Last week I was with four third grade classes. We are designing and stitching our own birth sampler. I have provided the students with a border chart and some motifs from historical samplers which are symbols associated with birth. The students will stitch the border and then place their own name, birthdate and weight at birth inside the border along with whichever of the symbols they wish to include. They are in charge of content, design and color choice. I am so impressed with them; 5 months ago they could not thread a needle, or make a stitch and did not know why anyone would want to.
Casey came to me for some extra threads she needed to complete her previous project. DMC pearl #995 brilliant electric blue is very popular with the students. As I pulled two skeins of this color from my bag Casey gave a shiver of pleasure and an involuntary and appreciative “ooooh”. I could have kissed her…as this is exactly the effect these threads have on me too. And it struck me as I handed these over to her that how we FEEL about what we do is more important than we recognize, and that I really ought to do a lesson on feelings and embroidery. I would like to know how my third grade students FEEL about what they are doing.
Some thread crazed, middle aged, looney woman comes to their classroom with sharp objects and annoying instructions; dishes out fabric and incomprehensible directions. How did they feel about that? Now, after 5 months with aforesaid crazy person, how do they feel about what they are doing? Who would like to continue with their embroidery and who NEVER wants to pick up a needle ever again. AND…what is becoming apparent to me…who would have continued with their stitching after the first frustrating hour if they had not been made to.