Where’s the art?

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I haven't posted too much about art activities in a while, have I? And if you looked in our studio right now, you'd see piles of fabric, freezer paper scraps, and t-shirts with stencils and appliques in various stages of completion. Not pots of paint or bowls of collage materials.

I'm still trying to find a balance with the new things in my life. For one thing I've started crafting and sewing more lately. And then started the etsy shop as a way to generate some sort of income. I'm also about to start an art class for toddlers (in addition to the art group)… AND I am trying to enjoy the summer and my family. And keep the garden alive.

So where's the art?

The truth is, we haven't been doing much of it. Partly because of our vacation and out-of-town visitors, and also partly because of all these new things I'm adding to my juggling act. I just haven't quite mastered it all yet. But the art won't stay out for long! I promise.

Since we haven't been doing much art in the past week couple of weeks, I'm going to post my wish list of artful activities I'd like to try with Maia and with the art group.

First, I really want to try Tracy Hildebrand's handmade paper shapes. I think it would be a great project for the art group, but want to find an old thrift store blender first. I have to admit our blender is pretty old, but I rely on it everyday for smoothies, so would hate to kill the motor.

We have a library book called Violet's Music (I forget who recommended it–one of you). In the story, Violet makes a "horn" out of a toilet paper roll painted and collaged with feathers and other interesting tidbits and then goes on to play it all day long. I'd like to try that with the art group, and maybe also collaged cardstock crowns.

Some things I want to try soon from my Making Things book:  printing with potato shapes, roller printing with cardboard shapes glued to a rolling pin, bed friends (pillow dolls), a leaf skeleton ironed between sheets of wax paper, simple looms, and quick batik cloth.

Some more ideas…

Homemade paints from MaryAnn Kohl's First Art, including cold cream paint, egg paint, fragrant paint, Jell-O paint, and mud paint.

Splatter painting, drip painting, and spray painting from Susan Striker's Young at Art. They sound like great outdoor activities for the summer!

Also, Sharon Lovejoy's Stepping Stone Gallery! And her beanpole teepee or moonflower tent. Oh, and etching the pumpkins when they get big enough and watching the drawings grow with the pumpkins!

Do you have any ideas for me to add to my list? I haven't been reading any blogs lately so this list is mostly from my bookshelf. I want to make sure that we keep the art in our life, so I'm making a list and posting it on my wall. I'm going to aim for doing one a day with Maia or with the art group. So send on your ideas!!

And thank you.

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  1. Barbara says

    One thing that was a big hit with my class of four-year-olds was yarn on balloons. The yarn and string we used was all white and dipped in a mixture of paint and white glue, but you could use colored yarn and skip the paint. We wanted them to choose the colors and mix the paint and glue, but it’s not necessary. Anyway the glue-soaked yarn is draped all over a balloon hung over plastic. It dries overnight and then you pop the balloon. I wish you could have seen their faces the first time I popped the balloon. Hands over their ears, wild smiles of anticipation, great laughter and lots of hopping up and down–they loved it so much, they immediately asked to do it again. We ended up doing it twice more and may have done even more but it was the last week of school. The three resultant sculptures are still hanging in the hallway because the directors have requested one to hang in the office.

  2. Camille says

    The toddler art classes are a great idea – if I were local I’d totally be there!
    Best of luck in your new ventures – your work is wonderful!

  3. says

    How about freezing liquid watercolors in ice cube trays and painting with them as they melt (best outdoors, so the melting happens quicker). You can put popsicle sticks in them or just use hands (great sensory experience). Coffee filters are my paper of choice for the liquid watercolors.
    Have you let the kids explore with the biodegradable packing peanuts and water yet? Tons o’ fun and discovery there! Sculpt with them by just touching them to a damp sponge then sticking the pieces together…or make mush by getting them really wet and squishing them around (this is a quintessential process over product experience), but you could add color to the water for another level of interest. Medicine droppers are fun to have on hand for this activity.

  4. says

    something i haven’t tried but I’m intrigued by is the Japanese art of gyotaku (fish printing). You know I’m all about the sensory aspect of art-making for kids (espec. tots), but not sure I can stomach the sensory aspect of this one! I know you can order rubber fish replicas from Blicks or Nasco, but it seems like cheating. Would love to know if anyone has tried this, and if so, was it too gross, any pointers, etc??

  5. Barbara says

    I’ve done fish printing with real fish and with plastic trays shaped like fish. I’m sorry to say that we get much better prints from the trays. Still, it’s worthwhile using real fish, at least once. The kids love it, especially the eyes. The teachers tend to go “yuck!” which tells you that it’s a good stretch for them, too

  6. says

    I’ve been wanting to try the fish printing! Thanks for the reminder. I bet the kids would think it’s cool. And the finished result can be beautiful. Whole fish are expensive though…

  7. andreamcmann says

    Barbara, I LOVE that yarn and paint idea! I’d like to know what the proportions are for glue and paint, if anyone knows…
    Here are some fun links I found this morning:
    You’d need a clothesline for this one: http://familyfun.go.com/parenting/learn/feature/familyfun123-toddler-outdoors/familyfun123-toddler-outdoors5.html
    Here are some fun home-made bird feeders: http://familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts/crafts-by-age/feature/ff0407-nature-crafts-for-toddlers/ff0407-nature-crafts-for-toddlers2.html
    Here’s a nice one for a rainy day, or you could use a sprinkler: http://familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts/crafts-by-age/feature/ff0407-nature-crafts-for-toddlers/ff0407-nature-crafts-for-toddlers3.html
    Fun with grass seeds:
    Here’s a different type of paper shape:
    Also, maybe you could do some Father’s Day activities. I know I’d be interested in neat gifts the kids could make their dad, without spending a bunch of money…

  8. Sara says

    I checked out this book at my library a few months ago called “Summer crafts : fun and creative projects for the whole family ”
    I has alot of ideas for incorporating the outdoors with art. I believe it is available on Amazon.com

  9. Barbara says

    I don’t think the proportions matter. We poured white glue in a bowl and let the kids add paint until it was the color they wanted, some pastel, some brighter.

  10. molly says

    Couple of things come to mind…
    Wet chalk on black paper. Maybe you’ve already done this but I love the way the colors pop on the black background. Always fun for us.
    Leaf prints. This might be a bit beyond the toddler age group, but last night I was making leaf prints on fabric as described in the Lotta Prints book by Lotta Jansdotter (http://jansdotter.com/shop/item.php?serial=503). It was really fun for me and something similar might be exciting for kids. Maybe just using regular paint? The brayer would be fun for them too, I imagine.
    Paint on the pool deck. A friend of mine suggested painting with paint brushes on the pool deck with pool water. I thought it was a great idea, though we haven’t tried it yet.
    Ice cream. Maybe not exactly art…but food can be a work of art and anything as good as ice cream should definitely be considered as such! Take a quart and a gallon plastic ziplock type bag, in the small bag put 1 c milk, 2 Tbsp (+/-) sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, in the big bag put ice and salt (1/4 cup or so). Close both bags, put on mittens and shake until you have ice cream. This was always the hit of the summer at my kids camp!

  11. andreamcmann says

    Thanks, Barbara.
    I used to work at a library when I was in high school, and at the end of the summer reading program, we had a party where we made ice cream the way that Molly suggested. The kids ADORED it!!