Q&A With Poekie Nook: Turning the Crafty Kid into a Master

Ronnie's Awesome List presents an interview with Sophia van der Harst of Poekie Nook. Summer camp registration is now open. Poekie Nook has partnered with other local businesses to create unique experiences this summer. Check out these great combo summer camps with Mill Valley Potters Studio, RoCo Dance, Mathnasium and MojoDojo.  

My daughter is naturally really crafty. How would she benefit from classes at a place like Poekie Nook?  

Sewing beautiful things is not easy. There's lots to learn; so many little tricks that just come from experience. Sewing takes hard work, practice, time and an expert to teach. You need a lot of patience and attention to detail which is not a skill many kids come equipped with. For Poekie Nook crafters, these skills build gradually over time. Figuring out what fabrics work for what patterns or styles can be tricky. Learning all the pro tricks takes time to master. Drop in anytime to Poekie Nook and see our crafters busy at work.

I have tons of sewing books. Could that a good place to start?  

Sure, learning from books is quite doable but could never replace a skilled teacher. I know how disheartening it is to be a beginner at something. Often when you’re learning something new your imagination is greatly outpace by your actual skills. Just look no further than the “Nailed It” posts on Pinterest  They’re hilarious but the reality is that it takes skill to create anything. This can be highly motivating but it can also be incredibly frustrating and cause kids to give up. Nothing can replace the support of a skilled teacher.

Why Poekies?  

They’re addictive, but in a good way. Poekie’s are a great starter project and make great gifts! Check out the smile on this Poekie Nook regular. She started at age seven within two years she sewed over 150 Poekies. In the process she learned all the different types of stitches, construction of patterns, and combining colors and textures. She’s now designing her own stuffies and planning to open her own Poekie Nook in her new home town in Idaho. In the meantime, she plays with them every day while producing some really impressive stuff. 

I understand sewing is being incorporated into the school curriculum.  

Yes, how great is that! Poekie making is more than just learning to sew. You create your own world while having fun. It helps with cognitive development and many other S.T.E.A.M. related skills are actively being practiced. Take an intensely curious crafter and give them the opportunity and tools to explore and watch their 3D thinking and visualization improve.

My goal is to make sure each child learns at least one new skill with each project. Poekie Nook crafters come out of each project with stronger skills and a project they will be proud of. Way better than what you can ever buy at a store. 

Do you have any suggestions to a parent to encourage their child to continue crafting?  

Most important of all: have fun! There are few things that feel as good as receiving a compliment on any craft you've made yourself. The best reason for learning to sew is the sense of accomplishment that comes from creating something with your own hands and from your own imagination. Seeing their projects emerge gives kids the confidence to create more, whether it’s sewing or sculpting or painting. For Poekie Nook, our projects are easy enough to make our young crafters feel good and hard enough to help them constantly improve.  

Sophia van der Harst is a certified Waldorf teacher and the founder of Poekie Nook, a drop-in sewing studio located in Tam Junction in Mill Valley. Sophia is on a mission to increase awareness of the benefits of crafting and sewing, especially during childhood. Connect with her on Facebook or email her at sophia@poekienook.com.