Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weekend Creativity

The weekend, as expected, was busy busy busy. But part of the busy was attending the parent/child art class my 7yo and I are taking at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. He and I share a love of art-making and of art-looking, too, and it's been clear lately that he's needing some one-on-one Mama time. So this parent/child class seemed like a Very Good Idea. I'm there just as much for myself as for him, too. This weekend we got to do printmaking--YAY!--a very favorite activity for both of us.

But before we got busy printmaking, we went into the galleries to focus on a particular artwork, which is part of the class. This week we looked at a piece by Yinka Shonibare of three costumes; you can see a photo here on Flickr. It's hard to see the fabric closely through a photograph, but if you are a textile type, it's very interesting. As described in this Artforum article (PDF link), the fabric is influenced by Indonesian design, produced by the Dutch, who exported it to West Africa, where it was appropriated as African--but it's not. But so many people see this type of graphic and think of African fabric. (The artist is British, of Nigerian descent.) This Selvedge article (also PDF) talks more about the fabric choices. At any rate, as part of our observations, we made sketches. My son and I were both drawn to the circles in the fabric of the dress on the third figure, and I also sketched some of the background pattern.

I don't have pictures of everything we did back in the studio, because I was busy doing it. We visited three stations, where we got to play with the various items, and then we combined them on one larger sheet of paper, which will be used in the larger project we are working on. All of this is collaborative, between child and adult--at least, that's how we're approaching it!

Our final large piece incorporating all three methods.

At the first station we played with texture--a brayer wrapped with string and one with elastic, and some pieces of corrugated cardboard fashioned into stamps. We've played around with similar texture-making experiments at home, as well (such as here and here). The second station had spray bottles with liquid watercolors--my daughter would have been over the moon, since she loves using the spray bottle--along with some sponge brushes that just about everyone ignored and some paper towels for blotting. Thinking of TinkerLab's recent leaf relief activity, I started placing paper towels--some flat and some wadded--onto my paper to cover spots in between sprayings. My son and I used this same method to cover some spots on our final sheet before spraying, because we used the stamps first.

The stamps! The third station was carving our own stamps, something I love to do. They had a different carving block than I've used, I think this one, and I liked it quite a bit and may have to get some for myself. I consulted my sketches and created this stamp, inspired by the background pattern on one section of the third figure's skirt:

My son carved this one:

He carved it with the left here as the top. (Tilt your head to the left.)
He said this was a fire with eyes--I think he was inspired by the texture-print station, which had red and yellow ink. His textures began to resemble, he said, a fire. (He loves fire anyway. It goes with dragons. Although only seven, he has definite themes in his work!) There is something magical about printmaking, and about carving out a design, inking it up, and seeing how it looks. This reminded me that a stamp doesn't have to be something in particular, that a simple carved-out design looks wonderful when printed.

Hmm. What can I do with that?

(And so, as you can see, my busy weekend included some creative time after all--hurrah!)


Donna Lee said...

I love the large print you guys made. And the idea of 'fire with eyes' is an interesting one. I always think of fire as being alive so of course it can have eyes.

lamina @ do a bit said...

Wow how much fun did you guys have... What a perfect way to spend time together and what a great day!! :)

GirlAnachronismE said...

That looks amazing, and it's a great idea to have adult and child crafts. It looks like you had fun =)

amy said...

And then directly from the art class we drove to a birthday party for a couple of his classmates. The party was at a nearby nature area, with a guided nature walk--also very fun!! But Saturday night I went to bed as soon as my oldest was in bed himself--I was exhausted!

Bells said...

i'm with donna lee - the fire with eyes is striking and it makes me think that yes, fire does have a personality. Well done!