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When Austinites, Kathie Sever and Bernadette Noll, founded the Future Craft Collective in 2008, they sought to help kids make the connection between craft and consumption and to recognize the beauty in reusing items to make something new.

We want kids to discover ways to create a world in which the belief in handmade looms larger than the messages of the marketing machine.The time has come to infuse our children with the message of appreciation, creativity and sustainability. It is our belief that this message can instill a great feeling of self worth and save a kid from a lifetime of seeking contentment through mindless consumption.

The pair hosted several series of Future Craft Collective classes for small groups of kids, and feedback from parents and children was highly positive. More than just a sewing class, the series got parents and kids thinking about issues around reducing, reusing and recrafting. Soon, the demand for their curriculum outgrew their studio and schedules.
“The classes were filling rapidly with requests to take the curriculum out into the community,” says Noll. “We really needed to scale back the amount of time and energy we were spending in the classroom. At the same time that we were needing to pull back, we were also wanting to offer more because we really and truly saw the great value in what we were offering.”
Noll and Sever decided to build the Future Craft Collective curriculum into a series of monthly workbooks and are offering them for purchase and download on their web site. Noll says their goal is not only to encourage families to tackle these projects together, but to also provide the inspiration and encouragement to communities to gather and work together to form their own collaborative collectives around the projects and ideals.
“We want them to feel the connection that such projects can offer – the connection that comes from working together, learning, making, creating, talking – around these projects, around the ideas that we offer in the curriculum, and around the table,” Noll says. “Basically, we want them to feel the joy we feel when we make stuff together.”
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The monthly Future Craft Collective Projects curriculum includes free tutorials, patterns and step-by-step instructions, dialogue prompts for discussions on crafting and consumption and parenting peaceably, thematic poetry and an opportunity to participate in a moderated Yahoo group for support, advice and resources.
“We truly see this as an idea whose time has arrived, and one aimed to arm families from all over with the tools they need to craft positive change in the world,” says Sever. “And to make stuff together.”
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To celebrate the launch of their new online curriculum, they are offering several free tutorials on their web site, as well as a chance to win one of Kathie Sever’s Ramonster kids western shirts. See their web site for details.
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Going Back to School in Green, DIY Style