Spring Break! That’s a Winter Wrap Up.
Vernal Equinox. SPRING. Spring Break. And this is the view out my window. I am visiting Upper Lower Michigan. For those of you not familiar with the Great Lakes Area, it is right in the middle of the mitten when you look at the Michigan map. Beautiful country, unless it is the end of March and you are dreaming visions of warmer weather. I am here visiting my mother-in-law and taking a break while my son is on his college spring break. Perfect timing. In between. Between creative projects. Between teaching assignments. Between Winter and Spring. Today is equally light and dark. I am equally awake and restful. I like to hibernate, go inward for my creative seeds to sprout. This winter I was not as able to do that as much as I like to. As usual I took on too many tasks. So, this week is perfect for a mini-hibernation. Just in time for Spring activity to start.
In hibernation I like to reflect on things completed. It helps me gain perspective and analyze where I am headed. In January I started a teaching assignment with an after school program at Ames Middle School in Chicago. I worked with a dozen students to create mural paintings for a multi-use building that is under construction in that neighborhood. It was a challenge, and an adventure. Much different from the usual programs that I have taught over the years. It required me to do more planning and research, as painting is not the prime focus of my creative work. Working in a bi-lingual school with 13 year olds is also a different direction for me. All in all it was very rewarding. I discovered that I could teach a student for 8 weeks and never speak the same verbal language. Juan only spoke Spanish and nodded when I used my hand gestures to explain what I wanted him do. It reinforced the idea for me that Art is a common language!
I also started an after school Open Sewing Studio on Mondays at my studio for kids. It is open to students ages 7 & up to drop in when they are available. They can come once, some or every week from late January to May 6th. They have the option of arriving at 3:30, 4:00 or 4:30 and staying for an hour and a half. 5 session punch-cards are available. We have been having a lot of fun each week. I offer up a suggested project for the day, or they can bring things they want help with or they can work on an ongoing project. So far we have made doll aprons, cupcake pincushions, toilet paper covers, doll quilts and pillows and more. The students are learning the basics of using a sewing machine as well as the basic hand sewing techniques, all while having fun!
In the studio I have had a great group of adults and children taking private lessons this winter. My Wednesday afternoon girls and my Saturday Sydney who finished cute sundresses just in time to wear them (in Florida) over spring break. Mom and daughter, Dawn and Teagan learned the basics of using a sewing machine so that they can purchase one for home. Jim learned how to thread a machine, wind a bobbin, make a button-hole, sew in a zipper and make a tote bag so that he can eventually repair his kiteboarding gear.
I have also managed a little creative time for my own projects. I completed a commission work for two wall-hangings that were ordered by a customer for her home in Arizona. They were based upon a piece that I did a few years ago titled “Four Square”. I just completed them on Monday so that she could take them with her to Arizona this week and before I headed up to Michigan. I used some of the snow dyed fabrics, free-motion stitching and I am very pleased. I just shipped the original “Four Square” wall-hanging to the Illinois Artisan Shop in Southern Illinois for the upcoming quilt show in their gallery. And I’ve completed a few new crochet/knit art to wear garment for transitioning to spring.
So, all in all a very productive winter. No wonder I’m enjoying the break. (Ok, I did sneak my knitting bag on the trip). I’ve got a lot of plans underway for April, no fooling. And soon I will share what is on the way. But for now, I will look out the window at the snow and reflect….