I gain so much inspiration from the many talented individuals on via social media platforms like Instagram. Being able to see what others are creating is endlessly motivational to keep creating myself.
Recently my friend Jaime has posted several things on Instagram (@needlemending) that have sparked awesome ideas. She and her 3 year old daughter made these fabulous collaborative cards (seen above) out of recycled seed catalogs. Of course, when I showed them to my own daughter, Katie (age 7), she wanted to do this too.
We ordered seeds from rareseeds.com this year and their “Whole Seed Catalog” is pretty famous to gardeners for having exceptional photos throughout. I was thinking about using it to make mailing envelopes but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. The organic and playful cards Jaime and her cutie pie created were just so uplifting and joyful – just like the seed catalogs themselves that Katie and I had to join in on the fun.
For the week of Earth Day we completed a number of home school lessons related to nature and helping the planet. Most of the things we worked on involved some aspect of recycling or reusing materials meant for a land fill. Although this was not that different from our usual home school topics, it was fun to center everything on a holiday.
To begin the week we studied how important insects are to the ecosystem and how many of them are responsible for things like decomposition and pollination. We decided to make collage insects with our seed catalog and attempted to replicate the different parts of an insect (by definition) even though our creatures were fantastical.
Katie is great with scissors – she has had a lot of practice and has followed in my footsteps with a love of cut paper. However, she found that it was hard to work with the images “as texture or color” rather than as what they depicted. She created an Earth Day card for her auntie instead with these cut outs (and she totally came up with what it said entirely on her own!).
Katie said she didn’t like that the thinner paper because it ripped more easily than thicker papers. In the end, her delicate insect parts were more conducive to heavier card stock – a medium she was familiar and comfortable experimenting with more. *We did have a mini melt down over the antennae…*
I would recommend that this project be set up differently for younger kids – with pre-cut shapes from collage materials already provided. Piles of different shapes representing various body sections would enable a younger child (or one prone to frustration or lacking in struggling with fine motor skills) to assemble various parts and develop an imaginary bug with their own creativity. I think Katie might have preferred this even though she was capable of handling all the skills required.
As Katie’s attention wandered to Lego, I found myself exploring more independently. I strayed a lot from the “insect” theme quite quickly. I found it more interesting to respond organically (lol) to the imagery of beautiful veggies and flowers and began to assemble colors and shapes to create my own abstracted compositions.
I liked creating the imagery with gestural watercolor backgrounds the most as they seemed to express the energy of spring and growth and the aliveness of summer. I moved to more familiar territory myself a few weeks later when I made the following cards.
I have always loved sending snail mail but I general don’t have or make the time to create the types of things I would like to send. I sometimes find a few moments to make a postcard and I generally try to make handmade birthday cards for my closest family and friends. During the pandemic I find that I do have a little more time to devote to such tasks as I find myself on break between semesters teaching online and Katie is finally officially on summer break. I hope to make more cards soon.
I think we all could do with a little cheer this summer.