Saturday, July 14

Life goes on, and monsters are made.

I'm back in the classroom again- this time for summer camp and a residency at Fleisher, doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I was worried at first- I had a full roster of 15 kids for my softies class. The most I've ever had for it before was about 8, and it's always a challenge getting things finished by the end  of the week. However, only 12 showed up, and they were 12 incredibly focused and talented 8-10 year olds. I also had the luxury of an awesome assistant and a teen intern, so I didn't have to be helping all 12 at the same time! We managed to get lots of creatures finished. We started with handsewn felt pillow/pincushions with appliqued initials so the kids could practice stitching. Then they made simple 2-sided animals, also handsewn. Finally we made some monsters with separately sewn and stuffed limbs and handsewn embellishments. Here they are:
 Usually I have the kids draw what they'd like to create and then consult with me to draw out the pattern pieces they'll need. Then the kids cut everything out, trace their patterns, and bring me a stack of all their pieces ready to sew. I sew, clip, and flip the pieces and the kids stuff the limbs. They handsew on their eyes and details, and then bring everything back to sew into the body. Finally they stuff and handsew the closure.
 We had a donation of upholstery samples given to us recently, so the kids found some interesting textures and patterns for their creatures. But some kids stuck with felt. I like how easy it is to sew felt, but I hate how the stuffing always pokes out and gets fuzzy...
 Three of the kids had taken my softies class after school in the winter, and it was so great to see how their sewing skills had improved. They have amazing imaginations!
 Here's a menagerie of monsters:
I love seeing their drawings turn into real toys. I could do this all the time. However, next week I'll be doing a mystery painting with the 11-13 year olds instead.


  1. I love those monsters! and I love the way you encourage the kids to go with their own original ideas, the results look great!

  2. The blue spidery monster with all the eyes is really scary. I wonder if this is the artist's nightmare?