CDIC at Educate to Innovate Conference

Thank you Rachel Reesor, Program Coordinator, and the Jean Augustine Centre for hosting us at their Educate to Innovate conference in Toronto. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to introduce our organization in person to so many fine people of all ages, at the Design Exchange Building.

With this event, organizers gave a concrete demonstration that artistic creativity goes hand in hand with the creativity that fuels science and technology. Allowing families to share this common value means a lot to a community.

And to the young participant who rushed to our table at the end of the day, to contribute her pencil portrait of a dinosaur, be sure that it is safe with us and will not go extinct.

No small matter

Children’s drawings can be a lot of fun and will, more often than not, bring a smile to the adult who encounters them. There is however one thing that experts seem to agree on, and it is that these images are not to be taken lightly, most of all when it comes to sharing with a child. As children reveal themselves candidly, it is everyone’s responsibility to welcome self-expression in a safe and supportive environment.

We share this video presentation recorded in October 2020, and produced by the Discovery Museum (Boston), in which Dr. Ellen Winner, Professor of Psychology at Boston College and Senior Research Associate at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education, shares her findings on the subject.

The Psychology of Artistic Behavior in Children. By Discovery Museum. Source: Youtube, 2022.

TEDx Talks also has a few short conferences on children’s drawings. This lively one, The Power of Children’s Art, by Dr Martha Skogen, designer, researcher, with a Phd is in Visual Communication from NTNU, has also a lot to show and to think about.

International Archives Week 2022

Our way to celebrate this year’s International Archives Week (June 6-10), was to kick it off locally by meeting families at Imagine in the Park Festival, Hamilton Canada. Many thanks to the organizers for their amazing hospitality.

We were able to meet and interact with many families “unplugged” for the first time in our short history. Children and their parents could see a samples of collection items from the 1940s to 2021. Many shared their stories about their home art and a few grand parents even confided to us about well preserved treasures of their own.

June 9th is International Archives Day, that is the day we begin our annual fundraising drive all the way to International Children’s Rights Day in November. Please help us with your donation.

Family visiting our booth at Imagine in the Park festival, 2022. Photos: CDIC-CIDE. Source: CDIC-CIDE.org.

We need your input

Please take five minutes to answer our short survey. We want to know how children’s drawings can be of interest and of use to you. Anyone can answer and the main question is: “Provide 1 to 3 examples of what you would look for in the collection. It can be as general or as specific as you like.”

We are preparing our digital solution that will make our collection searchable online. We need input from families, researchers, psychologists, historians, educators, curators, archivists, publishers, and artists.

Your answers will greatly help us for the years to come. Your input will influence the way we document and catalogue our archival objects. It will help us maximize accessibility of our collection, and our capacity to reach a diverse and dynamic group of users.

Red room. By Yvon. Gouache, 1960s. Source: CDIC-CIDE.

Pet portraits

For many people with domestic animals at home, having an artful portrait of them made and proudly hung on the wall, is just one more fun thing to do with their pets. Others might instead wonder “Pet portraits, what in the world is going on?”

No matter which of those tribes you belong to, and whatever the size of your household, with or without a pet, take a moment to consider the impact domestic animals may have or have had in your life. It is true that nowadays, pet “parenting” has been largely promoted by commercial interests by what has become a huge business. At the same time, it is also true that genuine environmental concerns have impacted our way to relate to the entire animal kingdom, including species living under our roofs. As our way to relate to the natural world evolves, so does the perception of ourselves and how we relate to one another.

If you are interested in issues of lifestyle, domestic life, or parenting, we found a research paper filled with fascinating observations and conclusions about the emotional attachment with pets during childhood: “Spotlight on the psychological basis of childhood pet attachment and its implications“. In this research, published in Psychology research and behavior management (vol. 12 469-479. 28 Jun. 2019), the five authors clearly examine the notion of emotional attachment. While they confirm the benefits pets can bring to children and the whole family, in terms of teaching moments and mutual care experiences, the authors provide key insights about important factors such as the size of the family and the timing of integrating pets to the family dynamic. They do not fail to remind us that emotional attachment can also come with potentially problematic fear of loss.

On a lighter note, there is a plethora of artists available for pet portraiture. Three of them have caught our attention for you: Zann Hemphill of PawsbyZann, Astrid Colton of PetPortraitsCanada, and Lisa Howarth of TheLonelyPixel. Google Arts and Culture also offer a mobile application to make your how digital pet art. Furry, feathery, or scaly… grab your pencils and brushes and have fun.

animal, cat, pencil, paper, 2020s
Pete the cat. Pencil on paper. By Sahana, 2020. Source: CDIC-CIDE.

See you at Imagine in the Park Festival – June 4th

For two years, we have longed for the moment when public health authorities would allow large gatherings and community events. The time has come and we will be so glad to meet you at the popular Gage Park, in Hamilton (Canada), on June 4th. We are proud to call Imagine in the Park our Collection Partner. We are grateful for their hospitality.

Come join the fun and visit us in person at our information table. Oh, and bring some art to contribute to the Collection!

A special thanks to BannerBuzz, for their kind support for the occasion.

Become a Collection Partner

We invite schools, libraries, daycares, community centres and events to join our network of “collection stations”, where families can drop off kids’ art and contribute to our archival collection for preservation.

Participating organizations can have their logos and website links displayed on our website. Participation is free.

The program is as simple as A-B-C: a) Confirm participation with start and end dates; b) Get our art portfolio with flyers and send a confirmation photo; and c) Let us pick up artworks from portfolio, and you start refill cycle.

Save and share this program description sheet if you know other potential participants.

For now, the program is available in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). We hope to expand our reach as more funding becomes available.

If your school or community organization is interested or have any question, simply email us at info@cdic-cide.org.

Portfolio, flyers and holder. Source: CDIC-CIDE.org.

Thank you!

They are two simple words and they come from the bottom of our hearts, for our past current and future volunteers. It has been challenging times for everyone and for a young organization like ours over more than two years into the pandemic now. So we are grateful for the help we get and full of hope for the years to come.

We join thousands of community organizations in Canada in celebrating the National Volunteer Week. Volunteering is empathy in action and we are proudly putting our and all volunteers under the spotlight they so deserve. Together they contribute to a better world. We share with you the coloring page for kids, kindly produced by Volunteer Canada.

There is more. Each of you reading this post can also give five minutes of your time to help us out. It is as easy as answering our short Needs assessment for a database search tool questionnaire. It is anonymous and we are looking for as diverse perspectives as possible. Professionals in the humanities, education and arts professionals, parents, grand parents and everyone you can share the link with can answer. Your answers to the questionnaire will guide us in developing our online searchable catalogue. A mere five minutes will go a long way for us.

National Volunteer Week. Source: Volunteer Canada.

Beautiful pysanka

We pay tribute to an Ukrainian folk tradition that goes back thousands of years: the pysanka. Join us in encouraging everyone to learn about the beautifully dyed eggs, with bright geometric shapes, strong contrasts, fine motifs and familiar images.

Your homemade pysanka can be an Easter egg, but it does not have to. The tradition predates the arrival of Christianity in Ukraine. Floral, animal, agricultural and celestial imagery are all part of the long tradition. The pysanky are sometimes free of any figurative representation and simply made of symmetrical, repetitive lines and shapes. As long as you keep strong contrasts and symmetry in mind, your pysanka will shine. According to the best documented website, pysanky.info, the symbolism of the imagery varied greatly throughout the ages. So, the joy it brings is more important than matching any predetermined meanings. Feel free to personalize your pysanka and to include elements inspired by your immediate surroundings and experience. After all, bee wax and eggs predate humanity.

The world’s largest pysanka is nearly 40 meters high and located in Alberta, Canada. We found that out from the Parliament of Canada’s Library, where gorgeous wooden pysanky of great symbolic significance are preserved.

We have seen crafty pysanky made with regular crayons and food coloring found at home. The kistka is the special tool for applying hot wax between dips in liquid dye. For a list of supplies, see this how-to article on MyModernMet. It shows where to find an electrical kistka, and there is also a way to make your own. Bunny eggs are optional.

The fun challenge of continuous line drawing

It is the kind of thing that you cannot fully appreciate until you try it. One line or continuous line drawing is usually known for being at once simple in appearance and stylish. Hidden behind its projected ease and expressive flow, is the intense visualization of its author. Making a figurative drawing with only one line, without lifting the pen, pencil or marker off the page, brings many surprises, and helps to explore new creative horizons. It can be as rewarding as it is challenging.

For inspiration, discover the touching story of artist Dane Khy who found comfort in drawing, after the loss of his canine companion. On his WOL (With One Line) website, we see how his large scale murals integrate the continuous line approach and also how well the technique mixes with colors and portraiture.

One of the best how-to lessons and video, is by Matt Fussell, The Virtual Instructor. Matt breaks it all down into four simple rules and clear exercises. His advice to “embrace the imperfections” that bring character is right on.

Let’s end this post with the ultimate vintage, low tech continuous line drawings. Those are made with Etch A Sketch toy by American artist Jane Labowitch, a.k.a. PrincessEtch herself. See her playful, uplifting selection for sale on Etsy. She is also a prolific illustrator and web designer.

Etch A Sketch toy. By Spin Master. Source: SpinMaster.com, 8 March 2022.
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