Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Our Creative Home: the Bakers

teaching {k} to crochet
Here at Darlybird, we are all about living creatively and colorfully. In our new series “Our Creative Home,” we talk to some of our favorite creative friends to see how they encourage creativity in their homes and families! Today we're hearing from Allison Baker (or as you may know her, alipyper).

Tell us about your family!

We're a family of five! The Mr. and I met while we were both attending Brigham Young University and we've been married for 19 years. We have three children - {G} is sixteen, {I} is almost fifteen, and {K} is almost twelve. We're like most every family - busy with school, music lessons, sports, church responsibilities and a large extended family. The Mr. is an IT professional and for the better part of the last 19 years, I've been a stay at home mom. I graduated with a degree in Humanities from BYU and loved every single second I was in class learning about art, history, music, culture, language, and literature. 

I share a birthday with Martha Stewart (It's true! August 3rd). Like so many others, I was mesmerized when she burst onto the public scene in the late 80's and early 90's by her almost single-handed resurrection of all things domestic. Time honored traditions that were falling by the way side were meticulously researched, photographed and reinvented. I can't tell you how many cookies, cakes, and craft projects I tried to reproduce - all with varying degrees of success - from the pages of her early magazines. Whatever one might think of her as a person, I'm very grateful for the climate of respect she has cultivated for hand-crafters of every persuasion. I'm embarrassed to admit that she gave me permission to value the traditions I was surrounded with and I looked with new eyes on the incredible domestic heritage I had received from my mother and my grandmothers. Thank you for that, Martha.

Because I come from a large family, growing up if I wanted something I usually had to earn the money or make it myself. Often, this will get me into trouble because my first response to seeing something fantastic is to think, "Surely, I can make that myself for less!" The hours and hours spent figuring something out and the cost of wasted materials are often far more "expensive" than the original item. But, I am grateful for this attitude of self reliance and for the skills I have acquired along the way. The greatest gift I think my parents ever gave me was an old refurbished Bernina sewing machine when I was sixteen - which at the time I thought was the lamest gift in the world - with the injunction that if I wanted new clothes I would have to make them myself. They would provide the patterns and the fabric, but I would have to do the sewing. I still use that old Bernina today and I can not adequately express how deeply grateful I am to my parents for that gift.

{g} machine quilting
How have you encouraged creativity in your home?

My education and my natural inclination to want to create myself has meant that I really value the arts and the hand crafts. But that does not mean that I am always a patient teacher to my own kids nor am I ever excited about the mess that my kids creative endeavors often leave behind. I can hardly keep up with my own creative mess. So I am very happy to find them great teachers and fun classes to attend that are not in my own house. For many years my kids have gone to the same amazing art teacher - Andrea Jackman Rosborough. Recently {G} completed her first quilt after taking a class at Harmony with the talented Holly LeSué. We attend art exhibits at the local museums and the kids are encouraged to take classes at school that help them express themselves creatively. And sometimes I'm in the mood to teach my kids myself.   

How do you get your kids involved?

Sometimes my children are insistent and insert themselves into whatever craft or baking project I'm involved in - refusing to take no for an answer - and sometimes they could care less (or they know by the look on my face that they better not bug me until I'm done with what I'm doing :). Sometimes a craft activity happens organically around the house, but more often than not I have to consciously get them started on something. Often, craft activities are started because the kids and their cousins are driving us adults crazy. Perler beads, painting rocks, water coloring, modeling clay, or nature scavenger hunts are great craft activities with a large group of kids. 

art camp with andrea jackman rosborough
What advice would you give to families hoping to live a more creative lifestyle?

If kids see creativity happening, they will naturally want to participate. If you value creativity, but don't have the patience for the aftermath - find great teachers and great classes for your kids! Talk about the arts around the dinner table. Attend museum exhibits and cultural events. Set aside time and space for the creative mess. 

Thanks Allison! Readers, do you (or a beloved friend who you'd like to push into the spotlight) have a creative home? Shoot us an email and we may feature you/them/everyone! (allisonabarnes[at]gmail[dot]com)!

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