Monday, November 29, 2010

Fun with Fabric - the utterly Grand Finale

As you may recall, a few posts back I regaled you with my joyous stories of how I had temporarily lost my mind, agreed to teach twelve 6-8 year old girls an after school enrichment class featuring no-sew fabric projects, and pretty much could not take it anymore midway through the session. I am pleased to report that I made it to the end, although this was never assured until the very last moments. Immediately after the final class, I popped the champagne and joyfully recycled the request for volunteers for the next session of enrichment.

I know you have all been on the edges of your seats waiting to see what fabulous projects I came up with for the last few classes. Well, wait no more! I'd like to think I learned from my mistakes of the second, most painful, most out of control class session (Halloween placemats), so for the final classes I chose the theme of "bring glue and scraps and see what happens". I have to say I think this concept worked better for us as a group, and while there was still some insanity, I never again felt I might need to stab myself with some scissors to put myself out of my misery.

For class #4, I brought squares of muslin for everyone along with the aforementioned scraps, added yarn, beads, buttons, jewels, fabric paint etc and had everyone create a self portrait from all the materials they had at their disposal. Most of them did a fabulous job, and seemed to really enjoy the challenges of the project. One adorable girl had just had braces put on that week (at age 7! What is the world coming to!?!) and made the most fabulous mouth with jewels and thread for braces. I would have taken a photo but she wasn't my child and I didn't want to get in trouble with her parents, but trust me when I say it was truly divine. Once everyone was done I had them vote for the pictures that looked closest to the artists who made them. They loved that, although I think my prizes, gleaned by cleaning out a cabinet in my studio, were not as interesting to them as they might have hoped. A good lesson in the joy of winning just for winning's sake anyway.

Here is Paige's self portrait. One may wonder where her glasses are, as I am wondering myself right now. Maybe she ran out of time. But I do love that she claims she is wearing her smock, as shown by all the multicolored splotches on her shirt.

The next week I came up with what I personally thought was a brilliant project - gift card envelopes made from sparkly glitter felt (which I never even knew existed and was sure they would all adore), sewn with yarn to shut them and decorated with other felt scraps to make various Christmasy scenes. The projects turned out adorably, but the problems I had with them were holy crap do you know how expensive those little plastic needles are ($1.50 EACH! EACH! Highway robbery!) and most of them were freaked out by the sewing process. But no time like the present to learn, I figured, and we forged ahead. Several teachers walked by our designated area while we were working on them and expressed hope that they might receive one as a gift, so overall I think it was a moderate success. The best part of this class by far for the girls was when I broke every school rule imaginable and taught them to play Silent Bomb with a skein of yard after everyone was finished with the project. Eva was able to wear her "My Mom Rocks" shirt with pride that next day for sure.

The day of the last class I spent the morning happy dancing for joy in between preparing an easy project that would meet the class's demand to make "something beautiful" for their final class. When they had requested this at the end of our rousing game of Silent Bomb, I was somewhat insulted, thinking we already had made all sorts of beautiful things, but quickly remembered they are 6-8 years old and when they say they want to make something beautiful, this translates to "Lady, you need to bring us only flowered fabrics and if you leave that bag of jewels at home, you can just stay home yourself." So we made notecards out of fabric and jewels. Simple, easy, and everyone was happy.

Perhaps the best part of the class, besides the moment it was over, was getting a card from one of the girls, who is a good friend of Eva's and therefore I know her pretty well anyway. Kylee had been very helpful throughout the class and I thanked her on numerous occasions for being so great with everything as well as always behaving. When she gave me the card, I gave her a hug and said "Kylee, thank you. This is beautiful, but I feel like I should be giving YOU a card for all the help you were to me." Without missing a beat, she said "Yeah, Beth, I was kind of waiting for one." Her grandmother was ready to kill her, but I was in complete hysterics and loved her all the more.
So moral of the story - even when I didn't think it was going well, they had fun, and that is all that counts. But did I mention it's over, and that counts for a lot too!

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