Thursday, March 09, 2006

Quality Activity in 30 Minutes

YES. You can do quality activities in as little as 30 minutes & you don't have to feel rushed.

Wednesday afternoon, Kylie and I ventured to the Houston Center of Contemporary Craft -- a hidden gem off Travis & Main St., near Montrose & just south of 59. I wanted to see the current exhibit "Cowboy: Craft of the American West" since the city of Houston is so taken with rodeo right now. I'm glad we did this. The exhibit includes great photos of cowboys in action: trying to hold on to the bucking horse or mad bull, etc. My favorite photo was "Pace," where the rider is not keeping pace with the animal he's trying to ride. :-) There's also beautiful leather goods, saddles and bridles, a mix of Victorian & cowgirl purse and more. Our only struggle was the "don't touch the saddles" policy, which seems counterintuitive to me. I wonder if the Center's staff have ever USED a saddle. You HAVE to touch it. The feel of the leather and the details in the grain is what differentiates one saddle from another. Sorry. I'll get off my high horse... I mean, soap box. The "Cowboy" exhibit is good and easy to peruse in less than 30 minutes. It's best for kids ~8 years old and up.

The Center is also home to several craftsmen/artists. Kylie & I visited with John Barber, who is a metal welder. John creates really cool metal sculptures for your home, office or yard. He showed us some cool fish sculptures that he created in less than 2 hours. He's super friendly & like many of the craftsmen at the Center, he's willing to take time to explain HOW he develops his creations. It was fascinating. I wish I could have spent more time with him, but it was a bit over Kylie's head. Again, this is better for children ~8 and up. My 11-month old just didn't grasp it, although she seemed content. To see how fun John's metal pieces are, look at He does teach adult classes on how to create your own, which would be loads of fun for the adults spending some time with only other adults.

So take your kids to the Center for the Cowboy exhibit & then wander around to meet some of the local artists. If the weather is nice, you can stop by the garden in the back for a relaxing pit stop. Best of all - the Center is open every day and is FREE. The parking lot is on Travis and is also FREE. For kids age 8 and older, this is a great way to embrace local crafts people when you only have 30 minutes to spend. If you try this, let me know what your kids think about it. I'm hoping more of you will post comments to this blog. You don't have to share your name but feedback would be great. Or email me any time at

4848 Main Street, Houston, TX. 77002