Mother, artist, qualified playgroup supervisor – Stefanie Schöpfer is the pre-destined owner of MALA, a creative studio for children that opened its doors at the beginning of this year in the highly anticipated Papieri development in Cham. I meet Stefanie and her two young children at the studio, a small but functional space that is anything but ordinary. While parents would pull their hair out, the paint left behind by little artists on the walls is not to be considered as mess but part of the charm. Stephanie mentions how she was inspired by Arno Stern, whose work has influenced areas of pedagogy and painting therapy: At MALA, perfectionism has no place, rather it is about encouraging children to let their imagination run free, without constraints, competition or preconceptions of what the end result should be.
The creative process requires freedom and MALA is there to provide the space and tools. Activities vary from painting to drawing, knitting or different handicrafts and there is an abundance of art and craft supplies available for experimentation. Stefanie likes to source these from the local “Brockenhaus” and reuses whenever possible items such as jars, corks or egg cartons in new and imaginative ways. Unique sensory experiences are amongst the children’s favourites and include, for example, a turntable that serves as a spinning canvas as well as toy cars that may be dipped into paint and rushed along a cardboard highway. Stefanie explains: “There are no lesson plans, templates or instructions at MALA. This approach may feel unfamiliar to first-time visitors and may even take several attempts to begin with, but once the children get started, they become really engaged and flourish while making more out of less! My role is to accompany this process and offer support in the planning and implementation of what it is the children want to create.”
MALA’s offer consists of after school hours, courses and open ateliers where an accompanying adult joins. The cost is CHF 25 per session and groups are kept small. Birthday parties can also be arranged for CHF 250 and even include a small surprise for the birthday girl or boy. In future, Stefanie plans to expand her offering to cater to older children and adults too. She emphasizes: “Everybody is welcome at MALA.”
After school (ages 6+) - Thursdays, 4 to 5.30 pm
Open atelier - Fridays, 1.30 to 4.30 pm
3-month course (ages 3 to 5) - Thursdays, 9.30 to 11 am / 2 to 3.30 pm or Fridays, 9.30 to 11 am - Next batch starting 7 September... secure a spot now!
Birthday parties - upon request
+41 78 831 39 47