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