This week in Village People, it’s Chloe Amy Avery. Embroidery artist, product development guru for GRASP, mum extraordinaire and beloved sister of the GRASP founding team. Chloe is a mum of three, has a Masters Degree in surface textiles from London College of fashion and has spent several years living overseas with her family before returning to North London. In short, there's not much she can't do!
How do you manage that your kids are at different life stages, so you have pre-teens and a toddler to look after at the same time?
It's fun. It has its challenges though. Importantly we have to remind the older ones to not parent our youngest. They are very helpful and love to read, entertain and of course create crazy games and noise. It's a very fun dynamic. In theory it sounds crazy but the reality is a delight!
What advice would you give to boys about peer pressure?
We have always taught our boys to think and consider how they feel about a situation. We have always encouraged them even within the family, to know their own mind and discern what is right and wrong. I think it is really important as parents to encourage them in the characters and the things that set them apart. It's important to realise we are all different!
You have spent a few years living abroad with young kids, where you didn’t have a “village” or family to begin with. How did you go about this life stage?
We found it was important to create close relationships quickly. The 'village' formation as to be very intentional.
As an artist, how do you help foster creativity in kids’ lives?
We create whenever we can. We are spontaneous and we don't mind a bit of chaos or mess. It's important to be creative within your child's interests, it doesn't have to be paint. It could be den making, sand castles, paper mache, cooking, gardening or pretend play. Being creative is mostly about inspiring your children. It might be that you simply suggest a new role play scenario or suggesting they add raspberries to a cake. It's simple really.
You decided to take a major career break to be with your kids full time. What are the skills and tools you picked up that you’re looking forward to taking “back to work” with you?
Ha ha ha mmmm... I'm not sure I fully know what they are yet. I have definitely found confidence in making mistakes. You so often get it wrong in parenting. That's a good one to learn for life, we make mistakes, learn from it and move on! Also not to over think things, I'm still terrible at it but I like to think I have improved a little.
Oh, and a big one: work quickly, don't waist time!
Think of a favourite teacher of one of your kids. What makes them so great?
I think a teacher that gives your child confidence regardless of their ability is key. If they are happy to learn and happy to be themselves in the environment a teacher has created, that's a big plus.
You can follow Chloe's incredible work on Instagram here.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. All the big and small inputs different grown ups have in a child’s life - from grandparents to playgroup leaders to the lady at the checkout - shape how kids grow up to see the world. Who makes up this village is different from family to family, and even child to child. What the people in this ‘village’ offer and model to the kids in their lives is more diverse still. This series shines a light on the different kinds of people that make up the villages around us!