What do you know about Sharjah Children & Youth Centers?

What do you know about Sharjah Children & Youth Centers?

Heba Hanafi Ali

Along the curve of the Arabian Sea lies the emirate of Sharjah. Sharjah is one of seven city-states, or emirates, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is a fascinating city, with a blend of modern buildings and ornately elegant masjids (mosques).

Sharjah is proud of its children, and provides many activities for them. In 1985 the ruling prince and princess of Sharjah–they are called the “Sheikh” and “Sheikha”–founded the Children and Youth Centers of Sharjah. In these 20 centers children ages 6 to 17 can come after school to create art, play sports, and learn about UAE culture. All children who live in Sharjah can come free of charge, whether UAE citizens or foreigners.

What are some of the things you can do at the Sharjah Children and Youth Centers? There’s a lot! Music, arts, theater, sports, religion & culture studies, science, computer science, field trips, local and international competitions and exhibitions. Wow!

You’ll definitely need your parent’s or teacher’s help with this one, but it’s worth the extra effort–look at the amazing art you can create!

Here’s what you will do: apply rubber strips to your urn, and then use a soldering iron to engrave a design in the rubber. You’ll then create raised areas with a special texturing compound. By combining engraved and raised areas you can form an interesting 3-D surface design, which you then paint any colors you want.

3-D Design: An Engraved Urn

You’ll need these supplies:

1. An object you want to decorate, such as a glass or ceramic tile, pot or vase (your “urn”).

2. Pencil and paper to plan your design

3. Strips of rubber–some thick, some thin, so you can experiment with your design. Also scissors to cut the strips.

4. Quick-drying all-purpose glue to attach the rubber strips onto your urn.

5. Texturizing paste to make raised designs, such as “Tub O’ Texture” sold by Delta Crafts. (Or any material that is 1:1:2 mixture of white aquatic feeno mastic + white glue + wooden paste.)

6. Gesso (base material used to prepare surfaces for working with acrylic colors)

7. A soldering iron to use on the rubber to make deep surfaces.

8. Translucent (clear) heavily textured material, such as those sold by Jo Sonja, Accent or National Swiss Sandtex. This will give your object a grainy texture.

9. Acrylic paints.

10. Acrylic matte varnish to protect the surface from scratches and give a tough finish.

Here is what you do:

1. Sketch some design ideas on paper. You may want to use circles, or a simple repeating pattern. Then using a pencil, outline on your urn the areas where you want to create engraved designs.

2. Cut your rubber strips to fit the outlined areas, and use the quick-drying glue to attach the strips.

3. Create raised designs with the texturizing paste, anywhere you did not stick rubber strips.

4. With the soldering iron, engrave designs on the rubber strips. Be very careful!

5. After the texturizing paste has dried, cover the entire surface with the heavily textured material (for the all-over grainy texture). Let dry completely.

6. After your object has dried, cover entirely with gesso. Again, let dry completely.

7. After the gesso has dried, use acrylics to color the surface, according to your design.

8. Let the acrylics dry, then treat the surface with the acrylic matte varnish so your urn has a tough, scratch-resistant finish.

The goals of the Sharjah Children and Youth Centers, which were founded by H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi and H.H. Sheikha Jawaher Bent Mohammed Al Qasimi, are:

1. Create a new generation with an open mind, able to create & imagine.

2. Help children & youth get a unique identity, and feel connected with their Islamic culture.

3. Developing children’s personality so they are effective in society.

4. Encouraging children to work well both individually and in teams.

5. Teach children how to share ideas with others through observation and discussion, without fear or hesitation–giving them full mental freedom.

6. Make a link between children & their families, schools, society & outside worlds through international competitions.

7. Combine education & entertainment.

These centers are unique in the Arab world.

COPYRIGHT 2004 International Child Art Foundation

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group