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Family Workshop: Caring Shapes
Teacher(s): You!
April 03 - September 01, 2020
Missoula Art Museum - Spacer

Artist: Elizabeth Stone, featured in the exhibition Earthborn: 30 Seconds to 40 Moons

Artwork: 40 Moons series

Image: Elizabeth Stone, June 2012, 2012,
archival pigment print, copyright the artist.

Process: In January 2012, Elizabeth Stone’s mother began receiving personal care for the Parkinson’s disease that was slowly taking her life and in April 2015, she passed away. As part of her healing process, Stone undertook a project to photograph the pages of notes that her mother’s caregivers wrote daily. Every day of the last 40 months of her mother’s life were recorded in handwritten notebooks, which totaled more than 3,000 pages. The culmination of Stone’s project is a series of 40 composite images, each unique and made from layers of photographs of notes, that represents phases of the moon. “Collaborating with my mom’s caregivers, weaving their words together, creates a blueprint of my mom’s existence as she returns to the stars,” said the artist.

Materials: Paper, watercolor paint or colored pencils, crayons, tape

Age range: The whole family!


  1. Spend some time reflecting on how different members of your family care for each other. What do love and care look like in your family? Care can take many forms: special meals, physical affection, games, chores, loving words or nicknames. Your family probably has special ways of showing care that are unique to just your household! Make a list of all the ideas you come up with as a family.
  2. Using tape (masking works best, but any type will do), create the outline of a shape on a piece of paper. Elizabeth Stone chose the form of a circular moon silhouette to create her collages, but you can choose one or several shapes for your project.
  3. With a Sharpie or crayon, write OR draw your favorite ways of showing care inside of your taped shape. If someone in your family doesn’t want to write, they can draw their ideas. Experiment with how you to make your ideas fit inside your shape! You can make a list, write words in different sizes, or turn your paper in different directions as your write and draw your ways of caring.
  4. Choose watercolors or colored pencils that are lighter in color than what you’ve written or drawn inside of your masked shapes. Paint and color over your collection of caring acts to give your shapes depth and dimension. You can also paint and color the OUTSIDE of your shape. If you don’t have watercolor paper at home, be careful to apply the watercolor paint lightly! In addition to your paintbrush, you can try applying paint with a paper towel or q tip.
  5. When the paint has dried, remove the tape. Hang your new paintings somewhere in your home as a record of all the different ways your family cares for each other!

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