Art just keeps happening at our house. 
The days trot by, the seasons shift, the moods swing and always there are materials beckoning to be used and hands configuring something.
We live in a very small home but I have aways worked hard at creating a space where materials can be easily accessed and used. There are sacrifices - we all share the same sleeping space so as we can have a room dedicated to creating. We figure sleeping doesn't need to be a space sink.
So the girls get their hands on the different materials regularly and the more they experiment, the more they push the material to discover it's possibilities and learn it's limitations.
What is key is the time we have to do this - time to revisit a project after letting it lie for a while, time to get frustrated, time to get bored, time follow an urge. Time is what we are wealthy in relative to most of our community.
I notice my growing ease with different materials - this has all happened in my adult years. Even though I had little opportunity to explore with materials in my childhood home, every day is an opportunity to begin.

So art just keeps happening.
That is art with a small "a" - expressing a feeling, problem solving, representing a series of ideas, just seeing where something goes.
In fact, it occurs to me that art is like a native language to young people if the environment is one which allows access to a range of materials and encourages exploration. The Reggio Emilia approach talks about "the hundred languages."
The girls learn what they need as they engage with limitations and possibilities of different materials. At this stage they don't need a teacher telling them "how" to do art, they are learning that themselves as they make art each day. 
Rather they enjoy and are inspired by environments full of artful projects and talking to artists about what they are doing - this all leads them back to their own work table and their own projects.

Getting on with the things we want to be doing with an open and light-hearted attitude, big on the curiosity, light on the judgement is what the adults in this house are always learning from the girls. 
How blessed we feel to have such good teachers.

Writing this post, after a while of not writing much at all, has got me thinking of a speech I listened to a while back talking about a similar approach to ones career. I've had it bookmarked for a while.
I like it and I hope you do too. 


  1. love the pictures of the little hands and the clay. We have some and must get it out, now I am inspired!

  2. Sky's hands are now strong enough to get somewhere with the clay. It was a library book again which provided the motivation. Sky sees something and wants to make it and finds the gear and gets on and figures it out. I'm watching and learning from her. As a younger person, I would see something and feel inspired and then wonder how to do it and the forward momentum would stop. I had too much negative internal dialogue going on - I tried not to listen to it but I would still stop. Alongside supporting my girls as learners I have supported myself.

  3. beautiful post <3 — love seeing the authentic art. it’s true for me as well re: getting my own art education in my adult years. my sons, on the other hand, are fluent because they’ve been using art to express themselves since they were very young.

    there is a place you go when you are completely in the flow and thinking about what you are making — that is a healing place, i think, shedding the day’s stresses. it’s a lovely part of the day.

  4. I was thinking of that place a few days ago...whether in the flow of making or the flow of being outside in the natural world. I think these places provide a sanctuary which can sustain us throughout our adulthood......and I was wondering what will the sanctuaries be for the adults of the future, children now, who have been overscheduled and have had little time to just be present in the moment of making or being.

    1. i think they end up seeking stimuli — watching tv, on the internet doing 20 things simultaneously, etc.

      a lot of people seem almost stressed out by quiet situations and places — almost like they don’t know how to fill the space so they’d rather it not be there at all.

  5. Funnily I posted this quote on facebook a few days ago...

    When things get tough, make good art.

    Sometimes life is hard. Things go wrong — and in life, and in love, and in business, and in friendship, and in health, and in all the other ways in which life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Someone on the internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid, or evil, or it’s all been done before? Make good art. - Neil Gaiman

  6. A great recipe don't you think? As long as people don't stumble on their own judgements of what "good" is and what "art" is :)