Wednesday, 19 March 2014

How to Live Forever :: Stitching Books

The studio where I am based, Cross Corners Community Arts Centre is a beautiful place to run creative workshops.  The lease for the centre is owned by the local school and, as part of our contract, all resident artists deliver a series of sessions to the school.  This is an ideal opportunity for the resident artists to develop themselves professionally.  I have delivered six sessions so far and it has been a challenge, but a good, positive one.  I have delivered sessions to young children before but never to a whole class of almost 30.  I have realised that it is best to keep things simple, relaxed and intuitive, but at the same time encourage effort by effective coaching.  I like to link my teaching to what is happening currently in their classroom in the school.  I strongly believe that creativity can stretch over all curricular areas and that arts and crafts help generate a creative approach to all other subjects and activities.

The past two weeks I have delivered sessions to year 5, children aged 9-10 years.  They are reading a book by Colin Thompson called 'How to Live Forever'.  It's a story about a boy called Peter, who lives in a library.  We cut pennants from the pages of old books and the children where given a letter each to spell out the title of the book and invited to stitch their paper letter to their pennant:

 Threading needles, tying knots and sewing...
 Absorbed in concentration...
 Each child had the opportunity to machine stitch their own pennant to make a bunting...
 Some children had a go at exploring the mechanics of a handcranked sewing machine...
The end result.  The bunting spelt out the words of the title of the book.  It's amazing how creative and different each pennant was.  I was so pleased at how enthusiastic all the children were and how much they enjoyed making simple stitches...
 Here's one I made earlier...
I really enjoyed these sessions and I think the children, judging by their enthusiam and volume, did too!