If you all haven't already seen The Artful Educator online (or in person!), we are delighted to introduce you to this phenomenal wife, mother, entrepreneur, and Orthodox Christian!
By day, Kim Votruba-Matook is a mild-mannered mama and Director of Content & Branding for a community-building start-up. When she hears the call of a curious kiddo or senses the need for creative consult, she becomes The Artful Educator (not-so-coincidently the name of the graphic design company she founded in 2015)! Fueled by black tea, chai lattes and macaroni and cheese, she spends all the time she can creating and sharing educational art to inspire a love for learning wherever she goes. She continues to hone her superpowers of transforming two tiny humans into responsible global citizens as well as her ideas into delightful and artful educational tools. And when she can, she has dance parties in her kitchen because she knows every moment matters and can (and should!) elicit joy.
Kim's bright and bold educational art can be seen at www.theartfuleducator.com.
We asked her to explain a bit about the mission behind her business, and here's what she shared:
"The Artful Educator’s mission is to help families engage in learning at every opportunity. Everything in this world has inherent beauty and a story; they can inspire a meaningful conversation with the children that you cherish.
Our philosophy is simple:
1. The (limited) time we have with our children should be valuable, meaningful and fun for all involved.
2. Educational opportunities are everywhere. Sometimes we need help finding them.
The Artful Educator™ sets out to solve a challenge I faced as a life-long learner becoming a mom. When my son was a newborn, I started looking for educational nursery decor and all I found was the standard “A is for apple” items. I didn’t really understand why a letter was being reduced to a single item. Life is so beautiful and complex, why couldn’t I share that in a positive way with my newborn son through art? Since I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I created it.
My products encourage a world of wonder through art infused with educational content that is easy to incorporate into a daily routine. It’s called the Artful Alphabet™.
The Artful Alphabet™ is exactly that. All the letters of the alphabet are designed as a mosaic of objects that start with that letter (A includes asparagus, Alabama, ant, ampersand, etc.). Then all those letter-specific items are filled in with a color that also starts with that letter (A in Aqua, B in Burnt Sienna, C in Chartreuse, etc.). So, from far away, you see an alphabet letter. Then when you zoom in, you see the one to three dozen items that form the letter and can inspire educational conversations. It’s educational on myriad levels; families can engage with the art at whatever level their children are ready to enjoy.
The objects within each letter prompt discussions about geography, nutrition, the animal kingdom, sports and activities, among many more topics, totaling 675 points of conversations at a glance. The Artful Alphabet™ currently takes the form of flashcards, placemats, wall art, drawstring bags, and note cards (with inspirational quotes!) to help adults and kids truly be surrounded by educational opportunities.
Through The Artful Alphabet™ (my original art), educational opportunities in everyday life are illuminated and showcased as meaningful points for conversation. Small things – from apricots to marbles to zippers – can and should give us pause in our busy days and bring the focus back to our relationships with the present moment, the world we live within, and each other. I also want my art to serve as an affirmation that everyone has a unique perspective and story to tell. Everyone, regardless of age, should be confident that their experience and connection with the world is enough and absolutely worth sharing, especially with the next generation. It is paramount that families authentically connect with eye contact, conversation and shared experience. Art and education can inspire this; they can provide myriad perspectives and interpretations, while sparking storytelling, curiosity, and wonder for the world."
Anyone balancing parenting and working knows the balancing act it can be, not to mention owning and running your own small business (trust us, sometimes it's a madhouse!). We asked Kim to share a struggle she faces as a mother and entrepreneur, and what her favorite part of it is.
Her biggest challenge: "Being kind to myself. There are definitely days when I work hard on and in my business and I don’t make a sale. I struggle with negative talk on those (and most days) because I always think there is something more I could be doing for my business and as a mom. That was actually the inspiration for my quote cards! I needed something to counter all the negative talk in my head so I found encouraging quotes for every letter of the alphabet and printed them! I use them any time I need a boost! Building a business takes time; I need to be patient with myself, pray more for guidance, and focus on the joy I feel when talking about my passion for empowering families to learn and connect together through educational art!"
And the best part? "Freedom and flexibility with my time. While I am certainly not making as much money as I was when I had a full time job, working part-time, freelancing AND growing The Artful Educator may sound more complicated and busier, but the huge difference is I CHOOSE when to work. That is am amazing feeling! This means the schedule I set for the day is more likely to be completed because I am in control of it (through God’s will, of course!) Waking up and knowing that I can spend time with my kids without always needing to rush out the door is so so so wonderful. Then I can work when I need to, juggle what I need to, and then know I’ll have time to play, read and cook with my two littles (who are 4 and 2 by the way!) is amazing. My life feels joyfully full and I am happy. This happiness emanates and positively connects with my husband and kids and that joy exponentially increases. Of course we have our off days, but ultimately being a mompreneur has been a constant lesson in time management and priority ranking. What is most important is my family, my faith, and my well-being. This new flexibility in time has helped me re-center my life to make sure these three foci are always at the center of my world."
Welcome Kim and the Artful Educator to the Draw Near Designs Marketplace!