Friday, March 29, 2013

Red Ted Art :: A New Kids' Craft Book & Interview (+ Giveaway ...

Red Ted Art Kids Crafts Book 1

Maggy Woodley is the crafty dynamo behind the Red Ted Art blog. This Austrian-born, UK-based mom of two also has a new book (released today!) by the same name.

Red Ted Art Kids Crafts Book Smaller***Note: Readers will have a chance to win a copy of Maggy's new kids' craft book, Red Ted Art: Cute and Easy Crafts for Kids, at the end of this interview.***

JEAN: Maggy, Your new book is gorgeous! Plus it?s filled with tons of fun craft ideas for kids. You must be so proud! Can you tell us a bit about the process of creating your book?

MAGGY:?Thank you Jean. I am so pleased you like the book (it is quite nerve racking having?the first copies going out to people!).

For my book, the process was reasonably straight forward. The publisher helped select a range of crafts. After that, the hard work of making and writing began. I had an intense 4-5 weeks of doing this ? fitting around my children, home and family holidays! Quite a busy time. Once all the writing and crafting was completed we had a 4-day photo shoot, which was great fun! We also came up with the book cover at the photo shoot and I am SO pleased with the result. The publisher then did their design magic. It was a busy process, but great fun and great to be involved every step of the way and to be able to input my views at every stage.

Red Ted Art Kids Crafts Book 2

JEAN: What do YOU get out of crafting? What do you think your kids get out of crafting?

MAGGY:?I enjoy the process of creating and I love seeing the finished result. Especially when you have taken something that is deemed as ?junk or rubbish? and transformed it into something pretty or useful. I hate ?waste? and I love the challenge of repurposing. I also love homemade gifts.

The kids seem to enjoy various aspects of crafting ? they love the process ? using paints and glues and seeing what happens (we often have a messy session after an ?ordinary? craft session, where they ?play and explore? with all the left over bits and pieces) and I think they are proud of what they make. We often send things to family and I encourage them to make small presents for their friends? birthdays. We also play with many of our crafts.

So I guess it is a bit of everything ? doing, creating, transforming and then having a play thing at the end.

Red Ted Art Kids Crafts Book 3

JEAN: Was YOUR childhood like this?

MAGGY:? I had glimpses of this as a child ? When I was very little we had an au pair girl who introduced me to the wonders of ?nature crafts? and crafts that I often refer to as ?classic German? crafts (though they are probably classic worldwide), we made chestnut creatures, paper stars and walnut boats. Later, I had an ?adoptive? grandmother who took me under her crafty wing ? she taught me how to sew and how to knit, she baked fairy cakes with me and encouraged all things creative.? She wasn?t always around, but she was around enough. When I was a teenager, I had a ?crafty best friend? and we used to make things together all the time (until she moved back to Austria).

I remember all these craft sessions fondly and want my children to have a similar set themselves!

Red Ted Art Kids Crafts Book 4

JEAN:? Crafts are often more product oriented than art. Can you talk about how you keep the?process?important as well?

MAGGY:??Yes, crafts are most definitely product orientated and that of course is the tricky part for those of us focused on process and it something I am conscious of and do sometimes ?worry? about.

My main approach is:

1)?????I try very hard to leave them creative freedom ? e.g. they choose the colours etc. or, recently, my son wanted to use googly eyes and my daughter wanted to draw on huge eyes. They add their own ideas to my ?existing crafts.? {The peg people photo is a good example of this ? yes, I made some perfect ones for them ? in order to get them interested.. but then they went off and did their own thing ? I particularly like THEIR invention of the glitter hair!}

2)?????Sometimes they don?t want to make something I suggest and ask to do something different, so we do. I never ?force them?. But usually they are enthusiastic.

3)?????My kids will come to me and say I want to make e.g. a Robin out of this egg (he recently made a Batman), I embrace these moments and go with what they want to do.

4)?????They always get to ?play? with left over materials (there is usually a lot of paint in our dish or scarps of fabric or craft foam to glue with.

5)?????We have specific process-orientated art sessions for exploration (I even started a mini series on this on my blog, which I need to refocus on again). It is something that I sometimes lose sight of and do try and do more (YOUR book, Jean, has been a great help with this ? reminding me about making time for this on a regular basis).

Red Ted Art Kids Crafts Book 5

Overall they are learning techniques and skills regardless of whether it is just process or there is a product at the end ? they are great at handling scissors, pens and brushes. They have great ideas of their own. And I have had many people comment (almost in surprise?!) at how creative they seem to be (?after all that product-orientated activity?). So I think product-orientated activities are not ?all bad,? so long as you give them space and opportunity to experiment and explore.

Maybe it is all about finding a balance? ?

Red Ted Art Kids Crafts Book 6

JEAN: Absolutely! (And you know we love crafts in our home as well.) What are some of your (and your kids?) all-time favorite crafts?

MAGGY: ?Oooh it so tricky! I personally love the frugalness and repurposed-ness of recycled crafts?(e.g. crafting from toilet paper rolls),?and I love the tactileness of nature crafts (e.g. sticks and stones).

My son would say his favourite craft (right now) is anything to do with superheros (note the Robin and Batman eggs mentioned above). My daughter loves making peg dolls with glitter hair!

Red Ted Art Kids Crafts Book 7

JEAN: I am always amazed at your enthusiasm and productivity! Where do you get your energy? And how can I get some of it for myself? :)

MAGGY:? It goes in fits and starts ? we have super creative weeks when we make LOADS and then I spread it out over weeks on the blog ? so it looks like we are creative regularly, when in fact we may have not made anything for two weeks. I also used to work to a schedule (not so much now) and that gave me a focus.

And you know? I just LOVE crafts and making things. So really, most of the time it isn?t like work at all and I often have a long ?to do list? of things I would like to make with the kids. Including revisiting crafts that we have done before, as I really want them to form part of their childhood memories!

Red Ted Art Book

JEAN: I guess I?m the same in many ways! Especially regarding the ebbs and flows of creative work? Okay, anything else you?d like to add?

MAGGY:? For people looking to buy the book ? I would really like them to use the book as INSPIRATION not a craft manual. That is one of the reasons we didn?t provide templates ? we wanted people to look, be inspired and do their own thing. Put their own stamp on things. I know there are lots of step-by-step instructions ? of course there are certain ways of making things ? but can you come up with a better idea? Can you make it more fun? Can you make it in an easier way? Can you experiment with the idea?

Also, I would love for people to use the book as an opportunity to do things together ? younger children of course will need a lot more help than older children. It is therefore tempting to leave older children ?to it? (I have had some lovely photos through of my agent?s 10yrs old daughter making a brilliant sock monkey and hobby horse all by herself!), but I think it would still be great to find things to do together ? or maybe one of you does one project and the other something different.

JEAN: Thanks so much, Maggy! You?re an inspiration, as is your book. I?m sure many families will enjoy exploring your craft ideas together and making them part of their children?s early memories!

You can connect with Maggy on her?Red Ted Art blog, on Google+, facebook, or on Pinterest.

If you are in the UK or Europe, you can pick up a copy of Maggy's book, Red Ted Art: Cute and Easy Crafts for Kids beginning today. (It will be available in the US this fall.)

Red Ted Art Kids Crafts Book SmallerReaders who leave a comment to this post by Monday, April 1st at 11:59pm EST will be entered to win a copy of Red Ted Art: Cute and Easy Crafts for Kids by Maggy Woodley. Winner will be chosen by random number generator and announced here on Tuesday (I will also e-mail the winner). Giveaway open to readers everywhere.

Good luck!


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