Time to Create: an interview with author Christie Burnett

Time to Create blog tour

Note:  I was given a copy of this book to review and there are some affiliate links in this post. Thanks!

Hooray!  Simple Kids is participating in an international party!  Fancy, right? The reason for the celebration?  The launch of Time to Create: Hands On Explorations in Process Art for Young Children by Christie Burnett.

The kids and I have received a review copy and the resident artists, ages almost two to eleven, have been flipping through the pages with me marking projects to try and discussing ideas for our never-ending crafting table and art supplies.

This bright, colorful book is full of pictures showing the projects, of course, but it also has some thoughtful and well written pieces about:

  • what process art is
  • why giving children time to create is important
  • practical ways to give children opportunities to create on a daily basis

Christie Burnett, the author and founder of the popular blog Childhood 101, presents a variety of artistic mediums from drawing to print making to collage to textiles.  There”s also digital photography and exploring art with natural materials.

I had a chance to ask Christie some questions about the book and her book writing process.  Read on to see what she said …

In the introduction to your book you mention how important art experiences are in childhood and how they influence the creative confidence of the adult. Is there a specific childhood memory of art that has influenced you as an adult? What were some of your favorite art experiences as a kid?
To be honest, I am hopeless with recalling specific childhood memories (as opposed to my husband who seems to remember absolutely everything in photographic detail!)

However, one creative childhood memory that I recall with fondness was making what we called ‘warm fuzzies’ on a family holiday. My mother and grandmother had taken my siblings and I away for a short vacation and we each made a letterbox and created little drawings and love notes to leave for each other.

I also remember coercing my siblings (I am the eldest of four) to perform an exceptionally wonderful, musical dramatisation of The Wizard of Oz on that very same holiday!

trampoline drawingPhoto by Christie Burnett

I love your suggestion to make art a social experience. What are some of your favorite art ideas for play dates and groups?
I like to keep art experiences relatively simple for play dates – easy to set up, use and clean up.

Here are a few of our favourites;

  • Set up a couple of tabletop easels side by side with a watercolour palette, a paint brush for each child, a jar with a small amount of water and a cloth or kitchen paper to wipe brushes on in between the two easels.  Don’t forget to include a stock of fresh paper sheets close by and allocate somewhere for paintings to dry as they are completed.
  • We made our easels by scoring a length of box card, folding it into a triangle and securing at the bottom with glue or a strip of self-adhesive velcro. The velcro makes it super easy to flatten out and store for next time. (I LOVE this idea! – Kara)
  • Cover a table top with a big sheet of paper from a roll and add felt tipped markers and dotter paints.
  • If the weather is fine, send the children outside with a batch of new, chunky pavement chalk. The trampoline is a great drawing surface but a pathway or fence works just as well.

tabletop easelPhoto by Christie Burnett

One of the great takeaways for me from your book is involving kids in creating with natural materials. Have you had an art experience with natural materials recently that was memorable?
My five year old, Immy, is always on the lookout for colourful, natural treasures to collect on our outdoor adventures (which is something she has done since she was a very young toddler). Recently I invited her to collage her drawings with some of these natural elements (leaves, flower petals, seed pods, etc) and she returns to this experience again and again.

Time to Create is a colorful, happy, inspiring book. What did you enjoy about the book writing process? How did you find it similar to, or different from, the blog writing process?
I cannot tell you what an exciting adventure this has been. I still pinch myself whenever someone reminds me that I am now a published author 🙂

Of course, being my own editor and publisher on the blog for more than four years made letting go ownership of my work a little overwhelming to begin with. Fortunately I had the wonderful MaryAnn Kohl  as my mentor, and the team at Gryphon House were extremely patient with me.

It was beyond worth it in the end as I love the finished book and am so excited to share my passion for children’s art with a whole new audience.

nature-collage-creaturesPhoto by Christie Burnett

What art activities do you find you and your children drawn to lately? What are some of your current favorite art materials?
We love oil pastels! Most recently we have enjoyed creating by working with permanent markers, oil pastels and block watercolours, layering the glorious, rich colours in various combinations.

Thank you so much, Christie!

Time to Create: Hands On Explorations in Process Art for Young Children is now available internationally through all major online booksellers, including The Book Depository, Amazon, Fishpond and Barnes & Noble.

Want to know more about Time to Create? Keep an eye on the following blogs for upcoming stops along the international blog tour…

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

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  1. On a recent rainy day at our place I hauled out a shower curtain liner (from the dollar store!) some Sharpies and some crayons. We taped it to the playroom floor and the kids went nuts creating a network of roads and houses and stores for their Lego characters – and their imaginations – to run wild. It was a day long creativity adventure!

    Great interview! I’m looking forward to checking out the book!
    Robin from Frugal Family Times´s latest post: Host a Complete Backyard BBQ for under $60

  2. Oooh I love the natural materials combined with the drawings! What a lovely idea.
    We are big oil pastel fans here too!