Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Play Campfire

I am not sure how or why this campfire came about, but it has been a great source of imaginative play for both kiddoes. We gave new life to a large (64 ounce) plastic yogurt container. I cut flame like shapes out of the top edge, Hollin painted the inside and outside with orange acrylic paint and then we built a ring of rocks around it. We placed a few smaller rocks inside to ensure it would not blow away, added a few sticks, and now we have a great place to warm up, tell stories, roast make-believe marshmallows (much healthier than the real ones:)) and more.
I am going to have to keep an extra close eye on Waylon around real campfires this summer...
Here you can see Hollin painting the yogurt tub. I love that this fire will stay bright through all kinds of weather. We are thinking about adding a place to hang a cook pot over the fire, but I don't have any ideas just yet, please share if you do.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


A single color collage is a great activity for young children, especially if they have expressed an interest in colors. My little guy is almost two and a half and he has been really into naming colors lately. There is nothing to this--just a bunch of blue "things" and some blue paint and glue. You can let your child decide what color to use. You could even go on a little treasure hunt to search for blue or yellow etc. items. I should mention that this particular project with my little guy lasted only about 10 minutes. I also sat with him and helped. Some little ones will spend more time, some less. I think it is important not to pressure them to spend more time. It has to be fun!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Drawing Outside

It is an absolutely gorgeous skies, high 60s, slight breeze, sun up at 4, setting after 11--life is good! After a busy morning swimming, then off to the park for an end of year school picnic, Hollin asked to draw with pastels while Waylon was napping. I rarely turn down such an offer. We sat on the deck with our paper and pastels and worked side by side. Mommy drew the trees while Hollin created a couple of designs and a self portrait. 

Love the smile...

Pastels over lace printed paper ...

While he does not always make his way into the photographs, our dog JJ is always by our side while we create, and do just about anything:)


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Button String Mobile

While out running errands last week we came across a lovely colorful hanging work of art. From a distance it looked like small pieces of colored glass attached to fishing line. Of course, I had to get out and figure out how someone attempted such a task. Without being too much of a snoop I got a closer look as saw that it was not glass at all but plastic buttons and a few beads. We went right home to replicate!
We used:
A dowel
string to attach to the ends of the dowel for hanging
fishing line
buttons, beads, and a few metal washers to make it chime in the wind

I started by tying a long length (about 2 feet) of fishing line to a chair leg. The chair leg provided resistance so that I could thread and tie. My assistants chose the beads or buttons and we would string them, one at a time, tying it on securely and leaving space between each one. This was great for my 5 year-old who could thread and choose. My little guy actually cut one strand in half and dumped all the buttons on the floor several times. But he did enjoy naming the colors and we enjoyed how he called them all blue:) After we made four strands I tied them to the dowel, attached the string to each end and found a nice spot to hang our creation.
We do not get much wind here, but I imagine if we do catch a few gusts the strands will tangle. I think that a few horizontal strands of fishing line tied through will ensure sure that does not happen.
It sure looks good with all that green! Then again, the green makes everything look good!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Garden Flag

I love the way this turned out. I bought half a yard of rip-stop nylon and hemmed the edges, making a thick fold over on the top to hang on the post. I am not sure what "rip-stop" actually means. I thought it would not fray, but it frays like mad and would be a real mess if left unhemmed. I was able to make two small flags (we are saving the other one for a rainy day) with a half yard. Sorry I don't have specific measurements, I just made sure it would fit on the flag stand we purchased.
Hollin drew a design with a black Sharpie directly onto the flag. I went over the lines to even them out a bit. She used watered down blue acrylic for the background and acrylics (not watered down) for everything else. When it dried we traced over some of the lines and made some spots on the ladybugs (she only wanted one to have spots). It has rained since we put it outside and is holding up great.
I have a thin yellow plastic table cloth and I am thinking about using it to make something similar. I am not sure it will last very long, but might be a fun way to reuse the tablecloth.
 Anyone ever paint on plastic tablecloths before? Or use them to make kites, flags, banners, etc.?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


This Steampunk woman grew out of my paper treatment. Just as a sculpture begs to be carved from a block of marble, she just started to appear. I treated my paper with black ink washes, drops, and sea salt. While looking at the finished prepared background I saw a long dress and a bouquet of flowers. I used what I saw and just went with it.

A Recipe for Goth Art

This assignment was one of my favorites. After a lecture on goth art each student was given a a small package wrapped in black tissue paper. Inside each package was a black cup filled with little objects, all of which had to be incorporated into our got drawing assignment. The incorporation could be very subtle, for example, a marble could be drawn into the piece or simply rolled in ink across the paper. A bone could be used as a stamp or a scratching device. So the challenge was there, but it was manageable. My cup contained a black candle, a marble, a piece of patterned velvet, a vertebrae, a fortune card with the word "Malice" on the back with an image of a creepy little guy and a snake, and a thumbtack. I decided to go with the word "malice" to create this piece. I was inspired by this drawing by Aubrey Beardsley. The woman looks so evil to me.
I borrowed her look of indifference and replaced her cello with a pair of scissors, poised to cut a snake. I patterned the snake with the pattern on the velvet. I used the bone as a stamp around the border and dripped black wax around the border as well. The black string was used as a cattail stem. The thumbtack poked a hole in her hair where I stuck a black feather to add an element of kitsch, another subculture we were learning about at the time.

Sub Genre of Choice

After almost an entire semester of assigned subculture genres we were given the task of finding our own subculture aesthetic to explore. The last 5 years of my life have been very focused on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and everything else that comes with mothering. It is to be expected that somewhere along the way I discovered Lactivism . This sub genre felt like a good fit for this assignment. Most self-proclaimed lactivists wish to promote acceptance of public breastfeeding and ensure legal protection for breastfeeding mothers. So who are they being protected from? Anyone who is offended by a woman feeding her child. When we think of the sexualized images of women in our society it is ironic that breastfeeding can be considered offensive while skimpy swimsuits, lingerie ads and mudflap girls are so mainstream. I intended this piece to subtly challenge that irony. I created this image using color pastels. No black, white, brown or gray were used--only the full spectrum of colors.
The idea of a breastfeeding mudflap girl is not mine alone. As Paul Gauguin once said, "Art is either plagiarism or revolution". I saw a similar image on a shirt once and it really made an impression. Putting it on a mudflap on the back of a truck was my way of making it my own.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

With Rocks and Leaves...

Now that spring is here, Hollin has been spending every minute she can outside.  Her being outside alone is new for us. I am so glad that she has a safe place to play and explore.
I was thrilled the other day when she showed me what she had been working on near the side of our house. She spent about an hour collecting, arranging and rearranging rocks and sticks to create the trees and flowers pictured above.
Last summer we created Earthworks which were similar to her recent creations. I often wonder if our creating together inspires her to do these things or if she would have done it on her own. I suppose there is no way to find out. I am looking forward to seeing what can be made once we have some color to work with.