It started as a child when I played teacher in my basement with my imaginary students. The desks were lined up, the folders neatly arranged, and the chalkboard at the front of the room offered a window into our imagination.
During the summer break between playing teacher, I would dream about starting a babysitter’s club in our tree house. I would spend hours thinking about how I could decorate the tree house. Draping fabric, filling it with plush cushions, and stringing strands of twinkle lights.
A high school economics project turned into a business plan of how I could open up a coffee shop. I knew exactly what it would look like. There would be a piano in the upper right-hand corner next to the guitar-shaped stage. Oversized coffee cups would rest on bistro tables. Art work and twinkle lights (there always has to be twinkle lights) accented the gorgeous brick walls.
After school, I would run home to see if the wedding sample books that I sent away had arrived. I would spend hours looking at the fabric swatches and tissue paper invitations Cut out pictures of wedding dresses filled my notebooks. My imagination ran wild with ideas of what a wedding would look and feel like.
As I got nearer to graduating high school and started looking into colleges, I would scour the list of “majors” colleges offered. Nothing encapsulated what I loved, but to be honest, I couldn’t put into words what that was.
My first semester of college, I took an intro course in interior design. I quickly learned designing by math was not for me, and the history of aesthetics stifled my creativity. I was someone who needed to feel a space. I could tell when a space felt right and when it wasn’t. That’s what I could do. But how do you make a career out of that?
I found my way to a hospitality degree which then lead me to becoming a Catering Sales Manager in San Francisco, which then led me to being a Wedding Planner at a Boston Hotel. I loved opening up the ballroom doors to see the candelabras with flickering flames and those gorgeous taffeta tablecloths that I once saw in my wedding sample books as a child. It was magical, but I wasn’t the one making the magic, I was planning it. What I wanted to do was be the one that got to create it.
I briefly thought about starting a tablescape business where I would go into homes and design beautiful tablescapes for their dinner events, but that idea never developed. As the years went on and careers changed, I took my love of creating spaces into my home. Our living room has that “hygge” feel with soft lighting, beautiful thick turquoise drapes, and a seadrift end table. My desk is surrounded with candles, my favorite books, and a colorful animal mobile hanging overhead. My workspace, also our dining room, is surrounded by my son’s artwork and, of course, twinkle lights.
After many years of practice, I had an epiphany that what I love to do, and who I am, is a creator of magic and magical spaces. That is what I need to do. It fills me up and makes me feel whole. “The Kids of Solutionary Street” is the materialization of this realization.
So why am I telling you all of this? Because I have been thinking a lot about how I can create a magical space for “The Kids of Solutionary Street” Puppet Workshop. I want the children to be transported to a place of wonder and awe. I want to set the stage so imagination and inspiration flows freely. I want to create a space that invites both inner and outer transformational change.
How did I start? I began by doing sketches of what this magical space could look like. I thought about how to incorporate as many senses as possible. Could I hang chimes? What about feel? Maybe I could have fabric cascading down so when the children walk through, the fabric brushes up against them. What about the magic? How can I make it feel magical? Could I add battery operated twinkle lights?! Ha! I think I’ll stay away from taste. I don’t want kids licking street posts! So many things to consider.
With all of that being said. I also have to think about the logistics of this “space.” I will be going into classrooms and community spaces so the design needs to be mobile, easy to set up and take down, and easy to transport. That’s a tall order!
Here are a few sketches I came up with of what “The Solutionary Street” could look like. They are preliminary ideas and I could really use your help.
Do you have any ideas of how I can design and construct this magical space? What should I include? What would children love to see, feel, touch, hear….?