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Sometimes inspiration comes from an unexpected place.

Like when this:

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Where did your kids find inspiration for new explorations this week?

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We headed to the Seattle Art Museum yesterday, mostly to check out the Calder exhibit.


His use of balance and color spurred Z to try some new projects, even before we left SAM.

Other highlights included real coins from Ancient Greece, hieroglyphics and funerary objects from Egyptian tombs,  and the amazing aboriginal art collection.


A new-to-us Calef Brown came home from the SAM store with us.

In two hours, Z saw that art can be balancing and building.  It can be looking at everyday items of ancient and indigenous cultures through fresh eyes. It can be taking a new perspective on telling old stories.

We played in the Family Room and created in the studio (free to all in the Art Ladder without even paying museum admission).  Z led me through most of the exhibits, telling me that we were wandering everywhere like were in the Minotaur’s maze.

I’m pretty sure we’ll be back.  Often.

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Z finally broke out the DIY kaleidoscope from Christmas.

The stones, leaves, and rocks that came with it soon gave way to marbles, shells, sequins and whatever else could be stuck inside the little tube.

On Wednesday, we headed over to see the The Dragon, The Knight and The Mermaid at the NW Puppet Center with other families from the Seattle Homeschool Group.

Beautifully carved, three-foot wooden marionettes were used in this retelling of a French folk tale performed in the Sicilian tradition of Opera dei Pupi.

The Carter Family transported the audience completely from a drab Seattle day into a world of enchanted knights, evil dwarves, beautiful mermaids, and fire-breathing dragons.  The spell was lifted only after the show, when they took the time to show the mechanics of their ingenious creations.

What do you and your family do to see the world through a new lens from time to time?

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Z and Nilo spent almost two hours building and playing at Golden Gardens. The water bubbles up from an underground stream and makes a cold journey back to Puget Sound. The boys worked together to move rocks to create dams and islands, and they were fascinated with the bubbles of sand and water coming from the bottom of the pool.


After dinner, Z played with his new set of real tools. We talked about how we trust him to use them mindfully so that he can actually build things instead of pretending to work with plastic tools. He used his pliers and hammer to strip bark from branches, then decided to make some art.
After using his new markers to draw the Misty Mountains, he used his dot sponges and was so proud of himself for figuring out how the ink flows through the sponges. (“I’m teaching myself how they work, mom.”) After that, it was on to tempera paint and fingerpaints. He even helped to wash the brushes and put paint away before snack and stories.
I worked making the wall pockets from Amanda Soule’s amazing new book, the Creative Home, taking breaks to open paint jars and talk with Z while he delved into his color exploration in the studio with me. This was one of the first times that Z was happy just focusing on the process of art and creating without letting his perfectionism take over, which results in his frustration because his product doesn’t look like the creation in his mind and his asking us to make what he’s looking for. I’ve been talking a lot to him about how creating art is often about the process and not the end result and it was so amazing to see that idea at work. It was the type of flow and togetherness while we make and do and be that I’m hoping we capture in moments every day.