I dream of, one day, going on a huge trip that involves visiting the art studios of some of the amazing ladies I’ve met online. Samara’s studio, Purple Twig, is one of these dreamed-about destinations. Once you’ve read Samara’s words, and seen the images in this post of her creative space, I suspect you’ll understand. Once you’ve read Samara’s words, it’s easy to see how her philosophy permeates all that she does. It’s a pleasure to introduce Samara!
I am… My name is Samara Caughey and I own an art studio for kids and families on the east side of Los Angeles called the Purple Twig. I feel so incredibly lucky to have found a way to make a career from what I love, which is contemporary art and community. I have created a space where families can come and make things together, a space where kids can come together and explore materials and friendships. My teaching art to children comes from two major sources, my background in sculpture is one. I received my BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. And received my MFA at USC which brought me out to Los Angeles. I come to teaching from being a working artist, from a maker’s point of view. The other source for which I teach children is what I have learned from my mother. She was a Jungian child play therapist. She taught me about talking to children and interacting with children so that their voice is heard. From a young age I have been interested in early education and child psychology reading Winnicott and Dewey.
I find inspiration…in a myriad of places. If I am feeling introspective I find inspiration in going for a walk or hike or peering through the many art books I have on our shelves. But I find inspiration for teaching in materials. When someone donates a material to the studio, I will just have it out and around waiting for it’s potential to be revealed. I find the potential in materials to be one of the most intriguing parts of coming up with an art curriculum for children.
I am excited about … Well, I am working on our summer camp themes right now for the Purple Twig and I get really excited at the idea of taking on a theme together with the kids. During the week long that I spend with the kids each day we dive into the concepts we wish to explore, considering the many ways to approach an inquiry and always making links between concepts and practices. And we make so many cool things, mainly sculptures but paintings and drawings too.
When I’m in a creative slump, I… Being bored is so important. The best ideas can come from staring into space or standing still. Trust that all your past experiences that make up who you are will bring something to you that you hadn’t thought of. Also a nice glass of wine with a friend can help me get out of a slump.
I’m really proud of… I am so proud at those moments while teaching kids when one might say “ I can’t do it” “I can’t do it, I need help” depending on what the child is doing I might say “ Oh yes you can. I believe in you. Just give it a try. It might be difficult but you can do it” The child might be really frustrated and quit for a moment but then pick up the tool again and say “ I can’t do it!!!! Oh wait! Yes, I can” “ Look I did it”. Now that is worth so much.
Someone once told me… I have gotten so much bad advice in my life. When you work with kids and you work with art many people know what you should do. But I don’t work with children like that person over there or work with art like that person over there. I needed to find my own voice in what I do, just like I try and help the kids find their own voice instead of learn to make art that looks like someone else’s artwork.
My advice to you is … You have choices. Life can be really hard sometimes and feeling like you don’t have options can make it even more difficult. You can choose to make your life what you want. Don’t feel like you are stuck. There is always wiggle room.
You can find me at …
My website is where you can learn about our programs and our teaching philosophy.
Instagram is where you can see what is happening day to day at our studio.
Facebook is where you can learn about special events or upcoming classes.
Pinterest is where you can find ideas for creative projects for kids.
The blog is where you can find instructions for some of our projects.