create (with kids): The Evolution of Process
As a parent, and artist myself, it's so easy for me to get excited about new media and projects. But I was reminded this week of the benefits of repeating an activity, especially for my littles. This week we painted coffee filters. It's something we've done several times before, like here, but each time we do it there's always a new discovery. Like stamping on them and turning them into a butterfly mobile, here.
Or our latest experiment...
...of standing them up in muffin tins! Something we've never thought to do before, it worked out really well. I love the tie-dye effect it created on them. My most favorite part, however, was watching the evolutionary journey that came first.
We began by diluting different colors of liquid watercolors in our muffin tin, then Isia began painting. At first she was content just painting on top of the filters and watching the pigment move across the surface.
Then something sparked her curiosity. She began to dip parts of her coffee filters into the pigment... which evolved to scrunching them up and dipping them entirely into the pigment. She wasn't getting exactly what she wanted though, and her burrowed forehead said so. Dipping the same area into different colors was causing all the colors to muddy together. I asked to share an idea with her, and she agreed.
I suggested we fold them, then dip different parts of the folds into different colors. We tried it together- and she was much happier with how the colors turned out. Then we had one more evolution! Since I had over-estimated how much water we really needed to add paint to (ahem), we had a lot more paint than we needed. Trying to use up the paint- which always ends up tipped over when stored- I stood a coffee filter up in it to see what would happen. Isia watched, then did the same thing herself.
It was so much fun that we kept doing it! Then we started dipping one end in one color and the other end in another color, watching them meet in the middle. Finally we were done for the day with a table full of drying filters- and a few lessons too. This project helped me to learn a little bit more about how Isia's mind works. She really enjoys the process these days, almost more than the product she creates. Which was a lesson to me as an adult artist. For these days I often approach my media with a product in mind, and limit process to the bare minimum that's needed to bring it forth. It's helpful to be reminded of the evolutions that can occur when we revisit the same materials, and ideas, over & over & over again. Sometimes our best teachers come in the smallest packages!
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