Making conscious choices as an artist is important. Years ago, as an art student, my peers would brag about working with smelly oil paints and caustic processes. But after a few woozy headaches, it did not take me long to choose not to work with toxic chemicals. I felt then, as I do now, that being an artist makes me clever enough to figure out how to achieve beauty and function without them.
Years later, I began creating stories and curriculum for Lola's Lab and I made very conscious choices about being earth friendly -- that meant encouraging recycling and rarely ever buying a pre-cut shape for kids to start with. You see, when I began teaching many years ago, camps and enrichment classes relied a lot on having a pre-cut substrate bought from companies in China, like Oriental Trading or Michael's, to use in their art projects. The camps thought it made a child's art look more "fridge worthy" to the parent at pick up time. Well, those pre-cut shapes might not be toxic as chemicals in oil paint but they carry a carbon footprint was as big as Sasquache, and equally as important, they don't teach your child ANYTHING.
We in Lola's Lab believe that parents of kids at Lola's Lab understand this, and would rather their engage inventively, than doodle on a pre-cut shape. Learning to create art D.I.Y.-style teaches kids to be creative while being resourceful, economical, and environmentally friendly! Also, many of the items we create in Lola's Lab are functional and reusable; while we certainly love art for decoration's sake, the kids learn to think critically about the best ways to complete a task and the pieces to create it.
Many of the fantastic projects created by our artists in Lola's Lab come from recycled products! Bottles, cardboard, and cereal boxes transform before our eyes into rainbow catchers for Captain Kaleidoscope (as in the video above), robots, landscapes, magic tricks, and everything else under the sun. The kids could not be more proud of themselves. Just check out the video link and you'll be amazed at how this child's creation works to help the Captain in our story.
Here's to the resourceful child (and the parents who support them)!