|Sculpture by Nathan Sawaya|
Apparently, he had been a corporate lawyer in New York, and he gave it up to follow his art. Now, some people would frown upon a grown man deciding to let go of a lucrative career in law to play with Legos all day, but I personally thought it was a wonderful example of living life in a way that makes you happy. And, it seems to be working out pretty well for him. My Boy Child was very inspired to even imagine that such a career was a possibility. It sure makes growing up sound more fun and exciting than a job in a suit!
|Art by Nathan Sawaya|
We bought Sawaya's book Art of the Brick, so we could be inspired more at home, and because I wanted to support the idea of following your dreams even if it seems risky to the rest of the world. I probably never would have given thought to conveying feelings and struggles or making statements with Legos, but he has certainly managed to do just that. In talking with Nathan, we learned that he is more than a tad more organized with his Legos than we are though. He has drawers separated by color, shape and size, while we have a huge mixed up bin. Obviously, he buys in bulk too, since he uses thousands of pieces in his sculptures and they are glued down as he goes. I requested that my kids use the camera to preserve their sculptures. For one thing, the glue Mr. Sawaya was using was really stinky and probably not very good for young brain cells, and for another, we don't have the customers, display space or budget to handle large scale productions at this time, unless we re-use the pieces. His exhibit and book did get some very large scale productions going when we got home.
|A Lego Duck by my Boy Child|
|Favorite Chicken inspects Lego Duck|
|Blind Replica of a one eyed robot by my Girl Child|
One particularly cool challenge involved one person making a sculpture, and committing it to memory before taking it apart. We also took a picture for future reference. Then, sitting back to back to back with the other person, the original builder tries to explain how to recreate the piece, and the new sculptor tries to follow the directions. This little exercise was a challenge on several levels- planning and building, memorizing, explaining clearly, listening, and following directions.
|The Skyscraper by my Boy Child|
We'd be doing lots more brick building / brain building projects this year anyway, but now that I know I have an authorized stamp of approval on it as an educational activity, maybe I'll mention that to all the grumblers who condemn the way we combine learning and fun- "Kids need to learn to work hard, that learning and life isn't always fun, blah, blah, blah.."
My kids of course do work hard on lots of things in life, and while I know that no one can enjoy everything they have to do, I do hope my kids are able to have a good time with most of what they do. I'd rather encourage them to live and enjoy life than just endure it. These same people will probably also tell me that having kids who are inspired by the possibility of being a Lego artist is a bad idea because "it's not very likely that your kids will be able to do that when they grow up." Well, it's not very likely that I'll someday be a Picasso or a Mozart, but I'm still inspired by them.
Do you have other fun ideas, activities and people that inspire your family? I'd love to hear about them...
And for some Lego activities you might like to try, check these out.