Armchair Gallery

How to run a creative workshop based on Vase with Flowers

Artwork by Jan van Huysum, created in 1732

About this activity

Workshop themes

  • Composition
  • Flowers
  • Still life
  • The seasons


  • Suitable for groups
  • Suitable for one to one

Difficulty level




  • Name badges (for all participants and staff).


  • Go around the room and make eye contact with everyone, shake their hand and say hello.
  • Sit in a circle and begin by inviting the group to try making a buzzing noise.
  • Try this a couple of times and then explain that you are going to try and pass a buzz around the circle.
  • The facilitator demonstrates first by making a buzzing noise, then passes the buzz to the next person by pointing to them.
  • Each person takes a turn to buzz, passing it to the next person, until it works its way around the circle.
  • Try this a couple of times in one direction, and then in the other.
  • Introduce the idea that people can also pass the buzz across the circle, by pointing to the next person they choose in the circle.
  • See how long the group can keep the buzz moving before it stops.




  • Look at the artwork using the Armchair Gallery app.
  • Welcome and invite the person or group to create with you and write their answers on the flip chart. Ask open-ended questions (like in the list to the right).
  • Affirm/echo all their answers - together we build a story that can have sound, movement, words - even drawings.
  • Retell the story, then invite them to add another creative element like sound, or movement.

Suggested Questions

  • What is going on in the picture?
  • What colours and shapes can you see?
  • What flowers can you see?
  • Where do you think these flowers were grown?
  • What season do you think it is?
  • What do you think they smell like?
  • Why do you think this was painted by the artist?
  • What would you name this piece of art?
  • What emotion do you think the picture is hoping to portray?
  • What other wildlife can you see here?

Play this video

Workshop members can watch this on their own tablet, or you can play it to the group by connecting your tablet to a TV or projector. It can also be downloaded from the Armchair Gallery website.

Interact with the artwork

At this point in the workshop participants should have a go at using the app to interact with the artwork. From the main menu, enter Dulwich Picture Gallery, select Vase with Flowers and tap Interact and play.

Multi-Sensory Exploration, Part 1


  • Print copies of the poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud from this link.
  • Four tastes linked to the four seasons.
  • Selection of fresh and artificial flowers.
  • Flower press.
  • Photo frames.


  • Read the poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud aloud together as a group.
  • The sentiments and emotions within the words of the poem can be explored and discussed as a group. Ask people how the poem makes them feel?

Multi-Sensory Exploration, Part 2


  • Select four tastes that relate to the four seasons e.g. ice-cream for summer, hot (chocolate) drinks for winter, easter eggs for spring and pumpkins/seeds for autumn.
  • Prepare and present these tastes to the group and people if they can guess why the four tastes were chosen. This will stimulate conversation and curiosity for the concept and themes of Vase with Flowers.


  • Pass around a selection of flowers (real or artificial) to the group. Ask people to touch the stem, the petal, stamen and inside of the flower.
  • Ask people.
  • What do they feel like?
  • Does it remind you of anything?
  • Is it soft or rough? and so on….

Multi-Sensory Exploration, Part 3


  • If possible, walk outside with participants and pick a selection of flowers. Put these inside a flower press in order to preserve them. When the flowers are completely flattened (this may take a few weeks) present these in a frame.


  • Take some time to smell the fresh flowers and explore the different scents.

Making: Flower Arrangement


Conclude the creative session by creating a group drawing of a flower in any season. This can then be used for a Timeslips story in future sessions. Thank everyone for attending and participating and give everyone a round of applause.


Getting Materials

You should be able to get most of the materials mentioned in this guide at your local arts supplier.

They are also avaiable on Amazon. If you shop via Amazon Smile (using the button below - UK only), then we will recieve a donation that we can put towards our work with older people.

Other Apps

You could use these other apps to further explore digital technology in your workshop.