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Seeing Multiples


I like repetition
, or as the San Diego Museum of Art says, multiples. I recently visited their exhibition Young Art 2011: Making Multiples, featuring student artwork hung in the galleries among artists like Andy Warhol and Josef Albers. Student artwork, which is only on display through May 29, 2011, was created in a variety of media with subjects such as a field of sunflowers, a classroom of desks, ceramic toes, a carousel of horses, a tree of owls and a 3-headed monster.

The exhibition also featured an interactive wall display for visitors to record their thoughts on the following prompt, “To me, making multiples means…” Did you catch the alliteration, or letter ‘m’ repetition? A few of my favorite responses included: family, being a twin, and “the stars are multiples of the sun.” This display got me thinking beyond exhibitions and museum collections to the repetition/multiples surrounding us everyday – both physically and conceptually. Keep reading for crafty ideas to explore repetition.

Here is my growing list of multiples (in no particular order of thought):
•       a rose garden
•       stairs
•       stamps
•       chicken pox
•       a forest
•       boats in a harbor
•       a litter of puppies
•       a box of crayons
•       tongue teasers
•       popcorn
•       a library or bookstore
•       Portland (Oregon) bridges
•       wrapping paper
•       a bag of skittles
•       bulk food bins
•       traditions
•       laundry

What’s on your list? Beware, it is difficult to stop thinking of multiples once you start.

Try This:
1. I spy…multiples! Visit your local park, museum, or farmer’s market and try to find one multiple for each letter of the alphabet. Write the letters of the alphabet down on a piece of paper. You can complete one paper for the entire family or race to be the first to complete the entire alphabet. Or, create a multiples notebook with each letter of the alphabet on a separate page. Whenever your family finds a little spare time, illustrate your notebook with the multiples you see around you.

I Spy variation: I Spy books are full of repetition. Visit your library and check one out to explore with your family. Then, visit these blogs to learn how to create your own reusable I Spy book or placemat.

2. Tongue Teaser Alliterations: You already know “how much wood can a woodchuck chuck” and that “Sally sells seashells by the seashore.” Create silly alliterations with your family.

3. Printmaking: This is as easy as carving into the surface of Styrofoam using a toothpick, but don’t push all the way through. You will need ink and a roller from a craft store. Visit an art museum or grab an Andy Warhol picture book for some inspiration!

4. Optical Illusions are often filled with repetition. Check out the work of M. C. Escher  and then visit your local science center for some brain teasers!

Itinerary: [insert your city here]
You can look for multiples everywhere – in nature, museums, stores, harbors or even at your house. Here are a few of my favorite places to search:

Balboa Park, San Diego – Don’t miss the Rose Garden, Mingei International Museum (Beckoning Cats through January 2012), San Diego Museum of Art (Making Multiples through May 29, 2011), Palm Canyon and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center for optical illusions.

The Huntington near Pasadena, California has a little bit of everything – gardens, library and art collections. Perfect for a game of I Spy.

Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh – don’t forget The Andy Warhol Museum!

A local Farmers’ Market – produce, art, rows of booths…

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