In addition to offering a wide variety of fun, collaborative projects using nature as a source for art supplies and inspiration, this book also introduces the concepts of awareness and perception that are fundamental to the creative process. Children will be encouraged to learn new skills, build resilience, and be resourceful as part of an urgent struggle to prevent and undo Nature Deficit Disorder. Rooted in experimentation and an understanding that fun is fundamental to learning, kids will refine their drawing skills, as well as increase their appreciation for the visual arts and the natural landscape.
Just some of the projects and skills covered include:
- Making pens and wild inks
- Making paint from stones and rocks
- Crafting your own paintbrushes
- Making simple stencils and rubbings
From the Publisher
The Organic Artist for Kids
WHAT IS THIS BOOK REALLY ABOUT?
Mother Nature is my favorite artist. I surround myself with her art, and because she is the ultimate inspiration in my creative process, my studio is filled with treasures from the landscape.
This book is a guide for adults to introduce children to the process of making art with nature’s materials, as well as creating art-making tools by hand. The Organic Artist for Kids is about fun and creativity, which, when combined, leads to learning.
Some of the projects in this book are fairly simple and accessible to the youngest among us, and some are more involved, requiring adult supervision. Each project is marked with one, two, or three oak leaves to give you a sense of how accessible it is for a certain age or skill level. Look for the leaves at the beginning of each project.
These projects guide you to:
Be creative and experimental
Become more nature-literate
Improve your skills as an artist
Develop skills with hand tools
Be more confident
And, of course, develop and maintain a healthy connection to your own unique creative process
Project 16 Berry Ink
Berries make life better for obvious reasons. One (less obvious) is how easy it is to convince them to share their pigments with you for making ink. Another cool thing about using berries for ink is that you don’t have to add a binder because the sugars and pectin in most berries fulfill that role. Some berries are relatively dry and the liquid they do have may not be colored with much pigment in the first place. Other berries have so much juicy pigment that you can use the berry itself as a drawing tool, a self-contained unit that is both pen/paintbrush and ink. Once you have overcome the challenge of not eating them, making ink from berries is fun and easy. Start out with the ones that stain your fingers when you eat them.
TIP: Some pigments hold their color permanently and others fade over time, especially in direct sunlight. Colors that start bright and slowly fade are called “fugitive” (because they run away). Berry inks do this.
TIP: If you have berries in the freezer already, take them out to thaw. When they are no longer frozen, a puddle of juice will build up in the container they were frozen in. Pour this out into a jar and use it as ink! Eat the berries or put them back in the freezer.
MATERIALS & TOOLS
Mortar and pestle
Bandana or old
Project 16 Berry Ink
1: GET SOME BERRIES
The berries available will depend on what season it is when you get your hands on this project. Start out with raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, elderberries, or Concord-type grapes. Be sure to pick plump and juicy ones.
2: SMOOSH THE BERRIES
Put a handful of berries in the mortar and pestle. Keep it on the small side, being careful not to overfill it. Crush each berry thoroughly and spend some time focusing on the berry skins, which tend to be where most of the pigments are hiding. Crush and grind them against the bowl of the mortar so they release as much pigment as possible.
3: COLLECT THE JUICE
Line a bowl with a cloth, such as a bandana or an old T-shirt. Dump the first batch of mashed berries and their juice into the bowl, catching all the mash on the cloth. Carefully make the cloth into a pouch, wrapping the edges around the berry mash. Pick it up and squeeze it until you get every last drop of juice out. When the first batch of crushed berries stops dripping from the cloth, empty it into the compost and repeat the process. Now you can try out your ink with one of your dip pens (see Projects 20, 21, and 22)!