Sunday, March 3, 2013

Heart Tree

Though I am a creative person (with a *Masters of Architecture* degree!),  I am not a crafty person.  I don't have a natural understanding about how to make things with children. Often when I see projects that my friends do with their kids, I'm totally amazed by their efficient use of materials (macaroni angels...  who would have thought?), and their ideas in general.  Sometimes it shakes up my archima-momfidence a bit, as I wonder if I'm doing well enough with him in the art department! 

I'm not a Pinterest mom.  Sure, its a fun network, but my creative background is different. I paint as a worship outlet, and in school I was trained to make walls function ecologically,  integrating structural systems into lighting, heating, and cooling strategies.  Then demonstrating these ideas through building models with certain material base that's not really kid-friendly... and quite expensive!  I can do thousands of things with bass wood, but toilet paper rolls?  Beyond me. 

Long before I was a mother, I remember reading a statement by Madeleine L'Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, where she explained that she didn't dumb down her writing style for children.  Rather, she chose to write about subjects children would enjoy.  That same creative principle is evident in syntax and grammar used by A.A. Milne in his original Pooh stories.  As I read his stories, I often wonder if Aviel gets it.  Later, when he asks for "the one about the Hephelumps and the Six Pine Trees", I know he does.

I can see in my own family of origin how a knowledge of baseball was passed down through the generations.  My dad included my brother in his work.  I remember Connor bringing us a baseball, at 4 years old, that had a note written along its seams by my dad, "Connor's first fly ball."  My preschool aged brother was shagging fly balls in the outfield during major league batting practice, well before he should have been ready "developmentally."  Now Connor is a professional baseball player.   That is the great mystery of  blessings and callings being appropriated through the generations.   

Most of the times when I sit down to make art with Aviel, we just draw or paint - no agenda - no end goal. We simply experiment with color, textures, materials, and forms.   And I think that's mostly ok. We'll often use oil pastels to draw trains, or Aviel will sit on my lap while I do some more serious art and design work.  He's learning as we work together.  He's watching and growing.  And I'm learning too.  I've been working at bringing my knowledge of making down to his scale, so our activity times have a little more of a directed purpose.

Lately in my spirit, I've been drawn to the fruit-bearing trees in Israel, and in my own personal creative worship times, I've been collaging painted paper, and drawing heart trees. It seemed fitting for us to make one together, using what I know, but in a way that might be fun for him!

That is how the heart tree emerged...

And this is how we made it...

***

This was not a one morning project.  We worked on if for several days!  At the first sitting, Aviel painted paper in solid colors. He did yellow, red, blue, green, and we mixed colors to create brown (that would be the photo with the funny face!). The aesthetic benefit of painting the paper, rather than using solid color construction paper is that Aviel was able to make some great textures with the brushes!

The next day after the paint was dry, was scissors time! Aviel loves to cut. He got a package of little scissors for Christmas this year. Since the green was going to become leaves, I handed him that color and let him go free. The other colors had more specific, Ima-required, cutting needs, so I pre-cut  clouds, hearts, sun parts, and a tree trunk before we sat to work on this project together.
 

After we had completed scissors time, we moved on to gluing! I smeared glue on the back of the paper, Aviel then chose the placements and pressed them down.


Attention spans were stretched, so we paused here for the day.



Later we sat down and added few more parts. I would have put the sun up higher, but that's the fun of making art with your kid... seeing where creative little minds go! Thanks to Devin for taking these photos of us working together!

 

The next day, we added the tree branches, leaves, and hearts. This was another one of those situations that went a little differently than I expected. I had pre-cut the various parts and envisioned a more methodical application in nice organized layers. Well, Aviel decided to mix all of the parts and "sprinkle" them on the paper. I used a Popsicle stick to add some glue and he dropped hands full of small peices on top. Then we would shake off excess and do it again. It turns out that I like how rich the layered texture turned out doing it Aviel's way instead of mine! Its much more tree-like, I think.


The King of funny faces these days. 


And the final product! 


Since before Aviel was born, my mom has always said, "There are no two people who would make better parents for Aviel than you and Devin." I'm thankful for her insight. As a mom, I think I'm bearing the most fruit from my heart when I'm just being me.

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Sometimes We...  Paint!
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Fruit of the Season