For years we had two giant shelves loaded with art supplies in the boys bedroom. Quite often I would hear them digging around, looking for just the right recycled box to paint and become some new part of a very elaborate Lego world. It was organized and seemed to work fine, aside from the occasional mess, but a visit to a creative friend's house made me consider taking it all a step further. She turned a small sun room into a children's art studio and it was pure magic.
My kids were delirious visiting her house and it seemed to ignite a new level of creating love. One weekend later I convinced my husband to give up a barely used sunroom/office to create our own family art studio. There is just something about claiming some territory and honoring creativity in the place where you live and spend so much of your time. The kids have spent hours upon hours since holed up in the little room, creating to their hearts content.
Here is what I have learned so far:
Even the baby will want to participate. It helps to surrender to artsy mess and just let them get messy and into everything. We keep the any toxic or tiny supplies high and in tight containers, but markers, crayons and the like are fair game. Lyra constantly has marker all over her but she is happy.
Use what you already have. Dig through junk drawers and recycle bins. You probably already have most of the supplies you need. It is just a matter of organizing it and laying it out in an accessible and inviting way. If this isn't your strong suit, invite and super clean neat freaky friend over, she'll know exactly what to do. Don't be afraid of getting rid of old stuff to make the clearing for the new space either. Think about why and how you use your current living spaces. Are they being utilized? Is a guest room really necessary? Can a space be shared if you really can't give it entirely over?
Add some love to your space. Hang your children's own framed art work in the space. Put up shelves for sculptures and pottery. Don't forget to add photographs that remind you of beauty and family love. Music is a must have! My son Josiah made the art shown above after we were all sitting in the studio working on our own projects and listening to Yellow Submarine by The Beatles. We sometimes play family DJ and everyone picks a song to add to the playlist. All of it invites togetherness and creativity.
Do you have a small carved out for your art or work? What tips do you have for encouraging art in your home? Tell us in the comments.
I believe there is an artist in all of us, some very tiny and others huge. Many times we just can't figure out what our medium is. Childhood is perfect time to cultivate and explore this part of each human.Tony DiTerlizzi, illustrator and the co-author of The Spiderwick Chronicles took some time to talk to me about his own path to becoming an artist and best selling author.
His words about what role the adults in his life played in his journey really stuck with me as I have a little boy at home drawing monsters and aliens. So this weekend found us all around a table just drawing together. Jack picked up Ed Emberley's Halloween Book at the school library. We took turns drawing skeletons and scary stuff while Lucy drew self-portraits.
Here are some ideas if you are encouraging young artists in your house:
1. Use the real stuff. Wander the aisles in a real art store. They usually have a kid version of a little bit higher quality materials which are often times easier to work with and produce a different kind of art. It is more expensive but you don't have to buy a lot. It makes art feel special too.
If this feels like a stretch for your finances, delve into the world of creating recyled art, it's endless and great for the earth.
2. Practice, practice, practice. Have art materials everywhere. Keep journals and pencils/pastels in a kit for the car or your purse. Tiny balls of wax or clay in a take along bag or even a travel watercolor kit. Art can be done anywhere and at times when you need little hands to be busy.
Turn off the televsion, throw on some music, and leave materials on a table. Don't say a word. Let kids find and create on their own.
3. Have your own art show. Collect the pieces of work your child has created and hold your own art show. Send out invitations, create a gallery feel in your house displaying their art. Serve lemonade and cookies. Invite adults and children to share in the work and artist your child is.
4. Claim the artist. Refer to your child as an artist. Ask questions about why and how they create what they do. Help create space and environments in which they can work. You don't have to evaluate their art, try encouraging their effort and intent. Like everything else in childhood, it is about process and is always better when it is a form of play.
What other ways do you encourage the artist in your house? Tell us in the comments.