On her first visit to Purple Twig, Sophia King, 4, ran through the front door, sat down on the bean bags on the floor, grabbed a book, and asked her mother, Patti King, to read with her. That’s when her mother knew it was a great place for her.
“It’s a very relaxing, very comfortable community atmosphere,” said King of Eagle Rock.
Purple Twig, an art space dedicated to children, is located at 2038 Colorado Blvd., in the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles, Calif. Visitors into the space, which opened about two years ago, have experienced what the owner and main teacher, Samara Caughey personally envisioned for them.
“I do know what I want and what I want someone to experience and I try to create that,” she said.
Caughey expressed that the experience includes walking into a comfortable space where materials are displayed beautifully; there is an appreciation for nature, and an exploration of and respect for natural materials.
The open space features a dramatic purple ceiling, a reading area combining warm and bright-colored fabrics, vintage and antique furniture, large, bright pendant lighting resembling dandelions, dedicated work areas, a variety of natural and reusable materials, and a detailed showcase of children’s work.
Described as a “sophisticated children’s place” by Caughey, Purple Twig allows children ages two to 10 the opportunity to participate in the process of creation.
“My responsibility as a teacher is to give them the support they need to go beyond what they think is possible,” she said, adding that children working in the space often problem solve and use materials in new ways.
The mother of two, who has a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California, allows just that. Children can create with paint, clay, wood, fabrics, and oil pastels, among other materials; older children can explore knitting and ceramics.
For one Eagle Rock family, exploration and creation have extended beyond the walls of the space.
“We were walking in the woods once on a family vacation and Ella found a stick. She lit up and announced that she would paint it purple for Samara. I feel lucky that there are people in her life and in our community having such a positive impact,” said Trace Konerko, speaking of her 5-year-old daughter.
Konerko attributes that positive impact on her daughter to her time spent at Purple Twig over the last two years.
“I feel that Purple Twig is a place where Ella is utterly and completely herself. When she walks into that space, I see her physically expand. She feels special and she just thrives. Her art is complex and beautiful and full of confidence. I learn more about her every time she comes home with a new project,” she said.
Amy Phillips noted how participating in artistic activities can boost children’s confidence, enabling them to think creatively and work with others.
“When they’re successful in the arts, it impacts other areas of their lives,” said Phillips, Senior Communications Manager at L.A County Arts for All, a nonprofit group which currently works with 54 of the 81 school districts in California to implement regular art education plans.
Phillips noted that children who participate in dance, for example, learn about respect and discover patterns.
King and her daughter plan on returning to Purple Twig next month. “This program is unique. Sophia is excited to go back,” she said.
For more information on Purple Twig, call (323) 254-8944 or visit www.purpletwig.com.