Thursday, January 31, 2013

Claying Family Style

This isn't a list of cute items to make with your kids or tips for clay or even how to share your craft with them. Sadly I don't have those answers, it's about my story. My kids are older now, 19 and 22, but still kids to me. When they were little, we painted, played with play doh, and made stuff of all sorts. As they grew older, that interest waned.

I've always wanted to get my kids interested in polymer clay or any kind of crafting as they got older. I was thrilled when my niece learned to knit and crochet but I wasn't involved. My own kids seemed obvious beyond telling me to get my stuff out of the way. Each played with clay briefly but put it aside .

I love making stuff so much I wanted to share it with my kids but as they grew older, I realized I had to pull back. My daughter loves to write and buzzes with a natural creativity in everything she does but through most of her teens, it feels if I suggest something, she outright rejects it.

Imagine my surprise and delight, when one morning she asked if I liked the rat she made for a favorite singer. She started making pieces more and more and then asking for advice on how to do strips or mixing colors. She's made quite a few mermaids, all specialized for different friends. She didn't want suggestions beyond how do I fix or where can if find...

Her biggest thrill was when her dad said I had made them, he didn't realize she had. Since then she has also been checking out different books and ideas, even wanting to try caning. The best I was able to do often was just to provide support and remind her what looked easy for me wasn't because it can naturally but because I have been doing it and practicing for years. And we all have pieces that bomb sometimes.

I guess my story was a lesson learned by me. I couldn't force crafts on them, especially not mine but letting them find their own way can bring them back around.

BTW There are no pictures because she requested I not share them. I have to respect her work as much as any artist.


  1. Same as you, I tried many times over the years to get my kids interested in crafts. Or any passion, to be honest. I wanted them to feel that connection and satisfaction of immersing oneself into something. But I've had to learn that I have to take a hands-off, almost dis-interested approach to what my kids do. Because the minute they get an inkling that I am emotionally invested in their project or idea, they drop it like a hot potato. So instead I just plug along doing my own thing, following my own passions. And hope that they find passions of their own. And now that they're 19, 17, and 13, this approach is starting to pay off. They're coming to me with their own stories. But I am very careful to never come to them to ask. I have to be cool. But secretly, inside, I'm jumping for joy.

  2. Stealth is definitely the way to go


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