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Everyday Art - Diwali Rangolis
by Jennifer Barrett -Sculptor/Educator/Professional Tinkerer
Inspiration sometimes comes in the oddest ways. I was inspired by a suspension of alternate side parking yesterday. As I pulled up to double park, a common practice on NYC streets, I realized cars were parked along both sides of the road. I checked my app, and sure enough alternate side parking was suspended for Diwali. Very excited that I had an instant parking space, I used the time I saved to research this Indian festival of lights, and various crafts associated with it.

I soon discovered Diwali Rangolis, circular and radially symmetrical floor designs. These designs are intended to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi into the home, which are clean, pure, and beautifully decorated. Rangolis are created out of colored powers, rice, glitter, and power. 

Everyday Art Lesson:
Design Focus:  Rangolis
Mess Factor: Low-High
Ages: Can be modified for ages 0-18 years
Objectives: Younger kids will create decorative rangolis out of autumn flowers such as marigolds, or even colorful fall leaves.

Suggested Materials: 

Babies, toddlers, and younger kids: 3-D Decorative Pumpkins
•    Fall leaves
•    Flowers
•    Construction paper cut into a square or circle
•    Glue

Younger kids can create a circular rangoli pattern “rug” by placing leaves, flowers, and even branches into a circular pattern. Patterns can be created by using color or shape. Once the pattern is set, glue the materials to the circular cut construction paper.

Older Kids: Rangoli drawings: Radial Symmetry

•    Paper cut into a circle or square
•    Sharpies, or permanent fine tip markers
•    Colored pencils, markers
•    Examples of different rangoli patterns for reference

Older kids can create drawings on any size paper. The easiest, most readily available size is to cut a 9”x12” piece into 9” x 9”. Fold the square or circular paper into diagonal thirds.

Unfold. Begin with a small circle in the center encompassing all 8 equal spaces. Build the design in a radial way outward by adding the same size shapes in each of the 8 spaces.  Add interest by utilizing a variety of shapes and lines. Outline in sharpie, then add color in an alternating pattern in sets of 2 or 4.

The result will be a beautiful, bright rangoli design!

Kids having difficulty with the concept of symmetry can start by dividing the paper in quarters and applying shape and line to each section. They may also start with a pattern sheet that builds pattern through symmetrical balance by folding a square piece of paper 4 times and repeating the shape in each square.

(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.