Is everyone born with creativity? Being present and alive, and awake to the world could be considered the first step to bringing out your inner creativity. But, sometimes we still need help.
Renu Blankinship is a downtown Manhattan mama of 3 and the founder of Makermint, an IG resource for mothers creating a creative childhood for their children, and an arts and crafts event business, now doing classes on Zoom. We were curious about the evolution of her business, and how she deals with the creative messes she comes in contact with. Not only did she share those details with us, but how she likes to dress and what gets her in happy mama mode.
What has navigating the shift from in person workshops and events to mainly Zoom been like for your creativity?
Transitioning to a virtual business has been all about resourcefulness and leaning into the community of mothers on my Instagram. At my in-person events and workshops, I love to explore unique and special materials like Japanese calligraphy ink or chocolate playdough. But during quarantine, when we are all home and not inclined to shop for materials we don't have, the key is using resources and supplies we likely have at home. I share countless creative and artful activities that I am doing with my own kids while we are home together on my Instagram feed and it is really important to me that these ideas are approachable, easy to do, and generally use items we all have at home.
When planning my Zoom classes, my biggest concern during project creation is using supplies that most people will have on hand. Many times, that means using recyclable items like cereal box cardboard or household staples like paper plates, and I love that because it teaches kids and parents that making art doesn't have to be about buying a ton of supplies.
A quick look at your Linkedin reveals a background in finance. What prompted you to make the jump into elevated arts and crafts events?
Spending my 20s on a Wall Street trading floor was a valuable experience I will always remember, but it wasn't a passion for me. But only after I left finance to stay home with children, everything clicked - all of a sudden, my love for making and creativity became a part of my parenting approach and home life. I knew that I wanted to create a business around that creativity, and the joy it brought to me and my young family. My daughter and I started planning themed play dates for her friends - for example, a candy playdate where we dipped pretzels and Oreos, and made wrapped "candy" balloons. I could tell by the kids' excitement and the parents' response that this was a business idea worth exploring and I went for it!
As an entrepreneurial mama who is always getting messy, what do you do to decompress (or is the creative mess therapeutic)?
An afternoon nap followed by a cup of earl gray tea with a shortbread cookie is IT for me. Happy mama mode.
As mothers, we know a mess can wreak havoc on material things (beige couches and silk tops). How has your wardrobe changed since diving into Makermint?
My wardrobe at home and while creating is comfort to the max. I love a concert t shirt (the baggier the better) with sweatpants or biker shorts. I find that if I am wearing an outfit that is too "precious" like a cashmere sweater, part of me feels like I have to keep tidy and I can't let myself go artistically like I would if I was wearing a tank or a tee.
All artworks start with a blank canvas of some sort. How do you envision using Mother Oxford as your wardrobe's blank canvas?
Being able to cook and paint in a crisp white shirt that will wash clean sounds amazing. I love the polished feel of a button down so being able to let go and create while feeling fresh is a dream.
I would style the shirt with a middle part and a low bun for my hair, some fun earrings or a statement necklace and get making!
Follow Renu on instagram @makermint for activities you can do at home with children to spark their creativity with familiar and accessible materials.