On Saturday, I was invited* to check out The Pod, a new art studio for kids in Vancouver’s Commercial Drive neighbourhood. Which is a lovely, vibrant part of East Vancouver, and not really earthy at all (cough Annemarie cough). Since my 5-year-old daughter Hannah considers herself to be a great artist, I couldn’t turn it down. And so Hannah and I headed out of the suburbs and into the city for some quality one-on-one time. And of course, I crossed my fingers the whole way that I wouldn’t have to do any tricky parallel parking. Luckily, I did not. Crisis averted!
We managed to find the studio and arrived on time. And we discovered that on this beautiful fall Saturday, we had the whole place to ourselves. I suppose that all the other children were out enjoying the weather. Suckers.
Hannah arriving at The Pod
We met Carlin Sandor, the creator of The Pod. She has a background in art, but worked for the government for years before she was laid off. While doing childcare to make ends meet, she was struck with idea of an art studio for kids. I love that she’s on her own Crafting my Life journey – I groove on people doing their Thing. And this is her Thing. She has dreams of expansion, and knitting circles, and sewing groups for teenagers, and a thriving centre for people of all ages to come and do art and handcrafts together. On so many levels, Carlin is singing my tune.
We made purses using bubble mailers and hockey tape. Before opening The Pod, Carlin did a bunch of focus groups with parents. There were two main themes that came out of those – make something useful, and don’t use glitter. I feel those parents – glitter is lovely, but evil.
Hannah colours before the class begins
Carlin shows Hannah what she’ll be making
Hannah cuts some tape, with a little help
Measuring Hannah for her bag’s strap
Hannah loved the studio. She was really quite disappointed that we only got to do one project. She wanted to make a robot and paint a rock and use the fabric scraps she found. Put a 5-year-old into a crafting paradise, and they could go all day, I think. Carlin graciously let Hannah take a piece of styrofoam home to use in a project. This piece of styrofoam has become Hannah’s Most Precious Thing. When I later asked her what her favourite part of the day was, she mentioned the styrofoam. 5-year-olds are really very cool, and sometimes surprisingly easy to please.
Hannah tucking her Most Precious Styrofoam into her new purse
When we were done at The Pod, we couldn’t just head home. We made our way to Commercial Drive and found a lovely bakery cafÃ©. I had a chocolate croissant and a cup of tea, and Hannah had a gigantic brownie and a cup of hot chocolate. She informed me I had chosen the wrong thing, because apparently the brownie was the best ever. She kept telling me how this was a great day, and how much fun she was having just the two of us. And I told her the same thing, because it was fun. Time alone with Hannah is tragically rare for me. Having a 2-year-old in tow nearly all the time has that effect. Just watching her enjoy herself was really pretty awesome.
Hannah and her chocolate
After we finished up at the cafÃ©, we stopped in at the vintage shop next door and ogled melmac dishes, old suitcases and gorgeous teak sideboards. Hannah settled on a vintage Hello Kitty mug. I managed to restrain myself, but I still sort of regret not buying the set of pastel melmac egg cups. They were just so pretty. Bygones.
It was great to get out and do 5-year-old stuff with my 5-year-old. To make art and explore a very cool neighbourhood and discuss the politics of kindergarten. I’m glad I did it. I hope to do it again soon.
Do you get one-on-one time with each of your kids? How do you swing it? And what kinds of stuff do you do? Tell me all about it!
* To be clear, we did not pay to attend the class, although there was no requirement that I blog about the experience.