The first “Make Something” workshop was held in the Saunders Family Library Wednesday night from 7-9 p.m. The workshop featured Phil Barbato, a Richmond artist who specializes in pretty amazing plush creatures, which you can see (and buy) here.
10 kids pre-registered after an assembly announcement last week. Two more students begged to come the day of the workshop. Two younger children of an English teacher were eager to attend too. The more the merrier, I say!
Phil lead a beautifully chaotic workshop. We started by designing our creatures on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Those patterns were then cut out and traced on to 9 x 12 sheets of felt.
Cutting, sewing, and stuffing came next, followed by the proud display of finished creatures.
Few participants had any sewing skills, but they were all quick learners.
Here’s my reflection in tidy, bulleted points:
- I was surprised by how hung up the students were on perfection. Many of the kids constantly commented that they weren’t good at crafts or they wanted perfection even though they had never sewn before. I really shouldn’t be surprised by this, since I feel the same way when I jump into something new. Trying something new is hard, frustrating, and intimidating.
- One of the kids who attended the workshop has been back in the library TWICE since Wednesday (I’m writing this on Friday) to make repairs to his backpack with needle and thread. That’s pretty awesome. This is the same student who had his friend cut out the pattern he drew, because he was afraid of messing up.
- A couple of girls were talking about how much fun they were having making their creatures. I told them that all of the supplies for the workshop lived in the library’s makerspace and they could use the space and the materials any time. The response: “Are you serious!?” I hope they come back.
- One student suggested that sewing should be incorporated into the mindfulness class. “I dread sewing, but once you get started, it’s really meditative,” she said.
Allen, the head librarian, and I are hoping to do a few more evening workshops throughout the year. Some shorter pop-up “Make Something” workshops during the school day are also possibilities.
I’m looking forward to them. They offer up a much needed respite from the routine.