Keara, one of TREEHOUSE’s beloved teachers, is constantly crafting and imagining new things. Whether she’s teaching Craft Club or doing a home project, creativity is always at work. This week, TREEHOUSE is looking to Keara for some February inspiration. Read on to see why everyone at Treehouse is all about Keara!
Treehouse: Keara, how did you end up at Treehouse?
Keara: I first met the inspiring Kristen Bach in 2011 as an enthusiastic costumer who came back often for natural felt and other DIY items. At the time I was working for Heirloom Café (lovely Boulevard restaurant!) and the owner, Jessica Rothacker, kept mentioning how I was a perfect fit for teaching classes at Treehouse. By the time I brought in my resume, Kristen had already heard all about me from Jessica, I think! Athens is a wonderful place for making connections like that!
Treehouse: It sure is. And you know we’re all about local connections. We’re so glad you ended up teaching with us! You are a great inspiration for us when we’re looking for a different craft. Where do you get inspiration for new crafts ?
Keara: I get inspired in many different ways! My favorite practice is to design activities in my head in a special imaginary “workspace” I’ve built up over the years. I start with a basic idea, often connected to the seasons or things I’m curious about at the time, and combine/arrange my favorite or new materials in my head as I solve for age appropriate construction and the maximum fun factor for the children. If you ever see me walking down the street moving my fingers in a weird way, smiling or laughing, this is probably what I’m doing! I also love to look at craft blogs once I get an idea to see how others have designed activities. It’s also inspiring to tinker with random recycled/donated materials at Treehouse!
Treehouse: That’s so neat! You really are constantly thinking of new ideas. Even so, it must be difficult to always find crafts for different age groups. How do you adjust your classes for each age group?
Keara: I usually develop more sensory, exploratory activities for younger children, such as various forms of painting/collage, whereas for older children I generally design activities involving greater use of fine motor skills and a multi-step process. I always strive to encourage creativity and the story telling impulse for all children in the crafts I lead. I believe we should listen to all children’s ideas and stories with rapt attention and discussion. I often let children of all ages experiment and alter the craft as they see fit!
Treehouse: How do you find fun crafts for large groups of students to do within budget ?
Keara: I generally try to use the materials we have in abundance in novel and exciting ways!
Treehouse: How awesome! You’re so creative. Other than crafts, what are your hobbies ?
Keara: I love to write and sing children’s songs, snuggle with my sweet dog Milly, paint, draw, sculpt, sew, take nature walks, meditate, pray, cook, write poetry and fiction, dance, and read classic fantasy tales!
Treehouse: What we really want to know now is, if we looked in your craft closet what would we find?
Keara: Lots of fabric and felt remnants, glues for various uses, lots of handmade paper and handmade paper supplies, cardstock, rice paper, water colors, oil and chalk pastels, oil paints, wood panels, canvases, washi tape, stamps and stamp pads galore, pens, pencils, clay, printmaking supplies, etc.!
Treehouse: Wow! That’s an awesome assortment. We’re sure you can make a masterpiece from those things though. We can’t let you go without asking some of our favorite fun questions. If you could spend the day with anybody, past or present, who would it be?
Keara: It might sound cheesy, but I have to say my light-filled soul mate Steven Trimmer, a local artist and musician. I can also think of many wonderful Athens children who would fit the bill! I love you all!
Treehouse: That would be awesome! We love our little Athens crafters too. If you could pick two celebrities to be your parents, who would they be ?
Keara: John Lennon and Madeline Kahn?
Treehouse: That would be a fun household! What’s the best state you’ve lived in and why?
Keara: Georgia of course! The weather, the people, mountains, streams, and coast!
Treehouse: Of course we’re obviously bias for Georgia as well. It’s the best!
Thank you so much for talking with us today, Keara. We enjoyed learning more about you! Hopefully we can each apply some of your creativity tips to our own crafting workspaces.