On a recent trip to the Toledo Museum of Art (over our family vacation to Northwest Ohio--please, try to contain your jealousy) the Little One and I explored the Eastern Art Wing. We mused over Buddhas, laughed at some monkey statues and were wowed by a spectacular Ganesha icon.
In the gallery housing the Japanese collection, we found some intricately and beautifully painted clam shells. The pearly insides were decorated with unmistakeably Japanese scenes of bucolic bliss: Streams and plants and tiny, kimonoed figures taking tea in the sunlight. They were lovely.
And they gave us an idea.
Upon returning home to the East Coast, we visited our local beach for some late summertime fun. We filled our bucket with every shell we could find. Then we brought them home, cleaned and dried them, and got out the paints.
Her painted shells lack some of the detail found in their Japanese counterparts, but--at least to this Mama--they're no less wonderful. And in addition to the fun we had setting about our natural and artistic explorations, it was also a wonderful way to make a museum visit tangible and memorable for her.
Next stop: The Met. Next project: Who knows? A rendition of Washington crossing the Delaware? An exploration of Expressionism? With Halloween not too far off, maybe we'll try something more seasonal and turn Barbie into a mummy.