Wednesday, September 10, 2008

To cardboard, hot glue, and beyond

Probably the earliest "father and son" memory I have is an afternoon home when I was four or five--about David's age, perhaps. Dad cut a piece of cardboard (or was is a grocery bag?) in the shape of a horse's head, drew in the details, and affixed to the top of a yard stick. I rode it around like a cowboy. It is a brief memory--almost a still photo--but one I think about often and fondly. I was hoping I would have opportunities to create such a memory with my own son. That opportunity presented itself this last weekend.

David has been begging me to make a cardboard Buzz Lightyear for him for a few weeks. Having no idea how I might go about this, I stalled until this last weekend. It turns out that what he wanted was a much simpler affair than I realized. He simply wanted a piece of cardboard cut out in the shape of Buzz Lightyear--with the wings out. So I googled Buzz, worked out what pose David had in mind (flying, with both arms extended), did some test sketches and then rendered Buzz on cardboard. Thank God for my art degree. I did the wings separately and glued them on. My only goal was that it would last as long as it took to make it (about three hours). So far, so good. He (rather, "Zorg") ripped Buzz's hands off but I reattached them. Jaime suggested I make them black. David seems satisfied. I was actually pleased when he disobeyed my order to go up stairs and ran to the front door to show the Buzz to his friend who was playing in our front yard.

"But Jason," you may be saying, "you are soooooo against having cartoon-character toys in the house." Well, as I mentioned earlier in relation to the legos, I don't mind my kids cutting the teeth of their imagination on cartoon characters in an imaginative way. Creating Buzz out of cardboard, or legos (or sticks or pieces of lint) allows him to stretch his imagination a bit without having an additional toy lying around that will eventually go out of style and have to be replaced with whatever the next fad is. I look forward to the day when David and Simon are creating their own worlds, but I am content to make them work a bit to recreate someone else's.

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