Renew Your Passion with Crafting & Conversation

Making things together inspires laughter and interesting conversations. Did your family make things together when you were a child? Some of my best early memories are making things.

We all deserve the stress relief that doing something GENERATIVE brings…from something that gives us a tangible reward for our effort.

You can add CREATIVE RENEWAL to your life by making things with friends over the weekend. Like this Oyster Shell craft we’ve been trying at my place.

Do you like crafting? Or making art? Or both? When people ask me if I like CRAFTS (since I’m an artist), I say YES! I love both arts and crafts. They are quite different from each other, but both valuable and therapeutic as long as they are open-ended.

Sometimes crafts get a bad rap. They are actually prohibited by NAEYC for private preschools seeking accreditation. Ouch, that’s harsh!  What they mean to say is “cookie cutter crafts” have no developmental value, and therefore no place in education.  Why? Because product oriented arts and crafts are all about the teacher’s imagination and have nothing to do with each child as an individual. So what’s the point? Copying the teacher’s imagination is a waste of children’s time and a lost opportunity for children to apply their OWN imaginative thinking

Just like PROCESS ART, crafts can ALSO be creative, open ended, and loosely structured. And they’re more fun when everybody makes their own decisions and approaches designing their OWN way.

Recently my daughter Lillie got engaged, YAY! We’ve been thinking of handmade wedding decor and she told me Oyster Shell Decoupage is trending. So I watched some UTubes to see how they’re made, and quickly ordered the materials on Amazon. Then we gathered together with some of her bridesmaids to give Oyster Painting a try.

It was a great afternoon of creative play that inspired us to go on and on, until we finally ran out of shells to paint.

If YOU want to try this fun, easy, and affordable craft, I’ve included my materials list below, that will fast-track you to the fun part. With Fall holidays coming up, you could switch to holiday or Wintery themes… or decoupage onto wooden shapes instead of shells. Since I was thinking weddings, I ordered images of birds and feathers and lacey blues to keep it airy & bright. But you can choose the paper designs you like instead.

A few days after our bridal get-together, my colleague Dr. Kathryn Murray came by to discuss a Professional Development series we’re collaborating on for the new year. Here she is with her beautiful daughter Suzy. The 3 of us “talked shop” while crafting together as well.

After all, what early childhood educator doesn’t like hands-on play. I think it’s in our genes! 

We enjoyed crafting & conversation, only this time on SCALLOP SHELLS. Which version do you like best? The scallop shells or the oyster shells? 

And how about that fancy GOLD PAINT trim, isn’t that fun?  And so easy and inexpensive to apply. 

They say when you’re exhausted, it’s not always rest you need, but rather doing something you love instead. Try open ended crafting with family and friends again, and I bet you will agree.

Thank you for taking the time to read my ideas and share your experiences. I hope you enjoy connecting with like minded spirits as much as I do.

Anna Reyner,

Consultant & Trainer:
CreativePlayLA, Los Angeles California

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