Well we made a start yesterday. Two classes, 45 students and one teacher …male…all with needle threaded and some stitches to their credit. We have quite a short time before the holidays to complete a small tree in a pot and put a star on the top. Given that no one could thread a needle at the outset that is quite a big ask. But…..I have no doubt that most of the students will complete the assignment.
It really is a total pleasure to me to introduce a class of eager-eyed third graders to the art and craft of embriodery. They are at the perfect stage to take on embroidery. They have the dexterity and the ability to follow instructions and translate a paper pattern to the fabric. No one has ever asked this of them. I tell them at the beginning that their brains will be very busy while they are doing this. And it is true, the effort in the classroom is palpable, as with varying degrees of success each student does their best…and they really are all doing their best I know that…. to follow the instructions I have given. There are a lot of instructions at the beginning..a lot.
Today another two classes were introduced to embroidery. I think now there are 89 students and one teacher all starting out with a needle and thread. They all did an amazing job, by the end of the sessions every child had made at least one cross stitch and some has a whole row and were pretty pleased with themselves. One girl looked up from her stitching and said…” I have never done this before” and she was thrilled that she could. Some students can make stitches very well but then panic and take them out……..because they think they are doing it wrong even when they are not.
I have found over the years that the students’ stitches ” tell tales on them”. By which I mean I can tell by looking at the student’s work what they are thinking, whether they are focussing, talking to the person next to them, worried about their work, trying to be better than the student next to them, whether they are in a hurry to finish rather than understand that what they are making is art and no one cares how long it takes……well…. Actually we do not want to be stitching these Christmas trees in January…so it does matter….but I tell them it doesn’t at the beginning.