My boy announced he wanted to make an art project and use his new scissors. His sister was asleep so it was a perfect time for him to work quietly on something and I pointed him in the direction of the box of scraps. I went into the kitchen to do some dishes and when I returned I found he had taken out the Elmer’s glue, opened it and begun a very intense and special project.
He glued a picture onto a plain piece of paper (it’s always good to have a backing) and then glued something else onto that and something else onto that. Each thing was covered by the new thing. And then with great delight he glued on part of our Christmas card and proceeded to ooze glue onto the pictures of our smiling family.
My internal reaction was to say, “Wait – no – don’t cover all the cool things!” But I didn’t because somewhere in his beautiful head of artistic creation, the art is That Much More Special because it is layered. I don’t quite get it, but I love that it is so. And then it makes me think of how our lives are made up of layers upon layers and there is something beautiful about the whole of it and the knowing what is inside that makes it okay to not display every wonderful detail.
Minutes after I pondered all this, the smiling faces of our family were covered with an animal from a magazine and then another animal that starts with the letter J and then a very nice piece of cardboard.
Soon after he explored a new media and glued on colored tissue paper. This was a first. In fact, this entire project was a first. Little girl was also doing a lot of firsts. Today was the first day she peeled stickers off all by herself and didn’t remove them from her project after putting them down. She also used the glue after carefully watching her brother and then tried out many scraps before settling on two things that could remain glued down.
Previous to today, the art projects have been primarily based off of a prescribed model via an art kit or the craft activities for toddlers at the library.
I don’t love these activities which seem to say there is a Right way to do things and which require so much help from adults, but my kids love them so we proudly display every single thing they make on our walls and I revel in the small parts such as upside down tusks and spots too close and scribbles that hint of my children branching out on their own.
I do appreciate that the activities we have done up till now have given them the opportunity to practice with glue, have given me an idea of what works and what doesn’t, and has allowed them to make things to share and refer to during conversation, but they are not the ART projects that I envision are manifested from truly creative focused energy.
And today my little boy, and my little girl, both made ART.