Here in Ontario Canada, the provincial Arts Council offers grants for artists to go to schools and teach enriched art programs. In 2002 I received one and contracted with Calvin Park Public School for four weeks to make a very large fabric wallhanging for their stairwell. The space measured 13'x8'. This quilt project was a huge success....with parents donating virtually ALL of the fabrics in the form of old clothes and yardage, as well as threads and doodads for embellishment. Our local Fabricland store donated ALL the batting that was required. The kids did all the designing and sewing ( mostly by hand) of the panels and text banner and I did some speedy machine quilting on it. We used a fabric collage technique of just layering shapes and appliquing with big running stitches. Glue stick was used as a convenient adhesive and the kids worked on a three layer quilt sandwich right from the beginning.Hundreds of kids came and went through the studio and were able to contribute to the project. They made so many faces, hands and feet that we were able to have an extra show of individual quilts made from ones not used on the big quilts.
The stairwell where each student will pass every day and see their masterpiece. Detail at right.
Here are some of the extra "body parts" that were made into individual quilts by some students.
I learned a LOT about what works and what doesn't when teaching kids quilting. If you want to try it yourself, and want to talk you can email me!
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Students working on assembl;ing the figures on panels. The boys were just as commited and enthusiastic as the girls! The school made these girls remove the "sexy" lettering on their figure!