A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have 2 local classrooms come and flood my shop with their bubbling, excited selves. It was a fabulous, and memorable event and one that I hope will be repeated. Being able to see creativity outside of a museum, in the real world, is SO important to the ways we see ourselves and our own hopes and dreams, and that’s why I’m very proud of this tour and Q & A session I had with the Puffins and Plovers from the Forest Grove Community School.
The kids got to hear the story of my business, see the handmade products I sell, as well as see the work made by other independent makers and artists. Then they got a tour of my tiny studio and got to ask me tons of questions about my business. At the end we talked about ways to market your business when you don’t have millions to spend on advertising and everyone got to make me a marketing sticker. There were sustainable goodie bags for everyone and basically it was the raddest day ever and I hope they think so too!
You see, inspiring others to follow their creative passions is one of the biggest goals for me in my brick and mortar shop. When I was a kid most of the adults in my world had good, stable, practical careers and encouraged us kids to aim for the same. With one exception: My film maker uncle, Uncle Rick.
Uncle Rick was my portal to all things artistic and creative, always encouraging his nieces and nephews to reach for creative expression and exploration. He introduced me to Andy Warhol, Basquiat, Bjork, Patti Smith, and butō theatre. He took me to an art exhibit at the old zoo where people were the zoo animals, a rock en Español concert in an abandoned prison, and a drag show in Ensenada. And one of the most lasting impressions he left on me was that creativity could be a career. That I could participate and not just watch from the side. He did this by he pursuing his own creative career, weathering many ups and downs along the way.
It was seeing someone close to me go after and achieve creative goals that made me understand that I did not have to live a standardized and formulated lifestyle. He showed me just by being himself that there was a life where you could express yourself to the fullest degree and make a living doing it. Not that life is magically effortless or easy once you get there. I’ve seen his struggles too. Just that it was possible to make a creative living gave me the encouragement to follow my own path even when the rest of my family wanted something very different for me.
The life long inspiration given to me by Uncle Rick is exactly what I hope to give to my own kids and every person who passes through my shop. That’s exactly why I hosted our first ever Kids Make Sale last winter, and why I’m doing it again this May. I want the kids who participate to feel the possibilities of sharing their creative work with the world, and earning money from it! And I want everyone who sees those kids to know it’s possible for them too if they want it!
When we share our work with the world we’re opening up to making connections with others. When we exchange money for it we’re giving practical value to the labor we put in to our creative work. I don’t want kids to just share or give away their art. I also want them to experience the practical ways it can be part of their lives. Your art money can buy a bicycle. Your art money can be shared with people who lack resources. Your art money can be an investment into other people’s creative ventures. Your art money can even be as big as a home or a building you where you get to inspire other people to be creative too.
The next Kids Make Sale will be the 2nd Wednesday in May and applications will open soon. If your child would like to participate sign up for our Newsletter and get advance notification when applications open!