I’ve been thinking a lot about collaborative artwork for an upcoming class, and planning how to help the kids create with one another—instead of alongside one another. My kids and I have been creating a lot of art together. It’s what we need right now: art and connection. (Also nature and extra love and puppy hugs and campfires and… well, lots of good things!)
It’s amazing how sibling irritations can be eased by a simple rule: “Don’t draw over anyone else’s art.” When there’s only one rule to stick to, everything gets easier. Part of me wishes everything were this easy…
It’s been interesting to revisit the collaborative art that was created on my birthday a year and a half ago (all pictures are from this project). It’s like a snapshot of the gathering of friends and family. But instead of a photo moment, this beautiful thing is something we made together. It was the best gift.
I wanted to have an Art Birthday Party (never too old, I say). So I hosted a potluck, and put out a 15 x 20 inch piece of hot press watercolor paper, and an assortment of pens, paints, stamps, markers and oil pastels. There’s something powerful about looking back on photos, as well as art from times past. My kids had fun this week remembering who drew what on this paper, turning it round and round to figure it all out–there is no “Up” on this art! Things in my life have changed a lot since that birthday, but this colorful treasure remains. I think this coming spring it’ll be time for another round of Birthday Art 🙂
Some days, being indoors is unbearable, especially for my homeschooled kids, especially in fall, especially when the fire pit is in sight through the window…
We recently took a trip to the Churchville Nature Center for their Lenni Lenape Harvest Celebration, where Chris Egnoto (above) gave lessons on primitive (ie more fun and awesome) fire making.
We’re working on continuing to learn that skill. I’m thinking it’ll take a bit of time. But for now, with the aid of a couple of matches, all homeschooling took place by the fire. With toast.
In fact, fire was on the (ever informal) subject list for the day. Not sure what on earth I’ve been thinking (um, says the red-headed Aries who loves burning stuff), but I can’t remember the last time the kids were solely in charge of fire-building. So today, my son did it all himself. And toast was eaten.
When the toddler woke up, he built it back up with pure determination. Okay, we added some lung-power to help him out as he added sticks and leaves. And next time, my daughter will have her turn to build solo.
It was all easier, being in nature to accomplish our homeschooling tasks. Reading about Lewis and Clark outdoors by the fire made much more sense, and Math Review In The Dirt turned refusal into speedier calculations with a few smiles, even though he’d rather be drawing. The young artists were more relaxed, and I got to smell like woodsmoke, my favorite perfume.
I have been recently told that tiny monkeys live in holes such as these, and I am not one to argue with this line of thinking. I can picture them perfectly, can’t you?
Sometimes all you need to do to inspire creativity is pull out materials the kids haven’t seen in a while, or something they’ve never seen. In this case, washable brush tip markers, freshly sharpened colored pencils, and graphic pencils in varying hardnesses. After some testing to see what’s what, a flurry of activity followed:
This lady’s mouth is big enough for children to climb into!
Part of a community play at the
Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA.
First there was a great wooden kitchen cart that I found put out to trash in Manayunk.
Then… there was InkTober.
Inspired by Ben Hatke of the Zita the Spacegirl series and Jake Parker of Missile Mouse series? Yep, these kids were game. And at first… at first paper was enough for us.
But the supplies were on the kitchen cart… and they know my feelings about artistic graffiti created in the right situations… Sooo…
It’s been a week and they’re still drawing. The kitchen cart that almost went into a landfill, now has a new life as a work of art.