Saturday, February 18, 2017

Crafty Book Review: Once Upon a Piece of Paper

Although for most of the year Matt gives the children art lessons as part of our weekend time together, the early part of the year is NOT conducive to this--this morning, for example, he took Syd to ballet, then while she's there he's going to swing by the Girl Scout office and pick up another 900+ Girl Scout cookies, then go pick up Syd and take her straight to a cookie booth with another girl at the mall for two hours, then come home for two hours, then take both kids over to the next town over for a three-hour cookie booth, then drive home, get home around 10 pm, and put the kids straight to bed because we have another cookie booth at 10 am tomorrow. Meanwhile, Will is having some leisure time this morning before joining everyone for this evening's booth, and I am going to write this blog post and then spend the next twelve hours sewing Syd's Trashion/Refashion Show garment. And then I'm going to figure out the wattage of a strand of Christmas lights so I can do the math to calculate how many batteries I'll need to run them (don't let me forget to adjust for an 80% efficiency rate) so Syd can wear them as part of her garment. And then I'm gonna go make that happen.

You can see that we're a tad too busy this month for a leisurely afternoon of art instruction, so I've been intentionally incorporating experiential art lessons, the kind that are more focused on creativity than technique, into our school weeks. We've been getting an especial amount of use out of Once Upon a Piece of Paper, which I was given for free by a publicist. It doesn't intimidate Will, since it doesn't focus on drawing by hand (which she wrongly thinks that she's bad at), and it offers the scope for imagination that inspires Syd to go all-out in the crazy-detailed way that she enjoys.

We've made some of the projects more elaborate than the book asks for them to be, simply because they're so fun. This project, for instance, was simply meant to be a quick pass across three or so surfaces, to teach us that groupings often look very nice--

--but I pulled out some small canvases that I purchased at some time or other, and then we somehow all got really invested in our work. Instead of one quick swath of paint, Syd layered and overlapped and added many, many, MANY swaths--

--and that treasure trove of National Geographics that we scored at the public library's last book sale came in very handy, indeed:

 I made my nice little group composition--

--but the kids both really ran with the process and ended up with some super cool results:

We got so invested in doing the project our own way that we completely forgot to even peek into the pad of collage paper that comes with the book. Both kids remembered it for the ice cream project, though:

The project was mostly about making interesting and unusual paper combinations, and seeing how surprisingly well they tend to work together (using ice cream cones for this is pretty brilliant, because it turns out that EVERYTHING looks cute as an ice cream cone!), but Syd added an entire narrative to hers, and those awesome collage people?

She has never made anything like that before! I really love the woman at the top--Syd wants the red piece to be hair, but I think it looks exactly like a scarf. Syd also doesn't think that the blue figure at the bottom looks like a robot at ALL, but I do, and it cracks me up that there's a robot just casually downing some ice cream with all the other folks.

Considering that my goal for each art lesson is for Will to feel comfortable and confident being creative, and for Syd to learn a new skill or technique, I'd have to say that we didn't do too shabbily even without our Husband/Father Artist-in-Residence to guide us!

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