November 18, 2009

The Great American Teach In

I've been busy planning and working on what I would do at my daughter's school for the Great American Teach In. The Teach In invites family members and adults in the community to come in and share with the class what they do and why school is so important, you're allowed 15-20 minutes depending on the school, and while I thought perhaps my own 15 minutes wouldn't be enough it turned out to be the exactly the right amount of time.

I was certain a quilt with the children's original artwork was the answer. When I was in first grade I wanted to be an artist. I was discouraged by one of my elders because "there's no money in it". But in reality art is everywhere. It's in nearly everything we see and touch. All carefully designed and planned by more different job types than I can think of let alone count. So that's what I wanted to teach to the children in my daughter's VPK class. Art is everywhere and many jobs require you to be creative. So you can grow up to be an artist!

What I found upon arriving at the school was a great class filled with smart amazing children all eager to talk to the adult sitting on the floor with them! It was a very rewarding experience to me, and I'm very glad I took the time to go.

How in the world did I plan to make a quilt from artwork? (See below for what I went through before I came up with this solution). Computers! I scanned all the children's images in to my computer, but instead of printing them out myself I am going to have a custom fabric company print it out on real cotton fabric. Then the final beautiful fabric will arrive to me just like a store bought cheater panel ready to sew on the sashing to quilt it up. Sounds expensive you think, but since I made the entire project fit on a single yard of fabric I only have to buy one yard which will cost me $20 AFTER SHIPPING!

As I was inserting the scanned images the world opened when it dawned on me that it's custom fabric. I don't have to make the sashing one color. I'm unlimited, I can make it however I'd like. So then I started working with swatches and effects for the background.

I researched all the other options that I could think of, printable fabric -expensive at 5 sheets for $10+/- as I needed 20 sheets at least (always take extras just in case), homemade printable fabric sheets - which seemed both labor intensive for finding the ingredients and then for making it, or simply allowing them to color directly onto the fabric. I did the math for fabric crayons $2 for a box of 8 is not bad one box for every two children, that's 9 boxes at $2 = $18 just in crayons... So then I thought well I just use regular crayons, but the wax paper didn't want to stick to the fabric as well as I thought it should, so I went for 40 gsm stabilizer with hairspray. That worked well but when I had my daughter test it out for me I found that anywhere she pressed hard with the crayon (to make the crayon show) the fabric lifted from the stabilizer and any further coloring in that area was very light, combined with the standard non-washable crayons, seemed like a quilt I didn't want to make.

Stay tuned for a review of my custom fabric in the upcoming weeks.

I am a firm believer that all artwork belongs directly to the artist. Be they 2 or 102, so all rights are reserved for the children whose artwork is pictured here in.


Vicki said...

This is going to be a very interesting quilt project. I love the idea that you can create what ever colour, even multi-coloured sashing within the computer program. It is going to be fun to quilt and you can even use multi-coloured thread :-). Do you thing you will add any embelishments like beads or ribbon to the quilt?

stitchinpenny said...

what a great idea. These kids will have an appreciation of not only art, but also mommmy love.

Heather Landry said...

What an amazing idea Liz! You completely inspire me sometimes girlie!!