I realize there have been a lot of these create-a-creature posts recently. As the holidays approach I do seem to spend a lot of my time bringing creatures to life (and significantly less time cooking, reading, and doing all of the other things I usually do, but those posts will return, I promise!)
But I never get tired of it. Because each one is so different. I love it even more when the creatures have names, and stories.
These two pictures were drawn by sisters and sent to Santa. The story will be told that he liked them so much that he couldn’t help but turn the drawings into real live toys. I even wrote a letter to each artist on Santa’s behalf. It was kind of fun to be both Santa’s elf and head of communications on this job. And seriously, if you were Santa, wouldn’t you want these to be the next toys your elves made?
Meet “Big.” I don’t know what a Moshling is….but they are awfully cute!
Then there is “Meap.” I’m not sure if he will learn to speak English, but there was a lot of “meaping” going on in my workshop this week while he waited for his friend Big to come along. I’m just glad he wasn’t shooting his lasers….
Both are now on their way (by Santa’s sleigh, of course) to their new home!Read More
It has been a whirlwind here this week. I switched some days with my co-teacher and so worked as a full-time teacher this week. I loved being with my students all week, but I had forgotten how tiring teaching Kindergarten can be! In amongst that I also taught sewing to a very full class of students every day after school. And now, even though I am exhausted, I still say I loved every minute of it. I am sad to say I never did get an opportunity to pick up my camera again, but there were some amazing projects. Everything from wildly creative stuffies, to the young boy who decided he wanted to learn to make a hat and independently figured out a pattern and sewed the thing and walked out of the classroom sporting his new outerwear.
Somehow, intermixed with all of that craziness, a few more creatures were born in my own sewing studio and are now on their way to meet their owners and creators. They are all part of the camp project I mentioned before. Due to my late-night creating hours and the fact that I both go to work and come home in the dark, the last few photos don’t quite do the drawings, and creatures, justice. But I didn’t want to hold them here when they were so anxious to be off to their new homes!
Welcome to the world, little creatures!Read More
This week I am running a week-long sewing class as part of my school’s after school program. I must say that I am LOVING it! (yes…that was shouted….with a big smile….and maybe even a little dance across the room in happiness…) I have a few more students than I originally planned for (as of today, 21 young sewists ages 5 – 10), but with two helpers it has been a manageable number.
The theme of the week is stuffie-making! (of course!) We began with a stuffie that we drew on muslin and then stitched to a piece of super-soft fleece. I got the idea from the book Sewing School and the kids are loving it!
Although the hour seems to fly by and my hands always seem to be busy, I did manage to get some photos of two of the stuffies that were finished today. You can imagine the proud faces that brought them to me as they declared “I’m finished!”
Aren’t they amazing?
Some of the sewing students are moving on to an all-fleece stuffie tomorrow. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!
Making custom creatures is quickly becoming one of my most favourite things to do. I love the variety of it. I love the challenge of it. And I love that what was once a drawing, an idea, something that existed in the imagination, is now a real live stuffed toy, ready to be loved by the one who imagined it.
So I was over-the-moon excited when I was asked to create creatures for children who attended a camp especially for children whose lives have been touched by cancer. While at camp this summer, they each had the opportunity to draw a creature they would like to see brought to life. And over the next several months, it is my job to make them a reality.
I am, as always, amazed by the creativity and personality in each drawing.
This bear head was just crying out to be made into a cuddly pillow! Who wouldn’t want to snuggle with this friendly face?
And then there are these two. Don’t you wish you knew the story behind them? I know I do….
I am so thankful to be entrusted with this amazing job! It truly makes me happy to see these three ready to go to their forever homes!
No matter how many times it happens, I am always amazed what a group of young children can come up with when left to their own devices.
Yesterday afternoon, we made boats.
Other than providing materials, and the direction to make a boat that floats (of course!) I left them to discover on their own.
And as they worked, they discussed the merits of different materials.
They talked about what a boat should look like. They wondered if they made a boat a different size and shape if it would still float.
They debated whether a cardboard boat would remain afloat.
And rather than answering their questions, I asked a few of my own. Like “If you think a cardboard boat would get too wet, what could you do to protect it?”
In the midst of all this boat-talk, there was also learning about working with materials. Puzzling over how to get pieces to stick to one another, how to make holes in the middle of a box, how to balance one object on top of another, how to work with plasticine.
And as I guide them to learn and discover on their own, I know the learning runs much deeper than the things I simply tell them.
And then, with twelve brand new boats in hand, we headed outside to test the waters!
“Hmm…what happens if I put water inside my boat……”
“Hey! This yellow tape floats!”
And then the bowls of water became vessels for all sorts of floating things on the playground. And then sand from the sandbox. And lots of stirring with fingers and squishing and scooping of mud. My young scientists were still at work discovering long after my job was done and the after school program began.
Taking it Further
- Older children could test out materials and models before designing what they feel to be the “best” model
- play an advanced game of “will it float?” Go beyond the usual items.
- Learn about different types of boats and build a boat for a specific purpose
- Take water exploration in new directions. Provide funnels and tubing and containers and see what they can come up with (I once did this with a small group of seven and eight-year-olds who spent several days designing elaborate water-moving machines.)
- Have children find ways to make their boats move in the water (and maybe even have a boat race!)
Don’t you just love it when learning is so much fun?Read More