With fans and streamers, a trip to Japan by way of Hokusai's Great Wave

Creatively decorating and spelling Japan and Tokyo was just the start of camper's journey last week to Japan. Kids ages 6 to 12 who attend Creative Clay's "Art Around the World" inclusive summer camp spent the week learning about the culture and art of Japan, a sovereign island nation in East Asia.

Instructor Patsy Lieberman led the group on a colorful journey of edification, which included name writing with watercolors in Japanese, decorating plates and making good-enough-to-eat sushi collages, and creating Japanese flower arrangements in small glass vases.

Fans are popular accessory for Japanese women. Lieberman taught the students how to make Japanese-style fans, which are seen as a symbol of prosperity, signified through the act of spreading when opened. Dating back to the year 700, the folding Japanese fan is very important in the culture of the Japanese society, not only providing a respite from heat, but also used in cultural display during dance performances or other significant events. Campers made their own Japanese style fans using Smart Fab fabric, popsicle sticks and colored pencils.

'Under the Wave off Kanagawa' ('The Great Wave'), by Hokusai, is probably the most iconic Japanese artwork in the world.  The wood-block work was published sometime between 1829 and 1833 in the late Edo period as the first print in Hokusai's series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. It is Hokusai's most famous work, and one of the most recognizable works of Japanese art in the world, depicting a monstrous wave about to come crashing down on three fishing boats and their crews. Campers created their own versions of this work by painting the wave, then drawing patterns on top of image with paint markers.

Students also made Koinobori Carp streamers using fabric, markers and yarn; and studied the works of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.