Target Inner Circle member Kara Fleck, editor of SimpleKids.net, and her daughter Jillian recently interviewed Todd Oldham of Kid Made Modern about crafting, community and creative environments for families.
Picture a place where families are laughing and playing together, creating beautiful works of art with quality materials in a hands-on environment and artists, designers and lifestyle experts are sharing their talents and vision. Now, imagine all of this crafty inspiration and family togetherness taking place in a relaxed, beautiful pool side setting in gorgeous Palm Springs, Calif.
Does this family friendly retreat sound too good to be true? It isn’t! In fact, my daughter Jillian and I attended such a blissful weekend in early October at this year’s Crafting Community.
Crafting Community is the brainchild of Karen Kimmel, creative director and founder of Karen Kimmel Studios and Kimmel Kids. This year Todd Oldham, the notable designer behind Target’s Kid Made Modern line, was one of the invited designers.
Jillian and I had the chance to sit down with Todd in the middle of this crafty desert oasis to talk kids, creativity and Kid Made Modern. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:
What advice would you give families looking to foster an immersive creative environment at home? I would say the best thing to give is time. Set aside forty minutes, and go have some really good fun. It’s not about money – it’s just about the experience and having a good time.
Along that line, thanks to your influence and the story of the crafts table you had as a kid growing up, our family now has a never-ending crafts table, and the kids just love it. What about when you were a kid? We did so many projects—it was simultaneous. I love that you say that you leave your table out because that’s really the key to this. One should go about art like gardening, because you know a garden is never finished. It’s just always in this beautiful state of flow, receding and growing, and that’s really the way the arts are. And you need to just be with it. It’s a matter of the doing that is satisfying. The end result is often very, very wonderful but I think the real advantage is the making, the being present and the problem solving.
Don’t you feel like you learn stuff every time you make something? It makes a big difference, doesn’t it? And then you can take that little bit of knowledge and it gives you the confidence and the inspiration to solve problems in other arenas. Nothing bad ever comes from spending time making stuff.
We’ve noticed since we’ve been here at Crafting Community making and creating that one child’s project will lead to another child’s project and there’s a chain of inspiration. Exactly. You know, being a fan is one of the most important things we can be as humans as well as being interested and really being able to be thrilled for someone else’s beautiful effort. You know, we perhaps all have some moments of jealousy or wistfulness, but if you can really be a fan and honestly admire others, that’s a wonderful attribute.
Jillian got in on the conversation, too, with a few questions of her own for Todd:
Did you keep any art projects from when you were a kid? Do you have them now? I do! I still have some of my art projects. I have three brothers and sisters, and we all made stuff together. That time together at the craft table making stuff, that’s the time where I see families grow, and I see individuals grow from that experience.
I like designing clothes, especially for my dolls and I like thinking up Halloween costumes. Do you have a favorite Halloween costume? Oh, I do! My mom made me this, and it is one of the things I still have – it’s so beautiful, this completely hand-sewn pumpkin costume. It has all these beautiful miters, if you think of the shape of a pumpkin and how it is like a beach ball. My mom sewed them all, and then we blew up all of these balloons and stuffed them all in so I was this little orange pumpkin. I’m sure I was wider than I was tall. It was fun!