Jean Van’t Hul

Can you feel the warm sun? This is a photo of Jean Van't Hul as a child painting with her grandmother. Jean is the author of the blog and new book The Artful Parent. We were honored to have her take a few minutes out of her day to chat with us all.

Be Inspired. Read the full interview >>

Jean Van't Hul Painting with Grandma

Exclusive Peas and Carrots Interview

Just about anything is fair game for becoming artful if you approach it the right way. 
{Jean Van't Hul}

{Interview with Jean of The Artful Parent} *Great insightI am a book snob. Most of the time I just borrow things from the library. I am very selective about the books I actually follow through with purchasing.  I am a huge fan of ArtfulParent.com. I confess that when I heard Jean Van’t Hul was publishing a book my initial response was, “Hmm.” Honestly, not all bloggers can pull off jumping into print. Don’t tell Ree Drummond, but I was utterly disappointed by the layout of The Pioneer Woman’s books. As I opened my advanced copy of Jean’s book I held my breath. Hot Dog!

The Artful Parent book is stunning. The book is beautifully laid out, inspiring, thought provoking and most importantly… the projects are doable. Jean reminds parents that art can be found in trying new science experiments, taking a nature walk, baking or even planning a teddy bear tea party. This paragraph particularly resonated with me:

Just about anything is fair game for becoming artful if you approach it the right way. You can invite art into your home with your actions, your words, your attitude, and the activities you offer. You can do it by having the space to do art, making art materials available, and introducing new concepts and activities. You can do it slowly over time or start an overnight art revolution. No matter how you introduce art to your family’s life, the advantages are profound.*

Read about Jean’s passion, how she balances her own creativity with being a mom, and learn what inspires her in our interview below!

*Citation permission: From The Artful Parent, by Jean Van’t Hul, © 2013 by Jean Van’t Hul. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA. RoostBooks.com

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Is this a new passion or rekindled old passion?

Jean Drawing as a ChildArt has been a part of my life since I first started finger painting and drawing as a toddler. We lived a simple life on farms, in rustic cabins, and even on an Alaskan fishing boat for 6 months. Money, toys, and playmates were in short supply, but I doubt I noticed. We had nature and art. We had our imaginations for play and for creating artworks. It was a magical time in many ways.

It always comes back to nature and art for me, though I’ve strayed from both at times during my life. Nature and art feed my soul and I don’t think of either as optional. For anyone, really. I know that most people don’t grow up backpacking the Wenaha Tucanan Wilderness, but I believe that nature can be accessed in our backyards or local parks as well. Tree hugging has become a clichéd joke, but we are wired to connect with nature, not concrete. The beauty and, yes, creativity, expressed in every leaf and flower is incredible. Snail shells! Rocks on the beach. A bird’s song. There is such beauty in nature.

I am equally passionate about art and creativity. We sometimes think that art is optional or reserved for the super creatives in our society. But everyone is creative and everyone functions best with access to their creativity, in whatever form that takes for them.

Visual arts is a very accessible and fun way to encourage creativity in children every day, at home or at school, using simple, inexpensive materials.

What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to other moms looking to find balance between themselves and their families.

Don’t put the laundry first. It’s not worth it.

Photo by Lenka Hattaway Photography

Joking aside, find a way to keep your own interests and passions alive in small ways and through sharing them with your children. Taking care of young children can be all consuming and it’s easy to lose sight of our own dreams, goals, and creativity when we become parents.

It’s true that this is a season of life during which some of our dreams may be more difficult to pursue because of time and other constraints – depending on our family situations and what our passions happen to be. But, if we’re able to incorporate it in smaller ways and to find a way to bring it into our family’s lives, we are keeping that part of us alive while making amazing memories with our kids.

This is the same whether it is art as it has been for me, music, a love of theater, a love of insects, whatever…

What are your sources of inspiration?

I’ve already mentioned art and nature.

My kids are also tremendously inspiring to me. I am continuously amazed at what they come up with during their play and their art making. Their creative energy serves as both an inspiration and as a catalyst to my own.

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Interview with Jean Van't Hul
Jean Van’t Hul, mother of two, lives with her family in the mountains of western North Carolina. She has been writing about children’s art and creativity on her blog, The Artful Parent, since 2008. A graduate of Wellesley College with a major in art history and studio art, Jean worked in various art and nonprofit fields before devoting her time to writing and raising kids. She loves to share process-oriented art, seasonal crafts, and joyful learning opportunities with her own daughters and through her children’s art groups, her magazine articles, and on her blog.
{Source: Amazon}

Pre-order Jean’s book The Artful Parent |Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity on Amazon today. If you do, save your digital receipt number. Pop on over to Jean’s site, people who pre-order also get a copy of her spring crafts eBook for free. Her new book will be officially released April 9, 2013.

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