I love collecting things. I always have. As a kid I collected stamps, seashells, china animals, tea sets, and books (Peter Rabbit and Nancy Drew were my faves). My collected world, sitting in rows up on shelves or on my desk, made me feel safe. As an adult, I still love to collect but it has turned into collecting from nature more than about buying stuff. I strew my collections about the house, usually on the mantle, and I leave them out until it starts looking too cluttered (even for me). Pinecones have been my theme over the past six months. I had no idea you could find pinecones all year round, did you? I always thought they were an Autumn thing, but I was wrong.
Since I’ve been teaching art in my home, I have been collecting lots and lots of TP rolls, corks, cereal boxes and bottle tops. All piling up in baskets to be used in one project or another. But my favorite place to collect is at the beach. And now that we are one week into summer, it’s time to start collecting anew! I’m very excited.
I wanted to share some of the ways I use these collections, maybe they will spark some creativity in you. Mostly I collect shells and rocks for art class. They are the easiest to find. But sometimes I get lucky and find really cool sticks and pinecones, too. This summer I vow to start collecting heart-shaped rocks and sea glass. Can’t wait!
Painting shells is something we do every summer. Here the kids just used regular tempera paint. But you could also heat them up in the oven and use crayons on the hot shells. This melted crayon technique has been perfected by my friend Jean from The Artful Parent.
This year, my art-class kids painted sticks, pinecones, and pasta to make beautiful sculptures. I wanted to keep these so badly!
Recently, on our trip to Maine, I collected “Y” shaped sticks. I found so many, some in the woods and some on the beaches. I wrote a DIY on branch weaving here. I think it’s safe to say that I am addicted to this technique. You might be seeing many more of these guys all summer on my Instagram.
I hope I have inspired you to start collecting this summer. Even if you don’t paint or draw on anything, there is something very cathartic about searching, finding and collecting. Try it!