Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to become an artist in 2 minutes or less

This past weekend our town celebrated Community Day. Small town Pennsylvania community day is all about fun, food and music - a real slice of Americana. All the local churches serve free food and organize activities on the lawn. Small businesses reach out to the community and showcase what they've got to offer. So the pie shop, coffee house, flowers shop, art studio, art galleries, ballet school and yoga studios all came together on what seemed to be an episode of Gilmore Girls (minus the fast talking).

While Trevor sang with the band, I got recruited into helping with children's spin art. I was the worst possible kind of volunteer since I had no idea what spin art was. So before manning the booth I had to learn what I was supposed to be showing others.

The spin art machine looks much like a metal box the size of a microwave. It has a plastic lid with a hole through which children can squeeze paint on a paper the size of a postcard. The machine spins the paper very fast and the blotches get dispersed into whimsical patterns. If it sounds messy it's because it is. It didn't take long for me to destroy a pair of jeans and turn myself into a watercolor monster.
spin art machine  
Spin art machine

My primary job was to label paper bags with the kids' names, so they could pick up their spin art after it dried. Let me tell you, kids today have unusually cool names with even weirder spellings. My unfamiliarity with nuveaux American names, coupled with loud music, kids' inability to spell, and their lack of teeth and/or mouths full of food made for some embarrassing blunders. I guess little  Sequioa and Ailleanna will have to get used to having their names misspelled. It builds character and it's a great ice breaker. Been there, done that, that's why I go by Mickey.

beautiful spin art by children at community day
Some of the spin art left out to dry

At the end of the day when we were wrapping up the booth, both Trevor and I did some spin art. We're thinking all our walls are bare but our hearts are full of good intentions so the squishing and peeking through a plastic hole commenced. These amazingly intricate designs will be framed and one day, when we're old and famous, our grandchildren will have permission to sell them on Ebay.

The art on the bottom row is all mine and probably the closest I'll ever get to being an artist. The top orangey design is Trevor's. Should I be scared at the intensity of the colors? Quick, I need some pop psychology to analyze that and find out who I really married! 

spin art to frame

This is a very well-executed design by a little girl named Grace. I accidentally took it home at the end of the day because Grace apparently forgot to pick it up. It is, by far, our best piece.

children's spin art to frame

Another one of the churches was running an activity called "plant the seed and watch it grow" so I planted wildflowers and Trevor planted a gourd.


  1. oh maaan, voiam si eu una! best "send home" postcards ever [to later sell on ebay]. don't you think about our later years?

  2. Don't tempt me, I'm thinking of investing in one of these magical machines.


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