Anyone who has kids has received them: scribblings, ashtrays, flowerpots with glued-on buttons, construction paper designs, self-portraits of the artist. From the time our children are old enough to hold a crayon and wise enough not to chew on it, they are creating. It's a beautiful concept--give their growing minds free reign and endless mediums in which to express them and the possibilities are endless. But it also creates a conundrum for parents with small houses. What to save and what to chuck?
The question makes me sound like an insensitive, culture-starved jerk. I realize this. But truly, is there an answer? How do we decide which art projects should become part of posterity versus the trash heap? Take the above sculpture for example. I'm pretty sure Jacob made it, but since it has no date, I don't know when. My husband found it in a drawer recently, mixed in with a lint roller, cough drops, plant hooks, old Father's Day cards and the manual to a cell phone he no longer owns. It took me several minutes of spinning it around and studying it to figure out what it is supposed to be. A telephone? A bridge? The letter M? A giant ear? Eventually I found an angle that made it look like a bird and declared it a cardinal. It's sort of red; the pointy end sort of looks like tail feathers; isn't that an eye? Great! We have a verdict. Now what?
I am not an organized person. I don't have a "craft room" though I have many craft materials and project ideas. I do not have a "library" although I own a lot of books (my husband would say too many. How can you have too many books?). We do not have an "art table" although my kids love to paint and draw. My husband doesn't have a "workshop" although he owns many tools (I might say too many. You know what he would say). The point is, with many interests in a family of four, storage is an issue.
Of course, once something is tossed, it is soon forgotten. My kids don't remember every project they've ever made, and I encourage this form of amnesia. But the ones that I do hang up and save, they look at all the time. They comment on them, point things out to me about them, show them off to visitors when they come. Often they are then inspired and pull out the art supplies to create something new. How can I squelch that?
I came across an idea in a magazine once (because I save lots of those too) that suggested taking pictures of all the favorite art projects, then making a collage of the collected photos, framing it and hanging it up. I thought that sounded great! Of course it means I'll need to pull all the projects together, photograph them, shrink and collage them, print and frame them. Did I mention I am not an organized person? Without a craft room, it's not likely to happen soon. So if anyone else has ideas about this, chime in! I'm all ears. Real ones. I'm sure of it.