Friday, 4 March 2011

up against the wall

Before we moved into this house last November, I had visions of giving every wall a fresh coat of paint...something not too far off white to add light and space and just make everything feel clean. I envisioned a blank canvas - having jettisoned so many of our possessions in our emigration attempt two years ago, it felt like an opportunity to start afresh with a new palette. But then the realities of moving house with little ones set in. I managed to paint one whole room and half of another room before we moved in. Now, we are waiting for warmer weather so that we can leave doors and windows open to allow paint fumes to dissipate.

There was one project I did want to get done soon, though. Something fairly small, managable and achievable (for achievable, read: finishable). Something that would make an immediate impact and would (hopefully) create a sense of fun for us and for anyone who walks through the front door.

A chalkboard wall! Maybe it's the teacher in me (truth be told, I'd hate to have to use one every day in the classroom - I can still remember that horrible, teeth-rattling sound of chalk squeaking on board, the dry, dusty feeling chalk leaves on your fingers), but I do love chalkboards. Perhaps it's the inversion of colour - we are used to black ink on white paper. It is surprising and exciting to see stark white lines and swathes of colour explode out of the black surface.

The scale of the writing surface is exciting, too. To have a whole wall upon which to make our mark is inspiring and freeing - think of the spontaneity of graffiti on billboards. The orientation of the chalkboard is just right for a small person who is just beginning to hone her fine motor skills...we aren't forced to hunch over a little rectangle of flimsy paper. We can grasp the chalk with our whole hand and make marks by moving our whole arm. Writing and drawing can be a whole body activity - jumping and kneeling and even laying down can extend the range of our marks...what fun!

There's space for several contributors to collaborate and inspire and weave a story together.

A hot air balloon floating...

...over a sea full of whales and strange fish.
An American flag waving next to the George Cross (England's flag).

You can even surprise and entertain your parents, who didn't know you had taught yourself how to write.

Yes, we are enjoying this chalkboard wall.


  1. Hi - you know my children would really like those internal stairs, more than a chalk board! But what about the messy chalk dust on the floor?

  2. I bet they are loving it. That would keep my kiddos entertained for hours.

  3. Perfect! A chalkboard wall for Mama Chalk.

  4. loving the chalkboard...what about the dust though????

  5. We are having so much fun with this! Regarding the dust...yes, there is a fine powder that rains down on the skirting boards, but as this wall is in our front hall (not far from the front door), the floor here gets swept or vacuumed every day, so it isn't really a problem.
    Thanks for stopping by!