Monday, November 10, 2008

Handmade Craftivism: 3 Ways to More Precious and Less Ultra-Slick Stuff for Kids

Handmade Cfaftivism: 3 Ways to More Precious and Less Ultra-Slick Stuff for Kids

By nitsanbmg

Could handmade products be the new avant-garde of modern design? It may be the irrepressible inflation economy, or the fact people are fed up with their children playing with lead-tainted toys such as My Baby brand silicone pacifier, but it seems that handmade is a new trend. According to The Statement, with their often "loosely constructed and decidedly amateurish-looking look" handmade products find their way to shops like Urban Outfitters as well as to upscale firms such as furniture designer Donghia. In contrast to "ultra-slick, high-touch and high-performance" products, people look at handmade things as "infinitely more precious than all the ultra-slick stuff". They do so, because handmade reflects honesty and authenticity, or in The Statement's words: "speak of our humanity in a time when people are being replaced by machines".

Handmade is not just a fashion trend but also a form of Craftivism or a way to improve life and the world at large. Ask anyone of more than 29,000 people who already took the pledge to buy handmade this holiday season and ask others to do the same for them. Read Why Buy Handmade for more details or simply enjoy the following works of three creative mother artists who make spectacular handmade and personally customized products for children. A little less ultra-slick, maybe, but definitely more precious.

Jasmin Sasky: Personalized Canvas Portraits

Jasmin Sasky: Personalized Canvas Portraits

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina and artistically educated in Israel, Jasmine Sasky is a fascinating Canadian illustrator, painter and clay sculptress. While some of her comissioned paintings are displayed at children hospitals, schools, private clinics and restaurants across North America, Sasky has recently ignitioned a new service she calls "Personalized Canvas Portraits".

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Maya's canvas

The Personalized Canvas Portrait process is simple: parents email Sasky a photo of their child and list special traits, hobbies and background preferences. She then replies with a sketch, receives approval and start painting. Sasky uses mixed media meterials including oil pastels, dry pastels, acrylics, glitter and embellishments. All paintings are then covered with a final clear coat for extra-ptotection.

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Maya in her room

Each of Sasky's kid portraits is a unique and special work of art with no duplicated copy anywhere in the world. Isn't that the most fantastic way for a parent to treat a child with a non-commercial non-mass-produced present that will last for lifetime? It is, if you ask Maya, shown above, with her beautiful blond curls and personal customized canvas. Always cheerful and happy as a bee...

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Yoel and Eitan

Another great example is the double portrait of Yoel and Eitan. They love the movie Toy Story but also are great fans of dressing up as pirates and cowboys.

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Kiara and Cienna

Kiara and Cienna love fairy tails and butterflies. Same as with Yoel and Eitan, dressing up (with skirts that can spin around them) is also part of their world. Their favorite colors are pink and purple.

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Camille

Camille as a "sweet" character taken from a children book: Being Camille the middle child of three, her parents asked for her character to be placed in the center of the painting, with her beloved brothers showing in the background. In her arms Camille holds the family pet.

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Katy

Katy's mom asked to match the painting colors with Katy's room color and decoration. So, the color palette here is of pink, magenta, light turquoise and polka dots in black and white. The result is in a perfect match with an interesting color scheme. For more:

Lizette Greco: Stuffed Dolls based on Kid Drawings

Lizette Greco creates custom hand-made dolls based on children's drawings with her young daughter and son. The dolls are made using only thrifted and recycled materials aiming to "create artwork that celebrates a child's perspective of the world and will hopefully be passed from generation to generation." Some of this perspective is, well, clearly shown in the above 'Bigfoot Inside and Out' made with recycled and thrifted fabrics to "consume less and recycle more" and Sixfoot Cyclops (below) - thrifted fabric, recycled polyfill stuffing based on original drawing by six-year-old boy.

Lizette Greco: Stuffed Dolls based on Kid Drawings

Greco accepts commissions for artwork using ("only") your children's drawings. You children don't draw so nicely? No problem. Greco's eight and nine-year-old artist team will get in the mood just for you.

Lizette Greco: Colorful Bunny

Colorful Bunny: thrifted fabrics, linen lint stuffing, original drawing by five-year-old boy.

Lizette Greco: Svea's doll

A little girl named Svea turned 5. As she happens to be a very good friend with the Greco's, Svea was lucky enough to receive the above super-personalized doll based on one of her drawings, of course. The doll comes in its own customized box and includes a few trading cards...

Lizette Greco: Bird

Bird, based on Lizette's son drawing, is covered with lines and wiggles. According to Lizette, translating this drawing into a "softie" was harder than the usual. "The lines needed to be seen and appreciated, so embroidering made sense." For more:

MyKangaroo: Handmade Shaped Crayons

MyKangaroo: Handmade Shaped Crayons

Crayons can be creative in many ways but this particular neat venture is clearly part of the new customization-personalization trend. With MyKangaroo you can personalize a gift using your child's name or even create a special message. Each personalized Your Name in Crayons set (above) can include up to 9 letters and is packaged in a cute tin with paper inside.

MyKangaroo: HAPPY BIRTHDAY spelled out in assorted colored crayons

Above: HAPPY BIRTHDAY spelled out in assorted colored crayons. Includes a 1 1/2 inch crayon shaped gift. Letters are 1/2 inch tall.

MyKangaroo: 5 spooky Halloween crayons

This set comes with 5 spooky Halloween crayons. Get one witch hat, cat, pumpkin, owl and haunted house in the price of one. Sizes vary in shape but are approximately 1.5 to 2 inches.

MyKangaroo: more crayon patterns

Nearly every pattern you can think of is an option here and possibilities are endless. Above are a few more interesting patterns.

MyKangaroo: How it's done

How it's done, in case you'd like to try for yourself.

MyKangaroo: The Jewel Crayon set

MyKangaroo: The Jewel Crayon set

It appears that not only we at CultCase think MyKangaroo are awesome. When The Jewel Crayon set was featured on Etsy Finds, a popular section on Etsy website, the orders, according to the official MyKangaroo blog, just "came pouring in". Above you can see what success looks like (in craftivism business...) Way to go MyKangaroos! For more:


  1. awesome post! i love Jasmine Sasky's portraits. i make animal cards appropriate for kids and they are framable for affordable art ($3)! :)

  2. I went one step further... I MADE all my Christmas presents (or, at least most of them!)


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