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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Things I Love Thursday

I can't even begin to explain how much I love working with children.  On Wednesday, I was a 'guest artist' at an elementary school, introducing fibre art to a few grades.  In the morning I led a 3 hour workshop for a big batch of grade 4 and grade 5 children together.  It was a BIG batch.  Like... over fifty students!  I was with them for 3 hours but they continued with their projects into the afternoon.


My project idea was to create cross stitched pieces on black cardstock and then mount them onto the fronts of brightly coloured blank greeting cards.  Aside from some stitching, threading, and anchoring instructions, I really left all creative experiences up to the kids.  In fact, I even had them create their very own patterns first.  They all had graph paper and made what they call, 'pixel pictures'.  It's a lot like building with Lego or playing Minecraft.   A lot of eyes lit up.  ALL kids knew what that meant.  So... away they went, beginning their designs.

Once they were finished, they used push pins to poke holes in black cardstock according to the coloured blocks in their sketches.  The graph paper was placed on top of the black cardstock.  That was set on a piece of foam, and the children had to pierce each corner of a coloured square.  Once they were done that, they could keep the graph paper nearby as their pattern, and begin to cross stitch with the corresponding colours of thread.


I loved watching them work.  They were all so focused.  Some sat down and worked, but it was interesting how many of them stood and stitched while chatting with friends.  It turned out to be a wonderful activity, and *perfectly* age appropriate.


There were hearts and flowers, swords and sponge bob, houses and horses, initials and abstract patterns made too.  What dedication.  Physically, these projects were quite small in size but it was surprising how much work and time was involved in finishing them.


So.  Had you thought of this?  Imagine over 50 children cross stitching for the first time... now picture them all pulling lengths of thread from those skeins of floss and trying to separate the strands.  No thank you!  lol  I can't even get them off without an occasional tangle.  I have lots and lots at home, but decided against it.  Instead I brought along a couple boxes of 12 weight threadspools.  I bought up lots of classroom sample sizes from Wonderfil in both solids and variegated.  That made this morning's stitching a piece of cake.

kids picking thread colours and card colours

One 12 weight thread length is similar to 2 strands of floss.  For this project, the kids doubled the 12 weights, which looked marvelous on the black background!  I was glad the boys loved this activity equally with the girls.  They were so enthralled with their new task - something none of them had done before.  Many of them took extra supplies home because they wanted to continue.  In fact, when I asked one boy if he would like to pick out a card & envelope for his finished work, he said with vigor, "No way. THIS is going into a frame."

completed project inserted into a card, based on her own design

One little girl in the front of the class was so excited to start.  Later I noticed her pouting, shoulders drooped.  I asked how things were going.  She told me she made her sketch 'way to complicated'.  I suggested she keep it but start a new drawing.  She was all smiles again and sitting proudly.  About a half hour later, she was back down on herself again.  Oh dear.  I asked her how it was going.  She looked up at me while slowly shaking her head and said, 'I don't think I'm very good at this fibre art stuff.'  She wanted to restart again because she had a better idea.  I told her to go ahead with the newer idea, no harm done.  She cheered up a bit and went ahead.  Just before I was ready to pack up, she skipped up to me in the hall with the biggest smile.  Then she started bouncing. "I did it!!  I did it!!  And I'm giving it to you!'  Oh my.  She did it indeed - all stitched, on a card, and in a sealed envelope.  She gave me a great big hug.  I told her she was amazing for not giving up!  I could tell she truly believed it.  I was so proud of her.  I felt guilty taking her hard work, knowing what a victory it was for her, so I gave her my class sample with the hearts as a trade.  That was very well received.  : )

ISN'T THAT A GREAT STORY!?

I just feel so good right now.  Even the teachers seemed to enjoy themselves.  I asked them before hand if they had ever sewn to see how they could assist in the classroom.  They hadn't, but this one teacher gave the project a try for herself.  When I noticed she was stitching, she looked at me and said, 'This is so much fun!'

Awesome.  So I took her photo.  Isn't she cute?  She is so smiley.


And THEN I spent the afternoon doing another fibre art project with grade ones.  On Friday, I have 2 Kindergarten classes at another school to visit as well.  : )  I'll show you those results another post. I sincerely hope you enjoyed this one.

Happy Thursday!

10 comments:

The Soph said...

This is fabulous. Not only are you a talented artist, you are an inspiring teacher and generous with sharing your gifts and love of fibre art - with the children and with us. So few children have the opportunity to do this type of handwork anymore. Thank you!

Threadpainter said...

I would bet anything that you have inspired an artist ... lucky little girl to have your support !

Renate said...

What a wonderful way to introduce children to self made art. You may have started a few of the young folk on a creative path.

elle said...

aw, what a great project for the young artists!!!

Lin said...

Brilliant Monika - great project. xx

monika@mysweetprairie.ca said...

Oh thano you for your sweet words :)

monika@mysweetprairie.ca said...

I bet most of those kids will be stitch again. I asked for my needles back only if they were done. 45 went 'missing'
; )

monika@mysweetprairie.ca said...

I look forward to doing this again! :)

monika@mysweetprairie.ca said...

You will have to try it with your little visitors Elle! :)

monika@mysweetprairie.ca said...

Thank you Lin

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