Article Type Making Art Together Making Art Together Categories Sculpture Theory and Resources

Setting a Space for Inspiration

Sara Ottomano

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. 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 (mimicking the large-scale installation in the studio) 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!


Sara smiling in front of Art Studio display.

Sara Ottomano

Art Educator from 2016-2023 at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Sara (she/her) is enthusiastic about helping others approach art through exploration and experimentation.