Monday, February 11, 2008

Sewing Lessons Day

Today I am doing something a little different with my two sewing students. We will be working on our projects for part of the time. Emily on her sheath dress. Sarah on her pin-striped vest. But we will be breaking a little early for a Project Runway-style mystery assignment. Inside each of the little favor boxes below is their assignment, $15.00 cash and just some pretties and candy to "inspire" them.

The purpose of today's lesson is to begin a journey that I hope will help them begin to think like artists instead of seamstresses. I'm not really interested in teaching someone to sew on buttons and hem a pair of pants. That will automatically be learned in the journey. What I DO want to impart is an eye for beauty, an ability to see the potential in the unexpected, an ability to think outside the box. I want more for Emily and Sarah than that they learn to sew. I want them to explore the world of textile art. The difference between "that homemade look" and gorgeous design is to approach garment sewing as if one was an artist and the medium just happens to be fabric. that end, we will have some fun and play today. I'll share more about the specifics of their assignment later.


We are done with our day and I am whipped! This was their assignment. I drove them to three thrift stores. They were to buy items that they would use to create a new design. Earrings might be glued to buttons to create jeweled closures. Wool sweaters might be felted for creating a hat or purse. A evening gown might be deconstructed and used to create a little girl's fairy costume. A vintage tablecloth might become a funky jacket. It was totally up to them. They only had 15 minutes at each stop and only $15.00 with which to buy their materials. For the first minute or so, they seemed a little unsure, but then something clicked in their head and soon they were grabbing curtains and beaded sweaters and men's silk ties and the "What if's??" and the "Couldn't I's???" started to fly. I was amazed at how quickly their brains kicked into gear and they began to see the possibilities in the most mundane of items.

They have one week to distill these items into three cohesive designs which they are to sketch onto last week's homework...their personalized croquis. These designs will be placed into their Design Notebooks and hopefully find a place in their project line-up. Sarah wants to finish her vest and Emily her sheath. Then they plan to sew some japanese purses together. Then we'll see if their Mystery Assignment purchases will be reworked into some fun new creation!


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