One thing I hate about blogging is that we bloggers inevitably write or post something that makes other folks click away feeling lacking. Because I’m a blogger myself, it’s easier for me to remember that bloggers can only share a fraction of their lives, and usually it’s the nice fraction. So try to remember that this is a nice little fraction of my life. We are not all construction-paper-hearts-and-watercolor-wildflowers all the time around here. Just… keep it all in perspective.
All that to say, I refuse for a single one of you to click away feeling lacking! Please do not think that A) your children need a dedicated art space like this or, B) my children keep the art space looking this neat and tidy. It only looks this way very occasionally. (cough). VERY. Most of the time it is an absolute disaster, which is very likely the way an art space is supposed to look. You know… used. :)
The basics are:
I did recover those chairs in vinyl some years back so that they would be easier to wipe down. It’s one of Tulip’s jobs once each week to tidy the art station and wipe it down (that sounds unfair, but she practically lives in this space, so I promise you it’s quite just).
I also put down a rug to protect the room carpeting. It would probably make more sense to use a wipe-able floor covering, but this room gets cold in the winter, so the rug is much nicer on everyone’s feet. I don’t worry about paint spills and such. I mean, I could, but then I’d be a stress-case mother and who needs that, right? Right. The rug wasn’t expensive and will serve as artist-feet-happy-place for time eternal, I’m sure.
Supplies. Art supplies can be expensive. We’ve accumulated ours over years, and I generally never pay full price for them- I either stock up at back-to-school sales, or use 40% coupons at Michael’s. I try to provide an array- markers, colored pencils (our very favorite are Prismacolor– this is probably my biggest art supply splurge- those puppies aren’t cheap but they are awesome), crayons (we do have Beeswax but much prefer regular ol’ Crayolas), glue & Tulip’s beloved Mod Podge, glitter (eeek!), paints, watercolors, sketching pencils, wiggly eyes, sequins, pom poms, felt scraps, stickers, stamps & ink pads, etc.
A large garbage can and recycle bin. I used to keep this itty bitty trash can down there. Then I came to my senses. Big, with a lid. An art center needs a trash that is big, with a lid. Just trust me on that.
So organized, yes? :) The trash can is there in the corner; the recycling bin is the white box is next to it. Surrounding are rolls of paper and then a conglomeration of art kits that should be on a shelf but there is no way I’m bringing home another cruddy shelf to put them on, so they just pile on the floor and the kids dig through them to find something to do.
Also, boxes. Empty cardboard boxes are like currency in our house. Every box that arrives on our doorstep is begged for and put to some use. You know, made into a fairy house or a baby doll crib, a fort, a jet plane, or a homemade vending machine. My kids want the boxes more than they want what’s inside them.
Allow me to repeat that this space looks rather tidy just at the moment. Don’t let me fool you! It is usually a complete mess. I’ll take a picture on a real-deal art center day and then show you, just to make sure you believe me. Can’t have you click away thinking that my kids actually clean up their messes or that I’m some kind of neat freak or something. That just won’t do. :)
Update: I promised, didn’t I? :) Here’s what the art center really looks like on a normal day.