“Grandma, can we make some flowers for springtime?” my 10-year old granddaughter, H., asked me as she settled in after school. “And a vase, too! I want to give them to my mom and dad.” I immediately set aside the plans I was considering for our play day and went looking for a suitable vase. “What are you imagining?” I asked. Soon we were both in the world of exploring ideas and materials. As we found various items, we set them out on the dining room table, and H. began choosing the items, colors, and textures that she liked. Suddenly she was going ahead with a new idea: designing a butterfly for the bouquet!
The Items We Gathered
-a glass bottle for the vase (we used an empty mineral water bottle; first removing the label)-various colors of tissue paper for the flowers, and to create a tissue collage for the bottle
-pipe cleaners for flower stems
-white paper to make a butterfly
-marking pens to color the butterfly
-clear contact paper to “laminate” the butterfly
-a drinking straw to hold the butterfly in the vase
-a Tblsp or so of white glue (in a paper cup, and mixed with a little water), to glue the tissue decorations to the
-cotton swabs (Q-Tips would also work) to apply the glue
-a piece of yarn to tie around the bottle
-10 minutes to decorate the bottle, 10 minutes to let it dry
-10 minutes or so to draw and color the butterfly on both sides, then cut out and cover w/contact paper
-15 minutes or so to roam around outside, getting ideas for flowers
-20 to 40 minutes making the tissue paper flowers
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We next began dipping our cotton swabs in the watered-down glue and covering the bottle with glue. As we worked, we tore pieces of tissue paper and stuck these onto the bottle in a jigsaw-like fashion. We put glue on top of the tissue, as well, to smooth the paper down and create a shiny finish. H. decided it needed the yarn decoration, to look complete.
H. rolled white paper into a small calla lily, tearing the edges for effect, and coloring it yellow. Meanwhile, she asked me to make a carnation. I cut a strip of pink tissue paper 3 x 12 inches and folded it into 1 1/2 inch pieces, as shown, making it up as I went along. I cut fringes and unfolded this, gathering one end into a twist, so the rest poofed out like a pom-pom. We wanted something more fluffy, so H. suggested another layer with deeper pink, which we added. Perfect!
We cut a similar red strip to make a rose, this time cutting the folded tissue into C-shaped curves. On unfolding the curves, we gathered the base into a spiraling shape—our tissue paper rose (above right). Then we walked around in the garden and looked at different kinds of flowers. We talked about flowers with a trumpet shape, like the calla lily, and how these attract more bees and hummingbirds. We talked about flowers with a 5-petaled shape, which have more wind-blown pollen. We made two of these: an orange-colored geranium (above left) and a hibiscus of maroon and magenta (below).
Because of my work in the area of sensory integration, I’m well aware that this kind of hand-eye play develops a wealth of attributes in the form of dexterity, eye-teaming, depth perception, scanning, and so on. Further, I know how happy people are when they can create from a sense of mind-body congruity. Most important, though, is that following our desire to call in springtime with our creative gifts provided the two of us with a wonderful afternoon of talking, laughter, and the deep pleasure of thinking and creating together.
(C) Gail Dennison, 2014