National Craft Month: Art Like a Child
Kids often have the best energy when it comes to crafting because they embrace being creative, they call themselves artists, and they could care less about the mess, color pallet, or medium that they are playing with. And I stress, playing with. It is play for them and they jump in with all the vim and vigor that they can to make their art. Whether they are using play-dough, clay, watercolors, markers, or stickers, they are smiling, laughing, and creating. You rarely hear them judging their work negatively, but rather showing you their amazing creation – and, while it might only look like some squiggly lines and a mass of Spiderman stickers to you, to them it is amazing and worthy of a framed spot on the wall or at least top billing on the front of the fridge.
Why is it that we outgrow this true passion for pure creative expression? At what age did we begin to second-guess our shade of blue for the sky or green for the grass. “ Dang it – I should have used apple green, not forest green!” I am sure it starts once we begin to get grades and compete with our fellow classmates. We begin to live in that world of one-upmanship and once we don’t feel our work is worthy, we stop creating, stop sharing, and start to think of ourselves as not creative. This is why I am passionate about a few of things:
- If you have children in your life – either your own or some that you can easily borrow (legally, mind you) – create with them. It can be as simple as some string and some macaroni noodles. Just make something with them. Trust me, their excitement is infectious and will definitely be inspiring to you.
- Try an art journal. Rather than making “something” that you would share or display, start secretly. Buy a simple notebook and just begin to explore and create and try techniques in your journal, expressing who you are creatively without worrying about sharing it with others. Often this helps you to truly free your mind and work your way back to that 6 year old with the brand new set of 8 watercolors you can’t wait to break in.
- Don’t judge your work by comparing it to others. Do what makes you happy. At some point we all grew into competitive creatures and it becomes second nature to all of us to do that. Art is about personal creative expression, not judgment or comparison. It is about freedom and fun and releasing your passion creatively. (This is one problem I have with art classes having grades beyond art history information, but that is a whole other discussion for a completely different soap box….)
As you continue to think about embracing National Craft Month, here’s a quick step to just begin thinking like a child in terms of creativity…
Go to the dollar store, buy a $1.00 coloring book and a 64 pack of crayons. Need I say more?