EXPLORING QUILTS AND PATTERNS WITH GRANDVIEW ELEMENTARY
The Craft in America Center welcomed back Grandview Boulevard Elementary this month, with Ms. Sanchez’s 3rd grade classroom visiting to explore the Quilts: 4 Directions exhibition. The Craft in Schools program’s young participants were excited to experience visiting a museum, some for the very first time!
Many of them were unfamiliar with the concept of craft and quilting when they arrived, but quickly were able to relate their own experiences with handmade objects and textiles to the works on display in the galleries. They practiced carefully observing art as they investigated each piece, searching for the answers to clues provided to them on an art scavenger hunt. For many students, this was the first time they were given agency to explore a gallery independently, and encouraged to slow down and look closely at works on display. Working with their peers in small groups, they were able to really explore and talk about the artwork freely, and several students later reported that solving these “riddles” were their favorite part of the visit.
After they explored the galleries on their own, the class got back together for an in depth group discussion of selected works, like Michael A. Cumming’s Satin Doll quilt from his African Jazz series, or Susan Hudson’s quilt 29 Warriors made in honor of Navajo Code-talkers. They practiced visual literacy and academic language skills as they engaged in visual thinking strategies and inquiry-based dialogue, asking questions and making observations, interpreting meaning and analyzing the methods employed by the artists. While discussing Judith Content’s Aftermath quilt, some students pointed out that her use of contrasting colors gave the illusion of falling leaves – a revelation that artists can tell a story without using words, or even pictures!
The students were then introduced to quilter, Liberty Worth, who provided them an opportunity to meet and speak with a living, working local artist! Speaking on her craft, her professional journey, and her art-making methods, Worth then guided the students in a hands-on activity where they could practice the design aspect of quilting themselves! After investigating the process of using batting to place fabric, they were then provided with glue, a gridded paper template, and a multitude of colorful fabrics die-cut into the half-square triangle shape. The 3rd graders then experimented with designing their own quilt patterns using this basic form. They created such a variety of colorful, wonderful patterns inspired by the art they had seen!
After their visit, the Grandview students were kind enough to send us some incredible thank you cards – handmade, of course! Their words of gratitude and inspiring illustrations were appreciated by all of us here at the Craft in America Center. We look forward to welcoming them back in the future for more fun visits with Craft in Schools!