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Archive for February 2013

inspired by . Play

instituteofplay

Posters + Learning. I’m a big fan of applying great design to the elements of our daily lives as people and societies as a way of making our life experience better and richer, and I’ve been following an organization for a while who is doing that very successfully in the area of learning. The Institute of Play in New York City is a non-profit group focused on designing learning experiences that are centered in the concepts of play — something we all enjoy. I’ve been drawn to the curiosity and creativity fostered in the programs I’m reading about. One of my favorites is the Off the Wall Learning series, which uses simple (but well-designed) posters to provide kids with self-directed learning activities — vehicles for young people to explore their own worlds and draw their own conclusions. These two posters have inspired me again this week! They are available for download for anyone to use, along with the Off the Wall Process template for actually creating your own learning experience, ready to be translated into a visual instruction poster!

The Institute of Play website offers quite a few resources for teachers, schools and even parents, from curriculum and programs to reading lists on the concepts of melding games with learning. Take a look. You just might get inspired for your own exploration!

a new creative project

I have a new personal creative pursuit to share with you today to celebrate Friday! Over the extended holiday the kids and I took for Christmas, I was thinking through some of my goals for 2013. I kept coming back to wanting to draw and make things. I’ve always been a “maker.” Tinkering with this and that to make little treasures, whether jewelry or hand-made books or gift wrapping. During the first two years of Small Pond Graphics, I’ve focused more on digital work in getting my business off the ground. I’ve spent a lot of time in front of a computer or ipad screen! But, with the loss of my husband, Mike, this last year and dealing with the changes in our lives, I realized that sometimes tangible things can be comforting. And inspiring. There’s a joy and discipline in creating something with your hands that helps us move forward. Maybe.

SO, I’ve been getting back into “making”, experimenting with block printing again and enjoying a little watercolor painting. The ideas are new and sometimes half-baked, but I’ve enjoyed letting my kids watch and hearing their sweet “Mommy, I think you’re doing a good job with your artwork.” I love how there is never any “high” art with them. It’s all equivalent to pulling out the washable Crayola markers, and I like that.

The product of this renewed “making” adventure I’d like to share is a new Etsy shop! I’ve named it The Frog Kisser, and I’m slowly adding hand-painted and block printed notecards, gift tags and small prints. Here are a couple of the first designs, and I hope you’ll stop into the shop and let me know what you think! I’m always happy to hear what might make these designs more “kissable”. Happy Friday!

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photo essay 021813 . Serendipity in Light

When we visited my parents in Macon, Mississippi for the Christmas holidays, the kids and I took an evening to wander around Downtown to look at the Christmas lights — a fun holiday tradition from my own childhood. Of course, I had my camera in hand, and in addition to crazy kid shots, I also got a few photo surprises. I discovered that trying to get a handle on a couple of silly boys, freezing temps, a stiff breeze, and standing on the edge of a curb all at the same time produces some interesting photography effects [*grin*]. Something about throwing focus to the wind creates a kind of wonderful. I keep coming back to a few of the shots where light takes center stage. I hope you enjoy the serendipity on this Monday morning!

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