I'm not great with words, so bear with me as I collect my thoughts and tell my story here. It does all tie in together.
* * * For one thing, I've been wishing I could teach more workshops for children around the themes of stitching and fibre art. I've done in-class projects with several Preschool and Kindergarden groups. They are SO rewarding and refreshing. I take great pleasure in giving children a new opportunity or skill because they always take it further than I would have suggested. I never fail to learn from them.
|my youngest boy at Beaver Creek|
In the back of my mind, I have often felt frustration at the fact that of all those years in public school and high school, art and sewing were completely separate camps. Art was NEVER fabric and thread. That's right: capital N, E, V, E, R. Art was pencil, ink, paint, clay, wood. Sewing in HomeEc was NEVER creative. High marks came about as a result of properly following instructions and patterns. I was 40 when I discovered that you can combine the two. * * * I wish I could influence the curriculum so no one else has to go through life loving both but believe they have to pick one like I did.
|photo by my husband Michael on Canada Day 2011|
Here's another thing. Recently, I read an incredible article in Hand Eye magazine about the usefulness of teaching people with special needs to sew and create art. There's a school in Japan that has done just that. The result of this program is that the very people who are inappropriately identified as 'burdens' are suddenly elevated to an entirely different platform. They become more than merely 'contributing' members of the community; they become necessary because of their ability to openly and unabashedly express themselves through art. This article broke my heart wide open. Needle and thread are perfect tools, and a terrific repetitive / relaxing / past time that creates useful skills. These people are embellishing second hand clothing and inexpensively transforming it into highly sought after art. I would love to be instrumental in something like that! It's a huge impact from something so simple. (You can find Hand Eye magazine HERE)
Above - Liam age 5, repairing the rips in his jeans. Below - Liam age 9 free motion sketching.
Art is also one of the most powerful instruments in healing the human soul. My first career out of university was as a therapist / social worker / advocate. (I've been working from home since having children.) The population I worked with were adults who were survivors of sexual violence - either recently or from childhood. When that hurt inner child who doesn't have the terminology to deal with what happened can express themselves visually, it gets to the core of their emotions and the healing (crying, rage, and empowerment) can begin. Art is a way of expression and communication, plain and simple. * * * I wish I could help people heal with fabric and stitches.
|Yarn-bombing in Rosthern, SK|
I'm pretty passionate about all these topics mentioned above, but I've been unsure how to get myself engaged in reconnecting what I do today with social change. I've donated art to organizations and causes... but * * * I wish I could do more hands-on with children, and 'vulnerable' populations. It's a matter of getting out there and doing it, sharing it, teaching it. Where to begin?
Then came the email! (Molly said I must be careful what I wish for!) I received a request to come back to my home town as a former-alumni-turned-artist to spend a couple days at my old highschool doing presentations. I couldn't believe it! I said, 'absolutely!' It's all booked and ready for later in the school year. I'll be in several secondary Art classes to introduce thread and fibre. (! ! !) Then on the second day I will be in some of the Home Ec classes introducing art & career applications for sewing. (! ! !) The coolest part of it all is that the person who booked me is the resource room teacher. She wants me helping her to teach her special needs students how to sew. I got choked up. Can you believe that? What are the odds? This is thrilling to no end and deeply humbling. It's like a little dream come true. Who knows what opportunities lie ahead? On the right track.. this is meant to be. : )
What do you think of that?