Thursday, October 12, 2017

Summer Wrap-Up #3: Family Art Project

Wrapped stone by Kai featuring one of Keith O'Connor Pottery's ceramic donuts. did read that correctly...SUMMER Wrap-Up...! I know, I's nearly mid-October and my plans for getting all the summer happenings posted here didn't quite happen. I did want to share this last one with you since it turned out to be a fantastic project!

More of Kai's wrapped beach stones.
Every summer, I come up with an art project for my extended family as part of our vacation together...often at Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The Cape is a special family place. We grew up going there for our summers...eventually finding ourselves on Rockwell Ave in So. Wellfleet. We have many great memories of summers there. My folks eventually bought a house that overlooked the ocean off the same main road (Ocean View Drive) that Rockwell is on. They had that house for ten years. We did eventually have a little hiatus...mostly visiting my brother in Kittery, Maine...also very beautiful! But the Cape called us back and we have been there 5 out of the last 8 summers.

Kai's fish
The family art projects started in 2010 and each year I must wrack my brain to come up with a new one! Actually, it is not that painful! I usually have something in mind or I get inspired as the time draws closer. This year, I wanted to do something a bit low-key, using materials that we could find in nature with the addition of some items brought from home. I'd been curious about weaving over/around beach stones and thought this might be a great project for us to try.

Kai working on one of his beach stone creations.
Kai's finished piece.
We had a family outing to my favorite local bay beach...Duck Harbor. I love this's sort of quirky...has tons of interesting stones and afternoon and evening skies that amaze! It's the place to be for the best view of sunsets. We went on our gathering expedition...choosing stones that called to us!

Duck Harbor on the rainy day that we collected beach stones.
Next I laid out the materials I'd brought from home...waxed linen, assorted stone beads, wonderful ceramic beads created by Keith O'Connor Pottery (in New Hampshire) including our favorites...small ceramic donuts, and some fibers including dyed and painted cheese cloth, fabric strips and lace. Some Elmer's glue also came in handy.

Poppy using some glue on her stone.
I just love this little guy that Poppy made featuring some of Keith O'Connor's beads.
Poppy really enjoyed adding fiber to her pieces to give them texture.
My 10-year-old nephew Kai wanted to start in right away. I realized at that moment that I hadn't done my usual testing out of the materials and techniques. I immediately started in and so did Kai. No sooner had I realized...hmm...weaving over stones isn't so easy...when I heard my nephew exclaim, "Epic fail!" He found the weaving difficult too (though later in the process he did do some successfully). So...thinking on my feet, I remembered that I'd seen a number of interesting images of stones wrapped with fiber. Bingo!...that was the answer!!!

Poppy played with wrapping layers of cheese cloth and lace over stone. The other is wrapped with lotus wood beads.
More of Poppy's whimsical creations.

What followed was an outpouring of creativity! We each fed off of the discoveries of each other. My architect brother started wrapping and stacking stones. My graphic designer sister-in-law created some pieces that reminded me of Zuni animal fetishes. My 10-year-old niece, Poppy had fun with fiber and beads...creating some delightful pieces. And Kai really took off! His later pieces reminded me of ancient tools.

My brother, Stuart weaving over a wrapped stone. He makes it look so easy!
Stuart's finished piece.
Stuart stacked his stones...not surprising for an architect!
Another stacked stone creation by my brother.
My sister-in-law, Judy, working on her wonderful fish!
The finished piece.
More pieces by Judy. The top piece reminds me of a Zuni bear fetish.
Kai's "tools".
Another of Kai's pieces showing knotting.
Of course, Mom and 15-year-old niece, Ivy and I joined in with some of our own creations.
The best part was the materials could be left out and the creations kept happening throughout the days we spent together.

Mom's stone featuring beads, including one of Keith O'Connor's ceramic donuts.
Ivy's simple, yet beautiful design.
Of course, I had to add fiber to my stacked piece!
An assortment of my stones. I really enjoyed making these!

Now I'm can I top this next year???


  1. Cool, love this project! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Replies
    1. It really was a co-creation. Each stone spoke to us in different ways!

  3. So cool that you all came up with the project together in the end!!! Have you done sunprinting with the family?? Seaweed and feathers print fabulously well!!!

    1. It was really so great that we were experimenting and learning fr one another. I did do sunprinted scarves one year when we were up in Maine...lots of fun!

  4. Best to sit with the glow of this project! It really ignited the spirit of your art makers!

    1. Thanks Mary Ann-Yes..glow is the correct description! Such a flow of creativity!

  5. You ignited the family creative spirit...good luck topping this one!