A bunch of paper discs, a handful of Crayola markers, a pizza–this is a recipe for a party that is as good a time for a bunch of creative 30-somethings as it is for a gaggle of 5-year-olds. And then you send off the paper discs to MakeIt and your drawings come back as a set of melamine plates. When you are five the wait seems infinite (you’ve almost forgotten you made them by the time they come back, just in time for father’s or mother’s day), when you’re grown up the turn-around is surprisingly quick.
One of the first drawings I remember making in preschool is preserved in a plate at my dad's house. It shows each member of my family as a different colored blob with stick-legs, and our neighboring mountain, Mt. Si, as a sort of 5th family member. Another plate in our collection records my brother's tiny traced hand at least a decade and a half before he grew into 6'2" man.
When Mira (Sweets & Bitters’ publisher) goes home to visit her family, her mother still serves her lunch on a plate she made as a child: a clock of melting numbers that could have been made by a young Salvador Dali. Now, Mira's 1-year-old nephew uses the same plate.
While brainstorming for an upcoming edition of Sweets & Bitters, Mira and I reminisced about our make-a-plates. “Is that company still around?” we wondered. Yes! And so, a kit was ordered and a party planned. We invited a garden designer, a painter, a restaurateur, a comics illustrator…friends we thought would get a kick out of a childish art project. Perhaps, without the pressure of Art with a capital “A” we were freed to be silly and playful––the results were anything but childish.
There were abstract patterns, birds in flight, colorful zoo animals, and plaids. The pizza was ordinary and the drinks were good, but the conversation and the artwork were fantastic! These plates might not have the same nostalgic impact as the ones we made as children, but I’m certain they will make their way into some collections of treasured objects. And they came back to us just in time for Christmas–maybe I’ll send mine to my parents.
Thank you to MakeIt for sponsoring this post, though the inspiration was ours.