As part of my ongoing desire to have creativity be the norm in my family, I have dedicated Saturday mornings as a creative space for making alphabet letters. For an hour or so Asher, my oldest son – who is just learning to read right now, and I sit down with all the art supplies we can find and we make a letter card. We try out different styles and tools for making things – mosaic, stencil, watercolor, palette knife etc… and Asher loves it because he gets his own little canvass to do the same thing along side of me and we have great quality time together. I have been learning that two things in particular have made these times beneficial.
Generosity and accessibility
First – being generous with the art supplies. I have some gold leaf and adhesive that I’ll admit I’ve been stingy with. I hoard and save nice paper to the point of not using it and I ration my paints like we are in a color drought. However, something special happens when there is a space to create and then freedom within that space to use what your imagination is asking for. I think the fact that we are moving soon has helped this thought find expression – I know we can’t take a lot of supplies with us and so I have felt the freedom (if not the necessity) to use them up. And so I don’t tense up when Asher asks to put 15 googly eyes on one tiny monster he drew (they are only a couple of dollars for hundreds of them after all) and if he thinks the car he drew needs some gold leaf – I will agree with him. Our imaginations are not stingy and so neither should be the flow of supplies in creating what it generates.
Secondly – Make the art supplies accessible. We are finally at a point where all the art supplies in our apartment have been gathered onto one desk where I can access them immediately and easily. This means that when we want to create something the thought of having to dig through a closet to find the papers and the glue or the paints does not hinder the impulse. Keeping these two thoughts in mind has opened up a wide creative space for us each week that has been surprising and deeply rewarding. You can see some of the letters we have made in the picture.