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Red Ted Art :: A New Kids’ Craft Book & Interview (+ Giveaway!)

by Jean Van't Hul
March 28, 2013

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 Book GIVEAWAY!

Red Ted Art Kids Crafts Book Smaller Readers 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!

Giveaway now closed.

The random number generator gave me #97, so Kayla Murphy wins the Red Ted Art book. Congrats, Kayla! I'll e-mail you…

Kayla Murphy said…

Thanks for your creative ideas! I would be so honored to win a copy of your book.

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