Backyard ART Camp summer art for kids :: found object art in the style of Peter Blake

welcome to the first project of backyard ART camp–the summer-long series of artist-inspired projects for kids and their grown-ups!

backyard art camp :: the first project in a summer-long series of artist-inspired projects for kids

I’m excited to share my family’s art project and chosen artist in this first installment of art camp!  our project is a found object project in the style of 50s pop artist Peter Blake.

I was immediately inspired to work on a project with the boys the moment I came across this work by Peter Blake. in fact, even though the project is off the beaten path, it was the spark of inspiration I needed for the whole backyard art camp series!

Peterblakeimage from fffound

{image courtesy of ffffound}

I don’t have an art degree or even anything close so I often come across really famous artists and famous pieces of art and they are completely new to me.  that is the case with peter blake and pretty much most of the found object art world.  I like to think this gives me the perspective of an outsider…I just see it and I like it or don’t like…it’s a basic emotional response.  essentially, I am the same as a 6 year old.  this happens to be handy now that I parent one.

so, when I saw this image I didn’t have any idea that peter blake is one of the best known British pop artists during the 50s and I didn’t know that he designed the sleeve of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.  I just thought to myself “that looks like the stuff I pull out of the kids pockets except it’s glued on a canvas!  awesome!”

also, the title of this piece of art is memories of place-paris, which seemed somehow perfect.  the memory of a place captured in the ephemera you find around you, it reminded me so strongly of the stuff in our lives.  I don’t know how many times I have pulled rocks and tissues and fruit bar wrappers and leaves and acorns out of the lint trap or bottom of the dryer and thought to myself, “huh, that acorn must have been picked up on our way home from camp.”  it is all a memory of a place and a time.

so, I set out to make our own memory of a place…this summer, right now.

here is how we went about our backyard art camp project:

as far as supplies we used the following things–an 11″ x 14″ art canvas (we got it in a pack of four from the pretty great kid made modern line at Target), a hot glue gun and a glue stick.  over the course of a few days we went on a  few walks to find our ‘found object’ items.  these walks were an important part of our process and the ‘build up’ to the project.  while walking, I told them to keep their eyes open for beautiful things, treasure or anything that makes them think about the summer.  I tried really hard not to ‘correct’ them or reject anything they chose.  in general, I try to impress on my kids that art can be anything they want it to be…it’s not pre-defined by anyone else.   they definitely gravitated toward natural items and I did have to discuss that thing like fresh flower petals were going to get ‘icky’ and might not look the same after a while.

backyard art camp :: summer series of artist inspired project--found object art in the style of Peter Blake

in addition to leaves and twigs, they also found some broken wood from our neighbors home improvement project; a bit of roofing that probably came down in superstorm sandy (we find entire roof shingles all the time now); a lost piece of costume jewelry; many rocks and shells; and a nut.  these walks were definitely a hit!  they loved hunting for treasure and I love that they got a chance to look at their ordinary surroundings with new eyes–noticing small things and finding hidden objects.

after we had collected a ziploc bag full of these treasures, I showed them my pinterest board of found art objects and we discussed making things out of everyday items.  C, our oldest suddenly decided this project wasn’t for him (is 6 years old too cool for mama and her projects?!)  But, J, our youngest, was totally interested so we got to it!

nearly everything needed to be glued with the hot glue gun, which I didn’t want him to use in case he burn himself.  instead, I gave him a glue stick so he would still feel like he was in charge of the project and he used the glue stick to show me where to put my glue.  the best thing about this project was he knew exactly where he wanted everything to go! backyard art camp 2013 found object art

kids are such natural artists, they don’t hesitate, they dive in and don’t look back.  it’s admirable.  I didn’t make any rules for what goes where, I left it to him and we sat and glued together.  this is what he made:

backyard art camp found object art in the style of peter blake

I love the whole thing but was particularly tickled by the edging he made at the lower-right hand corner!  I realize it isn’t exactly pretty in the standard way we expect from our children’s art projects.  this project is really about the process and the act of making.  that part of the project was a true joy and helped my kids understand art can be all kind of things!

bakcyard art camp found object art detail

this project is totally open-ended.  it could go in a million different directions.  a strong bit of cardboard would work just as well as a canvas if you don’t want to splurge.  you could fill every little bit of space on the canvas, use this basic idea for all the treasures gathered on a family vacation or trip to the beach.  you could press and preserve flowers and use those to decorate a canvas! it could become anything! find special things and glue them.  there you have it, it’s art!  let’s celebrate summer and the backyard art camp!

check back on wednesday for a review of a whole slew of book reviews from jane, my lovely cohost, and myself.  then, the rest of the backyard ART camp summer will involve so much talent and so many projects! I can’t wait! I hope you will join us! if you do, add your pictures of the flickr group so we can see what you made and show it off!

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20 Comments on Backyard ART Camp summer art for kids :: found object art in the style of Peter Blake

  1. Jane@Buzzmills
    July 15, 2013 at 9:56 am (4 years ago)

    Melissa!! I love this! Way to kick off the series with such a fantastic project!

    • ahappystitch
      July 15, 2013 at 10:07 am (4 years ago)

      Oh, thank you! We had a blast!

  2. Michelle
    July 15, 2013 at 10:07 am (4 years ago)

    Mission is set for today! Will report back with projects…

    Can’t wait!

  3. Melanie
    July 15, 2013 at 1:46 pm (4 years ago)

    This is such a great series, and I love all of the thought and intention behind it. My boys would love this– they’re always picking up rocks and feathers outside. Now they’ll have some purpose.

    • ahappystitch
      July 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm (4 years ago)

      Melanie, so glad you are joining in! Be sure to add yourself to the flickr group and share!

  4. Deborah
    July 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm (4 years ago)

    Love it! Can’t wait for our turn!!

  5. Courtney
    July 15, 2013 at 10:00 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow, way to kick off the series with an amazing project! We are bringing our buckets with us on our walk tomorrow!

    • ahappystitch
      July 15, 2013 at 10:27 pm (4 years ago)

      Buckets! What a great idea, I would say the more you collect the better! Can’t wait for your project, too!


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