Monday, March 26, 2007

Kids Thought My Art Quilts Were Cool!

My youngest sister T. works at an arts program called CentroNia in the lively, multiculti D.C. neighborhood of Adams-Morgan. It serves as both a learning center (with a charter school), as well as a community hub with programs for adults as well. T. asked me to come in and talk to her students. Actually the conversation went more like this:

T: "Come in and talk to my students about your quilting, jerk!"
L: "Yeah, um, OKAY, fine then, jerk!"

I was pretty nervous because I knew that her class had older kids--about 11-13--and mainly boys. Would they be interested in art quilts? Well...I found out that answer to be a solid YES.

I set up my sewing machine and brought in lots of examples to show them. Works-in-progress and finished pieces, as well as the templates and photos I used for reference. Mid-way through 2 teachers brought their classes of younger students (average age: 8-9) to sit in on it. They were all attentive and really into it! I wasn't afraid to let them touch my pieces. I think the tactile nature of it really helped a lot as they were able to really see it up close and feel the stitches or beads or couching.

They asked great questions too about my techniques, supplies, and creating art itself--even the younger ones. Their excitement was infectious. The younger kids left and my original group of 7 (only one girl!) were given packets I created and they assembled their own fabric postcards. They had a great time wearing my thimbles (God knows I have enough of them!) Even the teachers got involved. As I ran out of time, I collected them, labeled them with their names and thread color choices and will finish them myself this weekend to give to my sister.

I am so glad that I did this! A lot of the kids hugged me afterwards and told me how much fun they had. I had a great time myself! This was a rare weekday off for me, but one that was very well-spent!!!


PaMdora said...

Wow, isn't that a great feeling. It's so good for those kids that you shared your art -- it makes a big impression on young minds!

JulieZS said...

Elle, that is so great! I'm glad that you got to share your art with these kids. From the pictures it looks like all of you got something out of the experience.

Susan said...

Okay, that answers that question. It was a labor of love . . . for your sister. After 28 years in the classroom, I can say I think students are always interested when you talk to them as equals. They have boundless curiosity. How wonderful that you enjoyed yourself, and that you got to share something your loved with them. One has no idea how one will influence students' choices in the future, but it would surprise me if at least a couple of them didn't find quilting/fiber art of interest for years to come.