about the wishcraft workshop

proud chicago kidsJoyfully weaving learning into creative exploration and play, every day.

Developed in 2008 as an alternative to traditional art classes in Chicago, the award-winning Wishcraft Workshop grows artists and thinkers of character, confidence and curiosity with adventurous creative experiences including art classes (and crafting-building-making classes!), camps, sewing lessons, tutoring, birthday parties and after-school programs. We operate with a culture of non-judgment and believe in the capabilities of all students, however wonderfully different they may be. Our focus on self-awareness builds confidence and respect, develops self-regulation and self-advocacy and strengthens conflict-resolution and communication skills. Students learn technique and about the arts while practicing problem-solving, critical-thinking and other important life skills, applying literacy, math, science, technology and engineering to the creative activities they enjoy, full STEAM ahead.

Yes, we teach technique. More importantly, we ignite creative capability. DIY skills are developed. Resourcefulness is celebrated. Artists, thinkers and citizens are grown.

The Wishcraft Workshop’s Mission

To create and deliver original skill, confidence, and character building creative experiences of exceptional quality that spark curiosity, delight kids, and support families and our community. At The Wishcraft Workshop we:

  • Provide a healthy, inclusive and non-judgmental space in which creative capacity is discovered and confidence is developed.
  • Balance the development of problem-solving skills with inventive and relevant projects that build skills, celebrate art and enable success for all capability levels.
  • Model and encourage creative reuse and social responsibility to grow engaged citizens.
  • Provide a quality learning environment in which the exploration of academic subjects and social-emotional skills creates a holistic creative experience.

The workshop hours vary by program. Call ahead or check Facebook or Twitter for current information. Party planning is happily done by appointment.

Winner of the 2009 Nickelodeon Parents' Picks award for Best Kids Party Place in Chicago
Best Kids Party Place in Chicago
red tricyle finalist for 3 categories! Best Mom-Run Business, Coolest Camps for Kids and Greatest Birthday Party Spot
Finalist for 3 categories: Best Mom-Run Business,Amazing Art Classs and Greatest Birthday Party Spot

northcenter chamber of commerce

about the wishcraft team

Unknown-1Candice Blansett-Cummins, Founder + Chief Experience Officer (more fun than President + CEO, right?)

At a very young age, at the foot of my grandmother’s chair, I learned to work the crochet hook. At the time I may have been wearing one of my mother’s handmade fashions, meticulously sewn of recycled jeans or perfectly mixed prints. Just about every summer that I spent with my grandmother (also the owner of a small business) was spent working with some creative project or activist program. In between summers I built villages for my Barbie dolls, complete with hand-drawn wallpaper and “upholstered” automobiles (okay, fabric stuffed in a shoe.) Later, in high school, came customized “Madonna-jeans”, my button-up-shirts-as-skirts phase and the Nikon always around my neck. Fast-forward, more or less all grown-up, and executive careers in fashion (Gap, Inc.), entertainment (Disneyland) and a movie studio (Sony Pictures Entertainment) seemed to enjoy most of my creative energy. But did “corporate” ever preclude “creative”too much summer camp fun at the wishcraft workshop in Chicago? Was I really only focused on better-faster-cheaper? Sure, and with creativity achieved these results. Along the way I started an arts program at an under-served elementary school in San Francisco. I fostered an innovation and team-working program in a corporate setting at a studio in Los Angeles. I started a STEM career day and mentored teen and professional members with

June Ann Loyer, Crochet Master 1930-2011
June Ann Loyer, Crochet Master 1930-2011

the Step Up Women’s Network. I have been lucky to travel the globe marveling at the colors and people of this gorgeous world. I’m a parent, an artist, a thinker, a teacher, a student and a (very) concerned global citizen. I believe that every “mistake” teaches us something and in the power of playful creativity to solve problems big and small. I invite you to visit the workshop for laughter, learning and community– we’re having a great time. (And if you or your company need help with creativity and change, including a dramatic career change like my own, learn more about me and my speaking and consulting services. Let’s make it happen.)

 

IMG_6128Rob Cummins, Instructor + Funny Man, MA English + M Ed.  I won’t teach you to make an apron or pajama pants or even one of the cool projects my colleagues at Wishcraft Workshop make with recycled books (come on, now.) I have always been extremely fond of literature and music and even the systems we use to organize them– ask me a question about the Dewey Decimal System and I’m your guy. I am an Adjunct Professor of English (and a Tutor, not a Tudor) as well as a certified teacher for the Intermediate and High-School grades, and am excited to offer educational services as part of the Wishcraft Workshop family (yes, we really are family.) Make your mark.

UnknownKristina B, Chief All-Things Officer (and knows where everything is)  Crafty at a young age, I learned that heat melts wax. Yes, my crayon murals on the foyer walls required the heat of a hair-dryer for removal (sorry, Mom.) And I begged my grandmother for sewing lessons, but she didn’t give in until I “accidentally” pretended to sew on her sewing machine. I learned much of what I know about working with children from my roles with the Chicago Parks District, American Girl Place, American Theater Company and a community-based theater project designed to empower special needs children. I started working at the workshop in January 2009. I enjoy film, thrifting, peach salsa and…..working. Really. Who wouldn’t?

Unknown-2Monika W, Manager of Art + Play    My parents’ house was always filled with art, crafts and music. Every surface in the house was covered with projects my mom and I had made together. She provided me with all the necessary tools to become the artist and musician I am today. She taught me how to cross stitch when I was just about 6 years old. I started learning piano when I was 7 and when I was 18 I started teaching kids music on my own. I have been a nanny, piano, and art teacher for the past 9 years and loved every minute of it. It’s been a real blessing to be able to watch children grow and explore their creativity through art and music for all these years and I’m looking forward to continue that for many more.

IMG_6335Lucy C, Manager of Art + Play  Yes, we’re related! I’ve learned a lot being surrounded by children and art and play for my entire life. I taught myself electrical engineering and to play the guitar. I like taking photographs of my city and traveling the world. I enjoy working with students in the Crafter-School program and developing projects that blend art and science.

 

IMG_5743Carolina S, Leader of Art + Play  Hi, I’m Carolina! I like to play games and sing silly songs. My favorite art supply is a crayon because it can be used in so many interesting ways, especially when you melt it. I’m studying to be an elementary school teacher and am particularly interested in special needs education. When I’m not at the workshop, you can find me reading a book and creating my own adventure.

 

 

IMG_5562Kendall O, Leader of Art + Play  Hi, I’m Kendall and I love making things ! I am currently a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I’m studying painting and drawing. I also have a passion for teaching children, and I hope to one day teach Elementary school. Working with the kids at Wishcraft Workshop has really affirmed this dream for me. Making art brings me so much joy and watching children get the chance to be creative and express themselves serves as such an amazing reminder of what making art is all about!

janeJane R, Leader of Art + Play  Hi, I’m Jane! I grew up with an artist mother and a historian father so I was always being enriched creatively and intellectually. This paid off when I decided to go to The School of the Art Institute where I studied video, writing, and critical theory. I love getting to create something every day, whether that’s a short story or a film project and it’s really nice that Wishcraft Workshop is both my job and a creative outlet. I feel so lucky to work here with the most creative kids!

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