Todd Oldham? His fashion designs received acclaim in the '90s, leading him to host the MTV show House of Style (when MTV was still airing music videos). I'm not quite sure when I fell in love with him. Perhaps when he began to focus on interior design, particularly his delightful mid-century dorm products for Target! I still have my Todd Oldham for Target (year 2) two-tone mini-coffee table.
During my high school job at American Eagle in a New Jersey mall, I would ring Mr. Oldham up for his polo shirt purchases. I'm pretty sure he had a country home in the area, and I'm pretty sure he knew how much I loved him. I can't help but think about buying some of Oldham's new Charley Harper/Fishs Eddy pieces for my future apartment!
When I saw his latest book Kid Made Modern, I had an inkling it would be filled with fun projects to do with my cousins, my students, and by myself. This book definitely did not disappoint! The cover boasts "52 kid friendly projects inspired by mid-century modern design" and should be a required text for any school art teacher. In addition to the "52 projects," Oldham provides a thorough description of modern design, features several prominent modern designers with projects inspired by their work, and includes two pages of additional resources (more designers to look into, museums to visit, craft stores, and websites).
Before you read about any individual projects, there are four pages of craft supply kit items. I could easily spend two days going through these items with my cousins (ages 7 and 12), purchasing which ones we thought were most important, and developing our very own kits. This is a fantastic idea for rainy or "too hot" summer days. My favorite projects include (but are certainly not limited to): painted, wooden spoon friends (p. 26), plastic crate stool (p. 60), light cubes (p. 110), potato scarf printing (p. 130), paint chip and paper clip screen (p. 144), and a pegboard desk (170). I'm hoping to work on a few of these projects soon and will post on my progress.
The inspiration saver (p. 182) really caught my eye. As a creative child, I was constantly ripping out magazine pictures of clothes, furniture, or images that interested me. It wasn't until I was 18 that I started to collect and organize these images in an accessible way. The inspiration saver is simply a binder and page protectors that allow children (or adults) to collect and reflect on images that spark their imagination and artistry.
There are a few projects in the book that require sewing machines, and some using a sharp utility knife. The sewing projects in particular, though, seem much more difficult and may require more adult supervision and help. I recommend looking through the book before handing it over to a child. Highlight three or four projects that work well with your schedule and level of ability. Move on from there!
I recommend this book for children and modern design lovers ages 6 and up. There is something for everyone! You can find it on Amazon here.