TinkerSpace Interview: Megan Schiller

TinkerSpace Interview with Megan Schiller | TinkerLab

Today I’m joined by Megan Schiller of The Art Pantry, as part of our ongoing series of inspiring conversations that center on how to set up creativity hubs, or tinkerspaces. If you’re scratching your head because you can’t figure out where to put your child’s art materials, want to turn your laundry room into an art zone, or tend to shift furniture to make room for creative supplies, these interviews are sure to give you food for thought.


Megan Schiller Bio
Megan Schiller is a creative parent with an impressive background in art education, who now runs an amazing online kid-friendly art store called The Art Pantry where she also consults families on how to set up their very own Art Pantry (check out her very generous giveaway at the end of this post). I’ve drooled over pictures of Megan’s child-friendly tinkering space in her Instagram feed and also on her blog, and I asked her if she’d be so kind to share it with us today. Yay! We’re in for treat. Enjoy this peek into Megan’s Art Pantry…

Can you tell us about your family?

I am so grateful to have such a loving family! My husband and I have two daughters (ages 2 and 5) and a very old dog (age 15). We live in a small home in an amazing community just north of San Francisco.

Art Pantry Megan and kids

How would you describe your space?

Our art space is located in our sunroom, just off the living room. It was once a covered porch, so the wall between the living room and our art space is full of windows. This allows me to keep my eye on the girls, but still close the door so my toddler doesn’t run out covered in paint!

TinkerSpaces: Art Pantry Studio Tour  | TinkerLab

The space is about 100 square feet with most of the art supplies on one side, a reading area on the other and a table in the middle. We live in my Grandmother’s old home, who was also an artist. She used this same sunroom as her art studio, so I have a lot of memories creating art as a child in this room.

What’s the inspiration for your creative space?

My inspiration comes from the “ateliers” of Reggio Emilia preschools. While studying the Reggio Emilia approach in grad school, I was lucky enough to attend a study tour of these Italian schools. It was life changing and has shaped everything I have done in my career and as a parent. I am completely in awe of their approach to the use of art in early childhood education and have tried to set up our art space to reflect this.

TinkerSpaces: Art Pantry Studio Tour  | TinkerLab

I want my girls to view the materials as tools for exploration, investigation, construction and self-expression. I want them to be self-sufficient in this space and have free access to many of the materials. The rules are if they can reach it, they can use it without supervision. My 5 year old mostly has free access to everything, while my 2 year old can access markers, stamps, stickers, plastic scissors, paper, and sometimes paint!

If you had to be selective, what three things do you love most about your space?

The natural light, the open shelving, and the fact that it can be closed off, but still visible.

TinkerSpaces: Art Pantry Studio Tour  | TinkerLab

Do you have any tips for those of us who want to make our homes havens for making?

Create a dedicated art space somewhere in your home and make sure it is near a work surface (a desk, play table, or kitchen table). Make it inviting by keeping the materials organized and easy to access. If it gets too disorderly, store some of the materials away in a closet and rotate them often. If you have room for a lot of materials, choose a few to highlight every once in a while by putting out an “invitation to create.”

TinkerSpaces: Art Pantry Studio Tour  | TinkerLab

What five supplies are indispensable to you and your children at this moment?

My kids are big fans of the basics: markers, play dough, tempera paint, scissors, and tape.

TinkerSpaces: Art Pantry Studio Tour  | TinkerLab

Can you share a favorite tip for organizing your creative zone or for cleaning up after a creative session?

For messy projects, I am a huge proponent of using trays. They usually keep the mess contained in the tray and they can be moved out of reach if you need to save cleanup for later. We also use them for storing projects that extend over multiple days.

TinkerSpaces: Art Pantry Studio Tour  | TinkerLab

What do you wish for your children to remember about their childhood?

Great question! I hope they will remember an abundance of love, giggles, creativity, dancing, being in nature, and the feeling of playing deep in their imaginations.

TinkerSpaces: Art Pantry Studio Tour  | TinkerLab

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’m so honored that you asked to interview me, Rachelle! I have been reading your blog for years and want to thank you for being such an inspiration. I am extremely passionate about helping people set up art spaces for kids and have recently started offering design services through The Art Pantry. I’d love to offer one of your readers an e-design package as a giveaway. I can’t wait to work with the lucky winner!

Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Megan! 

Friends, if you’d like to share your TinkerSpace with us, drop me a line at Rachelle at TinkerLab.com. You can check out the rest of the TinkerSpaces in this series here. 

Giveaway!

Megan is offering one lucky reader her Art Pantry Design Services, to help you create an art space that’s inviting, organized, age appropriate, inspiring, and empowering. This service is valued between $125 and $500.

To enter: simply leave a comment on this post by Sunday, April 27 at 9 pm PST and the winner will be chosen by random number generator. This contest is open world-wide and you must be at least 18 years old to enter.

Comments

  1. Jenny Hanson says

    What a lovely insight into a creative household! We are a home educating household in England with two similarly small daughters and I really appreciate your ideas. Off to hunt for some trays now!

  2. Ivette Osorio says

    I would love to have a space with so much light! Being a parent of a child who attends a Reggio program, I love this. Still struggling in finding a way to incorporate materials in such a lovely manner in our town home with limited outdoor space.

  3. Angela says

    Loved the interview! What a lovely service. We struggle ourselves in trynig to keep a balance between having the space to create but not having it take over our house! I loved Megan’s response to the question, “What do you wish for your children to remember about their childhood?”.. wish for the same for my own children.

  4. Natalia says

    Such a lovely space. I too hope to take on the Reggio teaching approach for my now 1 yr old daughter. Thank you for the tips and hope to continue gaining more ideas.

  5. Amy says

    So lovely, we are halfway there, but I’d love some input on getting our art space (dining room :) more functional!

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Christina says

    Your space is so bright and inspiring! I tried to start a room of my own a few years ago because I took up painting. I’ve come close to organizing it many times, but seems it’s always upside down between my crafts or the boys’! Love your white magnetic wall units!!!

  7. Jenny says

    I love this and would be perfect to win, we are just extending our house to create a playroom and I am lost as to how to organise it. This article is great though, tomorrow I am going to get our craft boxes down and make them easier to access. Love the idea of what they can reach they can use.

  8. Kristen says

    In awe! Such an amazing space for creativity! Would love to create that kind of space in our home as well!

  9. Shannon says

    Gorgeous space. We definitely could use fresh ideas for our art space as our boys grow. And also with what to do with all of their creations!

  10. Kristi says

    We are finishing our basemt and have a new table purchased from IKEA. I hope it is just the beginning of a wonderful creative space!

  11. Rachel s says

    I have a lot of kids and my kids have alot of cousins… Some homeschool some public school. Always appreciating inspiration and recommendations!

  12. says

    So much inspiration here! The idea of a space for our little ones to create and work has appealed to me for a long time, but our home is small, and setting up the space just has not come naturally to me. With a new little one in the house having a space like this for our bigger one (4 years old) seems more important than ever. Off to explore Megan’s website now!

  13. says

    Your space looks amazing and inviting. The light and brightness is the first thing that hits me when I look at your photos. We just moved into a new house and I hope to have many of the same elements that your space displays. Well done :)

  14. alicia says

    Love, Love, Love this space! As an artist and art teacher myself I’m always looking for ways to organize my art supplies and my daughters. Small spaces are challenging but you have given me some great ideas!

  15. Eleanor says

    Beautiful space and great suggestions. Love the give away, our art supplies are spilling out of the bookshelf and baskets I have for them and I have no clue how to make a dedicated art space in our house!

  16. Komal says

    Thx for this lovely interview !! I’m totally inspired by your ideas n would like to hav a makeover for the art place on my rental home . Would love to win this giveaway :)

  17. Kristen says

    That would be so amazing! We have a little start but my artists are growing and our space needs to be maximized!

  18. Lori Morrison-Contreras says

    I would love to win this. I am trying to organize our house to work better for us and am looking at where I can put a dedicated area like this.

  19. Sara Copenhaver says

    Love your creative and innovative ways to create an imagination/art area! I’m a kindergarten teacher who loves teaching art to my students. I think it would be wonderful to enhance my current art station in my classroom. In my 12 years of teaching I have found that art is the only curriculum area that truly allows each child to shine with their unique twist of style and creativity! Thank you for sharing your insight and eye for inspiring art. It is so refreshing to see simple, but thoughtfully designed and open ended approaches to art! Thanks for sharing your talents!

  20. Jacki says

    I would love her help! I have 2 &1 year old boys who love creating art and I want to set up an art studio for them but need some guidance.

  21. Rachel says

    Any ideas on how to protect carpet so a set of boys (3 & 4) can have some freedom with the fun art supplies?

  22. Wendy says

    Oh I would LOVE help to design our garage conversion as an art friendly play space for the children. All I know is I’d like a table for them, a dedicated sewing desk for me so we can create together :-) and a sofa bed for my parents when they stay over occasionally and for us to read on! Otherwise I’m stumped at how best to design their space.

  23. Jenn says

    This is so inspiring! Our art space needs so much help. We have the space luckily but can’t seem to find the time to reign in the increasingly frightening disaster in the storage closet. I’m constantly collecting inspiration and supplies but can’t find anything when I want it.

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