“Rainbow”– a mixed media art installation with crayons and blisters

It will probably come as no surprise to you that as a child, I fucking loved homework. Quizzes, essays, book reports, math drills– I ate that stuff for breakfast. But what may actually surprise you is this– I hated the creative assignments.

Specifically, I hated the artsy assignments– I could write thinly veiled love stories about my sixth grade science teacher all day and pass it off as a gripping account of the Quartering Act during the Revolutionary War. But if it involved anything even remotely artistic, I was thrown into an instant panic.

See, I am terrible at art. All forms of art– painting, drawing, collage, diorama, all of it. I would get visibly shaky if a teacher said we had to decorate the cover of our folders with something “uniquely you”, because this was all I could ever come up with:


I am simply incapable of drawing anything even remotely acceptable. And before you accuse me of dogging it in MS Paint, allow me to present this actual ceramic plate, hanging on display in my house right now, painted by me when I was a fully functioning adult:


I like how Addie and I are wearing matching outfits, and also no shoes, because shoes are hard.

I was so thrilled when, in high school, taking band counted as an art class, so I could get away with just being shitty at playing the trombone as my primary form of artistic expression. The days of colored pencils and poorly assembled clay pots that exploded instantly upon entering the kiln (a blessing, really, to be put out of their misery) were behind me.

Until this came home in Addie’s kindergarten folder last week:


The thing that concerned me most about this particular flyer, aside from the gross overuse of the smiley emoji and the phrase “creative imagination”, as if some people have only a very mundane imagination in which they collate papers all day, is that is basically expressly says that this is a homework assignment that I have to do personally— there’s really not even a pretense that the kid did it herself. “Be sure that the children help with the project” really seems only to mean “have them count all the shit you have to painstakingly glue to something using your creative imagination.”

Ben had the brilliant idea to gather 100 of Addie’s broken crayons, as her main method of using them appears to be dumping them all on the floor and dancing on them until they are little more than waxy shards– this way, we’re gathering our 100 items and ridding our house of 100 shitty crayon nubs. I took it a step further and used my creative imagination to come up with the plan to arrange them into the shape of a rainbow. CRAYON RAINBOW! GENIUS!

But then it actually came time to assemble it.

Did you know that you can literally die from using a hot glue gun the wrong way? That by “hot”, they mean “searing misery from the deepest pits of Hades”? You probably did, because as I mentioned before, I am the last woman on earth not to own a glue gun. I, on the other hand, foolishly believed that it was just a nice, probably sort of warm-ish way to distribute clear glue onto something, WHICH IS SO NOT THE CASE.


One blister-filled hour later, we had our rainbow of 100 crayons. Addie loved it, and finished decorating it after all the gluing was complete (her mind was blown that she was using crayons to decorate her crayon poster, like she was experiencing inception for the first time). It was shuttled off to school today, and from what I understand, it will soon be hanging in the halls for the 100 Days celebration. This means that I will now have two works of art on public display, if you count my ceramic plate debacle, which is probably more than Picasso had by my age, right? Maybe I’ve got this whole art thing figured out, after all.


Nailed it.

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