N and her little orange bear.
I’m sharing this a bit late because of all the printing and organizing going on around my Valentines for Haiti project. In last Saturday’s autism art class we had a little sewing fun! At one table I had some embroidery hoops set up with some bright coloured cloth and thread, and containers of beads and buttons. The children were quite interested, though it was sometimes hard to keep up with threading the needles. One little girl who is doesn’t often stay still for long spent a good 20 minutes working at the station. It got me excited about using cloth stretched on a frame so they can use painting and sewing to create an interesting piece. At the other table I taped down pieces of cloth and put out fabric markers for the kids to draw a stuffy. I brought my sewing machine along to sew up the toys and then we stuffed them. In fact, I was kept so busy with that, and the afore-mentioned embroidery that I only got one photo. But it’s a good one! Only noticed the matching colour when I got home.
A few weeks ago I started some soft toys with my group at Supportive Housing for Young Mothers. I wanted to give them a chance to do something a little different, and since I’ve recently been doing some sewing, it seemed like a good idea. I tried to make the experience as accessible as possible and success a good possibility. Above is my example. I cut out some very simple templates of a bunny, cat and bear for the soft toys. Each person got to choose and had to trace and cut out the shape. The only real detail to the toys is whatever face features they chose to embroider. I should also say that I provided a sheet with some embroidery ideas for noses, mouths and eyes. Normally, I would let people just use their imagination, and of course, some of them did anyway, but because I was pretty sure the whole embroidery thing would be new to them, I thought it was ok to include some examples.
By chance, it was a group of only four, so we had a nice intimate work session. I think they enjoyed it, though there were a few frustrations. I think it would have been really good to have embroidery hoops but as this was our only embroidery project, and I was expecting 9 people, I didn’t feel we could buy them. Only one person finished on the first night, and then I took it home to sew it up on the machine. She did a really nice job! I also liked how she picked the pink embroidery floss with her daughter in mind, and the cat template because her daughter had just started saying “cat” . I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t get a photo of her daughter with the toy, but there is always so much going on at the sessions.
Last night we had another session but as there were new people and some of us were starting on a Christmas project, the dynamics were such that only one other person finished the embroidery. (She had a few problems with it, so I’m really glad she stuck with it!) So 2 out of 4. But you never know, I may be able to persuade them to do a little bit each time and get them done.
I feel like there has been a dearth of creative blogging recently. I’ve actually been quite busy on the workshop/class front, but that hasn’t translated into any blogs, for various reasons. I did a lot of prep for a stuffed animal workshop that didn’t happen in the end because of a scheduling mishap (hopefully we will reschedule). I also did an autism arts outreach class and forgot my camera, and the same thing with my class this morning! I’m doing something tomorrow at the Children’s Festival at the gallery, and hope to bring you a blog about that!
In the mean time, here is another little Christmas ornament I whipped up. It’s a little polar bear holding a traditional Swedish “paper heart”. I’m not entirely happy with the face but I think he’s cute enough.
So far I’ve only been using “basic back-stitch” for the embroidery, but I have a book with some more advanced stitches I may try. Until then, things will go on looking pretty rustic, I think!