Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Block Printing with the Kiddos

    I dont know if it needs to be said again- but we do a lot of art around here! Not just me with the making or the Mr. with the drawing but these kiddos of ours are what some classify as Craftaholics! Keeping them engaged with fresh art projects can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, I often worry they will be bored when they hit school as we do things well above what is considered "appropriate" for their age.

   I remember my own parents encouraging me as a kid- I was sent to the Kelowna Art Gallery's summer art classes- this was when the K.A.G was still in the same building the Kelowna Museum. Our  classes were held downstairs in the basement of the museum. It was dark and cool and smelled amazing down there; I felt like I was part of some sort of secret club. Catching glimpses of the stuffed bob cat from the taxidermy collection getting cleaned, racks of vintage clothing that no one ever got to see and shelves of native artifacts. I had back stage access AND got to learn about drawing positive and negative space-I was 8.

      I feel that if I turned out OK (if not a little precocious) with such an early introduction to art then these Littles of ours will be just fine as well. In that spirit today we tried doing a bit of block printing; a pal of the boy's is having a birthday party this weekend and we needed a bit of wrapping paper. So we set up out on the deck- a lot of living goes on out there- and the kids drew out their designs onto soft Safety Cut blocks.

     Of course I did the dirty work as I often do- wielding the Lino knife and cutting out the designs as best that I could.  There was quite a bit of tiny detail that I found difficult to get cleanly cut out so we compromised and a select few areas were what made the cut( bwahaha- insert lame art joke here)!

                     Miss Lo is really into faces lately- so of course she made this funny little guy!

     The boy is a lot more abstract in his style but was pretty addement that the blue stamp in a rocket ship- of course! Once we got everything cut out( I trimmed away the excess rubber with scissors- time is always of the essence when working with toddlers) I handed over a few stamp pads and off the went- stamping to their hearts content. Usually we would use ink and roll it on with a brayer but it is really warm out today and I felt the ink would dry too quickly.

   The key I find to mixing toddlers and art is to have everything you need on hand and all set up, things can quickly go awry if you have to step away to grab a wash cloth. The other thing is to set the kids up themselves to succeed at the project- don't give them something they will get frustrated with and mad about. Kids often hear "No" so often - why not let art be a place where "No" doesn't exist? With that in mind I feel it is important to still challenge them and help them down their road of exploration.

     I feel I should mention our kids are always kept safe- we never give them art supplies that would be toxic or harm-full to them in any way. People occasionally think that kids art supplies should be cheap- often these cheap products from the dollar store, for example, are not up to standard and not non toxic.

      When buying art supplies for children look for it to specifically say Non Toxic as well as having that "AP" or Approved Product seal posted clearly on the label. Supplies bought through a reputable retailer such as Opus Framing and Art Supplies have been carefully picked by the company and usually give the best results. All the art supplies we used today, with the exception of the stamp pads, came from Opus- they are a wonderful resource and always happy to help!

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