Life is an echo,
what you send out
- Chinese Proverb
T minus 21 days until Valentines Day... are your feeds drowning in hearts yet? I am learning that the blogger world follows the same schedule as big box stores. You are just wiping the Christmas from your eyes when up pop the V-day hearts. It seems crazy but people start searching for ideas long before the day. I know plenty of wonderful, hands-on parents who aren't thinking about Valentines Day until the night before. But the stats show that a large sect of the population searches for inspiration about 45 days before the "big day" (insert whatever holiday, milestone, or event applies). So consider this post a little palate cleanse between heart dishes.
My favorite projects to teach always have a cultural or historical back story connected to them. This is why I get so excited about artist studies! This carp fish project was inspired by Chinese New Year, which falls on February 16th this year. Last year we made beautiful mandarin orange muffin tin prints and Paper Scrap Roosters. Over the years we have done Chinese drums, dragons, lanterns, ornate scrolls, and fans... but this year, my heart was set on 3-D Carp/Koi Fish.
Like most Chinese symbols, the carp is associated with a beautiful legend... the legend of a mighty carp who sets out on a courageous journey, swimming upstream on the Yellow River... against all odds, facing rapids and waterfalls head on. Until she comes face to face with the final test of endurance: scaling the Dragon's Gate. She digs deep and musters all the strength she has left before taking the biggest leap of her life, a leap that takes her soaring over the Dragon's Gate. With a burst of flame, she is transformed into a dragon.
I don't know about you, but I am a big fan of tales of intense struggle that end in victory!
These brave little fish are beautiful as is, but you can also turn them into a little 'Toss the Pom-Pom Into the Carp's Mouth' game. Or you can hang them from a wooden dowel (fishing pole), or even fill them with treats! Gold chocolate coins would be pretty special, or maybe gummy worms... is that gross or cool? I will let you decide.
koi fish fin and tail templates (see form below)
acrylic or tempera paint + paint palette for mixing
glue (we used a hot glue gun)
card stock - orange and white
black permanent marker