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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Visit the carle


Making Art Together

Setting a Space for Inspiration

In The Art Studio, we are fortunate to have a lot of different spaces. We have a display case, an entrance space, a Toddler Area, wall space, window space, shelf space, table space, and even ceiling space! When planning our Everyday Art Programs in The Art Studio, we have been thinking a lot about how to unite all these spaces to create a cohesive inspirational space for all ages.

This blog post will be about how we attempted to tie all of our spaces together for one of our recent Everyday Art Projects, Sky Mobiles. (See our Sky Mobiles blog post to learn more about the project.) While you may have a different space at home or work, we hope this post serves as a way to help you get inspired and thinking about all the spaces in your creative place as potential-filled.

Down the hall from The Art Studio, we have a display case that serves as a way to interest people in the project before even entering The Art Studio. In an effort to increase our open-ended explorations, we have been experimenting with displaying not only examples, but also the raw materials that help inspire people to create. For the Sky Mobiles display, we chose to hang the mobiles in front of a watercolored background (the same paper we used to cover the wall in our large scale display) with a small pile of recycled materials under the sign.

Having been interested in the project, guests might then choose to turn towards The Art Studio and enter the space. Looking into The Art Studio, they may catch glimpses of displays on the walls, and hangings in the windows.

In preparation for this project, we cut up a lot of recycled materials for our guests to experiment with. When cutting up the materials, we noticed that certain plastics curled while others snapped. Some papers fluttered and others folded crisply. We liked the idea of showing guests how some of the materials act in their larger forms and inspire them to explore the recycled materials on the tables. Using a tension rod, and strips of tracing paper, shower curtains, and tulle, we hung a display next to the busy board near the door.

To celebrate the different ways that the materials could be explored at the tables, we scrunched, cut, and pulled at the strips.

Next to the busy board is our very popular light table where we put various recycled materials in containers to showcase their properties. All the materials used on the light table were either created in preparation for the project or were available to explore on the tables. Oftentimes, guests would take materials from the baskets on their tables and explore them on the light table to see what they looked like with a bright light shining through it.

To extend our project into the Toddler Area, we decided to hang this winter window shade with a layer of white fabric placed over it to diffuse the light.

It served as a way to bring the white and clear aesthetic into the Toddler Area and it resembled the snowflakes that often fell during the winter.

Together with the cardboard lunar phases in the Toddler Area, it possibly helped our guests think about natural objects that move in space, whether it be microscopic snowflakes or celestial bodies.

In our future EAPs, we hope to continue to explore the interconnectivity of the spaces. Through our displays and available resources, we can help shape the space into a subtle inspiration from all sides that encourages creativity through showcasing materials and ideas rather than just finished products. We hope you continue to follow us along this journey and are inspired to rethink spaces within your creative spaces!



We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 


by Sara Ottomano

This entry was posted on Friday, March 31st, 2017 at 12:00 pm and is filed under By Sara Ottomano, Displays & Window Shades, Space to Create, Every Day Art Program, Found Materials, Light, Our Approach. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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