Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Refrigerator Art

What do you do with your kids' artwork?

I wanted to display it but the volume of paper that kept flowing in from school was just too much to merely clip to the refrigerator.  I've heard of people that cycle it out, throwing away the older pieces.

That breaks my heart.

You could tell my kids had the same art teacher and that teacher used the same projects each year so I would get a lamb with glued on cottonballs from Amanda and then the next year get the same thing from Keith.  And here began my love affair with kid art.  It just fills my heart to walk through an elementary school and see all the variations of the same design.  There is nothing as precious as a kindergartener's rendition of a person with stick legs and arms, a crooked smile, lopsided eyes, purple hair and a blob resembling a dog.  LOVE IT!

It was clear I had budding artists, not because of the quality of their early works.  No, theirs was just as cockeyed as everyone else in their class.  But there was a passion.  They were (are) always found drawing, doodling, and talking incessantly about drawing.  I was not only flooded by art from school, but also from their bedrooms. 

They exceeded the capacity of the refrigerator door and I looked for other options in the house.  In very short time they were capable of completely wallpapering the entire house.  As much as I love kid art, plastering all over my livingroom was pushing it a tad.  I found the stairwell to the basement to be the perfect spot.  Rather unceremoniously I stapled their works to the wall, Amanda on one side and Keith on the other.  When little Ian came along his art was taped to the inside of the basement door.  I couldn't have a fourth child if for no other reason than lacking space for another child's art!

There were rules for handing me a piece of art.  It absolutely MUST have the date and child's name.  I explained that mommy has a horrible memory and I'm not going to be able to remember who drew this beautiful picture when I'm really old.  Like thirty-three.   They understood.  They knew allllll about mommy's bad memory, I can't even remember their names when yelling at them.  So they diligently scribbled their name on the back and tried to write the date as best as possible.

Art that didn't make it to the wall was still kept.  I had a tub in my bedroom for those pieces so I keep them forever.  Yes, I am a die hard pack rat.  And when the day came to move out of the house with the art-filled stairwell, I carefully removed each, some brittle with age, and stored them in rubbermaid tubs.  I have two large tubs of my kids art.  What the hell I'm going to do with it, I have no clue.  But I have it.

You know how unimaginably painful it would be to lose pictures in a fire?  I have that same sentiment about those two tubs of artwork.


  1. Children below the age of 6 are our only true artists. They have been left to their own muse and every creation is "the best". Only when adults and peers intervene do we end up with directed art and some high school art teacher dares to say, "You will never be an artist".

  2. I've started taking digital pictures of most their artwork (and, yes, I've backed them up) and now only keep the originals of my very most favourites. It's really helped cut down on the amount of stuff I have to save, and they like the idea that their artwork is forever preserved.