Childhood Crafts

English: A mix of traditional Ukrainian, diasp...
English: A mix of traditional Ukrainian, diasporan and original pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) – These are soooo much better than what we did as kids!

When you’re a kid you are exposed to so many different things. In art class you get to try painting, clay, drawing, collage, all kinds of things. If you’re really lucky you have a teacher who tries to go above and beyond the normal offerings and teach you something you had never seen before.

In elementary school we had a teacher like that. I wish that I could remember her name, I think it may have been Andrea, I just can’t remember. She started a program for students who wanted to spend more time on art, kind of like GAT for creative types. We’d get out of regular classes and have an extra period where we would get to work on extra art projects. One of these projects was pysanky.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s a traditional egg dying technique that is kind of like batik. You draw on the egg using a special stylus that puts hot wax where you want it. You then dye it, apply more wax, dye it in another color, and keep repeating until you’re finished. Then you melt the wax off and you have a multicolored design on your egg.

Of course something went wrong when I dyed mine and at least two of the colors entirely overlapped each other creating some strange frankencolor. But it was a sort of red black combo and I ended up loving it. Now I never explored this technique much after this class, but I still remember how cool it was.

Have you had a teacher or family member teach you something cool/different when you were a kid? What was your favorite art project that you can remember?

Working Outside Your Medium

Scenes from a fold forming workshop.

Getting to play with glass the other week, I was reminded how important it is to explore outside your medium. Working with different materials means approaching things differently. There are different techniques that you use. Each material moves in a different way and you have to take its idiosyncrasies into consideration.

When you work with a new

Purple Door © 2011 Deena Ball 4" x 4" - watercolor on bristol
Deena teaches all kinds of workshops including a plein air painting class.

material, at even the beginning level, it helps you approach your own work differently. You might figure out a different way of making something. You might even get new ideas about combining materials. Or you might just reappreciate the processes you use everyday.

What’s a great way to try out a new medium or technique? Take a workshop like those offered through the PA Guild of Craftsmen. Or look online for a tutorial. Or read a book or magazine. You never know what you might get out of it.