Thursday, January 6, 2011

improvisational collaborations

One of the goals for my mother's visit was to have some intergenerational studio time. My daughter doesn't take well to pre-conceived projects and crafts, preferring an open-ended process that she has complete control over. She's happiest making art that is inspired by the materials in front of her or by what she is currently passionate about. I've learned to never say "would you like to make such and such..."

Knowing this, my mother spread out bunches of material on the work table, turned up the music and invited us to dig into: 
 improvisational collaborations
  • bowls of scrap paper: both found and leftover slices from her paper cutter
  • colored pencils and oil pastels
  • scissors of all kinds
  • paste
  • plastic animals and toys
  • old photos
  • little recycled white boxes 
  • rubber stamps and ink
We all got busy. My mother and I both reached for the boxes, while the littlest in the group investigated the animals and small strips of paper.
 improvisational collaborations
When she saw the below box that her grandmother was working, the temptation to join in was too great. Can you blame her? We were PLAYING! There were no rules.
 improvisational collaborations
I had no idea where I was going, so when she jumped in to direct me... all of my answers were YES!
 improvisational collaborations
And then  "puppet pieces" were made for my mother to use in their shared box.
 improvisational collaborations
 improvisational collaborations
Collaborating with someone small is always satisfying. The inner-critic must remain silent. Before you know it your childlike tendencies are slipping between the cracks and fresh inspiration is generating freely. This is different "work" than an adult-lead making session, where the child helps and has input, but the outcome has already been determined. That is a valuable kind of collaborating in its own right, but today I'm talking about connecting with your child through play and spontaneity with varied materials resulting in an unknown outcome. Give it a try... I'm certain you'll be delighted.
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20 comments:

  1. Looks like an awesome day had by all!

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  2. I had a similar art experience recently and it was so FUN to collaborate and just do whatever the 5 year old recommended. The result is super funky but we hung it on the wall anyway--why not? http://underconstructionblog.typepad.com/under_construction/2011/01/encaustic-aka-how-i-ruined-my-iron-today.html

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  3. YOur five year old has the spirit of freedom that most of us grow out of, how wonderful. xox Corrine

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  4. Oh my my my goodness! My daughter will never do a project that has any kind of given direction. So this post... truly truly warms my heart. She always takes a steep left and takes off, making sure to do something VERY DIFFERENT from what I or anyone else suggests in projects, or just flat out refuses to be part of it. But putting out stuff and just letting it be? I'm sure I've done something like it before, but probably not with quite the right open-ended energy that is needed to make it really fun and truly direction-free. Thank you!

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  5. Great Blog!

    Best Regards From Valencia Spain!

    complementos-unicos.blogspot.com

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  6. -Mellisa H. Just peeked over there... it's wonderful!!

    -Corrine- I totally agree

    -Maryam- I couldn't help but laugh with the familiarity of that "steep left"!

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  7. Beautiful. My daughter is given free reign in her creative space (Mum invariably ends up cleaning the MESS!) but I am guilty of being the admirer of her creations rather than joining in myself. I will do better. x

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  8. i can't wait to share this with aidan! he just discovered the diorama section at the craft store today. . .

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  9. I must say that the general level of acceptance of this behavior is low once you are older than 10....how do you parents feel about that? Do we have a romantic vision for our children but not for ourselves or our peers?

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  10. I remember doing this with my mom yet have not with my own kids. Shame on me thanks for the reminder!

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  11. You did a great work.I like it very much.

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  12. It's great the way you set the stage and then just... let it happen. I very much enjoy sitting next to my kids and working alongside them. Often we inspire each other. At first my kids would say, "I'm going to copy you and do that, too," but I stress that we're not copying, we're inspiring each other to try things and look at things in different ways. I like the way my kids see, too.

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  13. I'll have to try this technique with my two boys who used to love doing crafts but are not so interested anymore. Thanks for the tips.

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  14. Such inspiration! Your children are truly blessed to have such creative matriarchs to aspire to. These will be the sacred memories that your children carry with them.

    Your creations are adorable!

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  15. My kids are big fans of disappearing off with paper, scissors and glue. I will admit that when I was helping my son's class paint Christmas decorations it was hard to watch one girl suddenly alter her green tree with decorations into a blue sludgey swish...

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  16. thank you thank you.

    I've just found that my 9 and 7 year old are rarely doing craft anymore. I feel like I basically have to push and pull them to do anything. With less crafts more tv and computer starts to push its way in and it was making me sad.

    I think they are at this stage and dont want or need a predeterminded outcome yet they are not necessarily eager to sort around piles of papers or scraps or junk either. I kinda annoyingly think it is the hanging and just being with mum that will lead to what you have described in your post.

    thank you. I was once an organized kinda crafy mum but have found we have fallen off the bandwagon.. but its nothing to feel bad about.. just hop back on in a different way.

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  17. my little two and half year old is the same and always likes to create her own masterpieces. i often leave her to it but encourage her with comments like "i love the way you've..... or i like that colour or...? at some point in the future though i hope that she'll accept some guidance sometimes to enable her to learn what else can be achieved:)

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  18. Intergenerational Crafting is my favorite kind!! : )

    (and of course I love a good diorama)

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  19. Such a great post! I LOVE that you're all working together! What a fantastic way to show your child how important art, craft and creativity is to your family life.

    I'm giving you "thumbs up" on Stumbleupon :)

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  20. I love this, Maya, and just shared it on my Facebook page. cheers!

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