Do you treasure the creative artworks your child churns out, but struggle to find a way to store them and display the ever-growing pile? There's only space for so many abstract scrawls of colour on the fridge, after all!
Well one clever mum has come up with a genius solution - and no, it doesn't involve secretively tossing their creations in the bin.
"Wouldn't it be great to have it all on one canvas?"
With four kids of her own, Tracey Hickmott knows what it's like to quickly grow a large stockpile of children's artworks.
"I didn’t know what to do with my own artwork that had accumulated in multiple boxes, which we put away in the shed," she told Kinderling.
"I thought, wouldn’t it be great to have it all on one canvas? So that’s exactly what I did."
A stroke of genius
The simple genius of her idea soon caught the attention of other parents, and now she's begun doing a similar thing for other parents under the name Childrens Art Journeys - and she's absolutely loving it.
"When a child creates, they express themselves through their art. They paint or draw their life stories. Their heart and soul is all there," says Tracey.
"For me, it’s all about how amazing every little artist feels once I put work their work together. Their smiles of pride are priceless."
Could you just imagine how famously talented your child would feel seeing their artworks given such special treatment?
No easy feat
This task of 'art-ifying' a child's paintings is one that Tracey takes great care with, and she likes to get to know each child a little bit before getting started.
Where possible, she makes an effort to speak with them, either in person or over the phone.
"I like to ask them what they think of their work and chat about the visual stories they've made. I then take some time to sit, feel and look through their artwork. This gives me an understanding of each child and the stories they are telling through their art.
"Once I feel like I understand them, it's easier to create a mini-masterpiece from their work."
Through her own artistic practice, she's developed a skill for using colour, depth and layering to piece together the cutout pieces of art, bringing them all together into one cohesive artwork.
The finished results speak for themselves:
A great confidence boost
As Tracey puts it, "Having a child’s original art displayed on the walls of your family home boosts their confidence and helps with many communication barriers."
However, in creating these artworks, Tracey has not only boosted the confidence of numerous children, she's also boosted her own.
The path that lead Tracey to create these artworks has been a long and often difficult one. She started painting in Year 12, receiving high praise from her art teacher, but it wasn't until after she developed agoraphobia that she sought solace in her art making.
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that leaves people scared of venturing into public spaces. Home became Tracey's safe place. While it was far from a high point, Tracey can see how her phobia brought about a number of positives.
"During this time I built an extremely close and present bond with all four children. I also discovered an immense freedom through painting. This art became therapy for my soul, giving me and outlet to express what I repressed, allowing me to feel and be free.
"To me, art has a language of its own. And I believe it's just as important as words."
If you're interested in having Tracey transform your children's drawings into works of art, check out her website for more information. Prices start from $180, and vary depending of size of frame and amount of artworks included.
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