Thursday, April 24, 2014

creating with a kid


Becoming a mom has been one of the most inspiring and profound things to happen to me as an artist. And the older Lucy gets, the more fun it is to share all kinds of creative experiences with her. While I am not an expert I have been creating with this kid since she was born and over time and lots of trial error, I continue to discover new ways to foster her creativity. Once in a while I like to share some of my favorite tips and insights about creating with a kid and with mothers day right around the corner I thought it would be appropriate to share some more of my favorite tips for creating with a kid!

MY PHILOSOPHY:
As I have mentioned in the past it is important for both my husband and I to include Lucy in as many creative projects as possible. At 2.5 years old this kid has witnessed me making art every day since she was born. And while it makes no difference to us if Lucy grows up to be an artist, we do want her to be a creative thinker. We feel that including her in our daily art-making process is one the best ways we can teach her to do this! 

MAKE TIME:
Making time to be creative is so important for anyone at any age. Even even though I make art for a living, we have a busy life and still have to find ways to structure time for creating with a kid. The way that works best for our family is incorporating Lucy into the projects that we already have to tackle. If I am heading to the studio, I take her along. If my husband is working on a drawing project, he sets her up with her own drawing project.  Over time she has become very accustomed to participating in creative tasks and loves making art along side of us. 
HAVE PATIENCE:
I am not gonna lie, I struggle at times with patience when I am creating with Lucy. Letting a toddler be expressive and go wild with paint and art supplies is INTENSE and can be really frustrating and messy. But the practice of letting go and giving her creative freedom while enforcing some boundaries, is slowly making me a more patient person and a better mom. I know she won't be a toddler forever and some day (maybe) she won't try to paint the couch or draw on the cabinets or spray me in the face with water. Until that day comes I will continue to try and be as patient as possible!

ENCOURAGE INDEPENDENT THINKING:
While it would be really easy to show Lucy exactly how to pick colors or mix paint or draw a flower, I believe one of the most important gifts I can give her is the freedom to think and create independentlyYes, there are times when I have to fight the urge to correct or make something for her but I always try to limit showing Lucy the "right ways" to create. As an artist, I know all too well that there is only one time in your life that you are truly independent and free from expectations and rules in creativity and that is when you are kid.


THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX:
While it is easy and pretty standard to hand your kid a box of crayons and a piece of paper, I say mix it up and try letting them create with different materials and supplies. We will draw and paint on anything- from cardboard boxes to noodles to rocks and sticks to old furniture to paper of all sizes. The result is that Lucy gets crazy inspired and excited about trying something new like painting inside of a shoe box or drawing on a leaf and spends a lot more time exploring new materials.


EMBRACE THE MESS: 
This is a little easier for me because I am a messy artist and when I am creating I need to get swept up in the moment and let the mess happen. With that said, there is no mess like the mess that a toddler makes- but embracing the process and giving your child permission to explore materials and get messy is a wonderful way to foster and encourage creativity. I use drop cloths and old sheets to cover anything and everything that could get messy.

COLLABORATE:
Collaboration with a toddler is much easier said than done (hello patience) but working with Lucy on the same surface has been a process that has helped both of us learn from each other. I like to keep a couple of large canvases around that we always work on together. The paintings in the photos above are pieces that she and I have been slowly working on together for the last year. We layer, draw, scribble and paint over things. She knows when we show up at the studio that these paintings belong to both of us and always grabs my hand and leads me over to paint together.

ALWAY HAVE SUPPLIES ON HAND:
In our family it is important for us to have a lot of supplies on hand. I keep paper, crayons, paint and pens in just about every room of the house (and in plain site) because I know at any given moment one of us will may have the urge to create. When the moment strikes you gotta take advantage- I want Lucy to know that if she has the desire to create she can grab her things and get going! You can read about my favorite supplies for kids HERE

HAVE FUN:
The most important advice I can give is to have fun creating with your kids. Making time to share the joy that comes with the creative process is one of the best gifts you can give to a child!


This post is collaboration with the Creative Council by UGG Australia
Photos by Alisa Burke and Andy Gunthardt
My shoes: Cayha Woven  Lucy's Shoes: Aubry Metallic

P.S. I am SUPER excited to share that I have designed some exclusive Mother's Day greeting cards for UGG Australia stores! The cards will be an accoutrement to any in-store purchase over $100 from May 1st- May 11th. Head on over HERE for more information!



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