The research continues…
The second most popular interactive display in Bullseye Gallery’s recent Retrospective exhibition was a set of brightly colored cast-glass wedges. It wasn’t designed with children in mind. It was intended to show the range of possibilities in mixing frits and the gradations related to thickness. Adult visitors have enjoyed looking at the blocks, although some are tentative to touch. Kids not at all. Although typically, the older the child, the more studious the engagement.
The connection with younger kids is instant and magnetic.
But what is it that they respond to? Although the colors are undeniably seductive (no, no kid – or adult – tried to eat these little pie-shaped wedges), it seems to be the shapes that first sucked in the kids.
Is building stuff one of our deepest drives? Is it about figuring out how objects relate to other objects? How they all work within a space? I wonder if we should let the kids loose on the Richard Whiteley works?
This is one of the areas that fascinates me most: how does the presence of others affect our making? Does it disrupt our connection to the material? Or does it add another, more complex quality to the monolog we were just enjoying?
Amy, whose son Jackson had spent some time with the Tint Wedge display, mentioned to me later in the evening that he’d very precisely arranged the wedges so that the like surfaces were all aligned (some surfaces are smooth, others have a rough texture). Why was that?
Figuring it out could keep me – happily – busy for the rest of my life.