Design Camp Before & Afters! Kids’ Art Space Transformations

Have you heard about Art Pantry Design Camp yet? It’s my online course to help you set up an awesome kids’ art space in your home. One of my favorite parts of Design Camp is getting to witness the amazing transformations that take place for these families.

I love seeing the physical spaces transform, but what I really love is hearing about the other kind of transformation how kids interact with the space and with their art supplies after it has been transformed.

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My Home Tour

It’s been a while since I have shared photos of our entire house. I was recently interviewed by Glitter Guide about our home and how to encourage creativity and playfulness, while still keeping things organized and stylish. The amazing photographer, Vivian Johnson, shot the photos and has beautifully captured the spirit of our home and play. Thanks for taking a peek into our family home. I’d love to hear from you and learn how you bring creativity and playfulness into your home!

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Big Kid Desk And Art Nook

Do you remember the feeling you had when you finally felt like you were a “big kid”? One thing that always evokes that sense of growing up is having your own work desk. Swapping out an old play table for a big kid desk and some new “grown-up” supplies is a simple way to celebrate a child’s development or a milestone birthday.

I love to help families with this transition, so when a friend hired me to design a big kid work space for her daughter’s 8th birthday, I couldn’t wait to get started. The first time I worked on a big kid makeover project was 6 years ago and it also happened to be for an 8-year-old’s birthday (you can see it here).

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Soothing Playroom With Learning Centers

I’m so excited to share this recent project with you! It was a little hard to narrow down all of the photos, so this post is a little longer than usual. Hopefully it will give you some inspiration and guidance on on how to set up a soothing playroom with learning centers for school aged kids. Although many of us don’t have a full room to dedicate entirely to this type of space, it has got me thinking about setting up small areas in our home to encourage the exploration of different subjects and interests. I hope you are as inspired as I have been throughout this project!

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The New Playroom – E-Guide Launch!

Today is an exciting day! I am finally launching my first e-guide, The New Playroom, a step-by-step guide on how to set up a home art space for kids (actually, I am launching my first two e-guides at once! I have also created a bonus guide, Invitations to Create, but I’ll leave that for another post).

For the past 13 years I have been on a mission to help kids gain creative confidence by exposing them to artistic materials and process-oriented art at a young age. I believe that being creative and understanding how to use tools and materials to make things is an essential part of learning.

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I am a strong believer in the Reggio Emilia saying, “the environment is the third teacher” (the first two teachers being adults and peers). When we create spaces in our homes that are stocked with interesting tools and materials- that are organized and inviting- we are giving our kids the message that they are creative and capable little beings. We are inviting them to explore the world around them through these materials so that they will gain confidence in their natural creative abilities and take these skills with them as they grow older.

Through my work I help clients design art spaces in their homes and schools. But this is not enough. I want to reach more families than is possible with a one-on-one service, so I created this guide for you to tackle it on your own. The New Playroom offers all of the insights that I have learned over a decade of working with kids in creative settings. I take you through my design process when working with clients and give you every tip and trick in my tool belt. And if you ever have a question or need a little encouragement, I’m here for you.

Thanks for joining me in this launch day celebration!

Click here to learn more about the guide or to make a purchase. And don’t forget about the bonus guide, which includes 30 days of easy art prompts!

Our Home Art Studio

When the new year came around last month, I felt a strong urge to clear the clutter and re-organize our house. Can you guess where the worst of our clutter lived? …In the art studio! Art supplies seem to have a way of rapidly multiplying and taking over a space. In order to tackle the mess, I decided to clear the shelves and get some new containers that actually fit our space and materials. I also splurged on a few streamlined items (the chairs and large baskets) to take the visual stimulation down a notch.

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Art And Play

Do you ever wonder how to incorporate an art space into your child’s play space? Whether or not you have a dedicated space for either, art and play go hand in hand.

These pics are from a space I recently finished in a client’s sunroom. It used to be a dramatic play space for her two kids, but she knew they would use it more often if it was an art studio. My client wasn’t sure what to do when her 3 year old daughter wouldn’t let her move the play kitchen and “market” out of the room.

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Spiderweb Printmaking

For some creative Halloween decorations, we decided to try out these styrofoam spiderweb prints, seen over at Tinkerlab. We started off by cutting out two circles of foam from our Scratch Foam Boards (affiliate link), but you could also use a Styrofoam plate.
Karuna and I weren’t sure exactly how to draw a spiderweb, so we looked up a photo of one online and talked about the lines and shapes in the web. Then we each took a stab at it, and drew our version of a spiderweb and spider onto our plates.
Next we used a ball point pen over our drawings to make deep grooves in the foam. Here are our finished printing plates:

To make a print, we used a brayer (affiliate link) –a foam paint roller would do fine as well- to roll out paint onto the foam plates. In addition to black paint, we were excited to try our glow in the dark paint left over from Karuna’s birthday. We had fun swapping plates to ink and print over and over again.

After rolling out the paint, we pressed a piece of paper onto the plate, rubbed it carefully, then peeled it up to reveal our print. For an added pop of color, we used a small paint brush to paint in the spider with the opposite color.

And here are some final prints, taped to our doorway for Halloween! I haven’t yet seen whether the glow in the dark one actually works, but the yellow looks pretty cool anyway.

Happy Halloween!

Art Show

We have come to the end of the school year and are excited to showcase the children’s work and the various explorations that they have encountered in art class throughout the year. The last time I attempted an art show was two years ago when the studio was in my back yard. Boy, have these classes come a long way! Not only have the projects evolved, but we now have two awesome teachers, Jhaya and Kory, who have brought their passion and skills to the table. And of course we are now located at the amazing GROW Art & Garden Education Center, the perfect backdrop for this colorful exhibition.
Below are some pics from the show.It will be up for one more week if you’re in the area and want to check it out!

Wacky object paintings, tape resist, treasure hunt collage, spin and golf ball painting:

Sand prints, collaborative watercolor/ink, collaborative plaster relief sculptures:

Collaborative pour painting:

These are two of the 5 printmaking boards… we sure do make a lot of prints!

Watercolor paintings, handmade paper:

Self portrait drawing and clay sculpture:

Skateboard shelves with foam sculptures on top:

Foam sculptures, toddler clay work:

Collaborative plaster relief sculptures:

The children showed off their work, they were so proud!

After checking out the show, everyone hung out in the garden and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We had food, a few creative activities and a gorgeous space to run and play.

Thanks for a wonderful year and hope to see you this summer!

Spring Art Show

After 16 wonderful weeks of art class, the time has come to gather, celebrate, and appreciate the children’s creative work. My goal for the spring art show was to bring this community of budding artists together and show this exciting collection of our recent experiences in the studio.
With a week of erratic weather, I crossed my fingers and woke up Saturday to find a warm and sunny backyard- just waiting to be filled with the vibrant artwork of children.
Here are a few of the displays from the show:

Printmaking Collection and Garden Bench

Marble/Golf Ball Painting
Finger and Texture Painting
Collaborative Easel Painting
All Class Painting
Clay Work
Watercolor Quilt
Group Watercolor and Ink Work
When the show began, families arrived to view the artwork, munch on some snacks, and enjoy the company of friends.

Thanks for the fun semester… see you soon!