Sunday, September 13, 2009

Totems and gemstone energy art - made by my kids!

Artists and the artistic process have always inspired me. Now my childrens' art is inspiring me in surprising ways. Nice!

When Thomas and Lucas were younger, I used to have a special project box filled with kids-craft & art supplies that we would pull out on a regular basis. In Africa we didn't have a TV until year 4. Ben didn't get quite as much art at an early age It's actually been a while since we did much art or crafting together as a family. But yesterday we had an amazing and all absorbing art-creating time together.

Our weekend activity schedule started to take shape when Thomas got a social studies assignment to make a Native American totem pole. I remembered when I was a kid my mom would make dough out of flour, salt and water that we would shape into all sorts of stuff bake til it was hard & paintable. Maybe we could make a log-like looking something? So Thomas got on the internet and found several recipes for homemade clay.

This weekend we tried the simplest clay recipe (2 parts flour, 1 part each of water and salt), and the kids all had fun making amazing creations. What I so enjoyed most was watching them put so much meaning and detail into their pieces. .


Thomas' loves to draw. His creativity was structured to his assignment, and he really did a fabulous job drawing the animals with a toothpick.

His totem pole represents our family's spirits. We all agreed and mused at how much rings true about each of us in the descriptions Thomas was provided with from class.

The beaver is his father, whose totem is known for being resilient. Beavers are strategic planners, capable of completely changing their environment for their own peace and security. They are among the most sensible and adaptable mammals on Earth. Regardless of obstacles, he tends to fulfill his dreams, simply because of his amazing determination. He is a force to be reckoned with in work and in love. (Sounds just like Epko)

The deer under the beaver is me, his mother and everyone’s friend. Peaceful and gentle, yet protective of our families, in some tribes the deer represents the heart and is considered the gatekeeper to the spirit world. In addition to special insight, deer are playful, sensitive and with this totem’s combination of kindness and grace, we are cherished by everyone we know.

The snake is Thomas himself, mysterious. Snakes can be intense and sometimes secretive. No one knows exactly how the snake feels or thinks. At the same time, he is sensitive to his environment and to others. He is creative and wise when solving problems. In fact in the Ojibwa tribe, snakes represent patience, because they are so slow to anger. (And when Thomas does get angry on those very rare occasions, he can be a little sharp tongued).

The deer below the snake is Lucas, who shares my totem and is also everyone's friend. Protective, playful and kind, and most definitely a gatekeeper to our family's spirit world. Wait til you see what he made yesterday!

The salmon
represents Ben,
determined and filled with purpose. This energetic fish is associated with perseverance as shown by its determination to swim upstream to spawn. And just like them, nothing can hold him back (ahem- this is my child that was born on the bathroom floor!)


While Thomas' totem pole was baking, Lucas worked out an idea to create a really cool pyramid shaped tray for his gem collection out. He's been collecting gemstones for years and has really gotten into them lately, after discovering that each has it's own associated energy attributes.

Lucas likes to meditate, and has decided that if he meditates with this "gem tri-amyd" it will attract tons of positive energy into his life. I've asked him if I can borrow it from time to time. I love it.


Benjamin needed more help, but with some of that from Thomas and I, he made a rainbow to hang in his playroom. That's in the same open space as my office at the top of the stairs. So we can both enjoy it. (Note to self - let Ben start painting more).

If anyone out there has family art project ideas to share that my teens and 5 year old could enjoy, I'd love to read them. With the cold winter ahead, it would be good to have a few more winners like this up my sweater sleeves. This weekend was a welcome reminder of how surprisingly creative my kids are, and how much we all enjoy it when they are able to exercise that.

4 comments:

Shawn4lia said...

Very cool Christina. Don't you love how kids are so open and non-judgemental about their creations? Thanks for sharing.

John Powers said...

I'm so delighted by the totem pole Thomas made and think the totems chosen are meaningful and auspicious.

You might be interested to share this at Simon Fraser University's site.

Paper hats really are fun to make. Really you don't need instructions but you can look at my Hats For Health blog at blogspot :-)

Grandmasmashup said...

Lovely, so lovely. It brings so many memories to my mind of you when you were a child and we had our family craft projects with your brother and sisters. It was a lot of fun.
I remember that the clay recipe I used was made with cornstarch instead of flour because it made a smoother clay.
Remember all our Christmas ornaments. We rolled out the clay and cut it with Christmas cookie cutters and then painted them with bright acrylic paint and added glitter. I remember your brother who was only 2 1/2 years old insisted on mixing all the paint and ended up with ornaments that were mostly black but he hung them on the tree proudly. I wish I still had those ornaments but alas, they were in one of the boxes that were stolen when our garage got broken into. But I have my memories.
I think it is wonderful that you are creating those same kind of memories with your boys.
love to all, Mom

christina said...

So glad you all enjoyed it! Thanks for the tote, pole link and the hats tip, John. Mom I knew you'd love this one. And yes, I remember the Christmas ornaments - even the black ones! I've never gotten over the theft of all our homemade Christmas ornaments. How fun it would have been to see what might be left of them now.