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Getting Arty with Kids

Get Arty

Today I am delighted to have a guest post from one of my favourite bloggers Maggy Woodley from Red Ted Art. If you’d like to do more arts and crafts with your kids then you have to visit her website or buy her beautiful book. 

Art is something that I have always enjoyed. In my younger years however, I was intimidated by it… was I supposed to be “seeing something” that others see too? Was I “understanding” what this picture is about and did I “get” the significance? What was this picture supposed to say to me? And did I miss something?

In short, I worried. Rather than “just enjoyed”. Art IS about looking and seeing and feeling. Don’t worry about what OTHERS tell you , you should see or feel. Just enjoy art for what it is. It doesn’t matter if you “miss” something, the main thing is you are looking. And on some level it will make you feel something and maybe inspire you.

Fast forward: Motherhood and Kids.

I wanted my kids to enjoy art galleries and art. And I realised that enjoying art with and through my kids would be a great way to revisit art in a simple and non “threatening” way. Kids see things so simply that it could only be good. We could learn (again) together. The Kids Get Arty series was born: looking at “real” Artists, discussing and having a go.

I challenge myself, my readers and other bloggers to do this every 2 months. Not too much to be overwhelming, but often in enough to class it as a regular art sessions.

Reading kids’ art books, really helped too. And I created a list of some of these to help my readers too!

My approach:

I “pick” an artist that I think the kids may enjoy (believe me, it doesn’t always work out and I have to pick a different one). I then research that artist. If I can find an art book relating to it, great, if we can go on a gallery visit even better! But the internet and pictures on the internet are great too.

I then try to “deconstruct” what the artist was doing, or look for a common theme in their art. Or with the help of the kids just pic one piece of art that they like and see what we could do, that relates to the “methodology” – ie avoid “just copying” (though in itself that has value) and look more at “how” or “what they did. I also try and look at different mediums – e.g. we do not want to “just paint” each time.

Then we get arty.

Here are 5 of our favourite projects to date:

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David Hockney, Photo Montage – we enjoyed this, as it allowed us to reminisce about our holidays too.

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Banksy, Street Art – Stencils and Spray Paint – this was a great project for discussing modern social issues too – i.e. that of graffiti vs street art. And how different people feel about it.

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Andy Goldsworthy - Land Art – simply because working with nature was such a beautiful experience. We did this together with the neighbours boys in Autumn. Then in the Summer they had another go with flowers. It was so pretty

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Andy Warhol – Flowers – I love pop art anyway and thought the kids would enjoy the process. What we particularly enjoyed about this, was the collaborative approach. It would make for an AMAZING class room or even school project.

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Lichtenstein at first sight was a “tricky” one for us. How were we going to “deconstruct” his art. We were pleased with the methodology we can up with and it really captured my son’s imagination!

Final tips – to do art projects like these, the kids and you have to be in the right mood. You have to capture their interest. So it is worth “trying” something a couple of times. If the mood isn’t there, do it another day.. or ask about a different project. There is no point in forcing it.

Also, we love to revisit and discuss things over the months. Sometimes I will say, remember when we looked at Warhol, do you remember what was special about him? Etc

My kids are very interested in art, because we DO a lot of arts & crafts already. The more you do with them, the more they will enjoy it and the more ideas they will have. Which is why I came up with this “Alternative Gift Idea” for Christmas – let’s reduce the toy mountain and give the gift of creativity instead! The idea is to create “Basic” or  “Jazzed up” Craft Kits that you can put together yourself – and then, if you wish, add a copy of Red Ted Art the book and you will have a fabulously creative gift –  both original and different! What do you think? You don’t need much in a basic craft kit, especially if you add recycled materials and finds from nature…. I love to add pinecones, stones and recycled fabric to our basic craft kit to get the kids think creatively about things they can find and reuse.

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About the Author: Maggy Woodley, is a crafty mum of two! She loves everything about crafts and loves nothing better to recycle and forage for craft materials –making crafts economical and fun.  She shares all her ideas on Red Ted Art. Maggy also writes at Life at The Zoo about cooking with kids, “sciency “stuff”  and the odd bit of gardening, as well as writing at Theatre Books and Movies for well, theatre, book and movies! Red Ted Art, is also now being translated into GermanSpanish and Russian for more people to enjoy! Do check them out!

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