This week in the studio, I stepped forward into the past. Long before I had my own children, I took care of and taught little children in a local pre-school/daycare.
I loved setting up the tables every morning with colorful toys, play dough and paints. Making wall art from their art. Setting up learning stations, reading corners, dress up and home areas. One day, I set up a long piece of butcher paper on the school patio with trays of paints and empty thread spools, small balls and sponges for the children to roll, toss, drop and splat with abandon. The mess was all easily sprayed away with the hose. The giggles were priceless.
Teacher to mother to artist.
When my own were born, I gave up my job as a creative in advertising to be a creative mom. And had the joy of setting up toys and paints and craypas for my own little children. I volunteered in their classrooms and taught art literacy.
As their lives moved on, I moved onward too. I took classes and worked in watercolor, pastels, oils, copper and finally came back to clay which I did in high school.
Around it goes again.
I am so fortunate to be here for my grown children and their children. I love my Mondays with Meyer and now Cieran gets to come and play, too. I have a trunk of toys, a tiny kitchen, books, a dress up area and, of course, a storage cube filled with kid-friendly art supplies.
Last week, we honored Eric Carle’s book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” again. This time, we made individual ornaments using Cieran’s toes for the caterpillar and a beautiful butterfly out of clay. These will all be fired and painted and ready in time for his one year birthday.
Remembering the joy.
This is what I so easily forget: the sheer joy of creating. The soft, squishiness of fresh clay. Colors flowing and mixing. Finding a new line. Adding a dot. Pressing a stamp, a piece of lace or hardware to make a new texture.
Pressing the words into the wings of the new butterfly is a different kind of writing. It’s still a way to hear my soul speak. And especially now, to pass on those messages to my children and my children’s children. And to you, too.
And hopefully, as we move forward from this time maybe the joys of the past can come with us in a new way.