Thursday, August 27, 2015

springfield art and chalk fest, 2015

A new location this year, across from Sprout (a farmer's market in a renovated church) on smooth, old cement instead of last year's asphalt. So much smoother, so much easier to get fields of color and fine detail. It was a really fun event this year. Contact ESAP for details on entering the 2016 Springfield Art and Chalk Fest.

Chalk graffiti in front of Sprout.

More veggie-themed chalk art

This nice dog named Basil came to help his girls with their Star Trek-inspired art.

Artists and the I Scream for Waffles truck. So good.

Family fun chalk area with the kiddo.

A really nice rendition of a tiger.

My chalk tribute to Maurice Sendak.

I drew this nearby while waiting for the judges to come by.

Western Meadolark.

Space octopus?

Alphonse Mucha replica in chalk.

This piece had really lovely color blending.

Simpsons + Escher.

Monday, August 10, 2015

fast and easy paper making for kids!

If you have a preschool-aged kid (or older) with an interest in recycling, this is a fun afternoon project! Let's make some paper!

Take scrap paper and, with your kid, tear it up and put it in a blender with some hot water. We used a couple of mis-printed sheets from the printer, a bit of cardboard, two pieces of junk mail, and a sheet of purple construction paper. The trick is: the blender blades have to turn freely, so don't jam-pack the blender and use lots of water.

Blend till pulpy.

Kids can pour into the screen! We actually did the pouring over a catch-basin, then moved it to the table.

Kids can sponge gently to remove excess water. Here, my now-gigantic, soon-to-be-kindergartener kiddo sponges our screened paper.

Flip it over on felt, polyester, or polypropylene cloth (heck, linen would probably work, too), then press from the back with a sponge (kids can do this part, too!) (The kiddo is developing his photography skills; these are nicely framed, I think.)

Carefully lift screen, helping paper separate by pulling gently on the corner. Once the  entire screen is separated from the paper, leave it to dry.

And once it's dry, you can cut it into two equal pieces . . . or more.

The resulting paper will vary in thickness and texture, depending on your pour, and color, depending on your source materials. Ours feels a little like egg carton cardboard.

Nice textural quality; the screen leaves crosshatch marks on the surface, which look great when rubbed with a crayon.  

And that's all there is to it! The materials used don't have to be expensive. We used a small window screen from the recycled building materials store (99 cents), some kitchen sponges, and a polypropylene sack.  Serviceable and fun for a summer project! 

We're going to try this at the preschool's day camp this month, too, but using hand mixers; the low-tech kind with a hand crank (go go fine motor skills!). I'll try to remember to post the results for those who want to give it a try!

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, July 24, 2015

where the wild things are: giant costume heads and puppets

Every year, the parents of Eugene's Parent-Child Preschool put on a theater production to entertain and educate the kids, and help raise funds for the school. This year's production was Where the Wild Things Are. It was an ambitious production, but we made lots of cool stuff! For more info about the school and to look at a gallery of past production posters, you can visit the school's site at

Max's crown; felt + furry felt.

Goat-head wild thing puppet; felt, cardboard, masking tape, hot glue, thread. This is my second-ever performance ready puppet. This is the first:

Bull-head wild thing head mask, in progress.

Long-haired wild thing head mask, in progress (group project).

This wild thing mask is the one I made for the Mr. for Halloween a couple of years ago. Claire made the bird-head wild thing puppet masterfully (first time!)

Dress rehearsal! The sets were created by Anneka, Lisel, and crew, mostly of recycled cardboard boxes and latex paint.

Finished goat-head puppet, and bull-head wild thing head mask.

Long-haired wild thing head mask and Carole's gorgeous orange-nosed wild thing puppet.

I was lucky to recruit two amazing seamstresses (Claire and Carole) who are also very adept at learning to construct puppets and costume heads from cardboard, felt, and hot glue. Amazing work.

Max's costume, and more amazing backdrops.