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Middle-school librarians Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan prove that two heads are better than one when it comes to discussing YA and children's books

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Monday, May 20, 2013 7:11 am
Sneaky Art by Marthe Jocelyn
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Sneaky ArtCindy: Did you know that craft books work for Mystery Month too? They do when they are Sneaky Art projects. Jocelyn’s creative ideas for creating and hiding mystery “sneaky” art in public spaces will leave the recipients wondering “whodunit?” Sneaky Art: Crafty Suprises to Hide in Plain Sight (Candlewick 2013) is full of fun ideas, many of which librarians or teachers can use for craft programs or classroom projects. Half the fun will be in placing them to delight unsuspecting people.2013_mystery-month-button

You don’t have to be Christo and Jeanne-Claude to create temporary public art…these are projects everyone can do. After some initial instructions about found materials, sneaky lettering (think ransom note collage style), where to place your creations and cautions (sneaky art is NOT “mean, defacing, ugly, hurtful, messy, or permanent) the book launches into its simple projects. Facial features cut from magazines can be mixed and matched and posted with our without speech bubbles to surprise (on your fridge, on a parking meter…) Do you have a glove or mitten that is missing its mate? Leave the stray on a doorknob somewhere looking like it is ready to shake your hand. Put bright socks on the bottom on chair legs. Make fortune cookies out of cupcake papers and leave them in an open spot to be discovered.

One of my favorites is the “Library Shouts.” Speech bubble signs that you can sneak into your favorite books at the library or bookstore. The “Painted Stones” section reminded me of all the rocks that I painted as a teen and sold at a craft booth. I painted lots of red lady bugs for the 70s terrarium craze. Last summer I started painting them again and hiding them in flower beds at my friends’ houses. Apparently I am a natural at the sneaky art craze. Last week I mentioned May Day flower baskets left as surprises on neighbors’ doors and no one knew what I was talking about. Apparently that tradition has gone the way of Maypoles. Perhaps Sneaky Art is a way to resurrect some of the joy of being surprised by a nice artistic treat. I hope it catches on.

Lynn:  The focus group and I are already scheming.  We loved this book and the real mystery is which fun project to try first!  Most of these them look well within the artistic abilities of eight and nine-old-boys…and more importantly their fumble fingered grandmother!  This is a GREAT book for nervous artists.  Each idea features a wonderful color picture of the finished project facing a page of very clear directions.  Each set of directions include categories that describe Where, Materials, How to Make and How to Sneak.  Perfect!  The materials are inexpensive and easy to find which is a big bonus too.

There are zillion great uses for this book besides entertaining grandchildren.  These are ideal projects for day cares, elementary classrooms, library story-time groups, birthday parties or summer day camps.  I love Jocelyn’s message of playing with art in a respectful responsible way as much as I love the idea of providing sweet surprises.

If you are around West Michigan this summer, keep your eyes open for some sneaky art fun!

Cindy: Our local paper yesterday had a timely feature on a Yarn Bombing event coming to Lowell, Michigan this summer. Sneaky art isn’t just for children.

nonfiction_mondayNonfiction Monday blog posts are available at this week’s host, Perogies & Gyoza. Sneak on over…

One Response to “Sneaky Art by Marthe Jocelyn”
  1. Jen Says:

    This sounds like a lot of fun- and I have to say I am relieved that it is made clear that this is meant to be kind and temporary. Thanks for participating in Nonfiction Monday!


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