Jamie’s Special Sunday: Fantastical Far Away Places
Recently the Art Studio’s Fall Intern, Jamie DeSimone, a senior at UMass Amherst, designed a Special Sunday project for museum guests. She planned the event, sorted and prepared the materials, and introduced visitors to the project throughout the day. The following is her description of the day.
This month, the project I designed allowed museum guests to explore the process of building with different types of found materials. The project was inspired by the current exhibition in the museum’s East Gallery, The Golden Age to the Modern Era: The Michael and Esther Droller Collection. The exhibition features a variety of illustrations that draw upon folk lore and fairy tales. Visitors were invited to construct their own fantastical far-away place inspired by fairy tales with materials such as: cardboard, tubes, paper cups, straws, wooden beads, corks, tacky glue, and colored tape. They created by cutting, gluing, and taping their materials together and to their cardboard base.
I picked out some fairy tale books that went along with the fantastical theme to leave on the tables for inspiration, as these books show a variety of buildings and settings in far-away places. I also made a few examples to keep out so guests could look at them for even more inspiration, as the examples demonstrated a wide range of techniques to use while constructing. I found that a lot of guests loved the examples and tried to duplicate some of their features in their own creations.
This project was a great way to inspire a creative building process in not only the children, but the rest of the family as well! I found as the day went on that a lot of adults became especially inspired and really got into the project as well. It was truly a multi-generational project that the whole family could enjoy.
Some guests told me that this was the longest amount of time they have ever spent on a project here at the museum, and that they especially loved it because the possibilities are endless—there’s always more you can keep adding to your fantastical place! It was fun to see each guest use the materials in different ways and add their own personal touch to their creations. Some cut out special shapes with the tape, some used it to make pathways or grass, and others used the colored straws and tape to decorate and add color.
This open-ended, intergenerational project was a fantastic way to allow guests to experiment with materials to turn their ideas into fantastic 3D structures. I asked a few guests who would live in their fantastical place and got all sorts of different, creative responses! The project was also a great exploration on shapes, found materials, and how to construct in many different ways using tape and glue. A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped out and participated!