Thursday, July 8, 2010

Artterro Eco-friendly Art Kits {Review}

If there's one thing that Big Sister E loves to do, it is arts & crafts projects. But, after a while, I have a hard time coming up with anything more creative for her other than a stack of paper, glue and markers... which usually just ends up a sticky pile that gets thrown away due to the lack of interest in really doing anything with it.

What she (and I) need is to be pointed in a general direction. Once we're provided with ideas for something unique and fun to do, it's not long before we're inspired to come up with something original and imaginative. Even better, when everything we need is all together in one eco-friendly, affordable art kit from Artterro, we know that we're in for a really great time.

A small, mom-owned company, Artterro ("Art of the Earth") was founded in 2006 when Forrest Espinoza began searching for art kits for her sons that, instead of a bunch of plastic, featured eco-friendly materials and open-ended projects. Four years and many awards later, Artterro now offers 12 unique mixed-media kits for children of all ages with everything from wire and bead sculpture to needle felting to collage and decoupage that promote and encourage enthusiasm in creating something fun and beautiful.

Along with the great materials included in these kits, Artterro is committed to sustainability and helping their community. You won't find their products in large, expensive, unnecessary packaging but rather assembled by hand through the Goodwill Industries in Milwaukee, WI.

So, as well as printing all of their packaging inserts on 100% post-consumer waste paper and using green printing methods, Artterro helps provide people with disabilities and those in need of job training skills a great work environment right here in the United States. When I learned all that, I was already impressed and I hadn't even opened the package.

But Big Sister E wasn't really into all of the technical information. However, as soon as she caught a glimpse of the Canvas Storybook Kit and the Wire & Bead Art Kit from Artterro, she was more than ready to be an artist.

No matter the skill level, I love that Artterro kits encourage children and families to share in a fun experience together. By providing almost everything necessary (you just supply any tools such as scissors, glue or pliers), these projects make art accessible and enjoyable for everyone - even those that might not classify themselves as artistic.

Even though the Wire & Bead Art Kit is designed for ages 7+, Big Sister E was more than capable to begin creating her ornaments. Instead of using pliers, we just used our fingers to bend and twist the wire and, to create shapes or curls, wrapped them around larger or smaller circular objects such as pens or a thin flashlight we had nearby.

In the end, the colorful wire (in different thicknesses) and variety of beads turned into beautiful decorations for the time being for the light in our dining room that a certain someone was quite proud of:

If she enjoyed making wire creations, it was no match to how eager Big Sister E was to begin making her canvas storybook. As we opened the kit, we were both surprised about the number of different materials that were included to aid in embellishing and putting any amount of finishing touches throughout the book.

Beginning with the blank cotton canvas, what should we use first? Ribbon? Solid-color cotton or hand-dyed batik fabric? How about beads or sequins? Big Sister E chose to use the artist quality acrylic paint while I used a needle and craft thread to add in the extras that she dictated.

After having spent quite a while working on her canvas storybook, I liked that we were able to stop at anytime to take a break and know that later on we would be able to pick up where we left off. And even though ours might not have been nearly as perfect as many of the intricate examples shown, Big Sister E still had a great time and was proud of what she had created.

As no two Artterro kits will ever be identical, I love that if you found one your child really enjoyed, you could buy multiple of it and still have a different experience each time. Retailing between $16.95 and $24.95, they are affordable as well as eco-friendly, practical, entertaining and able to inspire creativity and confidence. There is no right or wrong with Artterro, just fun.

To find out more, visit Artterro on their website, blog or sign up for their mailing list to never miss the latest information. Their art kits are available for purchase online or at a variety of retailers nationwide and would make a fantastic gift for any child who enjoys making artistic projects. Heck, I wanted an extra one for myself!

(Other than the Wire & Bead Art Kit and Canvas Storybook Kit I was provided from Artterro, I was not compensated or enticed or to do this review in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion of this company and their amazing products.)


Anonymous said...

She did a great job creating her projects. I had a look at their site and Zoe would be thrilled with the bubble kit, how cool! Great review as always:)