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Double Duty Sponge Project
The first time my kid saw a work by Yves Klein was in the fabulous book “13 Modern Artists Children Should Know.”  His work stood out in our case because my kid loves blue. Really really loves blue. Yves Klein perfected his very own shade of blue (now called International Yves Klein Blue) and then used it in a majority of his work. He painted many objects in this shade of gorgeous blue . So he was a big hit with my kid.
Yves Klein, Monochrome blue sans titre (IKB 190), ca 1959
Photo credit: www.yveskleinarchives.org 
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis recently had an Yves Klein exhibition on view, and it brought to mind not only his interest in color but his experimental use of method and material, for both the artwork itself and for painting the artwork. He daringly painted human models and had them roll around a large canvas. In more tame fashion, he often used sponges in his work, actually sometimes applying them to his canvas. Not so long ago, one of his sponge paintings sold at auction for a crazy amount of money. I wonder if my kid might be that talented…
Paint, sponges, and kids seem like a natural combination for an project. So I am using as my inspiration his lovely sponge sculpture from the Guggenheim Museum.
Yves Klein, Blue Sponge (L’Eponge bleue), 1959
Photo credit: Guggenheim Museum 
I cut regular sponges (not the ones with the abrasive side) into fourths and then cut each fourth into a shape. Circles, squares, moons, diamonds, squiggles, you name it. If your kid is good at cutting, they can do this themselves. I also poked a hole in each shape with a sharp pencil.
We took a piece of wax paper, and squeezed some blobs of paint (any kind of washable paint will do) on it. Then my kid dipped each sponge shape into some paint and made a sponge painting.
After dipping each shape we put the painted paper aside so it could dry. Once the painted sponges had dried, we took a pipe cleaner and poked it through one of the sponge holes.
We put four sponge shapes on the pipe cleaner, kept them in the center, and twisted the ends together so that the sponges ended up at the top with the pipe cleaner as the stem.
We put four on another pipe cleaner and twisted that one together. We took our two mini flowers and twisted those together to make one stem with a big blossom on top.
You can manipulate the placement of each shape to make your petals look just right, and you will have plenty of pipe cleaner to shape some leaves. Don’t forget to put your kid’s sponge painting on the fridge. And now for the instructions…
Painted Sponge Flower
Prep Time: 10 minutes Active Time: 25 minutes Drying Time: 2 hours
Kitchen sponges (use plain ones with non-abrasive sides)
Paper for Painting
There are two elements to this project and you can choose to do one or both. For the adult prep cut your sponge into quarters and then each square into circles or other shapes. Then use a sharp pencil to poke a small but visible hole near an edge.
Your kid can dip the sponge shapes into their favorite paint color and use them to make a sponge painting on paper. When they are done painting let the painted sponges dry. When they are ready your kid can string about three or four sponge shapes onto a pipe cleaner. Keep the sponges in the middle and lightly twist the ends together. Repeat with another three or four shapes strung onto a pipe cleaner then twist them all together until you get a combination that looks like your flower. Stick your flower into an upside stryofoam cup to display.
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URLs in this post:
 “13 Modern Artists Children Should Know.”: http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Artists-Children-Should-Know/dp/3791370154/re
 gorgeous blue: http://www.yveskleinarchives.org/works/works11_us.html
 www.yveskleinarchives.org: http://www.yveskleinarchives.org
 Guggenheim Museum: http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/show-full/piece/?search=Blue%20Sponge&page=&f=Title&object=64.1752
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