Purls of Wisdom

Crafting Spring Camp at The Handwork Studio

Posted by Eva Laverty-Wilson on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 @ 09:26 PM

Though it appears our summery weather has taken a hiatus here on the East Coast, kids are catching a glimpse of what’s to come in the summer months at The Handwork Studio. Spring Camp is upon us!

Shadyside Spring Camp

After a fun-filled week at with Miss Julia and Miss Amanda at Shadyside Academy in Pittsburgh (ask them how staying at the alpaca farm farm was), we have begun another in Narberth and DC at Sidwell Friends.

While these few weeks in early Spring may appear seamless and relaxed, in reality they have taken months of planning to get it just right. So what goes into preparing for camp? First, Miss Melissa dons her thinking cap, researching the newest seasonal trends for kids, with help from her 9-year-old daughter, of course. Then, she sources materials, traveling from place to place to find exactly what she needs to make the kids happy and to spur their creativity! Whether it's that doggie patterned fabric or just the perfect googlie eyes for Bouillon our Cube Chicken, Melissa always looks for new things to delight our family of Handwork kids. Next comes the sampling (my favorite part because I get to help), which also involves preparing directions for instructors and campers. But it’s not over yet! The instructors themselves have a few important roles to play: first, they must test out the projects on their own to find out what works for them, and what they think will work best for their campers; second, we look for feedback from the campers to see if we got it right, what was their favorite and least favorite part of the project. We learn the most from our kids. Not only are they smart, but they always have the best suggestions for tweaking or making the project completely unique and their own. This information is perhaps the most valuable because we can apply it for future projects and camps, which allows us to make every year more awesome than the next!

Narberth Spring Camp

Interested in joining the fun? We’re offering another full week of camp in Narberth starting Monday, April 2. Register weekly, by the day, morning, afternoon or full day. If you aren't sure The Handwork Studio is the right place for your special camper, you can always come in and watch one of our classes. We love kids and we want them to love us back! Let them come meet us and feel the magic. Just call me or send a message to let me know when you are coming - we would be delighted to have you!

-Miss Eva

Tags: Miss Julia, crafts, kids art classes in narberth pennsylvania, Summer Camp, Narberth, Kids Camp, Sewing, Summer, fun kids activities, camp

FiberPhiladelphia 2012

Posted by Melissa Haims on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 @ 06:30 AM

Hi there! Miss Melissa here for a double shot of blog posts. Last week I wrote about the American Camp Association's Tri State Camp Conference and while I was there I talked A LOT about FiberPhiladelphia and promised to share more details... Here they are:

FiberPhiladelphia 2012 is an international biennial and regional festival for innovative fiber/textile art. Exhibitions are happening at more than 40 locations including major institutions and independent venues during the event. They will include work by renowned international artists and a new generation of artists breaking into the field. The first shows began in January and they stretch until June.

Now, if you've been reading our blog, you'll know that March is National Craft Month. But did you know that on March 2nd May Michael Nutter declared by official proclamation that March is Fiber Arts Month in Philadelphia? Well, friends, it's true. At the opening ceremony which was held at Moore College of Art and Design we were treated to a welcome address by Mayor Nutter (at a yarn bombed microphone), an introduction by Dr. Happy Fernandez (President of Moore), another intro by Amy Orr (Executive Director of FiberPhiladelphia 2012) and finally, a keynote lecture by Elissa Auther. She is the author of String, Felt, Thread: The Hierarchy of Art and Craft in American Art (Minnesota, 2010). Click here to see photos of this amazing event and the opening that occurred afterward at the Crane Arts BUilding! 

Miss Melissa yarn bombing Mayor Nutter's microphone.  Mayor Nutter at said Microphone.

Yes, that's me yarn bombing the microphone that Mayor Nutter, et al, spoke at.


Now, at this point, you may be asking yourself why I am writing about this. What's the tie back to The Handwork Studio? Here's the deal: I work for The Handwork Studio year round as the Director of Curriculum and Education, but I'm also a fiber artist who makes and shows work in galleries. I was drawn to FiberPhiladelphia in January 2011 by a fellow fiber artist and the next thing I knew I found myself on the Executive Board of this fabulous festival surrounded by the most amazing individuals: artists, curators, students, designers and volunteers. Together, we created the single most important Fiber Arts event in Philadelphia in the last 20 years. I am so proud to be a part of this group and promote the exhibitions, support our business sponsors and spread the word.

So please stop by The Handwork Studio and pick up one of our directories and plan your visit to our shows around the city today! You can also find them at many locations around town; check the website for a list of our exhibitions and support your local fiber artists!

Full Disclosure / Shameless Plug:

I have a number of shows during the festival that I would love for you to share with your children, friends and family. Click here for the full exhibitions list and search for "Melissa". You can see some of the work I do when I'm not knitting bunnies and sewing marshmallows!

If you're reading this, chances are you have a little fiber artist at home and in that case I would strongly recommend that if you're in the Philadelphia area between now and the end of April, take them to see Cold Comfort at The Schuylkill Center for Envrionmental Education. This show has been delighting the little ones (and not so little ones) since January and is a real treat, both indoors and out!

little tree hugger at Cold Comfort.

Enjoy!

Miss Melissa

 

Tags: kids knitting, crafts, kids programs, art exhibit, fiber arts, stitch, travel, Workshops, website, National Craft Month, Narberth, Reccomendations, Sewing, Knitting, Crochet, Fun, kids, fun kids activities, project ideas, camp, Handwork, Narberth kids' activities

Greetings from ACA Tristate!

Posted by Melissa Haims on Fri, Mar 16, 2012 @ 12:58 PM

This post was supposed to be about FiberPhiladelphia 2012, a citywide international biennial of fiber arts taking place right this second. However, currently I am sitting in the Atlantic City Convention Center at the American Camp Association's Tri State Camp Conference and I am, as usual, blown away by the professional development that our staff at The Handwork Studio has the opportunity to take part in.

But because I promised a bunch of people that I would talk about FiberPhiladelphia in this blog post, i'll post a few photos at the end with a couple of links and then NEXT week I'll blog in more detail about that.

In the meantime, let me tell you how our staff is preparing for your children to have the best summer camp experience.... 

We are at the world's largest convention for camp professionals learning about the safest, smartest and most efficient ways of providing that experience. Each day we take part in workshops that teach valuable lessons and offer useful insites on topics such as Setting and Reaching Goals, Building and Maintaining Positive Parent Relationships, Creating the Best Possible Young Leaders and Helping Your Staff be the Best.  

The Handowrk Studio Staff (Miss Laura, Miss Julia, Miss Alisha, Miss Eva, Miss Amanda and myself) even taught a workshop about bringing needle arts into other camps and how important these traditional handcrafts can be to children both socially and emotionally (and they are all secretly about math!).  

The very last Keynote Speaker was Rosalind Wiseman, best-selling author and internationally recognized expert on children, teens, parenting, bullying, social justice, and ethical leadership. She is the author of Queen Bees and Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World, the groundbreaking, best-selling book that was the basis for the movie Mean Girls. What an inspiring message she sent us, as camp proffessionals, about talking to our children and helping them make the best decisions for themselves. 

What an insightful and amazing experience for our staff!

Finally, here are the images and directions that I promised to a few of you while attending our workshops at Tri State:

Yarn Bombing (aka Knit Grafitti) 

Cold Comfort: Knit Graffiti by Melissa Maddonni Haims
At the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
in the Andorra section of Philadelphia
February 24 – April 30, 2012
Click here to check out more photos on their Facebook page.
 

This could be a great community knitting or crocheting project for your campers who are just starting out with their handwork and will feel a sense of unity when they join their works together to yarn bomb a significant tree or pole on your camp site.

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Yarn Bombing on chicken wire fences 
Shagging... new textile works by Kathryn Pannepacker (& community)
The William Way LGBT Community Center in Center City Philadelphia
March 8 - April 27, 2012
Click here for details about the show.
 
 

These are chicken wire fence peices that have been looped with various types of yarns that have been doubled or trippled and cut into 6-10" lengths. This could be a great project to do on a fence on your site! And you don't have to use yarn - be creative - you could use recycled materials such as old clothes, plastic bags, and maybe do them in your camp colors! 

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Another Project done by Kathryn was was on a loom that was an old garment rack that had been wrapped with a warp in front of the Library in Center City and a could of us Handwork Studio instructors happened upon it one day a few years ago - this is Miss Stephane and I. We pulled over on the side of the road when we saw this random loom chained to a bike rack and, well, we always travel with bits and peices of yarn and fabric so we jumped out and had at it! You could do this inbetween two trees!

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PLARN! Yarn made from plastic bags!

The photo below is of a plarn chair i created in the fall of 2011 that is currently in the Schuylkill Center Exhibitions. 

Here are some links for directions:

http://www.crochetspot.com/how-to-make-plarn-plastic-yarn/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Qq3-gppZKY

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Good luck and enjoy! I'll be back next week with more on FiberPhiladelphia 2012!

Best, 

Miss Melissa

Tags: kids knitting, Miss Julia, crafts, kids programs, fiber arts, teach kids to knit, stitch, Miss Alisha, Summer Camp, Kids Camp, Knitting, Fun, fun kids activities, project ideas, activities, camp

March is National Craft Month | Craft Projects For Kids

Posted by Laura Kelly on Fri, Mar 09, 2012 @ 06:06 PM

Greetings fellow crafters (or soon to be crafters!) I’m Amanda and I am a Handwork Instructor for the Handwork Studio down in DC! And if you weren’t aware it’s actually National Craft Month! So turn off the computer and get crafting! Some amazing reasons to start crafting this month, you can:
Nuturing Children's Creativity 

Bond with your child! Curl up with your child and learn a skill together.  Most kids and adults we speak to will tell you of their fond memories of learning to craft with their mom (or grandmom).

 

Try something new! You can start crafting right now if you’ve never crafted before or learn a new skill.  You know how to knit? Maybe try crochet!

 

Finish that project that’s been sitting in your closet since last spring!


Use it to de-stress! Take your mind off of things and focus on your project at hand.


Do a craft together! Everyone can do a small piece of a project and then put it together at the end!


Make something for the spring or summer! A light scarf, a new purse, a cool headband, the sky’s the limit!

 National Craft Month LogoAnd so in honor of National Craft Month we will be going to the American Camp Association’s Tri-State Conference next week with crafty projects to share with our new ACA friends. Well be teaching a class "Purls of Wisdom: Easy Camp Projects to Take Back to Camp. And what we will be bringing back from them can’t really be put in a Handwork Studio backpack. We will be learning how to make our camp the best camp it can be, for you, and your families. We are just as excited to share our unique crafting skills and programming with them as learning as much as we can about making our camp even better! 

Tags: Workshops, National Craft Month, Summer Camp

American Camp Association National Conference-Getting Ready for Camp

Posted by Laura Kelly on Sat, Mar 03, 2012 @ 10:16 AM

American Camp Association Logo

 

Miss Julia and I went down to Atlanta last week to see and hear all the latest news that is the camping industry.  We did this so we would be up on the latest on camping trends for our kids' needle arts camp this summer. We spend 4 days listening to such wonderful distinguished speakers talk about child development, camp safety, business leadership and social media.  It was awe inspiring and an incredible wealth of information I wanted to share with you.  So over the next couple of days, since it is too long for one blog, I'll share some of the highlights.  And though you may not be a part of the camping industry, other than sending your kids to us, anyone would find this information useful.

First, Jenn Selke, told us all about the latest and greatest sites and iOS applications for productive camp directors (really for anyone looking for productivity tools: travel, webinars, podcasting, photos, web conference, personal finance management and so much more).  Here are the links to her slides and the audio.  If you are an app junkie, you won't be disappointed.  I'm not even and app junkie and I downloaded three apps sitting in the audience.  

I also spent an amazing three sessions with someone outside of the camp industry.  Kerry Plemmons is a Clinical Porfessor at Daniels School of Business at hte University of Denver and he was a regional manager for Starbucks.  I think the most important thing I learned from Kerry was don't be afraid to "love your team".  I have the MOST wonderful staff in all the world, truly - invested, smart, creative, forward thinking women who give thier heart and sole to the our mission and children.  However being a new business woman in the 80's we were taught to dress the part (blue suits), be man like, and unemotional.  Kerry reminded me that the authentic relationships that I have with the team will translate to authentic relationships with your kids.  

 

Tags: education