In memory of Françoise Roy

We are saddened by the passing of Françoise Roy (1924-2021), in La Pocatière, Québec. She embraced life and will be missed by all who knew her. Françoise had a long successful teaching and family counseling career. She was a pioneer in applying the Goodenough (draw-a-person) test, when helping children and their families. Françoise had been an early inspiration in creating our Collection. Her insights will continue to inspires us always. As a modest tribute to her, below is a drawing, published for the first time, by a child she had assisted. We can see her own handwriting notes, taken just after conversing with the child.

My family, c1982. Source: CDIC-CIDE, fonds Françoise Roy.

International Archives Week 2021

The International Council of Archives is holding its annual international awareness campaign this week, and celebrating International Archives Day on June 9th. The timing and this year’s theme “Empowering Archives” suit us perfectly, as we are participating in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge this month, as well as launching our own annual campaign starting on International Archives Day.

We urge you to make a donation, so that we can continue to grow and get fully prepared for the post-pandemic. Make sure to visit the multilingual online activities presented by the ICA between June 7-11th, International Archives Week#IAW2021. We cannot stress enough that each and everyone of us can play a part in the preservation family and professional archives, for the benefit of future generations.

International Archives Week banner. Source: ICA.org, 6 June 2021.

Great Canadian Giving Challenge

Throughout the month of June, our organization takes part in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge. This country wide campaign is facilitated by our fundraising partner CanadaHelps, who will award a substantial prize to one of the participating charities. Your donation can make a huge difference for us. Please visit our online Donation Form and help us grow, thrive and save as many artefacts as possible from oblivion.

Children’s Design International Collection is an educational archives that focuses on children’s drawings and expression. Through our Collection, Conservation and Education programs, we aim to foster understanding of how children see themselves and the world. Please make a donation today.

Great Canadian Giving Challenge, 2021. Source: CanadaHelps.

The culture we nurture

One of the motivations for establishing our Collection, was to contribute engaging curatorial practices to conversations about cultural development. We hope that through our efforts, children have a greater say in where we are heading collectively, through their own cultural contributions. This blog entry is about culture and the underlying question “What do you make of children’s culture or culture itself for that matter?”

The current pandemic, and subordinate recession, already have profound psychological effects and will impact our cultural environment for years, maybe generations to come. The global crisis is challenging the nations’ ability to cooperate, and at the same time is triggering all sorts of antisocial impulses, while exposing many inequalities and systemic shortcomings.

During the past twenty five year or so, the notion of a culture specific to children has made its way in fields such as social psychology and anthropology. It is debatable whether the concept of “culture” should be attributed to children socializing and building common knowledge together. Even if we admit that such a culture is a fact of life, we can argue at length how autonomous from the surrounding multigenerational culture it really is. Still, how today’s children see themselves and the society in which they grow up during these circumstances, is something all of us should pay close attention to.

Before we can visit far away relatives again, re-orient our professional life, retire earlier than initially planed, or go on a leisure trip, let’s take a moment to think about what culture means to us. Assess for yourself how inclusive of children your culture is and could become. Explore in depth what professor Lawrence A. Hirschfeld says on the subject, in his stimulating article The Rutherford Atom of Culture (Journal of Cognition and Culture, 2018, p.231-261) We find him quite apropos when he says that “cultural life may demand that we hone new psychological tools to account for a kind of existence that is not individual difference writ large but literally foreign to the psychological toolbox.” Professor Hirschfeld’s articles are available online at ResearchGate, as well as OpenEditions Journals. He teaches at the Departments of Psychology and Anthropology, New School of Social Research (New York City).

Rutherford Atom, by CBurnett. Source: Wikimedia.com, 24 May 2021.

Brush strokes

There are plenty of suggestions on the web, on how to make your own paint brushes, funky or more conventional ones. We thought we’d share one of our favorites by Miss Annie on Instructables. The step by step and the photos are clear and engaging. It sure is a fine way to save on art supply spending and make one fully appreciate how personalized tools can stimulate creativity and style.

Learn and show children how the pros are making paint brushes at DaVinci Artist Brushes and also Lineo, both in Germany.

Three homemade paint brushes. By Miss Annie. Source: Instructables.com, 18 May 2021.

News from the driveway

The long title of this post is: Great news from Macaire’s worldly driveway. Indeed Macaire Everett and her muse brother Camden make the news again this Spring 2021, by publishing an amazing book, filled with more than 120 full page photos of chalk drawings by Macaire.

The book The world from our driveway (on Amazon) depicts the journey of two siblings facing the imperative remote learning, imposed by the pandemic. With its behind the scene section, the book shows how what started as a home remedy against boredom, turned into a family and community effort for promoting resilience and bringing smiles and joy around the world.

Macaire had largely shared her work digitally on social media. One of our earlier posts last Summer linked to her busy Instagram. It is such a relief that Macaire’s work, though ephemeral by design, can be preserved on paper. Maybe the driveway itself will some day receive a heritage site designation from UNESCO. And we are only half kidding, because we heard that museums around the world are racing to document life during this pandemic.

The compositions are so inspired and engaging, that picking a favorite is mission impossible. With Mothers’ Day coming up, see Macaire’s touching birthday drawing to her mother. It will melt your heart. For us at the Collection, if we had to pick one, it would the one titled We are all in this together. Not only is it a propos because of the pandemic, it is also one for which Macaire digged into her own personal archives, and in which she staged herself with her muse. In this image more than in all the other ones, personal and universal appeals come together and come full circle.

The world from our driveway, back cover. By Macaire Everett. Source: Amazon.ca, 4 May 2021.

Camera-ready

Drawings are known to be at the heart of our Collection. However, it is not limited to them and our blog has also touched upon other formats in the past. For instance, see our recent entries about collages and writings, such as notebooks and diaries. One format that we had yet to touch upon is photography by children.

Normal, we may say, because if access to paper and crayons is not universal, access to cameras by children is more than marginal, to say the least. Certainly, allowing children to handle expensive, fragile equipment comes with a stress most parents do not want to endure. Still, there are ways to do it and choosing the right time to make a child responsible for a camera, is the first step. Giving a purpose and an end goal, is also I way to engage the child. Take for example, combining the photographic activity with a drawing class, or a holiday documentary project. Even more engaging is making sure that parents and the rest of the family take part in the project and that the images are shared and discussed with family members. Taking photos can be a short easy-come easy-go activity that bores just as quickly. For the child to maintain and develop an interest in it, a broader purpose should be understood and shared. It can be a great path to deeper visual literacy for the child and improve observation skills, critical thinking and drawing abilities.

A nonprofit organization took it even further, by setting the stage for photography by children as a team effort, community-based program for personal growth, and a channel for social change. Meet 100 Cameras. Based in New York City, it operates globally to provide young people with cameras, so they can tell their own stories visually. Images are then sold online to fund local community-driven initiatives. Programs for educators are also available. We do not know yet whether the photographer gets to keep the original digital file, nor if an image only gets printed after a purchase is made, or if the photographers get their own prints. If you find out, make sure to let us know.

Photography Symbol for Wikipedia 20,  by Jasmina El Bouamraoui and Karabo Poppy Moletsane. Source: Wikimedia.org, 28 April 2021.

Celebrating all volunteers

The year 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the the first International Year of Volunteers. As a member of Volunteer Canada, our Collection joins thousands of organizations in celebrating the National Volunteer Week and expressing our appreciation for volunteers who help our organization thrive. Thumbs up to all volunteers from every generations around the globe!

Along with other initiatives, Volunteer Canada had the superb idea to include a coloring activity in its celebration kit. Share your enthusiasm about volunteering with the younger generation and make it culturally relevant, as it should be. You can also come up with your own illustration about volunteering. Please share it with us!

The value of one, the power of many. Source: Volunteer Canada, 18 April 2021.

CDIC welcomes new directors

Our organization is pleased to announce that three new directors have joined us. Dilshani Ranaraja, Maya Grubisic and Terri Register bring with them an array of skills and a common enthusiasm for our mission. They bring their respective expertise that will help the Collection to continue its steady growth and initiate much needed partnerships and continue database development. Welcome Dilshani, Maya and Terri!

CDIC promptly adopted its structuring policies, in its very first year of activities. Our volunteer program is already two years. We cannot thank enough our founding members, Alain, Andrée and Liliane for taking the leap in 2018 and leaving their indelible mark on CDIC.

Two Suns, detail, c1974. By Léo. Source: CDIC-CIDE.org.

Collage graduate

Online shopping has sky rocketed in 2020. Craft minded people know what that means: Plenty of packaging and wrapping supplies ready to be re-used in mix media collages. Here are a few leads to help you dive into the world of collages and stick to it.

Prolific teachers and creative parents will enjoy Kathy Barbro‘s suggestions on her Art Projects for Kids website. It includes Kandinsky and Matisse inspired projects, among others. For the passionate makers who never have enough, try all of 70+ Paper Collage Ideas for Kids, collected by Shruti Acharya on her Artsy Craftsy Mom website. The 10 extra large collages are our favorites. If you are serious about it, you will want your collages to last. Choosing the Best Collage Glue becomes imperative, and that is where Sherri Osborn comes to the recue, with her articles on The Spruce Craft website.

Sure we like Matisse and Miro, but we adore contemporary artists and, when it comes to collages, Jonathan Talbot is our master. Get the wizard’s insights from his book Collage: A New Approach.

Below is our Collection’s oldest collage, from the 1940s. Is is a still life put together by Lisette, with a paper cut school kit. Bess Bruce Cleaveland (1876-1966) was a prolific artist and illustrator from that era.

Still Life, collage, c1945, by Lisette. Source: CDIC-CIDE.org.