Creating With Kids

I mentioned last week that I’ve been noticing a resurgence of artistic, design-driven parents that are inspired by – not despite – their children. It’s been a refreshing trend to watch as I’ve been experiencing my own personal spark of creativity after Bee’s birth. Parenting is demanding, yes, but it also has a way of granting perspective and flexibility and focus – all necessary tools that any creative should be so lucky to find in their proverbial tool box. And perhaps if this trend is here to stay, designer Lucas Maassen can be awarded the title of grandfathering in the movement with his latest ground-breaking project…

While their classmates are likely playing tag, video games or tackling homework, the Maassen kids are hard at work “designing” pieces at Lucas Maassen & Sons Furniture Factory. Employed by their father, Lucas, each son receives 1 Euro for every piece of Lucas’ handmade furniture they paint. (There’s even a contract in place, which I find so very endearing.)

Of course, Dutch child labor laws state that each son can only work three hours a week. Rather than viewing the law as an obstacle, however, the “company” sees it as advantageous, providing a creative boundary that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.

Because the clock stops at three hours each week, many pieces remain unfinished, resulting in an impromptu – often abstract – creation. There’s an element of playfulness that can only be re-imagined by the hands of children, racing against time and boundaries and methods.

I can’t help but wonder how proud the kids must feel as they change out of their painter’s clothes to wash up for dinner – how involved they must feel in their father’s work. It’s a beautiful thing to communicate our passion to our children, but it’s another thing entirely to include them, offering them ownership and purpose and pride. To trust our children enough to leave their fingerprints – quite literally – on the hands of our creative work. To provide an environment where play and work and exploration and discovery are woven together with purpose and intention.

To let them, quite simply, stand tall and finish the legacy that we began long ago.

Image Credit: Lucas Maassen

p.s. Another chair leaving a legacy of its own.

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