Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Two New Art Labs for Kids

I'm a big fan of the Lab series by Quarry Books and a long time admirer of artist and educator Susan Schwake. Here's what I had to say two years ago about her first book: Art Lab for Kids. When Susan wrote to me earlier this month asking if I'd like to check out her latest editions in the series, she got an instant "yes, please!".
I've been perusing each one with all of you in mind... thinking how nicely they might fit on your bookshelf, as well. In both books, all of the projects come with clear step by step instructional photos and a bit about the artist who designed it. The diversity and range of crafts and techniques is clearly in relationship to the many talented contributors that Susan has collaborated with. She is an art curator, as well as educator, and this translates well in each of her three books.
In Art Lab for Little Kids, parents and pre-school teachers will find an abundance of intriguing techniques that will lead to many open ended experiences with both new and familiar art materials. It's much more process oriented than her other two, which is my preference for the younger set. For this reason it is also a wonderful resource for multi age groups- from a mixed classroom to siblings crafting at the dining table. There are still a few projects that have an end game in mind... but all clearly enticing to little ones... from piñatas to clay fairy houses, Susan has gathered plenty of inspiration for chasing the winter blues away... 52 projects to be exact!
3-D Art Lab for Kids  takes you into the studios of an established potter, metal smith, jeweler and sculptor.  Children will explore creating with dimension using paper, clay, textiles, and metal. Each lesson has "Keep Going?" suggestions that will encourage going farther with a project. For instance in the Woven Wall Hanging (yes, those are t-shirt strips!)  the "Keep Going" idea is to create a mural size weaving with all of your friends using a refrigerator box. Don't you love the idea of a community loom.
 I highly recommend both of these books and can't wait to show them to my mom (early child educator extraordinaire at Stanford University) and the art teachers at my daughter's Montessori school. Big thumbs up, Susan. Thank you for creating such rich and valuable resources! 

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