More Joy & Color

{screenshot of Ingrid Fetell Lee’s TED Talk}

A sweet friend of mine posted a clip of this Ingrid Fetell Lee’s Joy TED Talk on my FB page and I just had to share it. I mean, a talk on joy and color, what could be better?!

Ingrid is a designer, writer, and the founder of The Aesthetics of Joy website and community. As an expert in design and joy she took the stage to talk about our fundamental need and desire for, you guessed it, joy.

“On the most basic level the drive toward joy is the drive toward life.” 

In her research on joy she found that even though “the feeling of joy is mysterious and elusive, we can access it through tangible physical attributes, or what designers call aesthetics.” She began referring to these moments of joy in the world as the “aesthetics of joy.” Boy does that speak to my creative heart!

The aesthetics of color, patterns, multiplicity, and the shapes of objects in our world are definitely a few things that get me excited, I may even jump up and down. It’s true joy is mysterious, but wherever we find it we need to surround ourselves with it. As Ingrid notes, “each moment of joy is small, but over time they add up to more than the sum of their parts.”

I believe she is right, to live a joy-filled life we need focus our hearts and minds on the things that bring us that jump-up-and-down feeling. To pursue joy rather than happiness helps us find the richness and abundance in life we inherently crave.

Hopefully this talk and her website can inspire and encourage you to take the time to notice the aesthetics of joy around you and focus the things and moments in your life that lift you up. Maybe your joy will be contagious and inspire others to pursue more joy. You may even find a way to infuse joy into your sphere of influence through your skills, talents, and giftings. I’m excited just thinking about it!

Here’s to a joy-filled day!

kdg

Follow The Aesthetics of Joy on Instagram and Facebook

Inspiring Creative: Marissa Moss

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Nurturing creativity in our children is one of the most important things we can do for them. Last week, Lindy-Ann shared an inspiring TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson. He eloquently and wittily shared that our public education system, around the world, is broken when it comes to this crucial skill set. For this reason, I am so overwhelmingly thankful that we are able to send our son to the American International School here in Israel, where he is given opportunities to flourish creatively and encouraged to embrace how his brain thinks. The most recent celebration of creativity was a week of workshops hosted by children’s author and illustrator Marissa Moss.

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Marissa spent the week holding writing and illustration workshops for each grade. Through her stories and her own personal experiences she encouraged each child to embrace their unique story because, as she puts it, “everyone’s life is interesting.” Marissa also taught them the importance of making mistakes.

On Friday, at our monthly Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meeting, she spoke with us parents about some of the activities they did and how important it is to help our kids hone their visual storytelling skills. She even answered questions on how to encourage our budding creatives in ways that would challenge them lovingly and encourage with sincerity, not false praise. She also encouraged us, as parents and teachers, to help the children harness their innate critical reading and thinking skills, because “kids won’t read bad books; if it’s not good, they’ll tell you.” This critical reading by her own sons is how Marissa knew that children would enjoy her books. She even told us that her sons are her best and most brutal editors.

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There are two truths that Marissa hoped to leave with our kids that I think hold true for everyone, no matter what age you are.

Truth #1 Revision is your friend

In working with the second grade classes, Marissa had them work on crafting and revising a great opening sentence. As you can imagine most kids struggled with the fact that their sentence was not perfect the first time and did not want to revise it. In order to help them understand that revision is a good thing she showed them one of her sketches of a first draft – all lines and scribbles, and then the final published revision. Reworking and revising can actually be fun and exciting as you get closer and closer to that “A-Ha!” moment and the children were able to learn and experience that.

I asked my second grader about his sentence, and he exasperatedly told me he had to do it twice, but in the end it was a great hook: Peter has a big secret.  Did I mention Peter is a piece of toast. I’m intrigued, aren’t you?

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Truth #2 Mistakes are opportunities

I first heard this exact truth from my incredibly talented artist friend Joy, as I struggled to perfect a craft we were doing for fun at a girls’ night. Silly Katie.

Back when Marissa was an art teacher she saw this struggle in her own students and she was inspired to use one of their true stories to help other children see the beauty of making mistakes. She wrote and illustrated Regina’s Big Mistake and has helped other children be bold and just get something down on paper. It is the ideal book for the little perfectionist in your life.

Funnily enough, even when signing the books I purchased, she misspelled my son’s name and beside it she wrote “sorry, I make mistakes all the time.” It’s truly a great life lesson for everyone, not just creatives.

“Let yourself explore, take risks, and make mistakes. You never know where a mistake will lead you.” -Marissa Moss

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After hearing Marissa Moss and Sir Ken Robinson words I’m impassioned to encourage my boys and the other children in my sphere of influence to take those risks and be creative. I want them to be a part of this creative revolution we are experiencing and help shift the tide.

Learn more about Marissa and her books here. I also recommend the After School Monster, which I bought for my 4 year old. It’s a great story of being brave and conquering your own monsters.

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A NOTE OF THANKS

Marissa, thank you for your time and your heart for our children. I know all you taught them will impact how they see their {art}work going forward. Hoping the all best for you and your new authors!

Cheers,

kdg

The Crayon Books

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Ever since I was a little a girl, a fresh box of Crayola Crayons has made my heart so happy. That yellow and green branded box held so much possibility and potential creative outlets. My ‘artbrain’ liked to imagine that each color had a it’s own personality, opinions, and origin stories. Like Jungle Green was a really laid back fellow from Costa Rica and Burnt Sienna was from a cattle ranch out West. We had some really good times, my crayon friends and I, as I learned to color in{and OUT}side the lines. I even remember the first time I bought a box of crayons for my son, imagining we would be spending time coloring side by side, that vision wasn’t very realistic when he was only 18 months old, ha!

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Then one day my childhood fantasies of a crayon world became a “reality” in the pages of a Christmas gift from Tio Russ. Our beloved Tio, had bought the boys two fantastic books about a set of crayons who wrote letters to their owner. The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, are now staple readings and gifts in the DG house.

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The Day the Crayons Quit is a series of letters to a poor little boy, Duncan, from his unhappy crayons. Each color has it’s own grievance from being overly used to being naked! Duncan just wants his crayons to be happy, so in the end he comes up with a creative solution to take care of his “friends.”

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The Day the Crayons Came Home is equally as witty and cheeky and introduces us to some other colors including the geographically challenged Neon Red Crayon and the egocentric Pea Green aka Esteban the Magnificent. Let me tell you the giggles that I hear when my oldest reads these letters to himself make my heart sing!

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These books are perfect for elementary age children and parents –  I promise you will laugh out loud too. The fantastic child-like handwritings and illustrations by Oliver Jeffers brings each crayon to life. New readers will enjoy conquering each letter and older readers, for example, can use the series to learn about the use of perspective in literature. In addition, the The Crayon Books website has educational materials for teachers and parents. Full disclosure, I just found about about the two new additions to the crayon book universe, The Crayons’ Book of Numbers and The Crayons’ Book of Colors while researching for this post and have since order them for my 3 year old.  

My family highly recommends these fun and creative crayon books it.  They combine our love for reading, color, and laughter perfectly. I am genuinely inspired by Drew and Oliver’s collaboration as well.

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If you are a fan like us, go check out the Every Crayon Counts site and share your thoughts…um, I mean, support for the Crayons Union! #supportthecrayons #thedaythecrayonsquit #everycrayoncounts

Color on!

kdg