What is FAM?

Well this is embarrassing. 8 blog posts in, and it seems I haven’t yet introduced myself. Let’s fix that, shall we?
My name is Juliana Flores, the proud owner of Pachis Art Studio for Kids. Born in San Diego and raised in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. I have a small and very loving family back home in Tijuana. I’m married to the computer guy, as Megan so eloquently named him and together we have 2 amazing little girls. The oldest is about to turn 4, and the youngest will turn 1 a couple of weeks after that.
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That’s my family. Or as they say these days, they’re my FAM!
And family for me is the most important thing there is. As we grow and learn about ourselves, we create and join networks of people.
Both blood-related or not, they’re family.
My family has their own traditions, beliefs and thoughts. And when my husband and I started a family, we brought in what we liked best of each of our families. Sprinkle in a little bit of what we learned from others and we now had goals and traditions of our own.
I guess that’s how we co-exist and learn from others, right?
A few months ago, I attended an event here in San Diego that caught my attention. A family-friendly event with activities for every age. Designed to keep every member of the family involved and happy.
After some time walking around, I realized this event was family-friendly. But the activities didn’t actually assist in families spending time together. Every family member was doing their own thing at a different activity.
And while I completely support any event in which the whole family is welcome, I’d much rather prefer if those activities encouraged my family to work together. To spend time conversing, playing and creating together.
Which brings me to the main topic of this post.
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FAM! Family Art and Music. A 3 hour-long event full of art, music, discovery, exploration and sensorial experiences. Designed for all ages and all families!
For the longest time, I’ve felt the need to do more. To offer something for the whole family. And after much deliberation, I decided to dive right in.
I invited my friend and colleague, Diana Davidson from Songbirds Music, to join me in this journey. During our first meeting, I wasn’t even halfway through my pitch when Diana was already on board and offering ideas of what we should do.
We put our brains together, drank way too many cups of coffee, and defined what FAM would be. Both our families got on board and BOOM!
Next thing you know, we’re meeting with NTC Foundation in Liberty Station securing a spot for this so-called event in the Fall of 2017.
I invite you to read more about what FAM is at www.famartmusic.com and to join us September 23, 2017 at 9am. The event will be hosted in the beautiful space of SCOUT @ Quarters D in Liberty Station.
Come have fun, meet new people, play with your loved ones, and make memories with me and Diana.
And don’t forget to bring your FAM!
Creatively yours,
Juliana Flores
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Pachis in Your Classroom

I can’t believe I’ve never written about one of my favorite things to do with my team at Pachis Art Studio For Kids, “Pachis in your classroom”.
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We started “Pachis in your classroom” as a way to offer art to schools around San Diego.
We tailor the program to each school’s needs. These needs can be a theme the school is currently learning about. Sometimes the principal’s interest play a part. And sometimes we have free reign to be as creative as possible.
Just last week, we had an art showing at Holly Drive Leadership Academy. It’s been 3 years since we started our partnership with Holly Drive. And it’s such a pleasure being able to work with them.
Other schools that have taken part of this program include: Montessori Institute of San Diego, The Maria Montessori School and Montgomery Middle School, to name a few.
It’s hard to describe how good of a feeling we get knowing that we expose so many children and families to what we do at Pachis. Helping them get more involved with the San Diego art community.
To give you an idea of what “Pachis in your classroom” offers, let’s recap this last session at Holly Drive Learning Academy (HDLA).
The program consists of 8-week sessions. 120 students take part in the program, ranging from Kindergarten all the way up to 8th grade. We provide all the supplies, 2 teaching artists and all our love and passion for the arts!
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Miss Smith, the principal at HDLA, asked us to focus on the subject of self identity. After some brainstorming sessions, we came up with a concept. All students would work on self-portraits, but each classroom would use a different art form, influenced by a different artist.
Our selection of artists were: Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Romare Bearden, George Segal, Keith Harring and Henri Matisse.
The students learned of the artist and art form on the first day of class. From there, students sketched out their initial thoughts and designs. We helped them understand what a self-portrait is, and helped them discover who they are. This was accomplished by having discussions about tastes, likes, dislikes, etc.
The surfaces made available to them were poster board, cardboard, canvas and regular mixed media paper.
In regards to material, they had a good selection of materials and techniques to choose from. Our youngest students used precut cardboard pieces and paint to make their Picasso inspired portraits. Our oldest students used saran wrap and packing tape to make George Sagal inspired sculptures.
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The most important lesson taught by this project, is knowing that self-portraits don’t have to be a literal picture of ourselves. We can be represented in many different ways.
Identity is such a hard and fun subject to teach. It makes us connect with things we may not like or be proud of. And seeing our students learning about themselves and actually discovering who they are is magical. It makes them more sensitive and vulnerable to themselves and their peers.
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We provide students a safe space to freely create. We enable them to discover and express who they are. Teaching how a simple drawing can be so powerful en expressing emotion. How the use of color can help them represent things in their life that words aren’t able to.
We teach them that art is a means to express themselves without having to feel embarrassed.
Over the years working at Holy Drive, we have seen students look forward to these sessions. And the feeling we get knowing that our program has this effect on students, is hard to describe.
Our program at Holy Drive is usually tied with the end of semester celebrations. And Miss Smith goes all out. There are award ceremonies, dance presentations, a food truck and our art exhibition. It’s a great time to exhibit wonderful art creations. But it’s also a great time to celebrate with students, their families and school staff.
This is all possible thanks to Holy Drive and other schools willing to embrace our program.
And I can’t thank my team enough to help make this program such a success. April and Megan are rockstars that have taken ownership of this program. And they are always excited to get a new session started.
I leave you with some photos form our last art show at Holy Drive Learning Academy.

Creatively yours,

Juliana Flores.

Pachis is located in Liberty Station

A little over 4 years ago, Pachis Art Studio for Kids opened up shop in Liberty Station. Before that, we had a space in Normal Heights. I bet most of you didn’t know that!
 
After a few months in Normal Heights, we had the opportunity to move to Liberty Station. That decision was a no-brainer.
 
And like that, it’s 4 years later. Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long! I remember setting up this studio and thinking how big it was. How would I ever fill it up?!
 
Looking back, moving to Liberty Station was one of the best decisions I ever made. After the first month we settled in quite nicely. And by we, I mean me. Back then it was only me, and friends and family would help out when there were large events.
 
I remember one of my first days working at the studio. Across the hall from the studio there’s an Italian restaurant called Solare. Randy, the owner, came by to introduce himself. As soon as he left, a server brought me fresh-made pasta with silverware and a cloth napkin. To my desk. At my studio. Talk about a welcome! Yup, I definitely made the right decision.
 
But enough about great pasta. The real reason for this blog post is why did I choose to move Pachis to Liberty Station.
 
The obvious choice is that it’s beautiful! The green promenade, the nice breeze, ample parking, the parks and playgrounds. It’s clean and chock-full of history. And this was back when we didn’t have all the drinking and dining options.
 
Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of great options back then. Like Con Pane bakery. Where during the first 6 months of my first pregnancy, I would visit daily for one of their delicious dark chocolate chip cookies.
 
Another reason for the move was location. Liberty Station is in a prime location in San Diego. Yeah, the airplanes can sometimes be a bit loud, but the kids love it when they’re outside and they fly-by. And it’s getting busier and busier. It brings a smile to my face seeing more and more families filling the hallways of the buildings around me.
 
Come and visit Pachis if you haven’t yet. And while you’re here you can check out the rest of Liberty Station. Bring the whole family to make some art at Pachis, and then go explore. Walk down to the Public Market for some food and libations. And on the way there check out the rest of the buildings that have art galleries, businesses offering great food and beautiful products and services.
 
Happy Spring everyone, and I hope to see you soon!
 
Colorfully yours,
 
Juliana Flores

Making A Difference with Pachis Care Art: Open Art Expression for Families

 

 

This past week I received a phone call from a concerned mother asking if I would offer the Pachis Art Studio for Kids space to families who are emotionally processing all the recent political upheaval and even wanting  protest and raise their voices against hate and bigotry.

I’ve always been a huge believer that art makes us more sensitive and tolerant to others. It can help us express our thoughts in a non-political, non-aggressive way. We can use colors and shapes to express how we feel without offending others. We can use art as an outlet to put our thoughts out there and share those thoughts with our fellow citizens.

I was so happy to receive this call. I immediately said YES and then started planning something more concrete to offer our customers, our families, our friends, and our community.

My husband and I are both citizens of the United States and were born in San Diego but raised in Tijuana, Baja California Mexico. We moved back to San Diego when we got married and both countries truly feel like home to us.  Our families and some of our closest friends still live in different parts of Mexico.  I can’t begin to explain how hurt and worried I’ve been feeling about the hatred leading the news for the past few weeks.

With that background, I found this call to be a great opportunity to be part of a movement. A movement of change that teaches our children that we can work together to make things better.

We keep hearing that many people are also feeling frustrated, concerned, and sad about certain matters affecting our country and the peace in our society. Our children ask what’s happening. We all want to do something and give our children a safe environment to speak, act and express themselves without repercussions.

I’m proud to offer that safe space at Pachis Art Studio for Kids: Pachis Care Art will be offered every Wednesday in February from 5 to 7pm. For just a $10 fee per person (to offset the cost of supplies), you and your children will have access to the studio and to art supplies to be able to make care banners, signs, paint a picture of how you feel, or to share with fellow friends, neighbors and classmates.

Please join the Pachis team and our families on this Pachis Care Art movement and let’s add some color to our lives!

Creatively yours,

Juliana Flores

Happy Holidays

This post is about some serious business: Christmas!!! I love, love, love, love, LOVE the holiday season!

The smells, the decorations, cozy weather (when San Diego allows it!) and Michael Buble’s holiday album is the best! Oh and my husband baking cookies, also the best!

This year is extra special because Martina is now old enough for us to make our own Christmas ornaments together. We had such a fun time making them!

We made a doll ornament for each member in our family. Making dolls is something I’ve always enjoyed!

Here is the list of supplies we used:

  • Felt squares and fabric scraps for clothing
  • Wooden bead heads. The ones I bought had faces painted on them, but these will do. You can use a sharpie to draw the face
  • Twisteez wire for the body. This is a product I really like and always keep at Pachis art studio for kids. It’s easy for young kids to use and you can make any project with them, from jewelry to sculptures.
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Buttons and beads from the box we keep at home

The first doll we made was Martina’s. I started by molding the twisteez wire to a simple stick figure shape that is threaded through the wood bead. This step I had to do myself. The twisting and managing of the wire can be a bit tricky for a 3 year old’s small hands.

We then cut out simple shapes for clothes that would dress each doll. Here’s a sample of the little dress we used for the medium sized ornament. Martina helped me glue them together.

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Then I pulled apart a small piece of fabric scrap to make the hair nice and curly like my daughter’s:

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Finally, we added some buttons and sequins to add more detail on the doll. This was definitely Martina’s favorite part.

Once we finished the first doll, we chose the materials to make the rest of the ornaments.

And this is what they looked like in the end:

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Making your own ornaments is a way to decorate your tree with extra special pieces. It’s cheaper than store bought ornaments and it’s a great opportunity to spend quality time with your family.

When my mom and sister saw the final product, they wanted us to make one for each member of our whole family! Not sure I have the time to do that this Christmas but maybe next year I’ll surprise them with that.

Enjoy this activity with any family member or friend.

Please leave a comment below with any questions you may have.

Creatively yours,

Juliana Flores.

Thank You

Hi Everyone!

This month is about embracing thankfulness. I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish this blog post before the end of the month, but here it is! I hope you enjoy it.

These past two months have been crazy in our household. We welcomed baby Bruna in September. I don’t know about all moms out there with more than one child, but for me, this has been a bit more difficult than expected. Tantrums, no routine, no schedules, no sleep! So let’s say that between being a mom of two adorable girls, a wife and a business owner, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed.

A couple weeks ago, we had some friends stay with us for a week. I thought it would be too much but I was so thankful for their visit! Aside from the fact that they are like family to us, we had a blast being tourists in San Diego and the Guadalupe Valley, Baja California.

The reason I bring this up is because I realized how important it is to ask for help, to surrender and be humble and allow others to support you and your family. I’m a big “wonder woman” practicer, “I can do it all!!!”

Having extra hands around the house, someone else with a different energy to play with our three year old. Someone to listen to our fears, plans, goals and crazy thoughts is so heart warming.

We have been so lucky to be surrounded by amazing friends that have shown so much love and respect for our family.

This post is not about art or about being creative. I want to open up a little and extend a hand, an ear of support to all those amazing parents out there that are in “survival mode” as a friend would say. Just say “I get you” “I understand exactly how you feel”.

This is an important matter for me because I’ve always tried to make Pachis art studio for kids, an extension of my home, of your home and the home of those that haven’t visited us yet. At our home we open our doors to those we share love and respect with, and that is what we offer at Pachis as well. Bring your family to my Pachis home and share special moments. Make new friends and feel supported by others while doing something creative.

Thank you to my family, thank you to my friends, thank you to those of you reading and thank you all that have been making Pachis a part of your lives.  It’s because of you that we exist and work hard every day to be the best that we can.

Happy Thankful Season! See you next month with a post about making ornaments with your kids at home.

Creatively yours,

Juliana

Halloween Family Art

Halloween! One of my favorite times of the year! Boy do I love this holiday.
 
We usually try to host a party at our house. But between moving to our new home and our second daughter, Bruna being born, we decided to keep it low key this year.
 
But like I said earlier, this is one of my favorite times of the year. So today we got creative and had an amazing time making masks and a Halloween car. What made this activity even better was that the whole family participated. My husband César, my oldest daughter Martina and I got lost in this project. Bruna was only a spectator, though. Maybe next year!
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Earlier this month, we bought some new furniture for our home. That left two big cardboard boxes sitting outside our kitchen door. And right before my husband recycled them, I had the idea of making a car for Martina. By chance, the box’s shape resembled a sort of SUV, so we grabbed different paints and paintbrushes and got to work.
 
Martina’s art studio always has rolled drawing paper, usually from IKEA, on which I drew some witches, bats and other scary creatures. Martina then colored them in with oil pastels and we cut them out and glued them on different parts of the car.
 
My husband and I went around writing words like Boo and Scary, and we added a door by cutting one of the sides. We learned to do this after Martina tripped one too many times trying to get in and out of the car.
 
After we finished decorating the car, we cut out masks from cardboard for each member of the family. My husband was Frankenstein’s monster and the rest of the us were witches. These will make for a great Halloween family portrait!
That was it! All in all we spent a tad under 2 hours and the whole family got to enjoy being creative together. And as you can see, the supplies we used were things we already had lying around the house.
 
That much fun with only a handful of supplies:
  • A cardboard box
  • Markers
  • Rolled drawing paper
  • Paint
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Leftover party plates
I always have people asking me what to do with their kids at home. Or they’ll take a look at a project we do at the studio and have trouble figuring out how to do them without “professional” supplies. But as you can see, you don’t have to spend a ton of money of supplies. With some basics on hand, you can just take a look around your home and let your imagination run wild!
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Making art as a family is such a good and healthy way to spend quality time together. I highly suggest these type of activities for you and your family.
 
I wish you a safe and sweet Halloween in the company of your scary family creatures!
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Happy Halloween!
 
Juliana + Family