Pet Projects and Progress

One of our campers concentrating on painting his Oaxacan animal

One of our campers concentrating on painting his Oaxacan animal

Whew!  Last week (Week 4) was the first week of Young Masters Camp, so it was time to see if all my prep work in the previous weeks was enough to keep us moving forward.  Well, I am happy to report that it was!  Bar a few minor issues, things ran smoothly and we met all of our goals.  Obviously we want the kids to learn something while they are at camp at the museum, but our bigger goals are safety, fun, and creativity.  As long as we accomplish those three things, we count it as a win!

Campers and teen volunteers making homemade dog treats

Campers and teen volunteers making homemade dog treats

Because this week was called “Pet Projects,” all our lessons and projects this week were based on furry, fuzzy, finned, and feathered creatures, whether real or imaginary. Studentsmade projects like denim pouches painted with pet portraits, indigo-dyed banners and bandanas (I had Smurf-blue hands for about a day after helping with this!), “perfect” polymer clay pets, ceramic chia pets and grass planters, Mexican Oaxacananimals, homemade dog treats in polymer decorated jars, painted picture frames, shrinky-dink pet tags, woven mats for dog dishes, and drawings based on James Thurber’s dog doodles. If you are thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot of projects for a one-week camp!”…You’re right!  Unlike some camps that only do one or two small projects a week, our campers complete complicated, multi-day projects with unique materials like fabric, metal, clay, and more with real artisans and craftspeople. We have four classes every day, so that means that our full-day campers could potentially take home forty projects at the end of the week!


Campers getting ready to display their work in the art show.

I taught a class that painted picture frames, and I decided to teach a “resist” technique to my students. A “resist” technique is where you put a paint-resistant material down (contact paper, in this case), paint over it, and remove the material, leaving a negative space with no paint. However, when I described this, I was met with twelve pairs of blank stares, so I had to quickly revise and change my terminology (like “blank” instead of “negative”) to make the lesson more clear.  Good practice for quick thinking!

To sum up, here’s a quick round-up of the most important things I learned from my 6-12 year-old campers:

  • Hangman is even harder when your 6 year old opponent spells “orange” like “orengj” and “girl” like “geral.”
  • Being out of white paint is possibly the worst thing to happen…ever.
  • Tigers make the best pets because they can eat intruders.
  • The most common form of death (according to a cootie-catcher/fortune teller) is falling in a volcano or having to eat 100 cakes.
  • Bigfoot lives in Alaska and eats bears, but is scared of people.
  • The best way to get your friend to give you a turn with the purple marker is to sigh dramatically, collapse onto the table, bang your head on the table, cry, get an ice-pack, and steal the marker while your friend goes to the bathroom

Until next time!



About mcoldiron

Grad student at OSU. Museum-nerd. Dreamer.
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