Playing With Light


Light. Natural light. Artificial light. Light can change the way objects look. It can make familiar paper or toys look bright. It can highlight an object’s properties making translucent things vibrant. It can create increased contrast between lit materials and those that lay out of light’s path.


At an age when children know the properties and boundaries of their playthings, bringing toys to the light adds an another dimension possibly making the familiar less so.


Natural light is one of the first two material experiences I offer to infants, the other being water.



Artificial light, however, is oftentimes just as wondrous. This play with artificial light is an extension of the girls’ play with natural light and shadow. Below is a small light box that Mike had from his art school days.


As is our routine, we started with the familiar, color gels.  Soon, we used translucent containers with a great frame that offered an interesting contrast between light and dark.




In time, I offered blue glass stones, which are a favorite of hers. At this point, Greysen had a lot of experience with the light box and brought sheer scarves onto the box. Did she know the light would shine through?



After months of looking for one, I found a used projector on craigslist. It didn’t end up being as appealing to the girlsas the light box (maybe it was the noise of the fan), so we put it away for some time. We have only recently started to use it again, and the girls are just starting to take notice of the projections.



These are translucent cups given to us by a friend.


We are gathering materials to put together a large light table now, so I’m eager to see what type of opportunities will present themselves with this increase in surface area.








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