Karen Kimmel and Stacy Bernstein, founders of Crafting Community, are on a mission, a creative one. Their goal, “to cultivate immersive design experiences where families can play, grow and be together,” is the driving force behind their growing organization. On their website, www.craftingcommunity.com, Kimmel and Bernstein emphasize that “creativity is an essential tool for life and so we find ways to encourage and inspire the creative spirit through art, curated design, fitness, and plain old fun.” In other words, they want everyone to hand make their own good time. If you’re game, you can join them in May for a weekend getaway guaranteed to shift your gears and get your creative motor running.
Why do you believe that creativity is an essential tool for life’s challenges?
Kimmel: Creativity is just a fancy word for problem-solving!
Is this generation’s love of all things instant and electronic suppressing its creativity?
Bernstein: On the contrary! Nobody likes the idea of living in a world where everybody’s face is glued to a screen but, honestly, the digital realm can be a place where this generation accesses and explores its creativity. Our phones are computers and our social media apps are teaching this generation how to be image creators, video producers, editors and publishers.
Kimmel: Physical, unplugged creative projects are just as important, but the digital realm also helps facilitate and democratize this hands-on creativity. I mean, how many countless afternoons have we spent on projects inspired by things we’ve seen on Pinterest?
What are today’s families seeking when they get involved with Crafting Community?
Bernstein: Crafting Community arose out of a need for dedicated family time that we recognized in our friends and ourselves when we became parents. As modern moms and dads, it can feel nearly impossible to carve out enough uninterrupted time to dive into a project with the kids.
Are there local activities/classes you organize for children?
Kimmel: We throw our annual weekend event at the Ace in Palm Springs, and this past December, we hosted our first Handmade Holiday event in Los Angeles. Handmade Holiday was an event where we invited families to ditch the mall for the day to make presents by hand for each other. It was so much fun that we’re doing it again this year!
What’s next for Crafting Community?
Bernstein: We used to only have the bandwidth for one weekend event per year, but we’ve grown so much that we’re looking to ramp up our programming. Look out for more weekends and day events in 2015! We’ll also be adding to our line of craft kits and products, designed to make it easier to jump into creative projects at home.
With Crafting Community’s emphasis on analog bonding, tell us something outstanding you’ve witnessed since the inception of your May retreat.
Bernstein: Honestly, the entire event is just one big outstanding moment. To see people who don’t consider themselves to be “creative” open up, take risks and make something they’re proud of is truly amazing every time. Seeing a whole table of dads learning how to macramé is pretty spectacular as well.
How do you encourage creativity at home?
Kimmel: Bringing creativity into your home doesn’t have to be some epic undertaking to be worthwhile. If you can spend 10 minutes of committed time with your kids to be really engaged and focused on something as simple as Play-doh or doodling, you’ve done something great. Pinterest provides amazing inspiration for these little projects, but we try not to get too hung up on the perfection of the final product or following the instructions to the letter. Surprise yourself! When kids see their parents taking creative risks, they feel more comfortable doing the same. Part of the fun is in the mess, and lots of discovery emerges from so-called mistakes.
What other inspiring activities would you recommend families do in L.A.?
Kimmel: L.A. offers so many varying and dynamic cultural options. We always love a Saturday at LACMA, a good hike and lunch at Trails in Griffith Park. If you’re up for a picnic, grab some PB&Js and a Frisbee and take your kids to Lacey Park for the day.
Crafting Community’s next retreat takes place May 1-3 at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. For more information, visit www.craftingcommunity.com.