Art collaborations with kids

Life is so very, very good.

For of those of you who bore with me through my last couple of posts – thank you. This has certainly been a season of heart-searching and healing from the loss of my dad. An event I will never “recover” from, but also a journey of great beauty for me amidst the grief. Thank you for your kind comments and encouragement, and for walking a pretty intense road with me.

Now I’m ready to lighten up in this lovely warm spring air, and have some fun! Few things make me happier than collaborating with kids on artwork. Particularly for those of you creative types with children out there, maybe this post will prompt ideas.

Retirement collage

This week the Briggs are honoring a teacher who first taught Jacob in third grade (now a sophomore), then Jedd (now in 7th grade), and this year, Lily. That’s a lot of Briggs-time! We love her and wanted to honor her along with other families. A few kids from Lily’s class created artwork around the theme of “what Ms. Wallace will do during her retirement” and I had the privilege of collaging the final product using their drawings and some solid-color accent papers. For the final gift, the kids in her current class signed the matt-board around the artwork.

Collage collaboration with Ruby, Leif, and Lily

Collage collaboration with Ruby, Leif, and Lily

You could adapt this idea in many ways:

  • A family could create artwork for a Grandma around the theme of a favorite memory of time with her.
  • A team could create artwork around the theme of what they have learned from a coach.
  • A Sunday school class could create artwork around the theme of what they have learned about God from a teacher.


We also like to create cards to thank teachers for their loving investment in our kids’ lives. Lily and I collaborated on this one:

First, Lily created a beautiful design:

  1. She positioned cheesecloth on her paper, I sprayed it with water to wet it down, and she painted with watercolor to her heart’s content.
  2. Then, after it dried, we removed the cheesecloth and she colored with oil pastels.
  3. Finally, she added another layer of watercolor to certain portions.

lily coll

Then I:

  1. Cut part of her paper into flowers shapes and accent ribbons.
  2. Added some solid colors.
  3. And collaged it altogether with Yes Paste.

lily collaboration 2

And, we have our collaborative card cover!


SoH bracelets, photo by Moni Orsillo

SoH bracelets, photo by Moni Orsillo

In another kid-collaboration, I joyfully mailed six pounds of beads this week to Texas, where my dear friend Debbie Lee will intercept them and hand-carry to Kenya. There, some of my favorite kids in the world, the Sanctuary of Hope family, will make more bracelets for us! A few remain from the SoH kids’ last bracelet-making sessions in 2011 and 2012 (Toto for Toto bracelets), but it’s definitely time to re-stock. (Read more about creating Toto for Toto projects with the SoH kids here.)  The new bracelets will be available through Pamba Toto in fall 2013.

This is an easy project for kids to make and it’s a fun gift for mothers, relatives, teachers, etc:

  1. Choose your color scheme and create a bead mix of various sizes and colors in a shallow dish.
  2. Turn a tiny loop on the end of a section of memory wire.
  3. Let the kids bead any way they desire – patterns are lovely, but so are random mixes!
  4. Turn another little loop on the other end.

What ideas do you have for collaborating with kids? I’d love to hear them…. They might just become the Briggs’ family’s next teacher gift, or the next product for Pamba Toto!

2 thoughts on “Art collaborations with kids

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