Time well spent

Time well spent


What is it about children that allow them to enjoy every minute of things they love? Unaltered self confidence, belief in themselves, no fear of mistakes or judgement? Whatever it is I have spent the last year and a half enjoying children and their creativity in my studio. 

I asked a group of pre-teen girls that were in the other day why they liked hanging out in the studio so much. Their answer was simple, “it’s fun and we can do things here that we can’t at home”. So- thinking about adults I would say that is the same. You can explore creativity, meet new people and relax at the studio. So why do so few of us spend the time nurturing that for ourselves?

I have set some new goals for myself this year. I will explore new hobbies, spend time carving out serious time to connect with others in my schedule, do more art (of any kind), and focus on having fun. If I can help to do this in my community for others- so be it!

Why is it always kids that have so much fun?”

I have decided to plan more events and programs that will provide opportunities for families to do things together, for people to try new creative things without intimidation and to really focus on building skills in artistic techniques.

This will take an army of educators, artists and willing participants but I feel like the time is right.

To do this I’m looking for feedback and advice from people who come to the studio, people who don’t and people who aren’t even close to Muskoka about what will make it work. I can think of a million ideas and do this all myself…. but then I wouldn’t have any time to play.

I hope to see you at the studio!


Always Say Yes

Always Say Yes

So, you may be wondering why “Let The Cat Go”? Don’t worry, I get it all the time. My maiden name is actually Lukachko. A Slovak name that for my life was difficult to say and my mother the kindergarten teacher would tell her students “just call me Mrs. Let-the-cat-go” to make it easier. Well, that caught on in high school for me and so – Let-the-cat-go became a nickname.

Up here in Muskoka though- as a Balmer, no one has the faintest idea what the heck was going on.

People who engage in forms of art are more likely to recover from illness more quickly, have deeper social ties and be able to problem solve faster.

As parents, Coel and I have been pretty fun with our kids. We have raised them mostly at a summer camp and outdoor centre, we are active and outside for most of the year. We love entertaining and most often are up for anything. When the kids want to try something new- we usually say yes.

When I was a Camp Director one of the things that would drive me mad was when someone would say “oh, we can’t do that activity because the children are too young”. No- they just haven’t been taught yet. My father is fantastic for that. He would have us outside with tools at a very young age, learning how to use…and respect tools so that we would be free to create what we wanted. He still is like this with our kids- even though this generation seems a bit more terrified than I remember being for some reason, they still get right in there!

I think it is important even for adults to keep learning. We get to an age where we settle into our routines and become comfortable going to work, taking care of our animals or children, going on vacations. How many of us are committed to learning a new skill each year? Even if it is as simple as using a new tool? Trying a new form of art?

In the research I did getting ready for the studio I found out that people who engage in forms of art are more likely to recover from illness more quickly, have deeper social ties and be able to problem solve faster. These are all good things for our lives!

I wanted Let The Cat Go studio to be a place that is funny, approachable and silly. A place where we always (most likely) say yes when people have ideas about new classes and workshops and where sharing happens. I hope that more artists will share their talents so that our community will grow and be a healthier place because we can all use a little more art.


Sewing without a pattern

Sewing without a pattern

When I was a child my mom tried desperately to teach me to sew. She was always someone that I watched creating clothes, sewing quilts, crafting animals and dolls. She was magical. She could make anything. She has always had an amazing sense of colour and style. My brother and I used to joke that if you tore into the walls of our house you would find a rainbow because she painted the walls almost every season. She changed the colour as she changed her feeling and style in the house and it always made it feel just like home.

I was probably the most infuriating child to teach because I never used a pattern. Somehow though, she still smiled, allowed me access to the fabric stash and continued to support my creative whim as I hacked away at what I believed was the next masterpiece.

I was probably the most infuriating child to teach because I never used a pattern.

After 15 years of solid work-a-holic type behavior, I decided to pay attention to some pretty big messages in my life and leave my work with the YMCA and pursue a goal I have had for some time and surround myself with art in a more intentional way. I love the Y, community development and youth work and so unfortunately none of that can be far behind what I continue to do however, it is time for a change. I know about myself that the best decisions in my life have been made on intuition and so, I decided to act on inspiration and pursue this goal of helping to support art education in Muskoka.

I have three lovely spunky children of my own that love to do art and so do all of our friends. We have found it difficult to find places for us to do this year-round (and my house just isn’t big enough)! I felt like there should be a place where everyone has a chance to hang out, to feel good doing something they didn’t know they could do- with no judgement about whether they used a pattern or not, and have the pride to put it on display. That is why I have started Let The Cat Go. A place for the “Curious and Creative” to get a little messy. Hopefully you will join me.


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