Unveiling the Beauty of Process Art

22 June 2019

The term “process art” is a constant presence in our discussions about what we do at Creative Makes, prompting the frequent question: What is process art exactly?

In its simplest form, process art emphasizes the journey of creating art rather than fixating on the final outcome. Let’s take one of our Micro Makers classes as an example: based on a theme from a children’s book or an artist, we provide the materials, and it’s up to the children to interpret and create. We steer clear of uniformity; there’s no instruction to replicate someone else’s work or conform to particular colors or techniques. Instead, each child has the freedom to translate their creativity as they see fit.

The beauty of this approach shines most clearly in younger children. As they grow and their education becomes more structured, or they transition into adolescence and adulthood, the ease of process art can wane. The pressure to “get it right” the first time, the fear of failure, and the constant need for perfection can become stifling. That’s why I advocate for process art for people of all ages—it’s an arena where mistakes are impossible.

Barbara Rucci’s insightful quote captures the essence perfectly: “Process art is about the discovery, investigation, and enjoyment of the materials without the notion of an end result.” In this realm, the act of creation is a gift, an exploration of the medium, a dance with colors and forms, and a chance to express oneself without the burden of judgment.

So, what’s your next move? If you’re about to embark on a creative journey, I challenge you to embrace process art. Whether you’re watching your child weave their artistic magic or you’re delving into your own creation, let go of preconceived notions. Allow the process to unfold and let your imagination take the lead.

Now, let’s dive into a creative endeavor that you can try at home


Painting with String

Materials needed:


1. Tie one 15-20cm length of twine or string onto a pop stick

2. Repeat this so that you have one for each paint colour

3. Place paint in the pot then lower sting into the paint allowing the pop stick to sit on the rim of the jar keeping the end out of the paint. The child will use the pop stick to hold when painting with the string.

4. Use the end of the pop stick to push the string into the paint. Demonstrate to the children that each time they need to dip their string they can use the end of the pop stick to push it into the paint

5. Place the paper on the table and allow the children to move the paint covered string over the paper, up and down, side to side.

6. Place somewhere to dry.

7. Variation – Once they have had a good go of the above process fold a piece of paper in half and lay the string in between the folds. Place your hand on top of the folded paper and ask the child to gently pull the string out from between the paper. Other children can be encouraged to help, and take turns being the person holding the paper and the person pulling the string.

Open-ended questions that can be asked during this activity: