I overheard a few women talking about Crafting Community at a mommy event one night. Not only did they mention the words “crafting” and “community” together in the same phrase, they also mentioned “family” and “Palm Springs.” I pushed my way into their circle. “What is it? When is it? Can I come?”
Los Angeles artist Karen Kimmel and her partners, Stacy Bernstein and Tait Chatmon, are behind this magical event at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. Their goal was to “create immersive experiences where families can play, grow and be together.” Unplugged, but connected to people, to art and to the beauty of the desert.
My busy little family needed this.
When we arrived at Crafting Community we were given the fattest, most delicious welcome tote. Chock full of goodies– Whole Foods, Target, Splendid, Honest Tea… An adorable “Play Book” created by Elizabeth Antonia of The Littlest, a giant Kid Made Modern gem crayon, clay, blocks and books kept the kids busy when we weren’t participating in the gazillion activities offered.
Friday night’s kickoff dinner was a fun-filled fiesta sponsored by Splendid. The all-you-can-eat Mexican buffet and ice cream party was delish… but I have to confess, my favorite part was admiring Smalls guac-covered face, then looking down at the ground beneath her chair and realizing– I don’t have to clean that up. And Friends, if you don’t know this already, THAT is what vacation is all about.
The crafting began Saturday morning.
The artists and their tables were arranged in a dreamy indoor-outdoor space. Mason jars and wicker baskets overflowed with craft supplies. Believe me when I say it was CRAFTOPIA.
And again, didn’t have to clean it up.
Todd Oldham (!) helped Bigs make a wallet from Kid Made Modern duct tape. How cool is that?
Meanwhile, Smalls enlisted me to help with a project. When my contributions were not to her liking she threw the piece to the floor. “NO, MOMMY!! That’s NOT what I want!!!” I cringed. Would Todd Oldham ask me to take the tantrum outside? No. Instead he looked at Smalls with kind, knowing eyes then turned to me. “A TRUE designer,” he declared.
God’s eyes and basket-making with Splendid fabric. Yes, rad. Before I checked in to Crafting Community I thought I might be the least-experienced crafter there. Turned out many of us were just learning basic techniques. Now that I have the knowledge, I feel like I can take on more complex versions of the crafts or do my own spin on them.
Thanks to Rachel Craven I now know how to make veggie stamped tea towels. Guess what everyone’s getting for Chanukah?
Do you know Ron Finley? If not, watch this TED talk. HOLY CRAP–this man’s story of guerilla-gardening in South Central is so inspiring. Smalls got to “plant some shit” with him and now I am so motivated to go gangsta on my dirt patch come Spring.
Artist Cathy Callahan has a talent for making vintage crafts modern. These tassels were made and worn by almost everyone at Crafting Community. We’d smile at each other in passing. No words. Just connected through art.
One of my favorite tables was Beadtopia with Bari Zipperstein. Unfortunately, my statement piece didn’t survive (too thin, cracked) but I’m looking forward to making more. I need this machine STAT.
Confetti System had their gorgeous papers set up for us to make our own lanterns. Ours will be displayed in the girl’s casita as soon as we design the rest of the space around the lantern!
I got emotional creating our family crest at Rene Holguin’s workshop. Do this. Seriously. Choosing designs to represent my family, to tell the story of our history, connected me to to my ancestors and to the earth. I got tribal, yo. Also, hammering leather just feels good.
Other workshops included Converse-decorating, modernist mobiles with Tanya Aguiñiga, comic books with Ryan Quincy, Stamps with Christine Schmidt and leatherworks with Clare Vivier. (Devastated I missed her workshop. But if anyone’s wondering what to get ME for Chrannukkah, I’d like THIS.) Besides the crafting there were also fitness classes: yoga, cycling, skateboarding, underwater-photography… And best of all there were friendships…
These two were inseparable. They’ve already exchanged snail mail and talked about meeting up at Crafting Community next year. Start saving those pennies, ladies!
Mommy made friends, too, which is a rare and beautiful thing when social media is my main connection to grownups. But there we were under palm trees sipping margaritas from pretty paper straws, “friending” each other in person. I loved meeting Kara Fleck of Simple Kids, a hardworking, homeschooling mother of four who finds balance in it all by keeping things uncomplicated. I also met the incredibly gifted Catherine McCord of Weelicious who also happens to be incredibly down-to-earth. While bonding over food and family and fun I thought… look at us. Here we all are crafting our community. Mission accomplished.
It was a pleasure being a part of it all. Can’t wait till next year!
(Oh, and uh, sorry about the mess…)