Education: Child’s play for Leeds artist

Catherine Corfield showing the youngsters how to make Bumble Bees.
Catherine Corfield showing the youngsters how to make Bumble Bees.
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Susan Press meets a Leeds artist with a bigger picture.

A young artist is taking time out from building a world-class reputation to pass on skills to children in Leeds.

Catherine Corfield, who has fans all over the world, has just launched “Artbugs” classes for youngsters aged from two upwards.

The 32-year-old artist already has her hands full making time for her own painting and looking after two-year-old daughter Ella and seven-month-old baby Louis.

But she is determined to fit in the extra demands of running the art sessions designed for other people’s children.

She said: “It’s a lot of hard work and pretty hectic stuff but the children really enjoy it and so do I.

We’ve only been going for a few weeks but the feedback from the kids and parents is already very good so I want to persist and make it all a real success.”

Catherine’s weekly classes are 60 minutes and 90 minutes long for pre-schoolers and there is a Saturday session which is aimed at older children.

Games and music are also included in the learning curve.

She decided to launch the Artbugs initiative after identifying a need for supervised arts classes offering parents a break and the chance to unwind for an hour or so

The cost of the lessons, which are organised in four-week blocks, is a modest £4.50 an hour.

Catherine said:“Parents are normally asked to sit in on these things. I got the idea after attending a class where I struggled listening to the teacher,

keeping an eye on my daughter and juggling my new-born baby all at the same time.

“I realised that there was a gap in the market and that parents might really appreciate the chance to feel secure about leaving their children in my care,

while also feeling confident about leaving me to deal with the mess!”

Fine Art graduate Catherine recently returned to the UK after spells teaching in Korea and Cambodia and is a registered childminder.

Her home is CRB-checked, Ofsted-registered and inspected and the classes are in line with the government’s Early Years Foundation stage.

They are held Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays at her semi-detached home in Bramley.

However, she is currently investigating plans to re-locate to a bigger location if the need arises.

Catherine regularly exhibits in and around Yorkshire through galleries, art fairs and her website.

In 2010, she was appointed in an ambassadorial role as a patron of Yorkshire by marketing agency Welcome to Yorkshire.

In her artworks, she combines traditional landscapes with abstract cityscapes, jazz and music paintings and portraits specifically designed for children.

Her originals currently sell for up to £600 a time and she hopes to grow in stature as an artist all over the globe.

But she plans to carry on with the classes for aspiring young painters.

“Children love being creative and exploring their artistic side.

“I see my job as being able to give them the guidelines and individual attention they need to progress.

“In the classes, we can also do projects which they possibly don’t get the chance to do in school or nursery in quite the same way. Most days, we are having such a good time that the hour has gone before I know it, so that must be a good sign!”

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