Monday, March 21, 2011

"Who Made This?"

"Who made this?" asks my daughter over and over again.  This is something sort of new in our lives and it has just recently dawned on me how cool this is.  We have quite a bit of handmade things in our house, like plates, cups, paintings, sculptures, photographs, jewelry, and various other things that I've sewn or made.  So this question started popping up at the dinner table - "Who made this?' pointing at the cup.  "Well, honey, I did."  "And you made this too?" pointing at the plate.  "Yes, I made the plate too."  "And I also made this dinner for you, and Daddy made the bread that we are eating, too". 

Artwork from Thom Wheeler, Taos, NM
Fast forward a month.  We are in the middle of potty training now, so we spend a fair amount of time with her sitting on the potty.  "Mommy, who made that?" pointing to a piece of art we bought in Taos, NM on a trip one year (she's convinced it's a rocket).  "And who made that painting?" pointing to an original painting I bought for hubby almost 10 years ago.  "And who made that picture??" pointing to a photograph my hubby took of a cool-looking plant in Austin, TX.  And that's when it hit me.  How wonderful it is that my daughter is starting to understand that things are made by people we know and love.  We surround ourselves with items collected over the years and each piece has a story to go with it.  She is grasping the idea that things are MADE rather than PURCHASED at the nearest store.  I feel this is a huge concept, and I hope that she will love handmade things.  She eats off plates I have made (back in the days when I was making functional pottery) and not plastic ones (usually).  We are teaching her to be careful with those plates, as they can break, and mommy made those, so she should be careful.  And you know what?  She's getting it!  When I brought home my bronze sculpture from the foundry, she was so interested in it, and made sure to tell everyone who came to the house that "Mommy made that!"  I loved it.  It warmed my heart to hear her little voice shout that out.

Authenticity.  Handmade.  Each piece tells its own story.  All very important things to me.  Have you figured out cool ways to teach your kids (or even your family or peers) about art?  I'd love to hear them!


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