Purls of Wisdom
Since Halloween is right around the corner and we're talking about pom poms, I dug up this great video of Miss Alisha teaching us how to make a pom pom eyeball.
Meet Hana: This week's Amazing Kid started camp at The Handwork Studio in 4th grade. She quickly excelled in handwork and machine sewing, incorporating unique creativity into all her work. We're proud to have had Hana as a counselor at the Studio for three summers, inspiring campers to get creative!
About a year ago, I participated in a national competition for youth entrepreneurs. I entered my sewing business Hanacorn and was one of eleven finalists. I now have an Etsy store, and it's doing really well, especially in the Halloween season. Another way I've taken sewing to the next level is that in my high school theater program, Players, I'm the head costume designer for our musical Godspell.
I like that they have amazing teachers who really know what they're doing and are incredibly friendly. They can always help me out. I feel like it's a community, not just a place to take classes.
My three biggest influences that led me to begin to sew and have a love of design and costumes are Doe Deere who is a blogger, Lauren who is my costumes mentor, and all the amazing teachers at The Handwork Studio. All of these people have helped me learn and take my work to the next level.
What are you working on now?
I'm the costume designer for Godspellat Lower Merion High School. So we're making the costumes and getting ready for our show in November. I'm making a lot of unicorn hoodies for Halloween which I sell on Etsy. And of course, I'm working on my Halloween costume!
Summer camp is right around the corner and I've been spending the month of May at Rosemont College in our storage rooms sorting, folding, cutting, piling, and labeling. There has also been an extraordinary amount of shopping, as you can imagine! This image is of the room I'm working in right now!
When I started here 5 years ago we had 2 summer camp loactions; Rosemont College and our studio in Narberth, PA. This summer we will be in 22 locations across 7 states! I've been sourcing our materials for all of the camps for the last 3 years. Throughout the year my team and I develop a robust curriculum and then research the best vendors to partner with. I look at prices, materials and the manufacturing locations. It's my job to buy the best quality (cottons, wools, bamboo knitting needles) at the lowest costs and pass the savings on to our clients so our camps can remain affordable. I'm also concerned about sustainability, which might surprise you since (unless you are talking about nature camp) you don't really here about the environment and camp in the same sentence. But... did you know that all of our felt is made from recycled plastic bottles? It is! Additionally, I try to buy local, whenever possible, and I never pay for shipping! (Mostly because I'm buying local and can go pick it up in The Handwork Studio Van!)
One of our favorite local vendors is Gaffney Fabrics. I know I’ve blogged about them before, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention them here. As a business partner, The Gaffney family (Joe + Lenore and their daughter, Kate) understands our needs and our students. The search all year for the fabrics that they think we might like and then we work together to determine costs and quantities.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t' mention that Kate Gaffney and I went to grade school together and life brought us back together through our business adventures... This photo was taken in the 8th grade. That's me on the left. And yes, Kate is still that much taller than me. But she doesn't have braces anymore.
From Fiber Crafts to Fashion Boot Camp, I look forward to sharing our hard work with your campers this summer.
Tags: kids knitting, Story Time, crafts, kids programs, creativity, imagination, teach kids to knit, stitch, Summer Camp, Kids Camp, Sewing, Knitting, Crochet, Fun, kids, fun kids activities, activities, camp, Handwork, Kids' craft class
Happy Mother’s Day everyone!!
As you can only imagine everyone around here at The Handwork Studio loves our mothers. Many of you probably even found your passion for needle arts from your mothers. And we even love each others’ mothers! I can’t even begin to tell you how many great things I had heard about Julia and Alisha’s moms even before I met them! (Hi Randi and Gail!) And then there was that time that Julia and I Skyped with my mom and my cats! Boy, was that funny!
So this Mother’s Day you should show your mother how much you love her! And what's a better way to show her by making her something! I actually got my idea for part of my mother’s day present from The Handwork Studio itself. It is based off of one of the projects we made for Spring Break Camp. We made the cutest ‘Hoppy Spring’ greeting cards that I translated into a card for my mom. You can see my inspiration here at an earlier blog post: Crafting Spring Camp at The Handwork Studio.
I used lots of fabric, did some appliqué, sewed on some paper, gave it some structure with card stock, and presto-chango we had a mother’s day card!! The background of the card is even some vintage fabric I picked up at a tag sale with my mom in my home town.
So you can see that you can make your mom a present out of anything! Get creative! And don’t forget about Dad! Father’s Day is right around the corner…
Want to get creative with us this summer? Summer Camp is also right around the corner!
Have you ever had extra yarn? Though we often don't give a second thought to those leftover strands that dwell after our many knitting projects (because really, what would you do with them?), author Mac Barnett gave those bits we call scraps a second chance in his new book, Extra Yarn. Soon after we at The Handwork Studio discovered this gem of a story and decided to share it with our camps, Children's Book World in Haverford, PA invited us to visit and craft during a cozy gathering with booklovers and the author himself!
Extra Yarn tells the story of a girl named Annabelle who lives in a monochrome town, but when she discovers a box of colorful extra yarn, a new world unfolds for Annabelle and her fellow townspeople. Can she knit enough to turn this town colorful once and for all?
Check out Miss Julia's visit to Children's Book World for Mac Barnett's author signing and exclusive reading of Extra Yarn on our Facebook page! We were sure to choose a craft that used the yarny bits we gather every day in the studio and with them, created bright bouquets of Spring flowers!
Tell us, what do you do with your extra yarn?
Interested in crafting with us at summer camp? It's just a few weeks away! Register now for a fun-filled week (or more!) where your child will learn new skills and create awesome projects!
How do the sayings go? No two chicken cubes are alike? Or, "Is a chicken cube but a chicken cube by any other beak?" These are deep questions we ponder at The Handwork Studio...
What I am trying to say, is that when ever we introduce a new project we have an example of what it will look like in the end, this is so everyone can see and understand what they will be making. After six years of running classes at The Handwork Studio, I am still amazed everytime in the way each person interprets the same pattern.
Over spring break camp this year our Curriculum Director, Melissa Haims designed one of my favorite projects of all time, Bouillon, the Cube Chicken. This funny creation is basically six squares sewn together to create its cube structure. What really makes this project interesting is that Buillion does not come to life until you add all the accoutrements. We provide a shmorgasborg of buttons, embroidery floss, wool roving, felt, etc., etc. and campers go to town. All of sudden our plain old cube starts taking on a life of its own. I will let the pictures speak for themselves to show what a little imagination can turn into.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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
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 HaimsAt the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Educationin the Andorra section of PhiladelphiaFebruary 24 – April 30, 2012Click 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.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, 2012Click 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!
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!
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:
Good luck and enjoy! I'll be back next week with more on FiberPhiladelphia 2012!
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