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Everyday Art - Departure Lounge
by Jennifer Barrett -Sculptor/Educator/Professional Tinkerer

Dear Everyday Art Readers-

This month’s format is a little different, as everything in my life is about to be a lot different. I am in the process of moving to the other side of the planet. I am excited, inspired, sad to leave friends and family, crazy psyched to meet up with my man and bring him his kid and his cricket ball, a little mixed about leaving a 16-year career, nervous about entering a new life at the age of 35 (plus 10), but mostly excited, the very first word I wrote to describe these emotional hills and valleys. I’m so excited for the change. If movement is life, as Brad Pitt said in World War Z, then change is movement.

Inspiration: A hard deadline, travel, and thoughts of moving on…

Nothing like having to be out of a place by a certain time. This is a whole new level of multitasking. Lists just become one more thing to do, and all the stuff in the house becomes public enemy number one.

Throughout this journey of cataloguing life, boxing keepsakes, arbitrarily choosing what is important (for any one thing can become important depending on the day), I have found comfort in finding new homes for semi-important things. It becomes a kind catharsis, this paring way down of things.

I have moved many, many times throughout my life. Moving in my 20s and 30s was a different kind of animal, with different attitudes towards things. Possessions were guarded and held close. Fears were of the unknown. My fears now are limited to my son, hoping that I can ease his transition into his new life abroad. All other fears seem arbitrary. Moving in my 40s, I feel more like a custodian of my possessions. I seek out friends and family who would most appreciate watching over my things on a “long term loan.” After all, aren’t we all just custodians of things?

Traveling is, and always has been, exciting to me. I am excited for my son, who will have two homes-one in America and one in Australia. He will have the gift of travel with experiences and exposure to a larger picture at a very young age. I am excited for him.

Everyday Art Lesson: Travel
Focus: Travel Art and Activity Kit
Mess Factor: Low
Ages: Can be modified for ages 0-18 years
Objectives: Younger kids will assemble an art activity kit of their favorite materials to take with them on their journey, collecting open-ended materials along the way. Older kids will create their own travel journal, collecting memoirs along the way.

Suggested Materials: 

Babies, toddlers, and younger kids: DIY Art/Activity Kit

•    A big pad of paper
•    Stickers or colored tape
•    Crayons
•    Small toys
•    Open ended materials from places traveled.

Younger kids can assemble a DIY art kit by picking out the supplies they want to bring with them on their journey. They can also collect open-ended materials along the way, adding to their art kit and record of their travels. For example, sea shells collected from the shore make great collage materials, or they can be traced for drawings.

Older Kids: Create a travel journal

•    Composition book
•    Sharpies, or permanent fine tip markers
•    Colored papers, magazines
•    Glue
•    Washi Tape
•    Mod Podge (to seal the cover if necessary)

Older kids can create their very own travel journal to park their memoirs. This will get them writing too! Any cheapo composition book will do, and kids can customize the cover to the place they are traveling. This is a great way to incorporate collage into their work as they choose images to design their cover. Once the design is set and glued, Kids can paint a thin layer of Mod Podge over top to seal it.

Traveling long distances is the perfect time for kids to embrace boredom. Lack of stimulation at times should be the goal, as kids of all ages should have ample time to daydream. Traveling long distances allows for this. Daydreaming, i.e. staring into space, is quite healthy and should not be interrupted. I notice my son daydreaming, and it gives me hope for a future generation of inventors and creators.

That is all for now, I will be back in February once acclimated to my new surroundings. I hope to bring newly inspired ideas to this platform, and I look forward to sharing!

(TIP: Always check for the ASTM d-4236 standard and ACMI AP seal, which should be on all art materials given to children. Materials are like ingredients.  Many things can be substituted for what you have on hand.)

Jennifer Barrett is the Arts Liaison, Data Specialist, and Performing Arts Coordinator at a public junior high school in Brooklyn. She has taught visual arts there since 2002. During this time, she has guided countless students through the rigorous audition process of portfolio development, with many gaining acceptance into some of NYC’s most prestigious art schools. She founded Creative Space Arts in 2014 to offer a different kind of all-ages art studio, always changing and inspired by the immersive environment of galleries and other creative spaces. In the spring of 2016, she launched Sip 'n Sculpt to bring a fun and relaxing creative outlet to neighborhood bars and restaurants. Answering to student and customer demand for accessible and affordable art materials, she founded Sticky Fingers Art Supply Co. in March of 2017 to promote high quality art supplies for a steal of a price.

Her writing is published in Home Educators Resource Directory and the #besomebody. blog. Jennifer’s paper creds include: B.F.A. in Drawing, M.Ed., S.B.L Certification.

Feel free to email any questions or comments to info@creativespacearts.com, or visit my website at http://www.stickyfingersartsupply.com/. I aim to create an open exchange of ideas and best practices.