Wowee. Thank you for such a great response to our Jot Kids feature for 2017.
It’s so great to see some entries coming in from our crafty Jot Kids already! You can check them out in the gallery at the bottom of our challenge post here. Keep ’em coming. We are loving how creative you guys are!
Today we meet someone truly special .. a lovely creative lady ..Kristie Banham who is tucked away in the sleepy coastal town of Forster NSW teaching the most inspiring mixed media workshops for grown ups AND little people in her store – Coco’s Closet.
Lauren Hender recently caught up with Kristie for a chat..
Hey Kristie, tell us what inspired you to open the doors to Coco’s Closet?
I have been an artist for as long as I can remember, receiving my first Crayola Caddy when I was five; although it’s taken me quite a while to be able to actually say ‘I am an artist’.
I have drawn, painted, sewn and created my whole life. I opened Coco’s Closet in September 2009 originally as a funky little pop-up store to house my crafty creations, accessories and art in the old Chamber of Commerce building in the Main Street of Forster, a sunny little coastal town on the Mid North Coast of NSW, Australia.
I have been popped up ever since and I affectionately refer to Coco’s as my happy place, I tend to hashtag that a lot. I am an indie artist who in the last 5 years has discovered the medium of mixed media and I paint and create with passion and intention most days.
Tell us about the wonderful classes on offer and what inspired you to start teaching workshops for children?
Each new year I like to pick a word or intention to live with for the year and 2016 was the year of Bold.
So with that intention I decided to start offering Mixed Media workshops for grown ups and children. I love creating so much I wanted to share that with others. I had such a lovely, warm response to my workshops I decided to create a block of After School Art Classes aimed at 6-13 year olds.
Our mantra for art class is ‘I an am artist’ ..we write it on our journals, on our folios and we practice saying it in art class.
It’s a really important acknowledgment in our classes.
Each week we explore and play with different mediums from watercolour to clay, pencil and textas to canvas and acrylic paints, mixed media and drawing to create a major and sometimes minor artworks for the children to take home. I love sharing my happy place with such creative souls.
The term culminates in their very own Art Exhibition, where the students and their families and friends can celebrate all of their art works (with pink lemonade and marshmallows!)
You’re changing direction with your business. Tell us a little about that?
I am in the process of a transitioning Coco’s from a retail store into a creative space, which will happen by the end of January 2017.
Time for a little reinvention. Time to make more art, time to share being creative with lots of amazing humans in after school art classes and in workshops, junior and grown up.
Art Classes and Workshops steal my heart every time I share them with lovely people. This makes me smile, it inspires and enlivens me. It also makes me nervous for the first 10 minutes of class….. Time for more art classes….. time for paint and paper, ink, clay and colours. Time for playing and mess making.
Do you have any tips or tricks for parents wanting to get creative with their children?
- Jump in, make mess, have fun, lose your sense of what art should be or is supposed to be. Anything can be art and art can be created anywhere.
- I always carry a pencil, notebook and some posca paint pens. I draw on rocks at the beach and leave them behind for people to find. I honestly believe their are no hard or fast rules in art making and being creative. There are no mistakes in art.
- Children imagine and create so willingly it’s contagious, they have no preconceived ideas they just create. This is why I love hanging out with them in my happy place. They inspire me to try new mediums and colours and to continue to use my imagination and be creative.
- When we make art in class and something isn’t turning out how we’d like I encourage the children and myself to ask….. I wonder what will happen if….. and make a BOLD choice, it helps us step outside our comfort zone, to accept a challenge, to be more creative, to know it’s ok to have a go, not only in art but in our everyday as well.
Colour Me Happy
Kristie has designed an awesome colouring page just for us here at Jot Kids. Simply download and print out.. use colouring pens, pencils or paints to create your own artwork. Use the hashtag #jotandcoco if you share your work on Instagram 🙂
Thanks for chatting with us Kristie.. it’s been great to get to find out about Coco’s Closet and to learn a little more about you and your business. Thanks for the great colouring age too!!
~Lauren Hender. The Jot Team
You can find Kristie at Coco’s Closet Shop 1/64 Wharf St, Forster NSW 2428
Kristie runs creative workshops for adults and children from her studio. You can also find her online here:
Coco’s Closet website.
The Coco’s Closet Facebook pageSay hello to Kristie on the Coco’s Closet Instagram account
Check out Kristie’s handmade emporium of inspiring art & eclectic gifts here in her Etsy store.