Liita Forsyth has always created art with a little bit of this and that. So it's no surprise her new family art studio is called The Little Bits Workshop. The studio, which recently opened in River Forest, teaches kids and adults how to turn objects destined for the Dumpster into functional, attractive items for their home. Everything from cracker boxes to T-shirts is used.
Forsyth, who has two young children, says the studio is just one step in her goal to simplify her life and help others learn to do the same. Before moving to River Forest, she was a magazine art director and her husband was a Chicago Public School teacher. After having children, they decided life needed to change.
"The whole dream shifted a bit when my son was born," Forsyth says. Nathan, 4, has Down syndrome and staying in Chicago meant separate schools and schedules for their children. So they took a leap of faith and were hired as house parents/building managers for an international student center in River Forest. Miika, 7, and Nathan attend school just a couple of blocks away.
Realizing she needed a place to create outside the student center, Forsyth, who is an artist, spotted a garden apartment, zoned for retail, that held promise. The Little Bits Workshop and her own work studio are tucked into the cozy, below-ground space located just across from her kids' school.
Forsyth focuses on the classics in her workshop lineups for kids-offering sewing, knitting and other basic skills. She plans to start a program for homeschoolers and is working toward developing a product that people with disabilities can make and sell. She hosts mom-group retreats where women can create altered books and journal about their life.
"Taking the time to create is healing," she says.
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
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