Let’s talk about the Chalkboard Craze, they are everywhere nowadays.
I did not want to bring up a when-I-was-young observation, but I have to because as I mentioned in the last post, it’s all about recollecting.
In my day a chalkboard was all about function, not decoration, and it was all that there was. Then when my classroom upgraded to white boards and erasable markers we thought it was the best thing ever. But when my kids were younger and I visited their classrooms, I made the comparison and described the original boards with nostalgia and fond memories. Even when I was in college, way before this trending décor, I used a chalkboard for projects in my photography class, just to have fun reversing the images.
--- yes, back when we would develop and print our film and photos ---
So I had told them so much about it that I decided to make one for them outside.
Why outside? One, because I remembered how messy chalk powder is. Two, because I wanted them to play outdoors like I did when I was their age. And three, because on the passage to the patio there was a long wall that felt like wasted space and had the perfect surface for it. Now that I think about it, it was for a decorative purpose too.
I painted 3 boards so each one could have their own. I wanted to motivate them to use it so I wrote the word “illustrate” on top of one. Trying to be consistent, I looked for other words that started with the letter “i” and discovered a few more (such as these here).
Then the cutest thing happened. They assigned themselves a board and explained the order. My daughter, at age 7, told me that board labeled illustrate was hers because she was always drawing (she forgot to say masterpieces).
My 4 and 5 year old agreed. The one labeled imagine was for the little comedian who was always telling stories and making up songs, and the one labeled invent was for the youngest, brightest, tinkerer in the family. They wondered why I even asked, as if I had done this intentionally.
That is how I became attached to those words. Together they inspire me.
I wish I had pictures of those chalkboards because each one had a unique, painted frame and detailed crown on top. Here's something similar from a side wall we had at the studio:
Students would work on some visualization-coordination exercises and would end up with such interesting abstract compositions that we could not dare erase.
Other times they would draw very detailed work that people actually thought they were signs for a store, like the time they drew some birds and people would stop by and ask if we had any parrots for sale. True story.
If we are going to be outdoors we can keep going, chalkboard or not, that's what sidewalks, and stairs, and landings are for.
I'm so glad chalkboards are in. They have always been fun and now adults have permission to play too. It's time to make a new one.