Wonderful Joey is back to discuss the beauty of crafting with natural craft supplies.
Discovering Waldorf: The beauty of natural art supplies
by: Joey van Oort
I have to say the best part of “discovering Waldorf” for me was making the switch to natural art supplies. I have loved art supplies since I was a child but had never thought about the environmental impact of my supplies.
When I became a mother and our children reached the age when they were starting to use the supplies as well, I started reading the labels looking for toxins and questioning what was in the materials that they were handling.
The transition didn’t happen overnight (mostly due to the cost!) but over the course of a couple of years we used up the old supplies and from then on only replaced them with more natural materials.
I began looking for less expensive ways of obtaining the “new” supplies by scouring our local Thrift Stores, visiting yard sales and searching online “for sale” ads in our city. I was thrilled to find that I was able to collect many of the supplies that I was looking for. When grandparents asked me for gift ideas, I would often suggest a specific product that I hadn’t been able to find.
So what supplies did we replace or buy?
* Plastic beads were replaced with beads made from gemstones, pure silver, crystal, glass, clay, wood, shell or bone.
* Watercolour paint sets, natural brushes, wood painting boards, and thick watercolour paper.
* Petroleum based crayons were replaced with beeswax crayons.
* Synthetic felt was replaced (as we used up each colour) with wool felt.
* 100% cotton embroidery floss, thick embroidery wool, wood embroidery hoops, metal embroidery needles and various sizes of cotton Aida cloth.
* Unfinished wood cut-outs, peg people, buttons, spools, balls, beads, sticks and dowels.
* Beeswax sheets and blocks for candle making and metal free wick.
* Cotton or silk fabrics and sewing supplies
* Wood lap loom and natural fiber yarn
* Wool roving and needle felting needles
* Natural papers, cardstock and quality drawing paper for cards or special projects.
* Pencil crayons, good quality pencils and erasers, wood rulers, staple-less stapler and non toxic glue.
* We began collecting driftwood, shells, smooth stones, beach glass, branches, bark, acorn caps, walnut shells, whole nuts, feathers, moss and leaves.
* Baskets, wood boxes, metal tins and cloth bags to group and store the materials in.
What do I do with the “other” supplies?
No matter how hard I try, unnatural supplies do find their way into our home. It can be difficult when a well intentioned friend, relative or teacher gives the kids packaged craft kits or passes down their own unused supplies.
We have always taught our children about products and materials that are harmful to the environment, cause unnecessary garbage or are of poor quality. I find now that they are able to spot the supplies that are only going to cause them frustration like a felt marker that runs out after one use or a paintbrush with bristles that splay out when they paint. I periodically skim our stash for these supplies and find them a new home.
By providing the kids with good quality, natural art supplies I find our time creating is more relaxing and the results more satisfying. I hope that these natural art supply suggestions inspires you to create something beautiful with your child!
Thank you, Joey… another wonderful Discovering Waldorf article from you. Makes me want to craft right now!
You can follow Joey on her blog Made By Joey… it’s a treasure trove of fun!
Want to find out more about Waldorf education? Visit the Waldorf Page to read other great Discovering Waldorf articles.
Blessing and magic,