When two very liked minded mothers and entrepreneurs Karen Kimmel & Stacy Bernstein put their heads together, creative sparks flew instantly and their resulting DIY/craft movement sent ripples throughout the world in no time flat. Together, they founded CraftingCommunity, dedicated to encourage, inspire and cultivate the creative spirit through art, curated design, fitness and plain old fun! Read on to hear about their renowned events for families everywhere - including Handmade Holiday, a new take on Christmas...
Tell us, how did you two pair up to bring crafting back to the forefront of the design community (and arguably, the community at large?)?
For us, crafting has always been the vehicle for our larger goal – infusing creativity into the everyday lives of families. Crafting Community arose out of a need for dedicated family time that we recognized in our friends and ourselves as we became parents. In our daily lives as plugged-in, working moms, it felt next to impossible to carve out uninterrupted time to stretch out and get our hands dirty on a project with the kids. Creative thinking is so important in the modern world, especially for our children’s generation, and it’s exactly the thing that we felt the most deprived of.
In response to this problem, we create beautiful experiences where analog bonding can flourish, set in environments designed to pique curiosity and remove the fear from putting pen to paper, so to speak. People are scared of the idea of making ‘art’, but there’s something really friendly and accessible about crafts. We firmly believe that aesthetics aren’t lost on kids, so we bring in our talented friends from the art and design world and collaborate and teach crafts that engage the parents and children equally.
We love how you encourage parents to get messy with their kids. What are some of the easiest ways to inspire creativity in the home?
The most important thing to remember is that the little things make a big difference. Bringing creativity into your life doesn’t need to be some sweeping change where you drop your whole paycheck at Michael’s and institute family macramé hour. The change can be subtle. If you can commit 10-15 minutes of undisturbed time with the kids to be really engaged and focused on doing a creative activity together (it can really be 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.
How do you stay inspired and connected to each other? How do you keep your ideas "in sync"?
Laughter goes a long way between the two of us, and believe us there are many, many moments we just gotta laugh because the alternative won’t do anyone any good! As a team we are a great balance – creative + practical – often pushing each other out of our comfort zones to take professional risks, knowing that we got each other’s back.
We're firm believers in making memories over buying more stuff, and we love how your Handmade Holiday event so perfectly supports that mission. Can you give some background on why you organized this event for parents? What's been the most inspiring byproduct or feedback you've witnessed from the event?
Handmade Holiday is our response to the distorted perspective fostered around the gift-giving season that one has to spend a lot of money to give something of value. The magic of the holidays happens in that slow family down-time – putting up decorations, cooking, baking, eating together, 1000 piece puzzles, Charlie Brown – it’s the best! We think it’s a shame that this wonderful holiday juju doesn’t extend to the gift-giving process, which so often makes us feel stressed out, maxed out and inadequate. At Handmade Holiday, we’re giving families all the tools they need to make gorgeous gifts for the ones they love, and providing all the support they need to commit to the experience and make memories with each other.
Finally, what are a few everyday essentials you rely on from morning to night?
Some musts are a morning pick-me-up from The Juice, a cross-body messenger bag from Clare Vivier, Nikes, a good brainstorm session filled with BIG ideas, a spin class for Karen, an exhausting soccer match for Stacy, our men, and of course ending everyday with a squeeze and a kiss from our littles to remind us why we are gonna do it all again the next day!!
p.s. Want to hear from another darling duo? Meet these best friends who are shaking up their neck of the woods.