Intention Vs. Outcome - DuPage Children's Museum

Mess Fest | Saturday, June 22 | 9–2

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Intention Vs. Outcome

March 8, 2019

Intention Vs. Outcome

By: Rachel Davis, Artist

I have worked in the children’s museum field as an artist, educator, exhibit developer, and designer. My current artist-in-residence at DuPage Children’s Museum is a reminder to me that the real magic often happens when kids begin directing and leading the program in unexpected and unintended ways.

We have specific intentions when we engage families with hands-on art experiences. For example, we put out a tree branch and a large supply of yarn for kids to transform the shape of the tree from a recognizable tree to a soft sculpture. We take time to let visitors know that yarn is for wrapping individual branches, or several branches together. We put out scissors.

Activity begins with gusto. All three yarn-storming stations are set up in a row with four bins in close proximity filled with yarn. Kids of all ages wrap yarn around the branches, choosing different colors and textures, letting long pieces hang. An older visitor makes a series of long pom poms. A parent weaves pieces in between some yarn that spans two branches.

So much additive art making, so much collaboration. Then something happens.

The studio gets busier with younger kids, 2-4 year-olds, who are taken with scissors. For some of these visitors, scissors are a novelty.  They are still learning how to hold scissors properly and are satisfied to see the immediate outcome of their work: yarn falling off the tree. They undo the artist’s work who came before them or in the case of some more intense moments may be working right alongside them. The beauty is that the activity of trimming maintains how unwieldy or overloaded the trees can become. There is a rhythm, one we could not have predicted or controlled. The result is an ebb and flow of materials. The “yarn trees” take on different forms throughout the day.


Become a designer, maker, sewer, and printmaker while exploring the fabric arts.

Work alongside artist Rachel Davis in Textile Explorations.

Rachel will be in The Studio:
Friday, March 8 | 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Saturday, March 9 | 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Thursday, March 14 | 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Friday, March 15 | 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Saturday, March 16 | 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Thursday, March 21 | 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Friday, March 22 | 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Saturday, March 23 | 9:30 am – 12:30 pm