You may have already noticed that we do a lot of messy art projects around here, involving glue (sticky!), paint (staining!) and scissors (risky!). I am also far too ready to display the kids’ creations on the blog and on my walls (you should see my living room–it displays everything from the Husband’s cross-stitch, to his grandmother’s paintings, to collages and drawings by the kids. Come to think of it, everything up on those walls was created by a family member). I’m big into encouraging creativity, and my hope is that as I continue to write and draw and crochet (yeah, I’m taking that up again–long story!) and experiment with new ways to express myself, the little ones will follow right along. I want to give them the skills and the space to work on their art–whatever form that might take–so that the words “I’m bored” will be heard very rarely in my house.
And, incidentally, if they’re busy with their projects, I’ll be free to pursue mine.
I like the idea of kids and adults learning together, of pursuing interests side by side, so when I saw The Creative Family by Amanda Soule (of the blog SouleMama), I went posthaste to my library’s website to put a hold on a copy.
This is a gentle book, stressing a simple life filled with art, nature, play and imagination. It is like warm apple cider drunk near a fire on a winter night, something sweet, hint of spice, going down easy. Within its pages are some simple cloth-and-yarn crafts (like finger knitting which is awesome!); tips for making room for the creative life (supplies, finding space, making time); an emphasis on handmade, reusing and tradition; calls to go out into nature; simple props for child’s play. Some of the ideas that I’m planning on incorporating are family drawing time, putting together a box of dress-up clothes, clothesline and pegs for picture display, beginning embroidery with burlap and tapestry needle. It satisfies my fantasy for family harmony, comfortable silences, a simple life.
And there is, for me, the downside of this book. The writer portrays her family life as idyllic and by contrast, my life seems full of cross squabbling children, tired short-tempered parents, an overwhelmingly messy and cluttered house. Giving my kids free rein with art supplies leads to broken and ground crayons, drifts of half-drawn-on papers, paint all over my daughter’s clothes and face and hair. Sometimes, the kids’ creativity leads them to scribble on the walls or bang on homemade with drums right in my ear while I’m cooking dinner. Sometimes, in spite of my encouragement, they’d rather be whacking each other on the head with Tinkertoy swords than do art or put on plays or go for a walk.
But thanks to this book, I have additional ideas in my arsenal to help me create that “perfect” home life *g*.