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Mom Turns Preschooler’s “Pocket Treasures” Into Works of Art

Image Source: Melissa Kaseman
Image Source: Melissa Kaseman

One man’s trash is another preschooler’s treasure.

This has never been more evident than in photographer and mom Melissa Kaseman’s photo series, “Preschool Pocket Treasures.” Depicting the small objects found in her son Calder’s pockets, these whimsical images truly demonstrate the fascinating inner-workings of a child’s imagination. Whether it be a scrap of orange paper or a funny-shaped twig, the objects photographed represent the things that a child finds interesting enough to collect.

“The magic of childhood is so fleeting,” Kaseman tells Babble. “And these objects I kept finding in Calder’s pockets represent a chapter of boyhood, his imagination, and the magic of a finding a ‘treasure.’”

Image Source: Melissa Kaseman
Image Source: Melissa Kaseman

There’s something very special about the pure joy that a child feels when they discover something new. And while this sense of wonderment can often fade as we become adults, this series serves as a lovely reminder of simpler times. “I hope he carries the wonderment of discovery throughout his life,” Kaseman says.

Image Source: Melissa Kaseman
Image Source: Melissa Kaseman

And we aren’t the only ones enjoying the series. Calder, the treasure collector himself, is excited about the project, too. In fact, he’s usually the one holding the light reflector for his mom. As Kaseman shares with Babble, when Calder found out the work will be showing at a photography exhibit, he reacted with the most adorable, heartfelt response: “We made art together!”

Image Source: Melissa Kaseman
Image Source: Melissa Kaseman

As sweet as this art project is, Calder’s mom also shared an instance when Calder may have taken his treasure hunting a little too far. That necklace in the photograph above? Well, that belonged to Calder’s teacher. (But don’t worry, he learned from the innocent mistake.)

“I had a talk with him that this necklace is someone else’s special treasure and that we will have to return it to the school the next day,” says Kaseman. An email was sent home later that night asking if any of the kids had mistakenly taken it home. The necklace had been the teacher’s mother’s, and she wore it on her wedding day. Kaseman quickly called the teacher and assured her the necklace was already in Calder’s backpack, ready to be returned.

“She called back and left the most lovely message about my son,” says Kaseman. “And that of all the kids to have found it, she was happy it was Calder, knowing how precious he holds treasures.”

Image Source: Melissa Kaseman
Image Source: Melissa Kaseman

No one knows where little Calder’s life will take him, but we are certain he will grow up with a genuine love and respect for art, all thanks to his mom.

“As long as I can continually find inspiration in the journey of being a mom, and tapping into the wonderment of childhood, and applying that to my art practice, I hope to find balance in the chaos of parenthood.”

Well, that’s advice we can all learn from.

If you would like to see more of Kaseman’s work, visit her website or Instagram page. “Preschool Pocket Treasures” will also be shown at the Review Santa Fe event at CENTER in New Mexico this fall.

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