Jen Berlingo is not your average arts and crafts mom. She runs a blog that features the artistic exploration of her daughter, referred to as “N.” In addition to that, her carreer is bountiful with experience in art therapy, guiding those in their journey to self discovery, improvement and exploration. A Reiki master, Jen uses mindful meditation, multicultural counseling, energetic counseling and sandtray therapy in the frame of art therapy. Her blog Paint Cut Paste is an awesome look into the developments of one tiny artist. The projects are always creative and stimulating and fit for anyone to share with their own mini Monets. We had a chance to catch up with Jen to get the inside scoop on her experience as an artist, mom and therapist.
1. What inspired you to start blogging and what do you find most inspiring about sharing your creative knowledge with other parents?
Prior to becoming a mom, I began working toward my license as an art psychotherapist. I took a break from my practice when my daughter was born so I could be at home with her. Ever since my daughter was old enough to squish homemade play dough in her little hands, art has been a staple in our daily routine. When she was almost two and a half, I was moved to share our art-ventures online. Blogging helped me to keep the career part of me alive who has a passion for inspiring others to nurture their own creative voice. I have now returned to practicing art therapy part-time, though I am inspired to continue blogging because of the supportive feedback I receive every week from parents, teachers, and caregivers about how the ideas I have shared have touched their lives and helped their children to play, learn, grow, communicate, and build self-esteem through making art. For me, this is extremely gratifying.
2. What is a craft or creative activity you’ve recently done with your child that you can share with other Red Tricycle parents?
Gosh, it’s hard to choose just one! A particularly colorful day that sticks out in my mind is when we experimented with our favorite paints — liquid watercolors. These paints lend themselves well to free expression and to color mixing. My daughter has fun painting with them abstractly, using a wet-on-wet painting technique, experimenting with wax resist using a white crayon, and also manipulating the texture by adding salt. These paints are awesome to swirl into shaving cream for a marbling effect, too!
3. Where do you like to catch a bite with the little ones in tow?
We are a gluten-free, vegetarian family, so we feel lucky to live in the Bay Area where we can find plenty of options! One of our favorite places for a rainy day playdate is The Crepes Cafe in Menlo Park. They have yummy gluten-free buckwheat crepes with either sweet or savory fillings and a playspace on their outdoor dining patio. For a treat, my family loves heading into San Francisco to sample crazy ice cream flavors at Humphry Slocombe. My favorite flavor is the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee or their Chocolate Smoked Sea Salt, my husband likes the Secret Breakfast, and my daughter can’t get enough of their Brown Butter ice cream. (My mouth is watering just writing this!)
4. What’s the best thing about living in your neighborhood?
I live on the Peninsula, and I feel so blessed for our proximity to so many amazing places! While my neighborhood itself offers beautiful parks, farmers’ markets, and great cafes, it is so cool that we can also be in the mountains, on the beach, or in the city within 25 minutes! What a gift that Sonoma County and Monterey Bay Aquarium are just short road trips, and we can play in the Tahoe snow with just a bit longer drive. The art therapist in me loves to visit the sandtray room at the Healing Arts Center in Stinson Beach. It’s a lovely journey and a magical destination!
5. What’s your can’t-live-without mom product?
One thing I am always sure to have in my bag is this cute crayon roll from Handmade by Britt on etsy. Her etsy shop doesn’t seem to be open at the moment, but when it is, I order lots of these reasonably-priced crayon rolls to give as gifts to my daughter’s friends. I keep a small pad of paper rolled up in there so my little artist can create masterpieces on-the-go, wherever we are. It is a great way to pass the time in restaurants, doctor’s offices, and air planes!
Be sure to check out Jen’s blog, Paint Cut Paste for some amazing ideas!