About Meri Cherry

http://www.mericherry.com

Posts by Meri Cherry:

Meri Cherry Art Camp

Meri Cherry Art CampWe did it. 12 weeks of camp in a brand new studio and 6 mobile camps throughout LA. Just the fact that we’re not all laying face down on the floor is quite a feat. I am so proud and honored to be a part of what our amazing team has accomplished. From week one to week twelve our campers had a blast and we are so grateful to all the families that trusted us and joined us for all the magic this summer.

http://www.mericherry.com/?p=18879&preview=1&_ppp=3721939c40Camp is about so many things, from art making to connecting, to forming new friendships to taking risks. I know my girls grew up so much this summer and I know so many parents feel the same about their own children. Here are some words we heard from families about their children’s experience at Meri Cherry Art Studio this summer.

Meri Cherry Art CampWhat parents have to say about Meri Cherry Art Camp…

As a parent with a creative child, there is no better place to foster my daughter’s blooming creativity than Meri Cherry. My 7 year old has attended summer camp for the past two years, and LOVES it. During camp, she’s stimulated, fulfilled, and constantly creating and dreaming about what she can make next. After camp ends, she asks when she can go back! We adore Meri Cherry and only wish we lived even closer so we could go more often!

– Joy Cho Oh Joy

Dollhouse camp at the Meri Cherry Art Studio was pure joy for my 5 year old. She was engaged in each process of the creating, she connected with each of the talented and caring staff and she thoroughly LOVES her final product. Everyday when she plays with her dollhouse at home she is reminded that she, herself creatively made each part. And as her mom, I’m reminded of how very special the Meri Cherry Art Studio is and how it enriches my childrens’ lives.

-Rebecca, a grateful mama

“My son had a rough end of the school year so to see him go, with no fear and all joy to somewhere new, where he knew no one, is the stuff of parents dreams. Thank you seems like not nearly enough.”

– Jessica G.

“We just had a FANTASTIC week with Olivia and Sydney. Sydney is such an incredible addition to the MC tam and Olivia is simply amazing! All of the moms were raving about the camp. They said they’ve never seen their kids so eager to get out of the house in the morning! The experience exceeded all of their expectations and they’re all asking when the next camp will be. Thank you for planning such a magical week for the kids! I’ll cherish all of the art my daughter made.”

– Allison S.

“Our son looooooved camp. He not only had so much fun, but I really think he learned so much. Especially from watching the other kids draw, cut, etc. he learned new skills that he couldn’t do as easily before camp. I swear he was a different person after 4 days of Meri Cherry camp than he was before he started! He loved all the projects he did and was so proud to show us at the end of camp. We can’t thank you enough for such a wonderful experience! We wish we could send him to camp at Meri Cherry all summer!

– Amy W.

Meri Cherry’s Unicorn Camp is what childhood dreams are made of. Unicorns, glitter, paper mâché, slime, smiles, laughter, snacks, fun, fun, and more fun. My daughter was shy to be dropped off at first, but of course, Meri’s lovely staff members are quick to make 8-year old besties and they did just that. They took my daughter under their loving wings and helped her to fly. This camp is seriously THE BEST. Not only does the theme go through and through the whole week, but they get to have free time to create other art pieces outside the main project. My daughter especially loves the artist trading cards. Unicorn camp at Meri Cherry’s art studio is a one of kind experience, that your child will never forget. They will walk away covered in rainbows, glitter and unicorn smiles.

– Stacey B.

Meri Cherry Art CampReading these reviews makes me feel so proud of what Meri Cherry is all about; connection, creativity and community. Our team and the families that walk through our doors are why we can make this place so special. I want to tell you a million stories about camp and all the fun things that we did and the friendships that were made and the tender moments between the kids and the adults in the room, who bust their butts day in and day out to make Meri Cherry Art Camp the most special it can be, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. So here is a glimpse into Meri Cherry Art Camp through a series of picture perfect moments.

Meri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Summer Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampMeri Cherry Summer Art CampMeri Cherry Summer Art CampMeri Cherry Art CampHow to Open an Art Studio for Kids - Meri Cherry Art Studio in Los Angeles

Pipsticks and Meri Cherry Sticker Collaboration

Pipsticks and Meri Cherry Sticker Club for KidsWe’ve got stickers!!!

Oh my gosh. I am so excited to share this with you! We have collaborated with one of my long time favorite brands, Pipsticks for a Pipsticks and Meri Cherry Sticker Collaboration. Yay!!!

Pipsticks and Meri Cherry Sticker Club for KidsPipsticks and Meri Cherry Sticker Club for Kids*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

Do you already know about Pipsticks? They are a super awesome sticker subscription company that not only has the best stickers in town, but also makes their own stickers.  How cool is that? We have been subscribing for over 2 years and have watched the stickers get better and better and better. My girls love to get their sticker pack each month and so do I. We have the Pipsticks Pro Club Classic and it totally rocks.

Pipsticks and Meri Cherry Sticker Club for KidsI started collecting stickers when I was super young. I had them all…the scented, the puffies, the ones that had the lava in them. Remember those?!?! I was obsessed. I only wish I had my old sticker albums to pass onto my girls.

Pipsticks and Meri Cherry Sticker Club for KidsThankfully, Pipsticks is keeping sticker love alive and well. They have great subscription packages to choose from. And right now you can get Meri Cherry stickers in this months package and use the coupon MeriCherry15 for 15% off your first package!!! Woo hoo!

Here are the packages with Meri Cherry Stickers as long as you order by September 1!

Pipsticks Kid’s Club Classic

Pipsticks Kid’s Club Petite

Pipsticks and Meri Cherry Sticker Club for KidsYou can also get the pro club ones for “fancier” stickers but these don’t have the Meri Cherry stickers, at least not yet!

Pipsticks Pro Club Classic

Pipsticks Pro Club Petite

We are so excited to be a part of this Pipsticks and Meri Cherry Sticker Club Collaboration. We use stickers ALL THE TIME at the studio and I share a bunch of ideas in my book PLAY MAKE CREATE where we use Pipsticks Stickers. These pendant necklaces are a fave.

Pipsticks Sticker Club and Meri Cherry Art Studio Pipsticks Sticker Club and Meri Cherry Art Studio Pipsticks Sticker Club and Meri Cherry Art Studio

Thank you Pipsticks! We love you here at Meri Cherry Art Studio!

Pipsticks and Meri Cherry Sticker Club for Kids

Process Art Activities for 4-7 Year Olds

Creative Wood Sculptures with KidsIf you been following along for a long time and still asking yourself, what the heck is Process Art anyway? No worries. I’m happy to give you a really simple definition. Here you go…

process art definition

Easy right? Process art doesn’t mean there isn’t an amazing product at the end. There very well could be. It just means that’s not really the point. We’re trying to get kids and their adults to find value in making and doing, where they are making decisions, taking risks, thinking outside the box, taking their time, working with challenges, cultivating connection, and building empathy. Those things are the point.

I talk a ton about Process Art in my new book PLAY MAKE CREATE if you want to learn more.

Recently we made these Whacky Wood Sculptures by using different size pieces of wood to create crazy characters. We used paint, oil pastels and regular white glue to put these together and just let them dry overnight. Nothing fancy and each one came out absolutely delightful. This is a great example of a process based activity because it is totally open ended, every sculpture will come out different and can meet each child where they are developmentally. Plus, it’s super fun. Those are our goals when thinking of a project.

Creative Wood Sculptures with KidsCreative Wood Sculptures with KidsSelf Portraits are another great Process based activity. Self Portraits can be done over and over again in so many different ways and they reflect where a child is and how they see themselves in that moment. Plus, they are the biggest treasure for parents. I love when my girls do self portraits. These are just black sharpie and then painted with a watercolor palette. Here are three other examples of self portraits we’ve done over the years.

Large Self Portraits with Chalk Pastels

Self Portrait Shadow Boxes

Body Tracing Self Portraits

Self Portraits for 3-5 Year OldsSelf Portraits for 3-5 Year OldsSelf Portraits for 3-5 Year OldsHave you ever made paper sculptures before? These are one of my favorites. They are so super simple and fun for kids of many ages. You need a base, art paper, a scissor and some tape and your pretty much good to go. Art paper is paper that’s been painted on in different ways and then given time to dry so you can use it for your art process. There are tons of ways to use it and we always like to have some on hand.

Easy Paper Sculptures for KidsEasy Paper Sculptures for KidsEasy Paper Sculptures for KidsLastly, balloon sculptures. We had so much fun with these. These are temporary sculptures but you can make them and practice some observational drawing with them after to extend your work. This was a favorite of the kids and I can’t wait to make these again. The sculpture below we made collaboratively with a group of about 10 kids. They were inspired by Jeff Koons and super fun to make and draw. And of course you get to play with the balloons first.

Easy Balloon Sculptures with KidsEasy Balloon Sculptures with KidsEasy Balloon Sculptures with KidsSo if you weren’t totally hooked on process art before, hopefully these process art activities for 4-7 year olds are inspiring you. If you want more great Process Art activities for kids of all ages, please check out my book Play Make Create. It’s packed to the brim with Process Art Invitations to Create and Bigger Activities to help build creativity and connection. Thank you!

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book Party

Live Process Art Workshop and Studio Masterclass

Meri Cherry Process Art Workshop and Studio Masterclass

The Live Process Art Workshop is back!

We are so super pumped. This time around we’ve added a Studio Masterclass for Studio Owners, Mobile Art Teachers and anyone hoping to make teaching art to kids a career or side hustle. Get all the information on both workshops by clicking the link below. The date is Saturday, September 14th. We opened up the workshops to our VIP email list two days ago and the workshop is almost half sold out so grab your spot while you can.

The Live Process Art Workshop and Studio Masterclass

If you aren’t local and can’t make it out for the Live Process Art Workshop and Studio Masterclass, don’t worry. We already have a video you can purchase here of our last Process Art Workshop, and we will be recording the Studio Masterclass as well. So stay tuned.

Meri Cherry Process Art Workshop and Studio MasterclassIf you want to go on our VIP email list and be the first to know about our Process Art Workshops and other special related events, click the link below and submit your email address.

Sign up for our VIP Email list and be the first to know about our Process Art Workshops and Related Events

Thank you so much! Can’t wait to see you on September 14th. xo, Meri

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids Part 3

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids - Meri Cherry Art Studio in Los AngelesMeri Cherry Art Studio is movin’ on up. We outgrew our old space, in what seemed like a matter of minutes, and as soon as our 3 year lease was up, we jumped at the opportunity to open our new location just a few minutes down Ventura Blvd. in Los Angeles, California. This space is almost twice the size, with three times the parking and it’s gorgeous from top to bottom.

I get asked all the time How to Open An Art Studio for kids, so much so, I’ve already written two posts about it.

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids part 1

How to Open an Art studio for Kids Part 2

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids - Meri Cherry Art Studio in Los AngelesSo now, in year four, I’d love to share what I’ve learned. I am still (and forever) learning and growing. The bigger we get, the more I am stretched emotionally and mentally. This is definitely a process and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to keep going. Meri Cherry Art Studio is a special place that our amazing community has gathered around to support and be a part of. Everything I share is based on my own experience with a pretty heavy dose of magic sprinkled on top.

So, without further ado, here are my Top 10 tips for How to Open an Art Studio for Kids Part 3. I hope you find them helpful.

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids - Meri Cherry Art Studio in Los Angeles1. Know who you are

In the beginning we threw a lot of spaghetti against the wall to see what stuck. We still do that once in a while, but most things we do our more intentional now. We take a lot of consideration to decide if something is the right fit for who we are and the clients we serve. Meri Cherry Art Studio is a process art studio. We’re not trying to be anything else. We believe in art that is all about the making and the doing, rather than the finished product. Period. You can not come here to make 20 paintings of the Eiffel Tower that all look the same. It’s not going to happen and even though that might be great somewhere else, it is not who we are and we are very clear in explaining that to potential customers.

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids - Meri Cherry Art Studio in Los Angeles2. Know who you serve

I have been part of  a women’t business group called Love Over Metrics with Jadah Sellner for the past two years. In Love Over Metrics we talk a lot about our ideal client and getting clear on exactly who that is. It took me a while to figure this out because we have a lot of different customers and I wasn’t sure how to put all their characteristics into one “person.” Then we had the pleasure of getting to talk with Jasmine Star on a live chat with Jadah and Jasmine told us all about her own ideal client and I finally got it. Jasmine knew exactly who she was from age, to daily routines, to where she hangs out and after hearing that I was able to figure out our own ideal client. Now, when we do an event or workshop or project we ask ourselves if our ideal client would think this is cool and if the answer is no, we definitely rethink it. Here’s a good post to help you get started about finding your ideal client if you’re interested.  This has really helped me in a number of ways.

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids - Meri Cherry Art Studio in Los Angeles3. Know your values and use those values to create your company culture.

Did you know that every business has a company culture even if  they don’t know what their company culture is? I had no idea this was a thing until I started talking to one of my favorite people, Lakita Williams from CoCreate Work. Lakita has helped me get clear on our company values at Meri Cherry and how we create our own culture based in those values. It’s still a work in progress but our principals sound something like this. We are an efficient, caring team. We are kind. We are passionate believers in the magic of process art. Our studio and the work we do represents our values, ideas and aesthetic. We use language that honors individuals and their capabilities. We are grounded in service and community.

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids - Meri Cherry Art Studio in Los Angeles4. Hire to your company culture

Hiring is a challenge. There is really no other way to put it. Each year I get better at it and this year we’ve had the pleasure of adding incredibly capable, hardworking, delightful people to our team. In the beginning I had no idea how to even do an interview. I ended up talking the whole time instead of asking important questions and getting to know the candidate sitting across from me. Now, three years later, I am able to sit across from someone and ask those open ended questions to get a better sense of what makes that person tick, but it’s still hard and I have a ways to go. I used to think I needed a responsible person who showed up on time and was good with kids. Now I am a lot clearer on the kind of qualities that work in our close knit environment. We are looking for efficient, multi-taskers, who listen, take direction, apply it and do it with a smile and a sense of gratitude. We look for confident, intuitive, empathetic teachers who love children, are self starters and willing to learn. Energy and personality are really important and I go back to something over and over again that I think I learned from Justina Blakeney. If you don’t want to spend six hours in a car with someone, don’t hire them. It might sound a little harsh but the more experience I have with a team, the more I find this to be true.

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids - Meri Cherry Art Studio in Los Angeles6. Do not underestimate the importance of good parking

This is a repeat from How to Open an Art Studio Part 2. Parking was a constant issue at our last studio. It was the bane of everyone’s existence and just such a waste of time and energy. Our neighbors were always on our case and frankly, it became a hostile environment I never wish to repeat. Our new studio has the best possible parking with the understanding that this is still LA. If you’re considering opening a brick and mortar, please do yourself a favor and make sure parking is not an issue. Expect to be super busy like this and remember that all these amazing people need some place to park!

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids - Meri Cherry Art Studio in Los Angeles7. Community is everything

I love being part of a community. It’s something I value for my family as well as my business. Take the time to get to know your customers and offer the best service you can possibly give. Be grateful and humble and do your best to make every person that walks through your doors feel special and welcome.

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book Party8. Build your dream team

It can be very hard to loosen the reigns in the beginning of any business when you think you know how to do everything or you think it will take too much time to train someone or you don’t trust other people to do it as good as you or you think you can’t afford to hire someone. Or a million other reasons you might have for doing everything yourself. That’s fine, but if you want to grow that’s not going to work. I’ve had to learn how to delegate, hire the right people and loosen the reigns and the truth is, in a lot of aspects my team does things a lot better than I do. But more than anything, I am the visionary for my company and there is no way I can think big picture and do bigger, long term projects if I am teaching all day or answering the phones. It’s just impossible. The stronger our team, the more passionate I become about the power of what we’re doing and all the greatness that lay ahead and I am so excited and grateful to these amazing people!

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids - Meri Cherry Art Studio in Los Angeles9. Be the best leader you can be by staying true to who you are

I love being a leader and I try very hard to be the best leader I can be for my team and community. That sometimes means getting out of my own way, especially when I know I’m being judgmental or not my best self. It also means leaning into my husband Ev, and listening to his advice. He has such a different perspective than I do and he ALWAYS comes from a place of non judgment and caring. So it’s good to listen to him. He also doesn’t take things personally so that is often very helpful. Being a leader also means listening to my gut and speaking my truth, even when it’s hard. I decided to post about about a heated topic several months ago and I got totally blasted for it. I mean, it was a bit cray. Sometimes I look at the post when someone randomly decides to call me a name or feels the need to leave a comment waving goodbye to me as a follower, and I think, should I take this down? And then I think, hell no. This is my feed and what I believe in and there are woman out there who don’t have a voice and for whatever reason I have been given this platform and this is what I care about. So yes, I may lose followers, and I lost hundreds, but I gained self respect and a stronger sense of community for it and when my girls are old enough to understand all this, they’ll be proud of their mama, knowing she stood up for her beliefs. And that’s what good leaders do.

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids - Meri Cherry Art Studio in Los Angeles10. Good Design Matters

I listen to a lot of podcasts. One of my favorites is Raising the Bar by Alli Webb and her brother, Michael Landau, the creators and owners of Dry Bar. In almost every episode they talk about good design and how important it is. Our last studio was basically an extension of my garage and backyard art studio. It was cool, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t heavily thought out or highly functional. We had zero storage space, and I mean zero. If you ever went into our bathroom, you know only too well how true that was. In our new space I was able to think through every inch based on 3 years of experience. Ev and I spent hours talking about every area and how it might function, in addition to our color scheme and how we wanted to use our logo and brand colors throughout the space. I think we achieved something really special that can be repeated over and over again in any city in the world if we decide to franchise or open more studios on our own (which is a very real possibility that we are working on for 2020!)

Ok, so, there are my top 10 tips for How to Open an Art Studio for Kids after 3 years of business. I had asked on Instagram what questions you have for this post. I wish I could answer them all but this would be like a 50 page book rather than a blog post. SO, I’m getting ready to launch an in person Masterclass for studio owners along with a Live Process Art Workshop in September. Stay tuned for details and if you want to be the first to know about it, click here and scroll down for the email subscription box. Thank you so much!!!! I hope you found this helpful. xo, Meri

How to Open an Art Studio for Kids - Meri Cherry Art Studio in Los Angeles

 

pics by Brandilyn Davidson Photography

 

How I Became an Artful Parent

How I became an Artful ParentI wasn’t always an artful parent. I loved art as a kid but as I got older and into my early 20’s I moved further away from crafts and art making. When I got married to my amazing partner, Evan Cherry, and we had two girls back to back soon after, something shifted. Motherhood was so challenging I had to find a way to feel like myself within the chaos of two crying babies at home. That’s when I got Jean Van’t Hul’s book, The Artful Parent and this is the story of How I became an Artful Parent.

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

The Artful Parent's New BookAs a new mom, I used to keep the first edition of The Artful Parent next to my bed and read it any chance I could. I’d grab a few minutes here and a few minutes there. I had about a year of blogging under my belt that had kicked into high gear when my girls were born. I started doing fun sensory activities at home in our backyard and I noticed I had ignited something within me that was very ready to come alive. Jean’s world of making and creating with kids totally drew me in. I found her book and her blog, The Artful Parent to be a constant source of inspiration.

I soaked up every activity and idea, remembering all the things I used to do as a kid in art class or camp and I was filled with new ideas of activities to try with my girls. Every page of The Artful Parent inspired me more and more. And then I got to chapter 15.

The Artful Parent's New BookChapter 15, is called Art for Playdates, Parties and Groups. Jean explains that “By providing a setting where children create art side by side, yo’reu giving them an example of their peers happily engaged with art materials and activities. Not only does it encourage them to do the same, but it also shows them that those around them value art.” Ok, I get that. We value art in our house. I thought, this is sounding good. The chapter continues…”How to start a children’s art group…” Wait, you mean I can start a group and not be so lonely as a new mom and kids can come over and we can all hang together and play? Uhhh, yes please.

The Artful Parent's New BookBut wait, there was one more sentence that really caught my attention. “You can set it up as a class with the idea of being paid for both your time and supplies (especially if you are confident in your level of experience in doing art with children.) Hold the phone. You mean I can make rainbow spaghetti and paint water balloons and people will pay me? Now you have my attention. I had been a k-2 teacher for years. I felt confident with kids and the rush of creating was back full force.

The Artful Parent's New BookI am many things, a mom, a partner, a teacher, an artist, but perhaps at the top of that list, I am an entrepreneur. I have a passion to grow something from nothing running through my veins. I’ve always been this way and I’m pretty sure I always will. So, the next Friday morning I invited all my friends with babies and toddlers over and I made 10 lbs of rainbow spaghetti and let them slip and slide threw all that spaghetti until they were exhausted and ready for their very long nap. (The pic below is Didi at 6 months or so. I think she ate a lb of spaghetti that day too. ps I definitely went overboard with the amount and wouldn’t recommend this much now but it was pretty epic to say the least.)

Toddler Play group rainbow spaghetti

At the end of “play group” I asked my friends, do you think other moms would like this? Do you think they would pay for an experience like this? And sure enough every hand went up with a resounding YES!

The Artful Parent's New BookA week later Meri Cherry Art Play Group was born and I have Jean and her amazing book The Artful Parent, to thank for it.

I’d be selling Jean and her book short if I didn’t mention all the other amazing ideas in there. There is a reason a revised copy of the book was just released. Jean has been practicing the magic of process art for years and years. Her ideas and approach are simple, manageable and totally relatable. Nothing feels too overwhelming or contrived. She keeps it real and you can tell in the happy faces throughout the book, she’s sharing something wonderful.

This is one of the Artful Parent pics that went straight to my heart so many years ago and Jean talks about activities and collaborative murals like this in her book.

Body Tracing for kidsI highly recommend Jean’s book, The Artful Parent. It is a great resource, gift and bedside inspiration. Trust me, I should know. Thank you Jean for being such an inspiration and for being a pioneer in this industry. I am grateful to call you a friend and your influence has lead to a whole lot of joy around here!

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book Party

Thanks for reading along! xo, Meri

The Artful Parent's New Book

 

My Journey to Play Make Create, a Process Art Handbook

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book PartyIf you’ve been following along, you know I wrote a book this year. A real, live book, published by Quarto Kids called Play Make Create, a Process Art Handbook and it’s number 1 in three categories on Amazon, which is totally amazing. But the journey to get to this place wasn’t so amazing so I thought I’d share my story here and maybe you might find some solace in my experience. I’ve also included pics from our recent book launch party at our new studio to lighten things up a bit. Thanks Brandilyn Davidson for capturing all these special moments.

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book Party*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

It can be really easy to get bogged down in all of life’s challenges and skip over the moments that are truly special.  This past year has been one of my busiest and most challenging. It was year 3 of our brick and mortar, Meri Cherry Art Studio. We moved our location after months of planning and construction right after I wrote my first book, Play Make Create, a Process Art Handbook. And in between all those things I adulted like nobody’s business, juggling the kids, making lunches, managing emotions and logistics around family illness, all the things, like all moms know only too well.

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book PartyThere were times when I got sucked down so deep into fear and anxiety I really thought I might go insane, convincing myself of my worst fears. I had to lean in hard to my support system, including my family, my amazing team at Meri Cherry, my friends, my business coach and perhaps most of all, my therapist. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. We made it to the other side.

Play Make Create is out in the world and I couldn’t be more proud of it.

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book PartyWriting a book is a tricky thing. I went into it determined to be amongst the rare unicorns who enjoy the process of writing a book. I have many friends who have written books and they always described it as painfully stressful. I wanted my experience to be different. I set my intentions and I was off to the races. Well, within about two months I was crying to my husband, Ev, procrastinating at every corner and semi miserable. It felt like so much pressure and the more I worked on it, the more there seemed still to be done. I had to dig so deep to get it done with so many other things on my plate, but alas, it did finally get done, after about six months and it was off to the printer.

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book PartyThat’s when the real fun began. I began to panic about EVERYTHING. Was it good enough? Did I remember to credit all the right people? Did I say all the things? Make the right choices? Did I over edit my photos and everything is going to look terrible? Panic became my new way of being and it wasn’t pretty. I started spending more and more time looking like a deer caught in headlights, and less time as a reliable member of my family. I was in a state of panic that wouldn’t quit and it scared the living daylights out of me.

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book PartyThankfully, I realized I needed more support (and so did Ev) and I started doubling down at the therapist office. I set some real concrete boundaries for myself. Did a ton of sessions with my “life coach” since birth, Erica Reitman, took the right vitamins, went to the acupuncturist, made healthy choices, and just got back on track. It took a minute.  I’m not going to lie, but slowly things started to turn around. I think the biggest turn around moment was one night talking to my cousin Er, and I literally said to her, “I just want to feel the anxiety for two more weeks and then I’ll be better.” And she was like “WHAT THE F!!!! ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!” Uhhh, no, you’re not doing this for two more weeks. You get one more night, tonight! And when you wake up in the morning, you are going to be doing things a lot differently.” And I did. I heard myself say that out loud and realized how much of a choice I was making to sit in the fear and anxiety and let it ruin my life and rob me of one of the most incredible time periods of my life. SO much greatness was happening all around me and I was missing all of it.

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book PartySo I had my night, and then I woke up in the morning and got my s$!@ together. My first homework assignment from Er was to print out a digital copy of my book at Fedex so that I could physically look at it every time I started to panic. That seemed to be one of the few things that calmed my nerves. From there I was able to do all the other things that helped me, like taking probiotics and Nevaton Forte (My wonder “drug.” It’s not a drug at all, it’s a vitamin, but it totally helped. If you suffer from anxiety, look this stuff up!)

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book PartyAnyway, loooonngggg story short. I got threw it. And things started to feel better. As they often do over time.

I started to resemble myself again and then an advanced copy of the book got sent to my doorstep. And at first I wanted to judge it. I wanted so bad to cling to that part of myself that feels comfortable in self judgment and fear, but I couldn’t do it. My book was beautiful! I remembered to write all the things. The pictures looked just how I wanted them to look and my words were mine. They didn’t sound like anybody else. Just me. And I felt so proud.

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book PartyThen over the next month or two, friends and family started receiving early copies of the book and people I love and admire started sharing pics of their kids looking at every page, and bookmarking what projects they wanted to do. And my heart started to fill up.

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book PartyAnd then, June 11th, Play Make Create, a Process Art Handbook, was released into the world. And I started getting a million tags on Instagram of “OH MY GOD!!! MERI! THIS IS AMAZING!!!’ I actually don’t know if I received those exact words but that was the overall sentiment and it was and is an incredible feeling.

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book PartyThis book is my heart on paper. It’s all the things I know about and value and trust in to be the best me I can be. I wrote it as a thank you to all the moms out there, who have been so gracious and supportive and loving to me over the years.  I hope this book makes life better, easier, more fun. I hope you play and connect with your kids and learn more about yourself and how capable you are with every invitation. And if some of the projects don’t go so hot, well, then, hey, I’m right there with you.

And if you made it this far in reading all this, thank you again. I feel truly blessed to be able to share my story with you.

Enjoy the Process. With love, Meri

Meri Cherry Art Studio - Play Make Create Book Process Art Book Party

Collaborative Wall Hanging for Kids

Nature Wall Hanging Great for Collaborative School ProjectsIt’s almost the end of the school year and a lot of people are starting to think about teacher gifts or something special for an end of the year classroom project. This collaborative wall hanging for kids feels like one of the most special projects we’ve done in a long time. I am soooo in love with it. This wall hanging was made by a group that visited our studio for a school fundraiser.  Their one ask was to work on something collaborative they could gift to their school at the end.

Nature Wall Hanging Great for Collaborative School Projects*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

Immediately this collaborative idea for a wall hanging inspired by nature popped into my head. One of our amazing teachers, Olivia (aka The Creative Native on IG) had made this incredible bouquet below, using rubber bands around an embroidery hoop and adding wool roving and fresh flowers.  I loved the idea so much and was thinking about ways to give it more longevity. Here’s what I came up with.

embroidery hoop nature bouquetHere’s what you’ll need…

Supplies

An embroidery hoop. It can be whatever size you want. We wanted to go big because it was for a big group. These could easily be made into smaller individual pieces.

sticks

yarn and string

wire, beads, wool roving, and other embellishments

tags and markers (we use this tag punch all the time)

a glue gun

Nature Wall Hanging Great for Collaborative School ProjectsNature Wall Hanging Great for Collaborative School ProjectsSteps

The first step for this wall hanging is to prepare the embroidery hoop. I did this before our guests came. I took some string and secured it around the inner band of the embroidery hoop. I had a really hard time getting the string to stay on the hoop without loosening so I ended up glue gunning each strand as I wrapped it. This felt a little strange at first but I didn’t want it to fall off and eventually I found an easy rhythm gluing the string to the outside of the band. I went around until I felt I had a sufficient spider web of string to stick pieces through. Then I replaced the outer band of the embroidery hoop around the inner band.

Nature Wall Hanging Great for Collaborative School ProjectsNext I demonstrated to the families at the event to spend time wrapping and embellishing their sticks to make them special, and to make sure to add a tag that said a word or picture that expressed how they feel about their school. Some kids wrapped the stick with yarn, some with yarn and wire, some with yarn, wire and beads. It really varied.

Nature Wall Hanging Great for Collaborative School ProjectsLastly, the kids and adults were invited to find a place for their stick by moving it in-between the string web. It was really easy!

Nature Wall Hanging Great for Collaborative School ProjectsWatching this collaborative nature wall hanging come together was so beautiful. Everyone chipped in and the feeling it created was so nice. I really didn’t want it to leave the studio.

Nature Wall Hanging Great for Collaborative School ProjectsI mean, can you blame me?

Nature Wall Hanging Great for Collaborative School ProjectsFortunately, we have big plans for making an even bigger collaborative wall hanging in our new studio and I can wait. It’s going to be so magical.

Nature Wall Hanging Great for Collaborative School ProjectsIf you like this idea, please give it a try and share it with the teachers at your school. It’s really a beautiful addition to any classroom or hallway. Thanks for reading along. And if you try one, please tag me on instagram at mericherryla. I’d love to see. xo, Meri

Nature Wall Hanging Great for Collaborative School Projects

Play Make Create – A Process Art Handbook

Play Make Create - A Process Art Handbook by Meri CherryHoly cow you guys! My new book PLAY MAKE CREATE – a Process Art Handbook is here!!! Well, it’s almost here. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon and will ship June 11th.  I am so so excited and filled with all the feels.  Writing a book is no joke. I’ve watched so many of my friends go through this process and now experiencing it for myself, I am just like woah, that was intense.  It’s actually still intense because I haven’t held it in my hands and my girls (featured on the cover) haven’t held it in their hands and I haven’t hugged my husband Ev yet, when it arrives, and I know that’s going to be a moment I’ll never forget.

Here is a little glimpse of what you can expect in the book…

*An introduction to Process Art and best practices

*A pep talk for moms

*Over 40 Invitations to Create

*Easy to set up, and super manageable prompts

*10 longer process based projects that develop over time

*Ton of tips and suggestions

*Language for how to talk to kids about art making

*Tried and true activities that you can totally handle and you don’t have to buy a lot of materials for

*My favorite recipes for fun sensory activities

 

Make Rainbow Smoothies Craft for Kids from an amazing secret ingredientHere’s one of the projects from the book. Can you guess our secret ingredient? I’ll give you a clue. It’s not sand. It’s cheap and easy and beautiful and you can use it for all kinds of fun crafts for kids. The recipe is in PLAY MAKE CREATE.

If you’d like to pre-order the book, it comes with a lot of free goodies so check those out here.

Pre-Order PLAY MAKE CREATE

I hope you love love love it. A  I am so honored to have worked with Quarto Publishing on this project and I hope to write many more books in the future.

ps Thank you so much for making PLAY MAKE CREATE number one in new releases in it’s category.  I am so incredibly moved and excited.  Thank you!!!!

 

100th Day of School Art Project

100th day of school art projectThe 100th Day of School is almost upon us.  I’m not sure if this is a tradition in schools around the world but in America, the 100th Day of School is a big deal in Kindergarten and First Grade.  The kids do a lot of projects in their class related to counting by tens and the number 100.  Some lucky kids even get a visit from Zero the Hero from Planet Zero.  You can catch a glimpse of Zero the Here, aka my cousin Ted, over at this 100th Day of School post from when I used to teach first grade about 9 years ago. Often teachers ask their students to represent the number 100 in some way and bring it into school.  I am soooo into Didi’s idea for her 100th Day of School Art Project.  She went with 100 squares of glitter and we are all pretty much smitten with the idea and the execution.

100th day glitter projectThis idea is so D.  If it’s not shiny, glittery, or slime related, she’s basically not interested. When my daughter, Gigi, did her 100th Day of School Art Project she did 100 different color squares using water colors.  So D had a grid in mind for her poster too.  Switching it up to glitter squares just went next level though, don’t you think?  It’s so cool! I am going to have it framed for sure.

100th day glitter projectBasically you need four things.

You’ll Need…

Glitter (obvz. We got this super cool glitter multi pack on etsy to make something crystals that never panned out.  D’s been holding it hostage in her special art drawer for over a year and I finally convinced her to use it. You can also try this set on amazon.)

White glue and a brush

A sturdy piece of paper (we used Cansen watercolor paper. It’s my fav)

a ruler and pen (I used a yellow marker to draw the grid so you didn’t notice it)

100th day glitter projectSteps

1. Draw a grid with 100 squares.  We did 10 1 inch boxes across and down.

2. With a small paint brush, paint on glue to any square.  Try to be as exact as you can.  I helped in the beginning but D was into doing it all herself so I got the boot pretty quickly. Sprinkle glitter on the glue and then tap the excess off.  We did this outside because, well, glitter.

3. Repeat for all the squares trying never to repeat the same colors in any two squares.  We did this over about a week.  This is definitely not a project you would do in one sitting. We did about 20 squares each time, but work at a pace that feels right for your child.

100th day glitter project100th day glitter projectIt was super fun watching this unfold.  With every square Didi got more and more into it.  If you’re not into glitter you can do the exact same thing with watercolor paints and it comes out so nice.

100th day glitter projectYou can also do this 100th day art project as a collaborative project with bigger squares.  You might even have a pad of graph paper laying around.  You can see how I did collaborate 100th day projects with my first grade class here.

100th day glitter project100th day glitter projectHowever you do it, have fun and Happy 100th Day of School.  I think that means we’re just about at the half way mark until summer break.  Woo hoo! That went pretty fast. xo, Meri

100th day glitter project100th day glitter projectps I got it framed! Well, I went to Michaels and scored a super cheap frame for 10 dollars and I framed it. I can’t wait to hang this in Didi’s room after she gets it back from school.  Happy 100th Day everyone!

100th day of school art project