The Organic Artist for Kids: A DIY Guide to Making Your Own Eco-Friendly Art Supplies from Nature by Nick Neddo
Quote from the books introduction: "This book is a guide for adults to introduce children to the process of making art with nature's materials."
This is a wonderful book that gets kids back into nature and off of their electronic devices. Back to playing and creating verses sitting with a bent neck "experiencing" the world through a sterile screen. The author introduces so many wonderful ways to utilize what the earth provides to create unique works of art. Not only does he show how to make paints, charcoals, and inks, but he also features many photos of his amazing artwork using the media he teaches kids how to make.
Because you will want something to draw or paint with, he also shows how to make your own pens, paintbrushes, palette knifes, charcoal holders, crayons, etc. And how to make stencil art with cutouts, hands, and found objects. In one of these tutorials, a picture of knotweed was shown. Knotweed sticks were being used to make stone crayons. Thanks to this picture, I learned something I didn't know. I have Knotweed growing around my outhouse on my rural eco farm. I never knew what it was, but thought it might be some type of bamboo. Now that I know I have an invasive species on my farm, I am working on eradicating it sans toxic chemicals.
The section on prints starts with the super simple many of us already know: using veggies as a stamp, to using berries, and even what he calls, "pounding plant prints" using a hammer. He also provides instructions on how to do rubbings, eco prints (my favorite), and nature prints.
Some of the techniques are incredibly simple and easy to do, while others involve more work and multiple steps. Everything the author teaches encourages kids to explore and create. There is a decent section towards the end of the book on making paper mache. The end is land art, which is rather beautiful and calming.
I grew up playing outside. I had the life the author teaches kids in the book. Granted, I didn't do all of these things, but I did creative things in nature every day. It saddens me to see how much things have changed for so many of today's children. We need more folks like Nick Neddo and his books to get kids back into nature. There is nothing better than being outdoors in the fresh air.
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