Archive of ‘art’ category

art projects for kids :: make your own pillow

lately, we have been dedicating fridays after school to at-home art projects.  with one other family, we congregate and make art together.  decorating our own pillows was one of our more successful projects (judging success by the engagement and interest that the kids took in the task, not on the outcome necessarily.  sometimes these things work in tandem but, you know, it is not always the case.)

the fabric is actually made for this very purpose, it comes from Ikea…whimsical images are drawn in thick black lines on white fabric like a repeating page in a coloring book.  what an awesome idea, right!

to make our pillows, I measured and cut the fabric to the size of an available pillow form adding one inch for seam allowance and enough fabric at the back to make a simple envelope closure.  (the rule of thumb that I have heard for this is “cut 2 pieces with the same width but 75% of the length.”)

Then, I taped the fabric to the oilcloth tablecloth we use for art projects.  I didn’t want the fabric to jostle around because that would only be frustrating for the little artists.  then, I set a rainbow of sharpie markers out on the table (at the same time as I expressed the great, great, very important rule that they were NOT to leave the table!  the gravity of my tone worked, the markers stayed put.)

the kids set to work in earnest, they really got into this one.  especially C.  the sharpies make for a nice, saturated color and the pictures are pretty interesting.  in fact, both boys kept coming back to the this project through a whole weekend, they really wanted to get it right.

J was into this project but he also reached a point when he just really wanted to fill his in…he is big on that, every stone must be turned.  but, his approach (and this is standard for him) is to proceed to ‘just get it done’.  I actually find it adorable.  I totally understand this instinct!  I think the professionals would call it “fill it all in and call it a day”.  when he reached that point, he just grabbed those sharpies and scribbled over anything that was lacking color.  go, little man.  work it, your style.

I like to think it came out very ‘abstract’.   yes indeed.

C, on the other hand, got so into this project that he insisted I cut a piece of plain white fabric so he could do his own designs.  he then proceeded to do just that.  he drew his own images and then filled them in.  he loved it.

I really admire that about kids, they aren’t self-conscious about creativity. they just keep going.  I mean, look at this lovely picture of a man dreaming about peanuts!

of course this pillow needs a man dreaming about peanuts!  who doesn’t dream about peanuts…next to an old-fashioned car and a factory?  nothing beats that!  nothing. my kids really are awesome.

oh, that was a dreamy tangent.  back to business.  when all the artwork was complete (and filled in) I made the simple pillows that are now a part of the vast array of pillows in the quiet nook in their room.  visually, it has gotten pretty busy in the quiet nook but I can hardly protest as it’s my fault.

one quick little note: not to alarm anyone but the sharpie markers are pretty stinky.  I tried to make sure that they weren’t using them for extended periods of time during this project…just in case.

art projects for kids :: the museum scavenger hunt

as a part of our summer of art activities *art week* we visited a wonderful local museum called Grounds for Sculpture.  it is one of my favorite places, a fabulous outdoor sculpture garden, over 42 acres and something like 270 sculptures, with three indoor changing exhibits.  it’s very kid friendly.  many sculptures are interactive including one that involves banging together bits of metal and a whole exhibit area that is more like a maze through art with stepping stones over water.  there are also live peacocks wandering the grounds, which is very entertaining considering they always seem to be quite cranky.  we have visited a few times and the boys always have a good time running around and rolling in the grass.  I was hoping, however, for our art week to help them notice the art a little more.  so I created a little game…a sort of museum scavenger hunt.  actually, that is hyperbole.  really, I just drew a rainbow of colors on two pads of paper, gave them each a pad and a marker and told them to hunt for the colors.  pretty simple.  

they really liked the feeling of carrying around a notepad, and I am just crazy for the cuteness that oozes out of them when they feel ‘all grown up’.  look at these serious faces! squeal! I didn’t offer any other restrictions, they just needed to find all the colors.  

{artwork by marilyn keating}

the scavenger hunt did draw them into the museum in a different way, they were closer observers of what was around them.

{sharon engelstein‘s amazing bulbous forms made of fabric!}

at least, in the beginning.  after a little while they lost interest and just wanted to run around, explore and play.  fine by me, I was happy with that. it got them observing art in a different way for a little while but they are still crazy kids after all!  (do all kids move constantly? they boys move CONSTANTLY! I swear, they would prefer to jazzercise while eating dinner.)

of course, C couldn’t go without completing his game so he included a green sign posted in the bathroom as the ‘green’ item on his notepad.  score one point for thoroughness!  I wonder where he gets that strong desire to complete even an unnecessary task? certainly not me!?

see. no notepads anymore.  but happy boys in full view.

I am sure we will do this again, this winter, in an indoor art museum.  possibly over the holiday break.  it’s a great way to make a trip to the museum a little more fun and involve fewer bursts of “don’t touch that!!” from mom and dad.  at least for a while until you hit that green sign in the bathroom and the game ends.

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