• Unexpected Type

    07.23.2013 / inspiration

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    I’m forever inspired by parents who offer their children insights into their career – creative or not. As a child of two school teachers, I remember summer days visiting classrooms, cleaning and sorting and – let’s be honest – playing Hangman on the chalkboard while my mother prepped her curriculum for the coming year. And it was such a blessing to gain that perspective, to see my mother in her element. To witness her sitting at her desk, copying lesson plans, laminating flashcards. To see her “in her element.”

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    I remember an old episode of The Wonder Years (best show ever aside from The Cosby Show, yes?) where a young Kevin Arnold had no idea what his father did for a living. There was an office. And a suit and tie. And a briefcase. But what his father actually worked on between the hours of 9 to 5 was completely lost on Kevin. And it’s so true, right? Kids are rulers of their own domain, wedged somewhere between imagination and reality, paying little attention to the lives around them. Unless, of course, we get creative, introducing them to our careers in enchanting, inspired ways.

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    Designer Melanie Burk of Fifth & Hazel makes a habit of this with her Instagram series, Unexpected Type. During their morning art project, she and her daughter Maggie spell out words with everyday objects – a compilation of typographic photographs, each one more inspired than the last.

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    There’s orzo pasta messages and rice affirmations and cursive cheese creations, all documenting a larger story – the unveiling of Melanie’s elusive career as a designer and the uniting of passions from mother to child.

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    To be fair, our careers could very possibly bore our children to tears. Bee is boisterous and busy and active, and I hardly expect her to someday enjoy curling up into a corner and journaling the world around her. But then again, kids surprise us everyday.

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    And sometimes, it’s our job to let them.

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    Image Credits: Melanie Burk via Fifth & Hazel Instagram

    p.s. Melanie and her partners at The Caravan Shoppe just recently launched an amazing new wood block design for the littles. Please do check it out!

    • My mom was a teacher too and I spent many summers *helping* her get ready for school. My favorite part was the lamination machine, ha! I love this type series with her daughter, what a great idea. I need to check it out.

      • Oh man – I LOVED that machine, too! And the letter stencil cutter. So many fun memories in that elementary school office! :)

    • OK, I saw you post an Instagram of the engraved MixMate blocks and was taken with them. I’ve never supported anyone’s Kickstarter campaign before but I am in LOVE with these blocks! Just pledged $50 b/c I think the magnets will be SO fun for Dean! THanks for sharing (and, also, I LOVE Melanie’s typographic challenge with her kiddos…how fun!)

      • They really are beautiful – you’ll love them! And I know Melanie totally appreciates the support, so thank you! She’s a sweet bird indeed.

    • jenni o

      I also love those blocks and pledged support, here’s hoping she can raise the rest of the money in 10 days!

    • I love this so much! When I have a little one (many many many many years from now) I will totally do this too!

      And btw, my mom was a teacher too, kindergarden teacher. It was fun spending my summers in school with her, getting to sort though all the toys and blocks and re-organizing.

      • Ha, wasn’t it?! :) Favorite part of growing up as a teacher’s kid!

    • I love this so much! When I have a little one (many many many many years from now) I will totally do this too!

      And btw, my mom was a teacher too, kindergarden teacher. It was fun spending my summers in school with her, getting to sort though all the toys and blocks and re-organizing.

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