My whole Waldorf journey started with crayons. Crayons! I wanted some better art supplies for my boys, and here I am in my third year of homeschooling with Waldorf, and now blogging about it all to boot. I can also trace my one and only, real, live and in-person homeschooling friend (Hi Andrea!) back to crayons too. I responded to a yahoo group message of hers asking about Waldorf art supplies, and now, I honestly don’t know what I would do without her in my life. So, consider yourself forewarned – you never know where these things will lead.
I was overwhelmed when I first came to Waldorf, and the art supplies proved no exception. Were they necessary? Were they worth the money? Where the heck did I start? I will admit I over-bought and tried to do too much, too fast in the beginning. If you are new to Waldorf, my advice would be to choose one art form (painting, drawing or modeling) and buy the supplies for that form only. Practice, get comfortable, introduce it to your children, incorporate into your lessons and then add another. Like everything else with this method of homeschooling, a lot depends on you.
I have increased our collection of art supplies by giving them to my boys as gifts. I usually buy a new pack of Lyra colored pencils for their Christmas stocking every year. For the first day of school this year, I gave each of them a new set of 3 block crayons and a small pack of stick crayons. With Vincent in grade 5 now, I splurged and bought the 6-color watercolor paint set. However I still prefer working with the 3 primaries, and will probably have to order another set of those soon. (Oh, and let me tell you about a mistake I made that really affected our paintings in the beginning. I mixed the entire bottle of watercolor paint with way too much water. Our paintings were so washed out.) Now I use little jars that I mix on-demand. I probably use a 1 to 1 ratio of paint to water. This really allows us to achieve a nice vibrancy.
I try to paint with one of the boys at least once a week. Vincent will usually join us if I am painting with Jude. For the painting shown above, they both listed to the Grimm’s fairy tale, “The Six Swans,” and then we did our paintings. (The white swans are made by removing the blue paint while it is still wet with clean water. Dip your brush in water only, and then make the bird form. Once the shape is formed, dry your brush and continue doing this with your dry brush until the white really pops out. This was a little too advanced for Jude, so he added his birds the next day with white crayon.) Both boys use their crayons everyday, and Vincent has started to use the colored pencils to do his main lesson work. You might notice I haven’t mentioned beeswax modeling; this is something we haven’t done yet. We do use clay sometimes in our lessons, but I haven’t tackled beeswax yet. Maybe this year. Above all, don’t be afraid of the art supplies. Yes, they are expensive, but they last a long time, and they honestly help to elevate your schoolwork into works of art.
Below I have listed some ideas/recommendations for a variety of art supplies. If anyone has any additional advice or supplier recommendations, please leave a comment.
Supply List I would recommend buying from a Waldorf Supplier:
- Stockmar Stick Crayons (small pack is fine)
- Stockmar Block Crayons (3 primary colors)
- Lyra Colored Pencils (small pack is fine)
- Stockmar Beeswax (small pack is fine)
- Stockmar Watercolor Paint (3 primary colors)
Supply List from Other Sources:
- Paint Boards (make them yourself out of plexi-glass or masonite)
- Watercolor Paint Brushes (get at craft store with coupon)
- Watercolor Paper (stock up when this goes on sale)
- Paint Jars (start saving small and medium-sized glass jars with lids)
- Wool Felt (thrift-store sweaters are great for this) – the same goes for silks (think silk scarves and silk skirts)
- Wooden Beads (I seem to find these by the bundle at thrift stores)
- Drawing/Coloring pads (make them out of newsprint – Annette has a tutorial on her blog; use cushioned shelf liner made for wire shelving)