Art around you | Louise Bourgeois

10 am is When You Come to Me

Activities for children of all ages to look at, talk about and make their own discoveries about art.

As you explore this resource please keep in mind that there are no wrong answers, or that there is only one way to do the activities - they are all about looking, chatting, making, and exploring art, wherever you are and whatever you have around you.

You know your child best

Some activities may suit you better than others so pick and choose!


We’ve aimed the language at age 7+, but activities can be suitable for any age, just adapt to suit your child.


How long your child engages with the activity will vary. Depending on their age, the way they’re feeling that day, the immediate appeal of any activity... some will work better than others. Don't worry if they're not feeling it - try again another time, or move on to something else. You might be surprised by what they're interested in.  


We hope these suggestions will allow your child to develop their creativity by encouraging their curiosity, open mindedness, problem-solving and imagination.

Art knowledge

You don’t need to know anything about art to have fun with it. Encourage your child to share their ideas, observations and opinions. There’s never a wrong answer about art. And it's ok not to know all the answers. Nobody does. Where would the fun be in that?


If something worked, do it again!

Let your child lead

You don’t need to have all the ideas. In fact, if you really want your child to be creative, encouraging them to come up with their own ideas is a brilliant way to help your child be creative and explore their imagination.

Try to enjoy, together

Take a deep breath, you’re doing a brilliant job. Let us know if we can support you - we can't wait to see you in the gallery, as soon as we can.

Louise Bourgeois

10 am is When You Come to Me


This series of paintings represents Louise Bourgeois’ friendship with Jerry Gorovoy. The hands are painted on top of printed musical score paper in red.

It’s called 10am is When You Come to Me and refers to the time that he would arrive at her studio to begin their daily routine together. He worked with Louise Bourgeois for thirty years; their day together would begin at 10am.

These activities will prompt us to think about friendship, care, and how we can represent our daily routines!

Activity one: Give us a hand!

How do we care for the people that we love? How do we care for ourselves?

Let’s create an imaginary art recipe full of ingredients – things that help you feel good and might make others feel good too!

Your recipe, made up of your own personal favourite ingredients, could be a list, a set of photographs, a song, dance or a drawing! It’s up to you.

Examples of favourite-thing ingredients could be:

  • A song that makes you smile and dance every time you hear it
  • An object that a friend gave to you
  • A big hug from someone you love
  • A favourite, cosy corner that you like the best
  • The smell of your favourite food cooking
  • The feeling you get when you wear your favourite item of clothing

… anything that makes you smile!

You can use anything that you have around you to record your ingredients and make a recipe to share with others; materials could include:

  • Pencils, crayons, pens, paint to write with
  • Paper, newspaper, old envelopes, cardboard box to write on
  • A phone or camera to take pics, make a video, record sound to send a message

One of the best things about recipes is you can share them!
Pass your recipe on to a friend or someone from your family and ask them to make a recipe of their own that you can try out – or send us your recipe via #HomeArt – we’d love to give them a go!

Activity two: See, think, wonder

This series of paintings represents a relationship between two friends. Louise said of her friend Jerry:

‘When you are at the bottom of the well, you look around and say who is going to get me out? In this case it is Jerry who comes and he presents a rope, and I hook myself on the rope and he pulls me out.’

These questions help us think about how we support and help the people that we care about:

  • Can you think of a time when somebody cared for you? What did it feel like, what did they do to help? It could be something really small, or really big.
  • What comes into your head when you hear the word, ‘care’?
  • Can you think about a time when you cared for somebody? How did it feel to care?
  • Think about some objects, places, or pets that matter to you and how you care for them.
  • Think for a moment about all of your senses; describe in your head what it feels like, sounds like, smells like or even tastes like to be supported?

Activity 3: Put your hands together!

Draw around your hand and someone else’s from your family. What type of paper would you like to draw on – newspaper, magazine, coloured paper and which pens?

Think about how you position your arms on the paper, the colours you might use and how you might distinguish your hands and arms from your family member. Louise Bourgeois’ hand can be identified by the wedding ring she wore.


Activity 4: Watch

The hands in Louise bourgeois’ paintings are painted on top of musical score paper – the hands and arms make a kind of dance. Watch this performance in the gallery and think about how the performers’ costumes and their movements could relate to Louise Bourgeois’ art.

Take a moment to design your own costume inspired by an artwork of your choice. You can find lots of inspiration on our website.


Activity 5: Take note

Louise Bourgeois kept lots of diaries and used words, drawings and marks to record her feelings and emotions. Keep a diary for 5 days, recording a few words to sum up your day.

Colour is very important in the work of Louise Bourgeois; the colours red, white and blue - the colours of her adopted and home country - are particularly important to her.

If your mood was a colour today, what colour would it be? Make a drawing in your diary using that colour.


For under 5s: Paper Pals!

You‘ll need A4 paper, scissors, and coloured pens or pencils.

Once you've mastered the basics of this, the possibilities are endless!

Try it with different types and sizes of papers like old envelopes, big spread newspapers... have fun creating your paper pals!