Unique art prints made from bubble wrap

Unique art prints made from bubble wrap

Who doesn’t love bubble wrap? Here is a simple printmaking activity using just bubble wrap markers, and paper. Children of all ages can color designs onto any type of bubble packaging and make prints. The prints can then be used to make cards, wrapping paper or displayed as art! The possibilities for creativity are endless. If you can keep yourself from popping the bubbles, you can rinse them off and use them again and again!Markers and a plastic bag sitting next to a piece of paper decorated with dots and hearts transferred from the plastic bag.

This project was inspired by Bubble Wrap by Courtney Starrett, on view at Mint Museum Uptown.

A mannequin torso draped in an opaque silicone shaw with opaque balls of varying sizes adhered to it
Courtney Starrett (American, 1977–). Bubble Wrap, 2008, silicone. Gift of the Artist. 2015.47

SUPPLIES: 

  • Copy paper or construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Bubble wrap in assorted textures/sizes, cut into pieces or shapes  
  • Assorted colored markersSupplies listed for this project grouped together on a table: bubble wrap, markers, scissors, paper, plastic bag


Instructions:

Begin by choosing a piece of bubble wrap. You can compare the different types and sizes and talk about the properties of air in the bubbles and how they provide cushioning. Children can draw and color on the bubble wrap to create a color pattern or something more abstract. Notice how the ink from the marker does not get absorbed into the plastic. Don’t wait too long to make your print or the ink will dry. 

A highlighter sitting next to a sheet of bubblewrap that has the tops of the 'bubbles' colored on with markers
A heart cut from a sheet of bubblewrap colored with concentric hearts going toward the center

Flip your bubble wrap over and press it firmly onto the paper to create your print! There might be enough ink to make another print and each one will be totally different. Experiment with the different bubble wrap types if you have them. Older children can draw designs onto big bubble packaging. 

A sheet of bubblewrap sitting next to a piece of paper decorated with colored dots
A hand presses bubble wrap to a piece of paper, showing how the marker transfer to the paper

Any image will be printed in reverse so lettering would need to be drawn backwards. 

An air-filled clear plastic bag with the name "patty" written backwards on the outside
The name "Patti" written upon a piece of paper next to a pink sharpie

You can extend this activity by looking for shapes and patterns in your prints and drawing in details to turn them into faces, animals, and more. Now you can pop a few bubbles for fun! Seamus the cat was very helpful until… POP! 

Multicolor paint dots on a piece of paper with pen drawings on top of the paint. With the pen marks, the dots have been turned into faces and a bumblebee
A gray cat standing on a sheet of bubble wrap looking at the camera

Books for kids, and podcasts for parents that help teach justice for all

Credit: Publishers Weekly

Books for kids, and podcasts for parents that help teach justice for all

Teaching children anti-racist values begins when children are young, and continues as they go through the various ages and stages of childhood. Here are expert resources for reading and listening to help navigate the ins and outs of teaching future generations, and helping to break racial barriers for a clearer path to justice for all.

Picture books to graphic novels, and a lot inbetween

Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z. Each entry presents a word related to creating a better world, such as ally, empathy, or respect, and related quotes and poems.

Antiracist Baby Picture Book. Written by founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research Ibram X. Kendi, Antiracist Baby Picture Book offers parents and their little ones nine ideas to build a more equitable world through playful text and bold illustrations.

Coretta Scott King book award winners. Awarded to African American writers and illustrators whose books explore African American experiences and humanity, the Coretta Scott King book award winners showcase a variety of fiction, biographies and nonfictions for babies to teens.

20 Picture Books for 2020: If a picture can say 1,000 words, then these stories that embrace race are a great beginning.

Early Childhood: Activism and Organizing. A smart guide to choosing anti-bias children’s books, plus a curated list of book that touch on social justice in a kid-friendly and explainable way.

An Anti-Racist Graphic Novel Reading List. For tweens and teens who love a graphic novel, these selections “address topics including the Civil Rights Movement, hip-hop, gentrification, white supremacy, the criminal justice system, police brutality, and the lives of black women.”

Podcasts for parents who want real talk about real issues

Parenting Forward. Author, blogger, community leader and mother Cindy Wang Brandt  features interviews with authors and thought leaders from progressive faith spaces, monthly listener question shows, and practical strategies for parents, grandparents, and anyone who loves children and wants to commit to treating children with justice in her podcast Parenting Forward.

Fare of the Free Child Akilah S. Richards and guests discuss the fears and costs of raising free black and brown children in a world that tends to diminish and dehumanize children of color in the Raising Free People podcast.

Raising White Kids with Jennifer Harvey. Dr. Jennifer Harvey discusses her book Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, as well her personal journey towards anti-racist organizing, educating, and child rearing. 

Talking Race With Your Young Child (NPR). A discussion between NPR journalist Noel King, anti-racism scholar and author Ibram Kendi, and author Renee Watson about how to be intentional when talking about race, plus tools to guide conversations with kids.

Make your own clay creations with three ingredients already in your pantry

Three ingredients plus three steps to make your own signature clay pots

Baking is one of the little things that brings us joy while at home during the pandemicCreating objects from common baking ingredients bridges the relationship between industry, craft, and consumer. A basic clay can be made from flour, salt, and water. Have fun using spices, such as turmeric and paprika, along with compost like coffee grinds to add texture and color to your clay. 

This project is inspired by Autoarchy on view at Mint Museum Uptown.

Studio Formafantasma (Eindhoven, The Netherlands, 2009–), Andrea Trimarchi (Italian, 1983–), Simone Farresin (Italian, 1980–). “Autarchy,” 2012, flour, agricultural waste, vegetable dyes, beeswax, pine tar. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Missy Luczak-Smith and Doug Smith. 2013.18.1-158

SUPPLIES: 

  • Flour 
  • Salt 
  • Cold water 

OPTIONAL ITEMS

  • Spices or kitchen compost 
  • Rolling Pin 
  • Wax paper 
  • Ribbon or rope 
  • Metal tabs from soda cans or washers 
  • Glue 
  • Scissors 


STEPS:

Start with 1 cup flour and 1 cup salt. Add spices or other kitchen ingredients for color and texture. Slowly add up to one half cup cold water while mixing together to form a ball. It helps to knead the clay for several minutes. Add a few more drops of water if the clay is not holding together.

Consistency will vary depending on what type of flour you use and what you mix in. 

If the clay is too soft, knead in more flour until you have a clay that can stand when shaped. Divide dough and form into pots, bowls, or plates. 

Make small pinch pots from balls of clay and allow to dry on their own. Make larger bowls by rolling the clay into a slab and draping over containers with a piece of wax paper between the clay and container to keep it from sticking. Once the outside of the clay is dry, carefully remove it from the container and take off the waxed paper. The inside will need additional time to dry. It can take up to 24 hours total to dry depending on size.  

Option: Drape clay over a greased, oven-proof container and bake in a 300-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes depending on size and thickness. Younger children should ask an older sibling or adult for help with the oven. 

Challenge: Decorate the outsides of your pieces with materials you have at home. 

Simplify: Let younger children use as play dough. The clay can be stored in an air-tight container for up to three days. Food coloring can also be used as a colorant.  

This idea brought to you by Maggie Burgan. 

5 things you may not know about artist Summer Wheat, plus a virtual tour of her Brooklyn studio

5 things you may not know about artist Summer Wheat, plus a virtual tour of her Brooklyn studio

One silverlining of being quarantined at home is the opportunity to see and share experiences that we might not normally be able to experience. Enter our favorite new video pastime: artist interviews and studio tours. Mint’s Chief Curator Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, joined Brooklyn-based artist Summer Wheat in her studio for a bit of show-and-tell on her technique and processes.

Wheat’s painting Side With Shoulder is part of the newest New Days, New Works exhibition, and her atrium installation Foragers will be on view throughout the fall. Here are a few fun facts that we learned during Wheat’s studio tour.

  • Summer Wheat is originally from Oklahoma City, OK, attended Savannah College of Art and Design, and has been living and working in Brooklyn, NY for the past 11 years.
  • She has created in many mediums, from painting and sculpture, to even making custom salt and pepper shakers. Wheat says that she “likes the idea of taking a drawing and making it something usable.”
  • Her creative process is two-fold: First, she always starts with a drawing, which she does alone and views this as an intimate space. Then she brings the drawing to the studio where she and her team make the ideas come to life.
  • Her installation on the windows of the Mint Museum Uptown’s atrium will be her third large-scale piece using this material, and reminds her of stained glass. “I wanted to start telling stories in this format,” says Wheat, who is excited to tell impactful stories through visuals, color, and dimension.
  • When the Mint opens, you’ll get to see not only Wheat’s atrium installation, but also her painted piece Side With Shoulder that uses mesh in our newest exhibition New Days, New Works.

 

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Fiber artist Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi spearheads exhibition of quilts in response to George Floyd’s death

Known as one of the most influential African American quilt historians in the United States, Carolyn Mazloomi, PhD, who was trained as an aerospace engineer, has artwork showcased in numerous important museums around the world, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and American Museum of Design.

Fiber artist Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi’s passion for educating through art leads her to curate We Are the Story 

She thought she’d be settled into retirement by now, but Carolyn Mazloomi’s passion for her art pushes her to keep making, curating and working. Mazloomi, who earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California and worked as a pilot and Federal Aviation Administration crash site investigator, became involved in fiber artists and quilting in the early 1970s, and founded the Women of Color Quilters Network in 1985. She currently is spearheading and curating the exhibition We Are the Story, set to open at various sites throughout Minneapolis later this summer. The exhibition is a response to the death of George Floyd in the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

We Are the Story is a series of six quilt exhibitions by the Women of Color Quilters Network, and Textile Center created under the curatorial direction of Mazloomi. The series is organized around the themes of remembering those lost to police brutality, history of civil rights, and racism in America.

“I am an artist quiltmaker, and I like to tell stories,” says Mazloomi. “Most of the work I do deals with issues of race or status of women, and a lot of the work is somewhat controversial, but I hope viewers look at it and learn something and think about things and how things possibly could be.” 

As a mother and grandmother, Mazloomi was rocked when she saw the video of George Floyd being pinned to the ground, and heard him cry out for his mother.

“It just shook me to my core. I cried for days because it was sad and tragic how he passed. But hearing him call for his mother personified the role of women in the sphere of the universe,” she says.

Mazloomi is a believer in the dynamic power of females, and has been involved in the economic development of women through the arts for over 30 years. Throughout her career of making textile art, many of her works showcase the women and their strong role in society. 

“Young women need to know about the power they wield. As women, we are the  first teachers because we give birth. We are the teachers of humanity. It’s a position that influences all of humanity,” she says. “The first word a baby learns is usually mama and it’s so strange that the last thing a human being may talk about when dying is their mother. They call on their mother.”

A self-proclaimed news addict, she listens to news while she works. Her quilts serve as a response to what’s going on in her environment, and the world, and is meant to evoke thought. 

“My inspiration always comes from the environment around me. Currently the environment is very toxic, so I’m creating work about human condition — not just here in the United States, but of refugees around the world because women and children form the greater population of refugees,” she says. 

When asked what she hopes to see evolve from the protests, pandemic and social struggles of now, she answers with the wisdom, patience and hopeful tone of someone who has weathered years of society’s injustice.

“Let’s deal with the pandemic first,” she says. “Because African Americans are disproportionately affected, they are dying more than anyone else,” she says. “Hopefully out of this pandemic, maybe it will help African Americans. They have health issues brought about due to racism because they don’t have access to good housing and healthcare, which plays into susceptibility to the virus.” 

Thirteen people in the Women of Color Quilters Network died due to COVID-19. She and other members of the network collectively made more than 27,000 masks that were given to healthcare workers, nonprofit organizations, funeral homes and other places of need.

“When it comes to protests, I am happy to see protesters aren’t just African Americans, but a diverse group of people around the country,” says Mazloomi. “Anything that can prompt racial equality and justice in America is a good thing. Hopefully something good will come of these demonstrations, and our government and individuals will make efforts to be more civil to one another and see equality for all American citizens.”

Mazloomi was awarded the first Ohio Heritage Fellowship Award in 2003. Ohio Heritage Fellows are among the state’s living cultural treasures.  Fellows embody the highest level of artistic achievement in their work, and the highest level of service in the teaching and other work they do in their communities to ensure that their artistic traditions stay strong. In 2014 Dr. Mazloomi was given the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Award, the highest award in the nation for traditional art.  She was also inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame Museum the same year.

Mazloomi’s quilt Gathering of Spirits has been part of The Mint Museum collection since 1999, and is set to be on view in the Schiff-Bresler Family Fiber Art Gallery at Mint Museum Uptown in February 2021.

 

Carolyn L. Mazloomi (American, 1948–). Gathering of Spirits, 1997, cotton, silk, beads, metallic thread, shells. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Dennis and Betty Chafin Rash, Lee and Mebane Rash Whitman, and Jim Rash in loving memory of Margaret Rabb Rash. 1999.1. © Carolyn L. Mazloomi 1998

 

6 books for children that teach about Black history, cultural differences and similarities

6 books for children that teach about Black history, cultural differences and similarities

The journey to a more just world grows with children. Books open up a view of the world to children outside their own neighborhood. These six books, and many others, are available at Mint Museum stores, which are open for business.


Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

A Caldecott Honor Book written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Ekua, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer tells the story of civil rights hero Fannie Lou Hamer who participated in marches, sit-ins, and voter-education training. She also endured police brutality, time in jail and bullets shot into her home. Malcolm X called her “the country’s No. 1 freedom-fighting woman.” This book celebrates Fannie Lou Hamer’s life and legacy with a message of hope, determination, and strength. (Candlewick, $17.99).

 

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut

This rhythmic, read-aloud title by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James, is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair. Winner of a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Newberry Honor, and Caldecott Honor, and named a best book of 2017 by NPR Books, Huffington Post, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Horn Book Magazine, and the News and Observer.. (Agate Bolden, $18.95).

 

Talking Walls: Discover Your World

Written by Mary Burns Knight and illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien, is a story about walls the stories they could tell if they could talk, from how some walls kept people out to how they became symbols of dreams, memories and fear. Talking Walls has won honors, including the Boston Globe’s Top 25 Non-Fiction Children’s Books, and winner of a Mom’s Choice Gold Award. (Tilbury House, $9.95).

 

Daddy Played the Blues

Follow Cassie as she travels with her family moves to Chicago from the South, and music, particularly Blues, travel with them throughout their journey. Daddy Played the Blues is a picture book tribute to the African-American odyssey for social and economic justice, and how music was a rich part of the daily lives of Black people. Written and illustrated by Michael Garland. (Tilbury House, $17.95).

 

Little Humans

Written by street photographer and storyteller extraordinaire Brandon Stanton, this 40-page picture book combines some of his favorite children’s photos with a heartwarming ode to little humans everywhere. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99).

Blue Sky White Stars

Written by Sarvinder Naberhaus and illustrated by New York Times bestselling and Caldecott-honor winning artist Kadir Nelson, Blue Sky White Stars is an ode to our nation’s greatest and most enduring symbol — our flag. Nelson’s artwork brims with iconic American imagery, including majestic landscapes and the beauty and diversity of its people. From an image of the Statue of Liberty to a depiction of civil rights marchers banded together, the art for each spread depicts a sweeping view of America. (Dial Books, $17.99).

‘Art helps kids find a voice. I teach kids to use it to express even if they don’t want to actually say the words out loud yet.’

‘Comics, graphic novels, and literature in general have always been a voice and vehicle’

A longtime teacher and supporter of the Mint Museum, artist Wolly McNair creates stories through his illustrations. McNair’s “Black Hornet” and “of Peace of War” illustrations were featured as part of the 2019 Never Abandon Imagination: : The Fantastical Art of Tony DiTerlizzi exhibition at Mint Museum Randolph. He’s also has been an active instructor with The Mint Museum’s Grier Heights Community Youth Arts Program since 2009.

Wolly McNair is a Charlotte-based illustrator. His illustrations, “Black Hornet” and “of Peace of War,” were part of the Mint Museum Randolph exhibit, “Never Abandon Imagination: The Fantastical Art of Tony DiTerlizzi.”

McNair found a love for drawing as a child, and received ample encouragement from his family. He created a business to include character design, story-boarding, animation, writing and illustrating for local and national companies. He self-publishes through his brand GOrilla Bred Publishing and currently is working on a couple of his own “intellectual properties.”

“One is a sorta of ‘what if’ story called Super Bastard. Every aspect of the name plays into the DNA of the story. It deals with the idea of power meeting endless power. What happens when the voiceless finally gain a voice and can enact real change by any means chosen. No more asking,” McNair says. “Using super heroes allows it to be entertaining while having a message and not become preachy. I think comics, graphic novels, and literature in general has always been a voice and vehicle to that can place people from different walks of life in the shoes of those they least relate to. See the stories and life of others, be it fantasy or reality.”

If that wasn’t enough, he’s also reworking his graphic novel Fairy Tale Knights that he wrote for his daughter after realizing there weren’t many comic books featuring Black characters. He also is working on a follow-up to his single-issue comic King Supreme. “It is more of a traditional comic in aesthetic feel, but nontraditional in some of its subject matter and content.” McNair shares more about his art and how art is a catalyst for change.

 

An illustration from the follow-up to “King Supreme,” one of McNair’s latest projects.

Tell us about the type of art you create.

My work is normally illustration based, but I often work both digital and traditional combining paint, markers, watercolor with digital colors to add texture. On a day-to-day basis, though, I work digital. Professionally I illustrate graphic novels, create worlds for character settings, concepts for characters in film, gaming, and comics.

My more gallery-based work is often larger in scale, and I typically do work that has lots of varied symbolism in it. Some things are literal, while other elements have a reason or meaning for placement. I often do several pieces in a small series with a central, connecting theme. Because I work in a character-driven world, and the world itself is but a stage full of characters, most of my gallery work also has a heavy character-driven base to it. 

Algorithms of B3AR by Wolly McNair

What do you want your art to say to America today, and what conversations do you hope it may spark?

The same as I would have probably wanted 10 years ago, and not just to America, but to the world. That we as a people (Black people or whatever term is considered appropriate) have a varied voice, have a beautiful hidden and forgotten history, and a terrible covered-up and watered-down history, and have influenced culture since there was such a thing. I want people to stop, maybe admire, maybe question, maybe reflect, maybe actually see … then ask questions, listen. Each piece, each series of pieces, all speak to different things, and I rarely completely explain my work cause lots of it is self explanatory, but I also want people to gather their own honest thoughts and start the conversation from there. 

How do race, place, and your environment influence your art?

Race and environment have an influence because both are a part of who and where I am, have been, or plan to be. As the world changes or stays the same, so do the reflections in my art. But the history is always shared as I learn and grow, coming from the background I grew up in, that places a roll in detail, the way I may position elements of a piece, or what I may decide to speak on. Not only I am influenced by these things, I also try to use these elements of who I am and where I am from to influence others in a creative and positive way. 

Are you finding new inspiration for your art during these current events?

Current events are actually the same events, just a different timeline. Many of the things happening have happened so many times before. Some of the “changes” are good to see, but mirror things of the past. I have hope that it will ultimately play out differently, and we are not right back here again. I still create, but I don’t want to create only as a result of another life lost, a continued struggle, racism or classism — I have over 400 years of history to use for that type of influence. I can, and do, create from that space without needing more of it. This doesn’t mean the fight is given up, it just means these events — good and bad — shouldn’t have to keep repeating. I’d rather get inspiration from seeing and knowing my kids won’t have to go through this and can live a happy life. Seeing them smile, not cry, not be afraid, not have to be strong would be so much more inspirational.

What positive perspective changes in society would you like to see evolve from the protests, pandemic and social struggles of now?

I just want to see a power shift. Power to the people. We already have a positive perspective or we wouldn’t keep getting up everyday, but I understand that those in true power have to come to an understanding, or no longer hold those positions, for the change to actually come and stay intact. I have seen people who only viewed life from where they sit come to realizations from my own personal conversations, and that was good to see.

More allies. I just want to see things handled better, artists of color given fair chances to speak and be properly compensated, voices amplified, corruption called out, and the people standing for each other instead of over each other. 

lOckS by Wolly McNair.

How do you believe art can be a positive influence on kids?

Art helps kids find a voice. I teach kids to use it to express even if they don’t want to actually say the words out loud yet. Art helped me to write, and writing helped to add to my art and the stories I wanted to tell. Art allows an escape as well. It opens up the mind, and it teaches discipline for many — patience and perseverance. Most importantly, it allows expression. I simply think it is needed, maybe not for every child, but it can be a lifesaver or game changer for many. Even in simply teaching kids how art can be used daily, and the options that are out there, at an early age can help them figure out the path that works for them, and test options as they grow. 

What are you reading, watching, and listening to these days?

I’m not reading much, other than the autobiography of Malcom X. I am listening to James Baldwin a lot lately, and Fred Hampton speeches, and Malcom debates and speeches. I go back to them from time to time. I have a stack of comic books and graphic novels that I haven’t read for mixed reasons, in part due to things I’m currently working on and not wanting to have any other creative elements that aren’t mine creep in.I listen to a lot of instrumental music, including Future Garage/Wave stuff — Nipsey Hussle, Lil baby. I listen to a wide range of things as I work based on where I want my mind to be. My son also creates his own music, so I listen in on it. My daughter is learning piano, so I listen to her. She’s self-teaching at age 9. They prove to me what is possible. I guess I am creating things that hopefully will aid others in the future more than anything.If I do watch anything, it’s the TV show Goodtimes, documentaries, an anime, or Property Brothers or something about buying or renovating houses. It is a different world for a few minutes per day.

Who are you following on social media right now, and why?

I follow a few people of course, but I honestly just float through looking at random things and seeing what catches my eye. There are tons of dope artists out there doing cool things.

Show your love with tie-dye hearts

Show your love with tie-dye hearts

This is a fun and easy project that can be used to share messages of hope and support with those you love. 

SUPPLIES: 

  • Paper coffee filters
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Spray bottle for water
  • Sharpie (optional)
  • Protective table covering (ink from the markers will bleed through the coffee filter) 

Instructions:

1. Use your markers to create designs and patterns on the coffee filters. 

2. When you are finished, place coffee filters on an old towel or disposable table covering. Spray the coffee filters lightly with water. Start with just a few sprays and watch the colors spread. You only need to spray one side. (Be careful not to use too much water or all your ink will bleed out.) 

3. When the coffee filters have dried, fold them in half and cut out the shape of half a heart with the fold down the center. 

4. Put glue around the edge of one side of the heart. Use small pieces of crumpled-up filters or recycled paper as stuffing. Place the top filter over the stuffing and press down on the glued edges to form a pocket. 

5. Add glue to the other side of the heart, add a few more pieces of crumbled paper, and press seams together.Let glue dry. 

 

6. Write a word to reflect on or message to share with someone you love. 

Challenge: Make several more hearts and string them together to form a garland or banner. 

Simplify: Pre-cut filters into heart shapes.