruitful morning as the students watched ladybugs devour aphids LIVE. Nature is not all cute!

Some of the time spent inside was devoted to drawing, but more students were keen on hands-on projects, so some made insect-like drawing robots or an electric questionnaire, a chance to find out more facts about the small creatures.

On the Friday, we had a small exhibition and students from the Senior Kindergarden of the Blue House International School eagerly came to see what the Creepy Crawlies camp had to offer. It was a great moment to be able to share the work from the week with an eager group of smaller public.

Much of the work done during this week will inform the series of Insect workshops planned at the Lycée Français de Singapour later in June.

Now if you’ve missed this camp, it will run again on the first week of July, see detailed info here. Make sure to sign-up early!

Making a microscope webcam

webcam with extra lens, ruler, LED torchlight and lightbox

This post is not a HOW-TO. There are many sites online that will tell you how to make your own iPhone microscope.

In this post, I want to suggest and explore possibilities for trying out different methods, finding out what the difficulties/limitations are and allowing the tinkerers to try for themselvs.

I want a microscope I can take out to the fields to take enlarged pictures of extraordinary (and ordinary) things that we view outside. This so that I can take the picture back inside, and study it more in the laboratory. I also want to be able to share what I see under the microscope by projecting it. There are great tools called “Document cameras” that schools use nowadays, but those are large and expensive, single-use machines. I want something simple, and that I have built myself , so that I can take it apart and make it do something else if I need.

Some of the materials used so far: door-viewer, taken apart, $20 webcam connected to my Mac, high-intensity LED torchlight, lightbox. I want to explore cheaply-available loupes, and home-made glass-beads next.

The team: Marlou Jasmin Madriou, Leonardus Adi Prasetya Suherlan and Isabelle Desjeux.

If you are interested, and also want to try out, there is a chance that we will be manning a booth at this year’s First-ever Singapore Mini Maker Fair. I invite you to join us!

This is the first entry in this blog, to celebrate the birth of L’Observatoire in Singapore, under the Blue House School .

The Observatoire will be run by artist-scientist Isabelle Desjeux, and is a branch of Isadora’s Workshop, focusing on art and science as tools of discovery and learning.

We will be located in Bukit Timah, at the edge of the jungle, as part of the Blue House Village, and plans are underway for the place to be ready in September…

Check back soon to see what programs are being offered, from classes for kids and professionals, holiday camps, workshops for families, partnerships, and community events.