Several weeks ago I was asked to make a presentation to 8th grade art classes at our local middle school. I brought in examples of my work and talked about my inspiration, design ideas and the choice to be a working artist. It was a great experience. The kids were very enthusiastic and open to the idea of fiber art. Their assignment was to create a 12″ square pillow or wall hanging using the ideas I presented. I also donated several bins of fabric to get them started. Most of the kids had little sewing experience and there were no sewing machines available, so the work had to be done by hand. One student was so excited about the project she had already come up with a drawing of her design by the time I finished talking!
Earlier this week, I went back to the classroom to witness the artists’ critique that the class does at the end of a project. Some of the compositions these students came up with were amazing! Unfortunately the pictures don’t do them justice. While many of them struggled with the technical aspect of sewing the piece together by hand, they didn’t let those limitations diminish their use of the principles of design to create vibrant, exciting works of art. There were even a couple of boys in the classes who said they enjoyed the project so much that it was their favorite one of the year so far. It was very rewarding to be able to present quilting as an art form to this group of aspiring artists. Some of their work can be seen at the McLean Project for the Arts Youth Arts Show in McLean this month.