Monday, July 19, 2010

Artwork-a-day - Arts & Crafts

We've been very busy making the daily art and waiting for it to dry, then cleaning up and then cleaning up the area where the clean-up took place, after it dries. Art is kind of a pain! So why arts & crafts? Mainly because it's meditative and fun, plus low-cost for the most part.

I've been trying to get Jackson to do some art while he's recuperating from Crohn's Disease. The medication he's on at the moment makes him a bit unfocused and obsessed with Wii video games and computers way more than he should be. I understand that Wii is fun and clever and gets his arm moving like he's sort of bowling or playing table-tennis, but it's no substitute for making a turtle out of mud-dough. Normally he loves doing art, so I'm just reminding him what normal feels like.

I used to do lots of 70s-era crafts with my crafty mom. I was deeply interested in the concepts of paper mache and decoupage. My mom subscribed to a craft-of-the-month club and once I got to make a plastic wood-grained spinning wheel that held a container of fake flowers. It made no sense before, during or after its completion--just like the 70s. And I loved it.

Here's some arts & crafts that we think you'll find craftastic.

Mud dough is made from dirt, sand, salt, Elmer's Glue and lots of water (since Northern California dirt in the summer is more like dust). You get this fleckstone kind of sculpture that crumbles if you look at it funny. Ephemeral! The googly eyes help anchor it into the here and now.
Venus de Bay Area.
Mud turtle.
Do not mess with mud turtle.
Jackson made a dapper little mudman.
We made some leaf prints too. You take a leaf and shove it all around your stamp pad, then you smash it down gently on the paper to reveal--a leaf! There's something kind of magical about printing. Kids really like lifting up their potato or whatever they're printing with, to see what happened. And so do I. Something from almost nothing. Also weird: my white ink refuses to dry all the way. So if you receive a card from me with a leaf print on it, wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
Then I was rummaging around in the junk box we're filling for our future garage sale and I wondered if we could make some patterns from stamping throw-away items into acrylic paint.
The answer was: yes we could. I started printing on these rather dull blank greeting cards that are made from recycled money. At first I was kind of stately and organized about it. Then I got a little lost in the process. The one on the right is definitely "lost." I tried to salvage it by pretending I was making something amazing from Ghana, but it looks more like my 7-inch record collection.
These below left are not boobs. They're just boob-like. Keys are always symbolic, aren't they? These keys are from several houses ago and we have no idea what they were for. Jackson used to play with them on a springy key-ring.
This card says "How's your crystal-meth addiction coming along? Mine's just great!"
Jackson made a bunch of stuff too. The one on top was made from a Matchbox car, which inspired him to proclaim, "I like rolling this car in paint." Well, who doesn't? You can get a bunch of Matchbox cars and trucks and just roll them around in paint most of the afternoon. No one would hold it against you. After this, he said, "This was a good art project." Pause. "Can I play Wii now?"

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