For the season finale of Backyard art I thought we should celebrate the back yard and make something to put in the garden. I have made stepping stone before with my wonderful mother and I remember how much the kids loved it. After researching on line and consulting my uber knowledgable husband I made a few alteration for making stepping stones in a large group. First, and I think most beneficial, I used mortar instead of concrete. We had an extra bag of mortar laying around from one of our summer landscaping projects which we picked up at Home Depot for well under $5. Mortar has a finer consistency than regular concrete... which contains small rocks. Second, I used disposable aluminum baking trays from the grocery store since I didn't own enough molds for everyone. They actually worked out nicely since they had fluted edging and everyone didn't have to worry about returning the trays. I could have spent more time teaching the kids about the artistic term of "mosaic" but everyone was just excited to get going so I didn't dwell too much on educating during the last backyard art session. However, I did challenge the older kids to try and make a picture or pattern and not just randomly push colored rocks and glass into the mold. Before we even started I read the kids a book and thanked them for all the summer backyard art time together. I asked the kids what was their favorite project and my Jo yelled out "This One!" Needless to say, it was a fun one.
These where our "art" supplies for the project. What's not to love about a power drill and trowels! I take much inspiration from Duff Goldman.
Loved the look of all that broken glass.
This is such a great project because ALL ages can participate and create at their own level.
I wanted to take a look back at the summer of Backyard Art so I made this collage (below) featuring all of our projects in order. I have to say... it makes me feel like I really have something to show for what I did with my summer vacation. I can also see the moment when the whole purpose of Backyard Art became clear. Back in June I didn't really know where the journey would take me but I felt totally inspired to give it a try. As much fun as the kids had all summer, I really was the one who benefited the most. I always felt strongly in giving kids the chance to create and the importance of creative thinking in context of problem solving. But now that I have spent 11 weeks watching kids create, I am passionate about providing the opportunity and fostering self confidence through the arts. Schools do the best they can but the arts suffer because of the mandated teaching of the core subjects. For some reason, arts are not considered core. Bummer! During my summer of art research I came across this blog entry talking about the importance of creative children. She made me cry as I read, "
I want to thank all of you that have taken a moment to comment (in person or on the blog) about my adventures in art. I have really been overwhelmed at times with people who have been following the blog and cheering me along. I whole heartedly thank you!!! Some people have asked me if I'm going to do it again.... to that question my answers is probably yes. But I feel like the answer is so much bigger than that. My answer is that I am going to take every opportunity I can find for my kids to strengthen their artistic and creative muscles because that is what the world NEEDS me to do. But I am also asking the question what do YOU think I should do? I am still trying to clarify what I should do with all the knowledge I gained. I guess I am dealing with the, "Now what?" and I am open to hearing others input. (Maybe I'll regret saying that???)
One more thank you goes out to all my wonderful mom's and kids that joined me down the Backyard Art journey. Without you I wouldn't have been pushing myself so hard each week. Thank you for seeing that art is important and coming with a ready heart and a creative spirit. I think all of us mom's realize the healing powers of creativity at one moment or another. Thank you, thank you! Love you to pieces.
(Just realized I have two more thank you's. One to my mom for being the sounding board for so many of my thoughts. You are such an inspiration and an unconditional resource of strength. You still teach me that their isn't ANYTHING I can't tackle because you are still tackling new arts daily. My other Thank you is to my wonderful husband. I have to admit, when I started this project I didn't really tell Josh what I was doing. I thought he would just roll his eyes and think it was another one of my crazy ideas. Thank you for your support and for sharing your power tools too. Having your vote of confidence after that first project meant the world to me.)