Guest Post by Phyllis Ripple, founder and CEO of 4Favorites Rugs.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
Last month I was reflecting on the creative journey each of my children took when they were small. For years, my pre-teen son and daughter considered themselves as talented “artists”. Our family proudly displayed their projects prominently on the refrigerator and walls in our home. Now aged 25 and 27, neither of my children consider themselves artists and have abandoned drawing and painting. What happened? I wanted to know how they felt, what they remembered about the time they were “artists”. Did doubt and self-criticism prove too discouraging? Was there a creative obstacle which overwhelmed their creativity? Or, was I somehow responsible? Was it something I said?
As a student of art history I am fascinated with how artists are inspired to create. I love how artists visualize and express concepts of scale, composition and color. I wanted to know how my young artists overcame the obstacles and what they did about it afterwards. Expressing scale, composition and colors present some serious problems only solved by experimentation and dedication.
My kids and I reviewed their childhood portfolios (I kept a lot!) and reminisced about what inspired them and why they no longer draw or paint. How was the composition envisioned? Were they satisfied with the result? How did they solve the problems of complex spatial relationships? How did they choose to exaggerate a certain line or color? They remembered the creative obstacles they overcame in drawing a tree in the distance, how to represent the wind blowing a lion’s mane, or a horse crossing its legs realistically. They told me how many attempts they had mad e to finish their drawings. How their visions took planning, thoughtful consideration and time, and that experimentation resulted in success. The role of dedicated art teachers figured prominently in their experimentations and inspirations.
My son and daughter are no longer drawing or painting as they did when they were small – they “outgrew” it. But, the lessons they learned about seeing challenges as an opportunity to think creatively about solutions and their ability to respect and listen to different points of view was rooted in the experiences of artistic expression.
Elliott Eisner, professor of education at Stanford University, offers a deeper understanding of the role of the arts in a child’s life: “The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of the large lessons kids can learn from practicing the arts is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.”
Viewing the arts as a problem-solving tool leads us away from the idea that children’s art is only about making aesthetically pleasing objects or providing entertainment. In summation, art provides parents a way to help children be more innovative in very simple, yet powerful ways.
A longtime expatriate, Phyllis Ripple has lived and raised children in Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt and the United Kingdom. Many of these stops along Ripple’s journey were within great weaving regions of the world. She is now the founder and CEO of ecoFiber Custom Rugs and 4Favorites Rugs, based in Boulder, Colorado.
4Favorites takes your kids’ art work and turns it into a high quality wool rug you will treasure. Take advantage of their sample sale on 2X3 rugs. You can get 20% off after $125.00 using the code: SAMPLE.