It’s Not About Art: Skill-building in the studio

The other day I was going through photos of our art space over the years and it hit me how much my girls have learned from having a dedicated art space in our home.

I always say that having an art space is about so much more than just having a place to do art. But I realized that maybe I take this for granted and maybe other people don’t know what happens in an art space over time.

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Family Art Events On The Road

When we began planning this 3-month Airstream tour around the US, I knew right away that I wanted to host pop-up family art events along the way. I wanted to connect with families across the country and share creative activities that might inspire them to bring more art and creativity and into their lives. But how was I going to pull that off?

The best thing about being a blogger is the friendships that I have made with other art teachers and creative mamas around the world. So once we had our trip route down, I of course went straight to my community of art teacher friends along the route and asked them to collaborate on a family art event in their town.

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Reggio Inspired Art Secrets

You probably know this by now, but I am a huge fan of the incredible art teacher and blogger, Meri Cherry. I remember discovering her work a couple of years ago when she wrote a post about wood working with toddlers. I immediately felt a kinship and was so excited to find another Reggio inspired art blogger. We eventually got to meet in person over a plate of tacos and we both couldn’t stop blabbering on about Reggio and kids art. We have been friends ever since! Meri has a way of sharing her experience as a teacher that is unlike any other teacher and blogger I know. Her beautiful photos and down-to-earth voice bring you into her world and make you feel like you are being let in on a secret. So it’s no wonder she recently published an e-book called  Art Secrets Every Teacher Should Know, A Reggio Inspired Approach.

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Q&A: Toddler Art Exploration And Clean-Up

I’m starting a new Q&A series! I get a lot of questions from readers that I think are universal challenges when it comes to kids and creativity. After sending long e-mail responses to these questions, I realized that I should be posting them here on the blog so that others can benefit as well. So if you have a question, please fee free to send me an e-mail or ask in the comments below and I’ll do my best to post my answers to each of them.

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Meet Rebecca Picker of Studio Sprout!

Rebecca Picker is a mother of 3, performer, costume designer, and founder of Studio Sprout, a children’s art studio and discovery garden in Santa Cruz, California. Rebecca and I have been friends since first meeting in college at UC Santa Cruz. When we re-connected at a college reunion a few years ago, she was super excited to hear about how I had started a toddler art studio out of my back cottage.  This got her thinking…
With a little encouragement from me and a lot of talent and drive on her part, she too was able to start a successful children’s art studio at home. I recently spent a morning at her art studio enjoying her amazing program and finding out a little more about how she managed to follow her passions and create a fulfilling business as a stay at home mom.

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Spiderweb Printmaking

For some creative Halloween decorations, we decided to try out these styrofoam spiderweb prints, seen over at Tinkerlab. We started off by cutting out two circles of foam from our Scratch Foam Boards (affiliate link), but you could also use a Styrofoam plate.
Karuna and I weren’t sure exactly how to draw a spiderweb, so we looked up a photo of one online and talked about the lines and shapes in the web. Then we each took a stab at it, and drew our version of a spiderweb and spider onto our plates.
Next we used a ball point pen over our drawings to make deep grooves in the foam. Here are our finished printing plates:

To make a print, we used a brayer (affiliate link) –a foam paint roller would do fine as well- to roll out paint onto the foam plates. In addition to black paint, we were excited to try our glow in the dark paint left over from Karuna’s birthday. We had fun swapping plates to ink and print over and over again.

After rolling out the paint, we pressed a piece of paper onto the plate, rubbed it carefully, then peeled it up to reveal our print. For an added pop of color, we used a small paint brush to paint in the spider with the opposite color.

And here are some final prints, taped to our doorway for Halloween! I haven’t yet seen whether the glow in the dark one actually works, but the yellow looks pretty cool anyway.

Happy Halloween!

Messy Clay Discoveries and Pinch Pots

For our clay week, the 1s and 2s classes explored the qualities of clay with a variety of objects. They used tools such as rolling pins, clay hammers, plastic pizza cutters, garlic presses, and modeling tools to cut and shape their clay. You can try this activity at home with our Make+Believe Create With Clay! Supply Kit.

Other objects like toys, old CDs and necklaces, were used to add texture to the clay.

The children squished and molded bits of clay with their hands- a good work out for those tiny muscles!

After a while, the teachers introduced water to investigate what happens when the clay gets wet.

A little water made the clay softer…

A lot of water made a big, fun mess!

The classes with 3 yr olds took the exploration a step further and worked on making pinch pots out of clay, then decorated them with tempera paint, sequins, and jewels. Some kids also made “elbow pots” by pressing their elbow into a ball of clay. This creates a slightly shallower bowl than a pinch pot.

 

What a keepsake!

Wacky Painting To Kick Off The New Session

Our new session began last week so, as always, we started it off with a messy painting exploration. The new children got to know the qualities of the tempera paint and investigated some of our wacky painting tools, while the returning students dove right in to this familiar scene.

In addition to our textured toys and tools, the children tried painting with an onion bulb, freshly plucked from the garden outside. The long dangling roots were especially fun to use like a brush!

The 3s class also experimented with the onion and wacky painting tools, but they first worked on color mixing and creating some multimedia paintings with their new colors and tissue paper shapes.

Every spare wall was utilized this week while the kids moved around and found new surfaces to check out.
Looking forward to a great session!
If you want to try out some wacky finger painting at home, check out our Make+Believe Finger Painting Fun! Supply Kit.