Fourth graders are Beechwood Elementary rock! I was fortunate to work with these students in May 2015. Each student was assigned a State of the Union to research. We used the symbols of each state to create a motif that each student used many times over: in ipads drawings, tessellations, stamps and drawings!
See what we made in the photos below…
I’ve been a Teaching Artist for over 14 years…in schools, community organizations, after school programs, museums… In the late fall of 2015 I was a Teaching Artist at Bobtown Elementary School.
I was able to intensely work with the students in the 11 days we worked together. Instead of bringing in one-off activities that can often be the extent of Teaching Artist experiences, I brought in related, cohesive lessons that relate to my own professional artwork.
So, we focused on Motifs, Tessellations/Repeat Designs, Japanese Shibori Fabric Dyeing and Sewing. See some of our process below!
Recently, I received this wonderful note from a customer of mine and wanted to share….
My husband and I have been purchasing Xmittens for at least seven years. We found Amber’s mittens at a craft-fair during the holiday season and Steve loved how they felt and how unique they looked. So, he purchased them for me as a present. When I opened the gift, I fell in love with them! They were sooo soft and warm!
Unfortunately for me (but luckily overall!) I lost one of gloves. Fearing that we’d never see these type of gloves again, I purchased another set of (inferior) gloves. These barely lasted the rest of the winter.
The next holiday season, there she was again! And she had improved upon her design! Well, we couldn’t resist. Every holiday season someone has bought me a pair of Xmitten gloves or hats. The last pair I bought, short black gloves with dyed material stitched into them, get me a lot of compliments. (I haven’t lost this set yet!)
-Thanks, Cheryl, for this awesome testimonial about Xmittens! I look forward to seeing both you and Steve each year!
I am a big collector.
When I was little, I collected old people and baby animals. (So did my mom and brother…we usually had a very full house). I also really enjoyed the Poodle figurines that supposedly would change colors depending on what kind of weather would be occurring. (Does anyone else remember those?)
As I moved into adulthood my collections changed… mostly to objects that were mysterious and/or old and/or look like they have a story to tell. Gratuitous collecting led to a very, very cluttered home and studio, so I try (and try and try) to keep that to a minimum.
Items that I will probably always collect are stones and beach glass. I grew up near Lake Erie, so there was always awesome beach glass to search for and find. You can see some of my more recent acquisitions in this photo. I use many of my favorites as pattern weights in my studio. Every time I use them I feel calmer and remember the waves.
What do you collect? Is it useful to you in an unusual way?
“Much of the pain in life comes from having a life plan that you’ve fallen in love with, but that doesn’t work out. Having to find a new life plan hurts. The trick is not to become too attached to any particular life plan and remember that there is always a better, even-happier life plan out there somewhere.”- Karen Salmansohn from her book Instant Happy
Sound familiar? It sure rings true for me.
If you have been a reader of my blog you know that the last couple of years have brought a lot of changes for me both personally and professionally. That trend still continues both in positive and negative ways. However, as I struggle at times, the balance of this is a bit of personal wisdom.
This kernel of personal wisdom goes something like this: “Be where I really am.”
I aspire to be the best person I can be; to have a rich family life; to spend as much time with those I care about as I can while also acknowledging my needs for alone time…to not become stagnant and to really listen. All this means, I spend less time on Xmittens and have had to make hard decisions like cutting back on my wholesale offerings and taking items out of the Xmittens line.
I’ve realized over the last year, or so that Xmittens, as it now, is not it’s final manifestation. I’ve been taking classes, including some in how to design fabrics digitally. I’ve also been experimenting with other artists on Natural Dyeing…something that has been on my list to try out for at least a decade.
To make room for me to be a student again I accepted a position at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in the School & Community Programs department. In this position I get to help other teaching artists find teaching gigs in schools and community organizations. It’s a great fit and helps fund me being a student…quite a nice full circle situation.
As I have carved out more time for myself and for learning, I see some new pathways that I can take with my studio practice. The first is opening a Pop-Up Shop in my studio- it’s going to be great to not have to haul my wares to so many holiday shows (though I will keep my favorites on the list!). Having more space means I can also offer more classes…look for a great schedule for 2014! There’s also enough space for others to teach at my studio, too, so keep that in mind if you want to offer a workshop, or class!
So, as I move forward, I hope that you stay in touch with all that you are up to…it’s always wonderful to hear where my creative friends are on their own journeys!