Several years ago, I started gathering my creative family members for a day of art. It started with a simple desire to see my family more – talking, sharing time together, connecting while creating something fun. I think we would all agree, those goals have been far-exceeded! And much has happened in our family since we started in 2014…

In April 2014, we played with Paste Paper, then made cards to send to my nephew, who had just enlisted in the Air Force and was away at boot camp.

 

In July 2014, we made Fairy Terrariums before sending my daughter and her partner off to live in Vermont. 🙁

 

In Feb 2015, we had a baby on the way (!!) and made the sweetest little Storybook Heart Mobile for her nursery.

 

In Sep 2015, we welcomed new baby, Alaura, to her first art day, along with her grand-family from Florida for a day of Marbling and making Alaura Brag Books.

 

In May 2016, we had fun with water and Tombow markers for a little Doodled Accordion book before sending my niece off to live with her brother in Alabama.

 

These family gatherings have allowed us to keep in touch, grow closer and watch the babies grow. They’ve also allowed me, personally, to spread my wings – many of our art days have been trial runs for classes I went on to teach and I think they’ve really helped me polish my teaching style by giving me a chance to work with a wide range of ages, interests and abilities.

Want to start a Family Art Day practice of your own? Here are a few tips and tricks…

  • Canvas your family to get a feel for their interests. This might give you a place to start and they already may have projects in mind. Check out my tutorials for more ideas!
  • Decide on length and frequency of your gatherings. We typically meet about once a quarter and start the day around 11am, with a 30-45 minute break for lunch, and then we finish by around 3pm. We will sometimes go later, but I find energy starts to lag in the late afternoon. If you do decide to go longer, consider serving a snack or taking the whole gang out for a quick walk around the block at the 3pm mark.
  • Plan food that’s easy and self-serve. I love to do crockpot meals and icebox cakes – check out my Yummm pinboard for ideas. It’s also fun to ask everyone to bring a potluck-style dish AND that takes a lot of the work off your plate! Use disposable plates, utensils, and cups & have a sharpie on-hand to label cups (keeps them from wandering when the art chaos sets in).
  • Ask each family member to bring the basic supplies needed OR purchase in bulk and split the cost. Even if you have some items on hand already, I’d recommend calculating replacement cost. Supplies can get pricey over time, so be sure you’re covering yourself on this.
  • If you opt for a frequent practice (once-a-month or more), split the hosting duties with other members of the group – don’t take this all on yourself, it can get to be a burden.
  • Last, don’t turn down offers to help with cleanup! I know it’s tempting to be the gracious host and absolve everyone of the nitty gritty cleanup details, but try to resist. Remember, this is an opportunity for your family to get together for creativity and connection. Make it a shared responsibility as much as you possibly can.

Have fun and let me know how it goes!!