Fingerpaint is a kind of paint intended to be applied with the fingers; it typically comes in pots and is used by small children, though it has occasionally been used by adults either to teach art to children, or for their own use. American educator Ruth Faison Shaw is credited with introducing fingerpainting as an art education medium. She developed her techniques in Rome, Italy, before patenting a safe non-toxic paint in 1931. After developing her expressive medium for children, Shaw devoted her attention to the therapeutic benefits of finger-painting. At the request of Carl Menninger, she taught at the Southard School at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, United States. Later she served as a consultant to the Department of Psychiatry at Memorial Hospital at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While working at Memorial Hospital, she met psychologist, John Thomas Payne. Payne became her successor in 1969 and continued her work until his death in 2000. Today Shaw and Paynes work continues at the Shaw School and Studio in Durham, NC. Founder and director, Bryan Carey apprenticed with Payne from 1986–1993. At the suggestion of Payne, Carey devoted an additional seven years to the study of Shaw as an historical figure—artist, teacher and therapist. Carey and his protégée Jennifer Falchi continue the Shaw-Payne tradition by traveling and teaching their method of artistic self-expression and emotional healing to people of all ages and abilities. Although the name implies that the paint is applied with the fingers, expert use of this medium makes use of the hands and lower arms too. Use of the entire arm smooths the paint on the paper prior to more detailed modeling with the fingers and other parts of the hand. Sometimes sponges, cloth, and other tools are used to obtain a specific texture.
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