The Studio

Last year I tried to think carefully about what materials the children actually used. I try to keep many things available for use as art materials in the studio. For one thing, I know that many different media can be used to create and explore ideas, so I like to have things handy. It also makes me feel bad when a child or adult comes into the studio looking for something and I don't have it. At the same time, the studio can get very crowded and cluttered. Even though I love to be amidst the colors and textures of the studio, I know it can be overwhelming to others.
Last year, Irene and Marty called the biggest shelf in the room the candy store. These where the materials I suspected weren't really very useful to the children, but were very colorful and enticing. They were things like gift ribbon, styrofoam shapes and other plastic or shiny materials. I never put these materials out on the tables, but occasionally a child would ask for something. Mostly these type of materials seemed to be used for gluing or taping to paper. Using them seems to be an end to itself, resulting in a colorful array,with little expressive potential.
It was interesting to see how the styrofoam shapes were used sometimes as a way of coloring a surface. For instance, when a child wanted make the wall of a cardboard house red, he or she could glue red styrofoam shapes all over the surface, rather than paint it. I think the children thought of this idea because of the way the shapes were sorted by color, but it was a unique use that I have not seen in other school years.

This year I am going to put these materials away and see what will happen if the studio has more white space.


  1. Ooh, this reminds me of the studio we had at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts. Lots of containers of bright pompoms, pipe cleaners, foamy bits, egg cartons, and lots of glue and glitter gel pens. Kids LOVE the glitter gel pens!


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