Imagine 50 poor village children in a gray, dingy, post-communist classroom opening treasure boxes full of sparkling jewels. Their excitement was an explosion of energy and magical wonder. The classroom? A crumbling room in a Russian village school southeast of Moscow. The jewels? Nothing particularly special or valuable—just some disassembled costume jewelry from garage sales and thrift stores around the Oak Park/River Forest area purchased in preparation for this journey that would change my life. In 2001, a missions trip to Kaluga, Russia lit a flame that hasn’t gone out. My husband, Paul, and I worked with a team, teaching art and sports to kids during their annual summer camp. I will never forget the thrill that those 125 children felt by creating beautiful projects. When we returned home, I envisioned opening a studio where children and adults could gather to create that same magic. On February 15, 2010 that dream came true when the doors of The Little Bits Workshop opened. For the past 20 years, I’ve spent my professional life as an art director, graphic designer and illustrator, but my first love is to create with my hands. Simply put, I’m a maker who comes from a long line of engineers, artists and one matriarchal recycler—my Grandma, Alice Hunsicker. Opening The Little Bits Workshop was a natural result of all that DNA. I’m also a mother of two children who love to make things. I believe carving out creative time is restorative and essential. This history has shaped my vision for The Little Bits Workshop where we teach classes that empower people to discover the joy of making something all by themselves. We stretch students’ skill sets to another level. Some of our classes include: •Beginners Sewing Bootcamp which covers basics quickly and gets students sewing draw-string pants in two weeks. • After school workshops explore endless upcycling projects • Ladies’ Nights Out • Birthdays Parties centered around “green” creative projects •Spring & Summer Camps •Field Trips • Idea Labs for Educators In addition to teaching at The Workshop, we have also taught patients at Loyola’s Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital in Maywood and Family Shelter Service in Wheaton. We bring meaningful projects to kids and adults who are in physical and emotional crisis. During a Loyola workshop, a mother said to us, “I’m so glad you are here, I was going crazy in the hospital room with nothing to do and my son has been so depressed.” Sometimes crafts simply provide a positive distraction from difficult circumstances. While Workshop students are creating fun projects, they are also developing classic lifelong skills such as sewing, bookbinding, knitting, crochet and collage. My goal is to spark an inventive spirit by demonstrating how common items can be upcycled to create functional art.
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM