A few months ago, I was approached by the nice folks over at EdVenture about hosting a sewing class for their Mini Maker Faire. Maker Faires happen all over the country, and are where inventors, creators, crafters, designers, developers, and other clever folks gather together to offer workshops and demonstrations to the public.
I’d been wanting to teach a sewing class for a while now, so I said yes. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Luckily, The Olive Ant (another local refashion blogger) who has been working with me on starting a series of sewing classes at our public library was happy to join me on this venture. 🙂
We set up our classroom the day before and were super-excited about the big event! Three big racks were filled with refashionables just aching to be restyled and repurposed!
Despite the optimism of the event’s organizers, I didn’t think this was going to be a big deal. EdVenture was great about promoting the Maker Faire and our place in it, but I really didn’t think that many people would come to our room. I honestly didn’t think there would be much interest.
I was wrong.
When the doors opened, our sewing studio was quickly filled with super-hyper kids and their parents.
I’m about to sound extraordinarily daft, but I thought this event was targeted to adults and maaaaaybe a few teens. I had no idea this was a kids’ event, and hadn’t planned for it as such. You would think that the fact that the whole shebang was being hosted at a children’s museum would have clued me in, but it didn’t.
I grabbed Kassie by the arm and pulled her aside,
“Did you have any idea this whole thing was for kids?!?” I hissed, eyeing the room in panic.
“No! I thought it was for grownups!” She raised her eyebrows and shrugged with a look that said, Meh…guess we’re going to have to make the best of this.
I don’t understand kids. I didn’t like them when I was a kid, and I pretty much just avoid them as an adult. It’s easy to do. I’ve never babysat, and most of my friends are child-free. If a community event is touted as being family-friendly, I don’t go to it. Every time I see a squalling brat at Target, I feel even better about this life choice.
So how, after years of successful avoidance, had I ended up trapped in a room full of kids (mostly under 10 years old) for 8 hours?
I couldn’t just leave, as we were swamped with young sewing hopefuls, and I certainly didn’t want to abandon Kassie. But, I had no idea how to talk to these strange tiny people!
I decided to go with what I knew and talked to them as if they were all drunk artists. I encouraged their creativity while keeping them from maiming themselves with the multitude of sharp objects in the room.
It worked like a charm.
These kids were clever and wildly creative!
At the end of this extremely challenging, yet intensely rewarding day, I was helping my last pupil: a really sweet young lady who wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up. 🙂
I hate to play favorites, but this kid was kinda my favorite. 🙂 Her mom was a terrifically patient and lovely lady as well. 🙂
I was amazed how how smart, fun, opinionated, and fearless these kids were.
So much creativity was unleashed on this very special day. I’d guesstimate that we saw over 100 people in our sewing classroom. Major props to Kassie for being an amazing collaborator, and thanks to EdVenture for forcing me out of my kid-free comfort zone. 😉 Also, to those of my of my grown-up blog fans that came by to say hi, let me offer an apology for not having more time to chat with each and every one of you for as long as I would have liked. It was wonderful to see you. 🙂
Let’s keep Making Awesome Happen!
37 thoughts on “Creativity, Fear, and Fun at the Mini Maker Faire!”
LOL, I feel your pain AND your surprise. I had to teach a full day of rubber stamping at a kid’s museum in Yuma. RUBBER STAMPING! The ages were extremely varied, so it was SCARY! Did I mention that you use ink with rubber stamping? It was so-called washable ink, but still.
All of the parents used the day as a day-care facility- dropped their kids off for a couple hours and ran. Luckily the museum had an assistant, but one assistant for a room full of about 20 kids was insane. Now i know how grade school teachers feel.
Some kids were sweet and some were horrid,but all were creative beyond what I expected. It turned out to be really fun (except for the horrid kids) because kids really do bring something new to the table. They seem to be a lot more fearless than adults and are not as hindered by self doubt.
“Children are born persons.” -Charlotte Mason
Instead of approaching them like “drunk artists”, why not communicate with them as fellow human beings, deserving of dignity and common respect?
I hardly think you’d paint the same picture if the students who had shown up for your workshop had been poor, old, physically or mentally disabled, or had otherwise come in some outer package that appeared to be anything less than a capable, self-sufficient adult.
What’s up with people these days looking down on children, writing about them in such derogatory tones (“squalling brat[s]”–your words) instead of seeing them for who they are–immature people, as in: not matured–haven’t yet reached adulthood or the life phase you currently occupy? Have some grace.
You were once a child too.
I do see that some of what you wrote was written as humor, but I’m against ageism and I’ll take a stand against it.
Von, I hear your concern, but the “drunk” comment really was made in jest. In fact, when I am around my three year old niece, she seems “drunk” at times. Kind of not quite together yet. It’s hilarious on her. Yet I would take no enjoyment in watching a drunk adult.
“I decided to go with what I knew and talked to them as if they were all drunk artists. I encouraged their creativity while keeping them from maiming themselves with the multitude of sharp objects in the room.”
This perfectly describes art time with my three year old.
If you guys get a class worked out at the library there, I’d love to hear a report of it. I want to suggest something similar at my public library up here in Fort Mill (p.s. do you travel…)
Haha, I loooooove your description of your usual interaction with (or avoidance of) kids because I’m totally the same way! I love my nephews, but other than that I’m super awkward with kids and just kinda try to avoid them. It’s just my nature, not that I hate kids or anything. I’m super impressed that you did such an amazing job at this event! Those kids look like they’re really talented!
Hi, I usually enjoy your outlook and blog posts, but I wish you’d be kinder when talking about children, and more open-minded when you encounter them in the world. As you discovered, kids can be pretty interesting and cool. I’ve come across way more grownups than kids whom I hope to never again run into at Target.
You planted some seeds with those young girls so give yourself a pat on the back! That’s how we change our beautiful world and make it even more beautiful.
Great job, ladies! Those kids had great ideas and it was so good of you and Kassie to take this on, even if you didn’t know exactly what you were getting into 🙂 I have found some of my best experiences were when I had to go outside my comfort zone. It’s ironic, isn’t it?
As a mom of two, I certainly respect your decision regarding kids. However, I am glad to see you enjoyed yourself with this group, because you never know what you mean to people. You never know how you might touch people’s heart or be the only kind thing they actually hear and remember. 🙂
It was very inspiring to see all these kids doing a better job of refashioning than I can. LOL. I’m happy digging through the piles at Goodwill by-the-pound and finding something my size.
Although I’m childless as well, I am a Big Sister to a 13 year old girl, which has taught me more patience I thought would be possible! And it’s so exciting to see when they actually catch onto something. I have been teaching Anna to sew because I think EVERYONE should know how to wield a needle and thread. Teaching and inspiring the future, that’s what it’s all about Jillian. WELL DONE!
We were on vacation for this event or my 9 year old WOULD HAVE BEEN THERE! She loves looking at your blog with me and she can actually sew! (thanks grandma!) I hope you will consider doing more kid events and keep up the creativity. You hit the nail on the head with the whole “drunk artist” thing. After all, aren’t those folks pretty infantile when you get right down to it? Keep up the good work and we hope to attend a sewing class with you soon. Beth.
Sounds like your daughter is already on the right track. 🙂 I’m really glad I didn’t know this was an event for kids, or I wouldn’t have agreed to it…which means I never would have experienced this really amazing thing. 🙂 I hope to do it again sometime.
I’m like you, so not a kid person. I might have gone with the “run out the door” option. But you did an awesome job and I’m sure it’s a day that many of these kids will never forget!
I’m a little west of Nashville, and I so wanted to come, would have shared your awkwardness with children (even though I have three of my own)! I told my husband I needed to take a road trip, but sadly, it just wasn’t feasible 🙁
I remember you once writing about how much influence your grandmother had on you and sewing. Now you have had influence on all these kids! Maybe kids are not so bad after all! Sounds like you sparked some creativity in those kiddos (and yourself!) Kudos. Really enjoy your blog. Has inspired this 56 year-old frumpy lady!
When I was a teen, there was all this clique=ing… and either you belonged and wore all the trendy clothes and shows, or you did not.
With the current trend of refashioning things (and you have been so instrumental in that? I believe we may be on the path to tell our young people that WHATEVER you create and wear, is great. And even better than something simply pulled off the racks.
I am so glad that this event caught the attention and interest of young women who appear to realize that “following the herd” is so much less interesting and inspiring, than following their own creative hearts!
<3 <3 <3
Yep. AND we’re competent enough to clothe ourselves! 🙂 I really hope these young women (AND men!) keep up with their refashioning. 🙂
Thank you for linking to ‘The Olive Ant’ blog. It was such a gracious and kind post in comparison.
That reply was amazing. I would have put a picture of Michele from Full House saying HOW RUDE, but yours is better.
Awww snap. It was Stephanie that said how rude. Facepalm
Oh My God, I love you, Jillian!!!
Let me know when you do this again, for adults. I will drive over from the coast!
I feel the same way as you about kids. I typically flee any room or gathering that contains children, and don’t plan to have any of my own either. But occasionally one will sneak up under my defenses. Kids are good in small doses when you can give them back to their parents 🙂
It was pretty terrifying at first, but a lot of them ended up growing on me. 🙂
Kids will surprise you. Not all of them are squalling brats at Target, you know.
I think it’s great that you helped expose kids to sewing & all of the fun & creativity we get to enjoy…also…it’s great that your comfort zone was challenged somewhat & you lived to tell about it!! I’m a sewing, homeschool mom of 4 & also sew some with my nieces, so I’m proud of you!
You need to be everywhere with this. Looks like so much fun, even for adults!
You are such an inspiration to us all. Just to see the look of adoration and love on the faces of those children says it all. Simply wonderful.
Oh how I wish I could have been there – those children were so blessed to have you for creative inspiration. You stepped out of your comfort zone and created some new refashionistas!
Some of those kids will be giving me a run for my money in no time. 🙂
You did an awesome job ! I stopped by to meet you , and was glad for the opportunity and so impressed with how you organized it,even having a great selection for your students to choose from!
Thank you so much, Donna! It was great meeting you and getting to chat for a bit. 🙂
Kids can definitely be a challenge, but they also offer rewards beyond the capability of any adult. I’m glad you stretched out of your comfort zone and got to have a taste of that. I’ll bet that girl who wants to be a fashion designer some day is feeling very encouraged right now. Something to be proud of!
Awesomeness beyond bounds! Gillian and kids! Genius! Whoever set this up is a legend. Haven’t laughed this much forever!