Every summer, the art gallery in Swift Current has an open art exhibition, which means anyone can apply and enter five works of art to be displayed for a few months, and then adjudicated at the end of the show.  I love this opportunity, not only because I get to see my artwork hanging in a real gallery (which is pretty freaking cool), but also because it gives me a deadline and the motivation to make art.  The past few years I've been experimenting with fabric art (though last year my sewing machine was very disagreeable and I switched over to paper collage for a change) and the layers of texture I can build up. 

Here are a few of my pieces from the last few years:
I have until the middle of June to create my five pieces for this year's exhibition and have just started on them, excited to work through the ideas in my mind.  This morning I set out some items for Yummy to use, so she could explore fabric art alongside me.  She always listens intently when I explain what I am doing with my own artwork; it is pretty cute to hear her chattering back to me or herself using art vocabulary.  

Fabric Art for the Preschooler
I set out little scraps from my own fabric, using the same colour palette I chose for my works.  I like to limit the colour choices for Yummy's artwork sometimes, rather than always giving her unlimited choice.  I think it helps her see that critical colour choices and combinations can create different effects
Here is what you need:
  1.  a heavy piece of fabric as a canvas
  2. fabric scraps
  3. buttons
  4. hot glue gun or fabric glue
  5. Yummy's fabric scissors and sewing kit

I explained to Yummy how I usually start out working with fabric, laying pieces on my "canvas", and rearranging them until I like what I see, then add details like ribbon, buttons, or embroidery later on.  So Yummy laid her scraps out and got me to hot glue them down.  I usually sew when I work with fabric, but the more immediate result of hot glueing seemed appropriate for Yummy's interests.  You could also use fabric glue, which would allow the child to have more control over the project.  I just didn't have any.  

Here's her finished artwork!

I decided to hot glue a dowel on the top and tie a ribbon on so Yummy could see her artwork hanging up right away.  
By then, it was definitely time for me to get some of my own work done, so I brought a few little animals over to the work table for Yummy to play with.  She makes up all kinds of stories while wrapping the figures in ribbon and fabric scraps.  It's a lovely music to listen to while I work on my own art.  
When Dooter woke up from his nap, I was able to extend my work time by about ten minutes by giving him some of my small sewing tools to explore.  He loves sitting up at the work table beside his big sister; it makes him feel very big himself!
My two little workers.
This activity explores these elements of art:
  1. Texture: using real textures to create art.
  2. Colour: working with a limited palette

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