Traditional art ideas to spark family bonding while accessorizing your home

(Gail Carlson Pottery/Facebook)

Gail Carlson, Submitted

The following ideas come from Gail Carlson, a potter and painter located at GP Carlson Art Gallery and Studios in Prince Albert.

Here are some ideas of what to do while you are at home with your family. These are things you may treasure in years to come.

1. Do something creative with your home. First try it on a basement wall, hallway or bathroom. Bathrooms can be fun. Latex paints are great, but you may not have a lot of colours, so use acrylic paints all dollar-type stores carry. Lots of colours. Make sure it is acrylic so you can wash it and when you are painting walls, wear old clothing and cover your floors so you don’t get paint on them. If you do, clean it up fast so it does not set.

Just dream and have fun. You can paint jungles, flowers, people, animals, anything, and anyone in the family does it. Take time to this a little at a time, add to it and work together, but have fun. It’s amazing how great your bathroom can look, hallway, kids room, basement. You don’t have to go crazy, but one area of the house adds life.

2. There are sewing machines tucked away some place, find one if you don’t have one or even borrow. Most women over 50 have one to teach you with and lend you. You may have old drapes, blankets, jackets, blue jeans, etc. that you can cut up, sew and use.

Make shopping bags. Prince Albert will be plastic-free by this summer, let’s make bags of all sizes and strengths, even use that ugly leather jacket from the ’80s and ’90s, the one with all those pockets and colours. They are so fun and create wonderful shopping bags with pockets. Blue jeans bags with pockets and zippers, just cut off the legs, put a bottom in and use the legs to make straps and handles. Decorate them up. Make extra and give them as gifts of thanks to friends and family.

3. With other lighter, recycled materials like T-shirts, towels, sheets, things of colour, cut into two-inch wide strips depending on the thickness of the material and braid colours together. Then where you have  a very long braid, start to hand sew it together starting in the centre to create a rug. Have the braid about two feet long (depending on the size you want your rug or mat), fold it over and sew the two braids together. Do not cut. Wrap the braid around the end and sew the third, then fourth and fifth and so on. Keep the rug flat as you go around the ends. You can let it be crazy and create patterns, but have fun and take your time. It is not a fast job, but one that everyone can help on and you end up with a rug done by your family with their old clothes.

4. A crazy quilt made from bits and pieces from all the family. Every piece tells a story. Each day, everyone does a square or a piece. Ad pieces of material and embroidery on to it or you can also use acrylic paint if you want this to be a family cut piece to have on your wall. After you create enough pieces, stitch them together and add a backing and edging to finish it for use as a quilt or a hanging for your wall. It will be that crazy quilt that all the family had fun making.

These ideas are things that people did from the ’80s and before. Before our clothing industries were closed down and sent overseas for cheaper labour and product. We had sewing industries here in Saskatchewan at one time before it became too expensive to sew your own clothing. Those skills are still there and there are people to teach them. There is a lot of material out there in second-hand stores more than we can use, so why not create something new out of the old? Wash it, wash it well and create.

People say they are too busy to do art and how this can be the time to enjoy painting, sewing, gardening, writing, storytelling, singing, music, dance and acting. All these creative cultural things can be done with your family.

The world is telling people to take time to enjoy your family and step into our cultures. Tell wonderful tales, fix up your home and yard and enjoy it the best you can.