• Claire Hilton

Art Materials Around Your Home (Part One)

First of all – what have you got?


If you are sat reading this and wondering what to do with your day, why not take some time to walk around your home and just look at things in a different way. You might be surprised at the creative resources you have already. Its important to remember to look with open eyes, this means considering possibilities outside the box of what an item is but also and more importantly what could an item be used for. There will be the obvious ones, its likely that you can find some pens maybe a pencil and a rubber, a ruler and possibly some glue, tape and string. Rummage around on those book cases, tip out those pen pots (that might be a bit hidden and dusty) and drag out those cupboards and drawers. We are trying to bring together a creative grab bag of things we might be able to use when the feeling takes us.


At Creating Space HQ we are putting together a series of activities and posts with information to help to support a creative practice at home – using only what you have and hopefully inspiring you to be able to start something new and do something interesting and comforting.


A few grounding rules


· We are not advocating purchasing items at this current time! The focus of these activities and posts is to try and make the best use of what we have and not to spur a buying spree, although in the new normal, there might be things you will decide to source later down the line.

· All creative expression is valid – it doesn’t always have to be great. The most important part of this is doing it. You don’t have to share it, you don’t have to like it!! But please take that step and make.

· Feeling frustrated, step away. If things aren’t going the way you want them to and you are finding this difficult and frustrating, think about the possibility of walking away and coming back to your piece as things often look different when you return or you might find inspiration in between.

· Keep creating in mind. When you are walking around maybe tidying up or having a sort out try and keep your mind open to what objects or materials you could keep and incorporate later. Images from magazines, envelopes from junk mail with plastic windows or and collected items such as sweet wrappers and paper doily’s could be utilised in many ways. Anything that inspires you is important. We will cover non-traditional but useful art materials in a later post.

· Creating a ‘Creation Station’. Can you set up a small desk or corner that could stay set up to dip in and out of? This is sometimes more accessible and more helpful than having to set things up and put things away. Remember, we are trying to reduce barriers here and make creativity as accessible as possible in our lives. This is something the whole family could use and benefit from.

Tip: Think about starting a Tupperware or folder of images or materials that interest you to use in mixed media later which you can add too at any time. My favourites are a popular gold chocolate and nut based confectionery sweet whose wrappers have a great matte gold finish and can also add texture under paint.



Getting Stuck In!

Sticking things could prove a challenge depending on what we have available to us. So before I introduce this posts activity challenge I wanted to look at some sticking options that you may or may not have as well as some you may not have thought of.


PVA glue – if you have this then that’s great, you are right off the blocks, its versatile, washable and dries clear in most cases. Can also be mixed with paint if desired for a tinted finish.

Pritt Stick -standard, and if you have this then great. If not, don't panic.


Washi tape – is a great medium as its very tactile and rippable, great for small hands too. BUT sometimes its not that sticky so if you have pritt stick or PVA to put underneath then that’s even better although it might be ok on its own.



Tape – Duck tape, clear tape, parcel tape, masking tape any tape really. As an adult, if you are stuck then any sort of tape will do you can make use of any in a pinch. Some may be more manageable if you have scissors to hand and don’t forget if you do have a selection then there will be an aesthetic quality to which one you use. If you want to paint over the top of tape at some point, then something with a less shiny surface would be better. If you paint isn’t quite thick enough, add PVA if you have it and it might help. If you don't want the tape to be seen loop it over to make double sided or use it on the reverse to reduce the amount that is seen.

Blue/White tac – you can always stick things together temporarily this way, I often do this when I’m not quite sure on positioning or order of layers and come back to it later.

Laminator – you can create a multi-layer piece in a laminator sheet and pop through your laminator, this works particularly well to build up layers of images for a collage using magazine pieces as the paper tends to be thin. *disclaimer, try some sheets and see what the maximum thickness it can take would be before putting a finished masterpiece through and potentially breaking your laminator* You could also use a laminator to reinforce a piece of paper or a design that is too flimsy to build on more as a background piece. Give it a try!

Stitching – by hand or with a machine whatever takes your fancy – give it a go, experiment.

Hole Punch – individual or dual paper ones which people may have sitting on a desk in a home office. You can punch holes in the corner of pieces that are cut to the same size and later these us like tags with different edges and designs, even make a book this way joining things together with split rings.



Stapler – be careful of small fingers and hands of course but often a stapler is an easy and quick fixing option. Can be really satisfying to firmly press your stapler down to fix your pieces and layers together. Its more versatile than you think and best of all, no mess.



Activity challenge – Staple collage.

What you will need:

  • Paper (various) you could include images, colour and texture for layering. Envelopes with windows are great for this.

  • Stapler with staples, only a few and coloured ones can be used if you have them, if not colour them with a sharpie when you are done

  • Scissors.

You could also use any material or ribbon scraps you have around.

This is a quick and easy exercise. The most time consuming and most complicated bit is collecting interesting stuff to layer. Think about using crisp packets, material, paper, magazines, even faux leather and materials you have close to hand. These could be collected over a period of a day, a week or even longer.

Sit at a desk with some materials gathered in front of you, try and vary the size, texture and colour of your pieces. They don’t need to be big. Spend some time spreading them all out and gathering together the ones you are drawn to or that you think go together well, you can cut things down or into shapes if you would like to help with grouping things together. You could start with the smallest piece in the middle and add larger pieces behind or layer them as you go. You could fold, tear or burn the paper to add interesting edges and textures. You can finish you piece off by stapling the layers together to fix them. You can add to this over time and use words on the top later if you would like to like I have done in my example below. You can start with a word or a thought in mind when you are doing this or just go with the flow.



Tip: If you want to challenge yourself further, you could not use scissors at all and restrict your number of staples.

Keep what you make and maybe try it again, use different pages, sizes and colours. You can also use these as the foundation for more mixed media work and use paint and pastels over the top! The options are endless, and congratulate yourself for giving it a go.


Don’t forget you can share your creation with us on all our social media platforms if you're pleased with what you have made @CreatingSpaceSessions on Facebook and Instagram as well as find us on Pintrest.


Make sure you are subscribed to the website for blog updates and more simple activity challenges and prompts coming your way very soon.


Claire

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