Teaching Art and Creating Art

I am often asked why I decided to be an art teacher.  While many events contributed to this decision there are three people that immediately come to mind as being my largest influences.

Ambers Blog_1The first person is my mom and since this weekend is Mother’s Day it seems fitting to start with her. Some of my earliest memories are of my mom cooking play dough for my older sister and I. To this day the salty smell of homemade play dough immediately transports me back to my childhood, sitting at the kitchen table with rolling pins and cookie cutters waiting for the play dough to cool off enough to mold. [This was before Pinterest invaded our parenting and obligated moms to stay up to see the sun rise because they had found another use for Modge Podge and wood scraps (I’ve been there!)]  Not only did she oblige our need for craft supplies, but the thought of purchasing any costume we might need was outside the question! My mom usually made any costumes we wore and I’m sure my teachers still have nightmares of all the glitter and sequins we brought with us to school.  My dad is probably still wondering why we always seemed to be missing sheets!  It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that the pockets in dish drying racks weren’t really there to hold paintbrushes.  I’m so thankful for how creative and resourceful my mom was when I was growing up. She was a great role model for me.

Ambers Blog_3The second person that comes to mind is my first grade art teacher.  Each year a few students had artwork selected to be exhibited in a local mall. That was the first time I had work chosen to be included in a “Spring Art Show.” It was the first time I felt that someone noticed me as an individual and believed in me.  I loved art and I still remember how proud I felt to have my artwork exhibited (mine is in the top right corner).

And this photo is why I decided to study photography!  For all their creativity, my parents could never figure out how to take a good photo or one that wasn’t blurry.  I still love photography!  This week I mailed two fine art photos to be exhibited in a “Spring Art Show” in San Francisco reminding me that I not only love teaching art, but I really love creating art as well.

The third person that influenced my love for art is my second grade art teacher.  I was a new student in a new school that year and I couldn’t tell you the names of any of my other teachers, but I remember Mrs. Crockett.  She was always patient and encouraging and she smelled like citrus.  She would let some of us stay in her classroom when we had indoor recess and she would show us how to draw things and see shapes in everything around us so that we could break them down and draw them for ourselves.  She was everything I wanted to be when I grew up and that was the year that God first put the desire in my heart to be an art teacher.

Ambers Blog_2This week at ICS we made sand clay* in our after-school art club and I saw the same excitement from my students that I felt as a child making play dough with my mom.  We got to be creative and we also talked about the science behind what made the clay the consistency that it was and how to use measuring cups and fractions.  Did you know that research supports STEAM (science, technology, engineering, ART, and math) in schools over STEM for a child’s development?  I’ll have to share that with you some other time.

It is a joy to teach art and to see all the creativity that our students bring to their work.  God truly has given me the desires of my heart by bringing my family to Immanuel Christian School!

*Here is the recipe for the Sand Clay that we made in club- feel free to spend time being creative!
Ambers Blog_Sand Clay Recipe

This blog post was written by Amber Seat, ICS Art Teacher.