Getting organized for the new school year is in full swing at our house. For a three and a half year old and a 20 month old (both are going to nursery school) this really only involves buying new clothes for the eldest and some for the youngest and labelling everything! While this is not the full back-to-school prep people of older children go through, there is something we all have in common once school starts and that is answering the question: What do we do with all the artwork?
I don’t know about your kids, but mine are mass producers of artwork. When we do art projects at home, the girls go through pages and pages of drawings and paintings before they are finished. Add to that what they bring home from school and we have a major clutter situation. Some of the artwork is easy to throw in the recycling bin but a lot of it is hard to throw out. Over the past few years of receiving art, I have come up with a few solutions:
1.Use art as art is intended: Frame it!
As we have small children and lots of expenses, when we started decorating our house we found that we had a lot of wall space and no money or inclination to purchase expensive ‘art’. When I was in Grade 4, my parents framed a pastel drawing I had done and to this day it still hangs on my wall. It’s a great keepsake and I am proud that my parents thought it was special enough to frame. When decorating Ainsley’s big girl room, I went through the pile of art we had accumulated and picked out three of her drawings and framed those using inexpensive Ikea frames. I love the look of them and Ainsley is very excited every time I remind her that she drew those pictures. I will do the same for Juliet once we have a collection to choose from. What a great way to boost self-esteem by showing them that what they have created is special.
2.Art as a Gift
To take the framing of art one step further, I have given framed pieces to my parents and in-laws. I find it very hard to shop for them as really, what do you get your parents let alone your in-laws? Whether they hang the art on their wall in the office or at home, it’s a really nice thoughtful gift that is an Original piece of artwork that is priceless. This is a great way to save the art that you don’t want to throw out but at the same time, make room in your house for new art.
3.Art as Fundraiser
This past year at Ainsley’s nursery school we did a fabulous fundraiser for the school using the children’s paintings. Both girls created a painting and it was sent to Acorn Custom Cards, a company which took the art and made cards and placemats. This was a great idea as it provided a fun art activity for the kids, earned money for the co-op school and parents were able to have cards made that showcased their child’s skills and again, the children would get a self-esteem boost by seeing their art used in a new way.
4.Art as wrapping paper and cards
Another great option is to reuse your children’s artwork as wrapping paper and as cards. I love getting home made mother’s day cards and my girls love making cards for others. This is a great use of artwork that would otherwise be thrown out and save you from buying overpriced cards and wrapping paper!
5.The Art Book
This is something I haven’t created yet but have hopes that when the girls get older and start drawing people and animals we can create our own books. I would love to take a bunch of their drawings and work with them to create a story to go along with them. It would be something simple but I love the stories that Ainsley has started telling me about her drawings and think that soon we will be able to start putting them down on paper. What I would do is mount the artwork on scrapbook paper and add the caption below telling the story. To finish off the “art book” we would either insert the scrapbook pages into clear page protectors and put in a scrap book or we could punch holes into the pages and bind with ribbon. I look forward to the opportunity to make our first book by Ainsley.
The other option for this is to not have a story at all and just put together a collection of art and store it in a scrapbook. This is a really nice idea as you could pick a variety of work done over the course of a school year and have a volume for each year.