I’ll just be honest with you: we use a lot of petroleum-based crayons at our house. We really do. We draw with them, break them, melt them into other crayons, grate them up and melt them some more, hold them to candles and drip them onto stretched canvas (apparently, we love fire)–the Crayola company gets a lot of play around here.
Although I’ve been a green crafter for a while now, it’s only been fairly recent that I’ve started to take a look into really greening my children’s art supplies. My excuse has always been, well, we use too many crayons/colored pencils/pieces of clay to afford the really high quality brands. But then, in a fit of organization, I took a hard look around our shared studio space and thought…hmmm. Do two children really need a gallon jug full to the brim with half-used crayons?
If, instead, they owned just one package of beautiful, high-quality crayons, would they perhaps treat those crayons so well that they simply wouldn’t need more?
It’s a hard prospect for me, because as a homeschooling mother (and an indulgent one, to boot), I often have the urge to provide for my girls a bounty of supplies, so that whatever artistic or intellectual impulse that they feel, they have the tools to bring it to fruition.
Goodness, that seems silly. And thus, as you may have noticed from recent reviews, I’ve been on a quest to regularly spend my hard-earned money not on a lot of cheap art supplies for my children this year, but instead on a small selection of…I can’t get around it…expensive supplies.
These Stockmar beeswax crayons, for instance, which are my most recent purchase, are not cheap. The sixteen-crayon set that I bought the girls ran, I’m not kidding you, almost 25 bucks. Consider that just last month, I threw a half-dozen 24-packs of Crayola crayons into my basket at Target and paid a quarter a piece for them, and you realize that upgrading our crayons is no joke!
For 25 bucks these Stockmar beeswax crayons ought to be the best crayons that I’ve ever seen in my life, and they are. They’re highly pigmented, they color well onto our Strathmore drawing paper, they’re not so soft that they look to be used up too soon, and glory be–they smell like honey!
These beeswax crayons are now our “special” crayons, that we use when we’re feeling artistic, with those petroleum based Crayolas relegated to the millions of other crafty uses that also make up our days. If I had toddlers again, however, I’d do it all differently, and these would be the only crayons those tater tots would have. Stockmar crayons seem to be about as non-toxic as a commercially manufactured art supply can be. They seem to report on extensive materials testing, so if your kid has any kind of chemical sensitivity, you can be a well-informed consumer if you read their stuff. And unless you’re vegan (in which case you need to give soy crayons a try), then beeswax is about as benign and natural a material base as you’re going to be able to muster.
As our “special” art supply shelf–the Stockmar crayons, the Prismacolor markers and colored pencils, the Strathmore artist’s papers–becomes more stocked, it’s my hope that it will eventually replace in quality, NOT quantity, the six or so shelves of cheap-o art supplies that currently rule our studio, allowing us less clutter, less consumerism, and even better access to the way that we do art.