Around Here: February 2018
Miller Goodman ShapeMaker Videos

Playing with Blocks

You guys, I am obsessed!  I was in a game store the other day and I saw this super fun ShapeMaker toy from Miller Goodman:

The heavy box contains 25 painted wooden blocks that you can flip and turn to create various "pictures."

I was intrigued!  But, the set was $40, so I left it behind and headed home.

Hours later at home, I simply couldn't get the blocks out of my mind. 

Luckily, I had bought a box of 100 wooden blocks when I made my flipping cubes Valentine and had plenty of leftover blocks.  I figured that all I needed was a bit of paint and I could make my own version. took me three days and it was tougher than I thought to figure out what shapes to put where in what colors.  Nonetheless, I persisted.  And now I can't stop creating these little compositions!

I started somewhat realistically...

And then I decided to try an abstract composition:

This process led me to a slightly more abstracted face:

An even more abstracted set of shapes and colors:

And finally to a very abstracted dog (or maybe a goblin?):

You can watch me putting each of these compositions together in this quick (less than two-minute) video:

Honestly, I had to be dragged away from my art table last night.  It was just so much fun to create these little compositions.  I think the thing that makes it fun is also what makes it challenging: You have limited choices for each spot in the square.  It really forces a focus on the composition and being creative.

From an art point-of-view, I think these blocks are great for:

  • Creative quilting ideas (designs are often made from squares after all).
  • Creative painting ideas -- I'm interested in creating more geometric work.
  • Learning to let go of expectations and go with what you've got.  I found that I just didn't have "the right" block on several occasions.  I had to accept it and move on!
  • Re-thinking drawing.  You can create so many different images from simple shapes!

If I had it to do over again, I'd just buy the real blocks.  It was a real pain to make them.  But otherwise, I'm loving this whole little project!

Thanks for stopping by!