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Collage Art for Kids Review by Katherine Averill

Donna Hugh
Coyote Creek Productions
2419 E. Mission Road
Fallbrook, CA 92028

Collage Art for Kids is a 4-disc DVD series providing four different themed lessons in collage art: paper collage, texture theme collage, mixed media collage, and greeting cards. Each DVD has 2-4 lessons. The lessons are given entirely on DVD; the set does not include a textbook, teacher guide, or supplies.

Donna Hugh gives gentle, encouraging instruction to guide your student through the creative process. She repeatedly reminds the student it is their "choice," there is no right or wrong way to make their creation. My children and I were able to make cut paper collage right along with Donna as she gave the lesson. Both my daughters and a friend eagerly jumped to tissue paper collage, creating beautiful works of art with glue and tissue paper. Most projects require paper, scissors and glue. Texture and Theme Collage and Mixed Media Collage both use "found items," like string, twigs or buttons.

The lessons are introduced with a brief list of materials necessary to complete the project. The student then simply follows along as Donna makes an example, explaining the process along the way. An older elementary or middle school student could complete the lesson entirely independently. Younger children would benefit from having an adult prepared with materials, but could then do the project independently. The entire family could even take the lessons together, making it an ideal program for a family with children of different ages and abilities.

In Volume 1, Paper Collage, lessons include cut paper collage, torn paper collage, and tissue paper collage. In cut paper, Donna uses paper of various sizes and explains how simple it is to trim a piece to the size the student needs, using a ruler for accuracy or not. In the torn paper lesson, Donna discusses the importance of using your own artistic eye to determine placement of color. Students learn to use a small amount of simple white glue and layered tissue paper to create different hues in tissue paper collage.

Texture and Theme Collage, Volume 2, gives a lesson in texture collage using materials the student has gathered from nature or recycling. The theme collage lesson guides the student through making a collage based on a realistic picture. Again, a variety of papers and found materials are used for a vibrant effect.

Mixed Media Collage give two lessons, one using watercolors and another using many different materials (just what I think of when I hear the word "collage"). I especially enjoyed the second lesson of this DVD. I hate to throw away scraps of paper, plastic tidbits, or buttons. This is a project for all those items and more. Donna creates an amazing picture using these simple materials.

The final DVD teaches how to make an assortment of greeting cards. With the expense of buying from the card store, who wouldn't be thrilled to be able to make them with items from around the house? I stopped buying gift cards many years ago, but my simple replacement is nothing like what Donna has taught us. Using paper, glue, ribbons, and even mustard seeds, your student can create a beautiful poinsettia, among other holiday or special occasion cards.

Collage Art for Kids provides enough lessons for a season full of art lessons. While each project can be completed in a fairly short time (each DVD is less than an hour), students can use the methods learned for a variety of projects. By simply changing types of paper, adding glitter, or changing the size of the base, they can create an entirely new work.

I highly recommend this program for the busy homeschooler who may not always have time for creative art projects. You will find it easy to use, and your children can work independently. Don't be surprised to find you want to work beside them to create your own masterpiece! My only complaint would be the expense. At $24.95 each, or $95.00 for the set, these DVDs are not economical for families on a tight budget. That being said, they would work beautifully for a small group that shared the expense.

Product review by Katherine Averill, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2010