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Thursday 30 January 2020

Review: Collage Workshops for Kids: Rip, Snip, Cut, and create with inspiration from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

This book of collage art ideas is an excellent resource for busy parents and caregivers and will be a pleasure for them to share with children from toddlers to primary school-age children.

Artist Shannon Merenstein wrote the book with the art educators from the Eric Carle Museum. Eric Carle is, of course, the master of picture book collage illustration, with books spanning generations such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Grouchy Ladybug.

The Eric Carle Museum, situated in the US, has its own Art Studio dedicated to making collage art with the museum’s visitors under the guidance of Art Educators.

The philosophy that guides the book and the museum is:

When you treat children with respect as artists, wonderful things will happen.

All art projects in the book are open-ended, meaning that instead of every child finishing with the same cookiecutter product, they end up with unique artworks.

What is more, each collage project is not only concerned with the look of the final product but instead focuses on the process of creating art, all the while using imagination, following interests and being guided by the stories children tell through their art.

A focus on using recycled materials as art materials makes many of the activities sustainable, low cost and easy to find!

There are 24 workshops listed in the book.  Each chapter is themed from ‘Places and Spaces’ to ‘Nature’ to ‘Contrast’ to ‘Tell Me a Story’. Each workshop lists the tools and materials needed, the process, and adds sections with ‘follow-up thoughts’ and ‘other ideas to try’ which I found valuable.

As an illustrator and art teacher, I love mixed media and creating beautifully textured papers for upcoming projects. Every week, I share art experiences with school-aged artists. I’ve explored several workshops from this book with them.

Our favourite so far is workshop 3: Playing Dress Up. After taking a photo of each young artist and printing these out as black and white copies, the children used collage materials such as fabric scraps, coloured papers, washi tape and more to dress these images of themselves limited only by their imagination.

Other workshops, I recommend are workshop 14: Look Inside. A cereal or shoebox is decorated inside and out, and with some strategically cut holes becomes a ‘Look Inside Box’.

The two workshops in the chapter Tell Me a Story use an image as a starting point and look at sequencing a story with a beginning, middle and end.

But really, all the workshops are suitable and well developed and will be a great resource for families who love to playfully explore the arts.

Title: Collage Workshops for Kids: Rip, Snip, Cut, and create with inspiration from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Author: Shannon Merenstein
Publisher: Quarto Publishing, $29.99
Publication Date: 26th September 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781631595202
For ages: 3+ 
Type: Activity Book