Is it the very nature of having children that whatever was once yours is now fair game? H and my hobbies mean that there have always been a fairly wide aray of nice crafty things around the house. There are a few bits and pieces in his art stash that are off limits for little girls but for the most part we’ve let the girls try out differnet sorts of paints, chalks, pastels, paper, board, canvas and all the rest. H is an artist not a hoarder of paint supplies so it’s all there to be used, and in the same way my stamps and cutters and wiggly scissors have migrated into the girls’ craft cupboard, where I should mention that they get a lot more use than they did tucked in the back of my desk drawer.
But the latest filch from the studio isn’t paint or paper or even some of those very nice stickers that Kitty has been eyeing up, it’s a piece of MDF.
H has two, and they are just very simple straightforward slabs of board, cut to about A2 size in the shop. Their intended use is as painting boards for watercolour paper, you can soak it, lay it down on them and then tape it into place to stretch it, and it’s nice and portable to take to art class.
But even though that’s a very good use, and even though this board has two small ink and wash pictures still taped to the back of it, I’m afraid it’s now wholly in the possession of the children.
We had used it as a painting board on the dining room table in a vague effort to protect the tablecloth (unsuccessfully as it turned out) but then came the day when I realised that it was exactly the right size to fit a slice of one of our giant rolls of paper from IKEA.
If I need to get something done, or just need the girls to settle down for a bit, I can set it up, wrap a fresh piece of paper around, plonk it on the floor and add their crayons and let them get to work.
We’ve had pictures of Kitty’s nursery school trip (a Daddy long legs, her teacher’s house -imagined- and a hairslide), pictures of the two of them at ballet class, a huge number of rainbows requested by the girls and drawn by me and lots of scribbles by Elma and odd dots of colour from Pip.
I think that having the board, and being able to be on the floor gives us enough space for all four of us to be around it, and makes it easy for everyone to join in, or not join in as the case may be (Elma loves stacking up the block crayons instead).
And so when I remember and when we’re next in town, we have a job to go and get another board cut for Daddy, because I don’t think we’re giving this one back.