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Glorious Mud: The Cheapest, Friendliest Art Material in the World

by Kiko Denzer
January/February 2011
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Article Link: http://www.ccie.com/article/glorious-mud-the-cheapest-friendliest-art-material-in-the-world/5019761/

Give children dirt and water, and they make mudpies. They know that the best art material is underfoot easy, available, friendly and dirt cheap! But don't stop at mud pies! Earth makes all manner of 'functional art,' from model villages (on the playground, or on a table top), to play sculptures, decorative murals, and low-relief sculpture to benches, birdhouses, and even labyrinths for quiet meditation. Schools with gardens are making wood-fired ovens for pizza, bread, and garden harvest parties. You can even make a full-size hut or house or cover up ugly industrial walls with murals to make your school more welcoming.

Large-scale projects can involve and galvanize a whole community, and broad participation transforms teaching from a specialized classroom activity to an authentic community endeavor where children not only learn basic skills, but also absorb the essential experience of participating in a social and physical whole. If it "takes a village to raise a child," it takes children, parents, and elders all living, working, and playing together to make a village. However, since most of us live in cities built by licensed, bonded, insured professionals, we forget the power of our combined creativity. Mud revives ...

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