I remember doing tons of art projects at home when I was growing up. We’d roll out printing ink on the kitchen counter with a breyer to make prints, and I imagined that I’d be doing art projects all the time at home with my kids. But it hasn’t quite worked out that way. Six-year-old O does like to make things, but they’re often utilitarian: he has me help him cut doors and windows in a toaster box, but he’s not interested in decorating it. Once he can drive a truck into it, it is done.
Re-reading an old (Winter 2002/03) issue of Cabinet magazine, I found a nice article by artist Byron Kim about his struggles with doing an art project with his kids. Here’s a bit of what he wrote:
Whenever we set aside time to make something, it didn’t quite work. She tried her best and that was just the problem. Our attempts were too intentional, too full of effort. I found myself foisting my ideas on Ella, and she, in turn, kept trying to make Art.
This sounds familiar — I wonder if it resonates with other parents out there. O likes doing arts & crafts projects — and has a kid’s digital camera that he likes to use — but, yeah, when the projects seem labored, they really do seem like they’re more my idea than his.