Amber Coppings Rotating Header Image

Fashion & Fabrics Blog

My Story: Teacher’s Helpful Hints

ambercoppings : November 19, 2012 10:24 am : My Story, Spotlight, Teaching

For those of you who aspire to teach, or are visual artists without much teaching experience I recommend a few things in order for your class to run smoothly…

1) Edit down your ideas!  You need to have very specific things to accomplish in a class in order for your students and yourself to feel successful.  Of course, sometimes these objectives will change in the moment, but it will help you organize everyone if you have some specific goals in mind. This will also help with #2 below

2) If you are a traveling teaching artist like I was, you will be required to wheel in your own supplies, so make sure you have edited your supplies, too, so you don’t have to bring 8 million bags and buckets of supplies for all of your awesome ideas each time you have a class.

3) Often kids will feel like they are done with projects before the end of the class session.  Try to draw them out with new levels to the project by offering a new technique, a challenging question or two to answer (visually).  You should also have some standard ideas and supplies to hand out when kids get done early, or are getting too irritated with the first project.  (see below for more ideas).  One other technique I used that helped a lot was to have one long-term project and one short-term project going on at the same time.  That way, children could switch back and forth between the two and you, as the teacher, are not spread too thin since you have initiated both projects and can be involved with both.

4) Elementary students like experimenting with new materials and messy things.  Some air dry clay can work (only if you have some designated storage at the location since it is very heavy to lug around). Middle School kids LOVE cartooning, block letters, graffiti lettering and talking about/creating about themselves.  Have some markers and papers at ALL time, so they can draw symbols and letters and cartoons.  They will like you better for it. High School kids are better at entertaining themselves, but sometimes need a nudge in the right direction.  Incorporating movement, or music (think a visual rhythm project using hip hop beats, etc…) can help everyone feel interested in your project.

5) When working with kids spend some time at the very first class making a poster of the rules of the classroom.  Ask them what the rules should be.  They know what good behavior is.  If they make the rules, they are more likely to follow them most of the time.  Make sure to include the rule that the teacher can always override a rule and make new rules.

6) When teaching do not hesitate to tell your students you don’t know the answer to something they ask.  Tell them you will get back to them with an answer, if you can.  And then follow up during the next class.

I’ll post more helpful hints soon!


Leave a response »

Compost Fabric Dyeing Gallery 1

ambercoppings : November 11, 2012 1:20 pm : Spotlight, Studio Updates

We’ve taken a break from our compost dyeing experiments for winter.  However, so many of the fabrics are so cool I wanted to make sure to post some images.  We will be picking up again at the GardenLab@510 in spring 2013!


Close up organic materials on fabric- wild grapes and fig leaves from down the street of the GardenLab @510

Burying some linen in the compost bin. We discvoered 4 weeks is WAY too long to bury linen- the bugs ate almost all of the large panel.

Turmeric will dye cloth, but will fade overtime, or if left in the sun. I overdyed a light blue piece of cotton using turmeric to make this vivid bright green which has now faded to be more of an olive green.

Rose Clancy “unbundles” a piece of cotton

Leave a response »

PLAY Parlour Fundraiser this Saturday November 3!

ambercoppings : October 30, 2012 11:21 am : Featured Artists, News!, Spotlight


The back of the space; showing most of the couches and chairs, as well as (from left to right) The Low Voltage (Skee) Lift, The Dueling Dart Boards, and The Inversion Monument Boardgame Arena:

PLAY Parlour
Hand-Built Games in a Cocktail-Lounge Atmosphere

Is having an open-house/fundraiser party at it’s eventual location,

5258 Butler Street
Saturday, November 3rd; 6pm – 10pm

Please see our facebook event page to RSVP for the Open House!

PLAY is a space which houses hand-built games in an atmosphere that sits somewhere between cocktail-lounge and coffee-house.  It exists as both an alternative and an accompaniment to the traditional ‘going out,’ to the bar, or to a restaurant, etc.  Each of the games currently housed at PLAY have been built by sculptor, Adam Shreckhise.

Recently, we were stalled at the zoning department due to last minute requested and expensive changes (think building out 1 entire new bathroom plus some other things).  Unfortunately, that means that we can’t open with regular business hours until these changes happen.  The landlord is fully supportive, but can’t provide a full budget to cover these changes, so we are starting to raise funds beginning with this Open House event this Saturday, November 2 from 6pm-10pm.  This is an opportunity to see what this business will be like once we are able to raise enough money to open. Come and hang out, eat sweets and meet the Maker, Adam Shreckhise, while playing a whole lot of awesome games.  And please consider making a donation that will help us get PLAY Parlour’s doors open to the public!
Please see our facebook event page to RSVP for the Open House!  Can’t make it to the event?  Consider making a donation via Paypal.  Send donations to  Thanks!

The front of the space; showing (left to right, again) The Aqua-Quixotic Putting Range, the front desk, and the as-yet-untitled wackamole game
Leave a response »

Meet the Model: Becky Mauro

ambercoppings : October 16, 2012 8:56 am : Featured Customers, Spotlight, Xmittens

Meet Becky!  Becky and I have known each other for years- she is a super smart cookie and sweetheart.  Read more about her and her love for Xmittens (even in 90 degree heat!):

How did you start modeling for me?

I met Amber while working at The Shop at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. My first shoot with her was on July5th in 90° weather! We all know Xmittens keep you super warm, so wearing them in the middle of summer makes you wish it was December!

*When you are not modeling for Amber Coppings Designs, what do you like to do?

I just moved home from Chicago. Now that I am home, I enjoy visiting arts and cultural places, trying new food and beer, and working out. My fiancé and I like going through the City Paper to find things we’ve never done before. Adventures are fun!

*What is your creative passion (or just plain ‘ol passion)?

My biggest creative passion involves fashion and cosmetics. Most people hate all of the ads in magazines. I absolutely LOVE them. I enjoy finding new ways of doing makeup as well as getting other wardrobe ideas.

*How did you first come across Xmittens/Amber Coppings Designs?

Amber’s pieces were some of the most popular items for sale in The Shop at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts!

*What kinds of items do you wear that I have made?

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Xmittens. I made sure to get different pairs in different colors so I would always match my outfit!

Becky’s favorite photo from the Xmittens photo shoot

How awesome are you? Pshhhh – I am the most awesome person EVER!

What inspires you? My Mom has always been the biggest inspiration in my life. She never hated anything except meanness. She would be proud to know that I hold the same values.

Superhero power? I am obsessed with birds, so flying is the only appropriate answer.

A favorite quote: “…. Momma didn’t raise no fool.” -2Pac

Leave a response »

Meet the Model: Gary Alan Jackson

ambercoppings : October 10, 2012 10:42 am : Featured Customers, Spotlight, Xmittens


Hello everyone…meet Gary.  He is a new model for Xmittens, but an old soul and customer of mine.  He also graces the pretty awesome animated gif you can see throughout my website- thanks for being a generous hooper, Gary!  Read more about Gary below:

*How did you start modeling for me? (what is your version of the story…)


I started modeling for Aer simply because she asked me. It feels good to be able to help represent a good person with a good product.


*When you are not modeling for Amber Coppings Designs, what do you like to do?


I have quite a few interests, but to name a few of those few: meditation, reading, cooking, gardening, cycling… The truth is I try to be as self-sufficient as possible, so that meant learning to love many things and be able to do them well. I suppose my biggest hobby is learning.


*What is your creative passion (or just plain ‘ol passion)?


As a creative, I enjoy making pottery, sculpture, and abstract water media paintings.


*How did you first come across Xmittens/Amber Coppings Designs?


I first noticed them being worn by, Xmittens model, Stefanie Moser. That was back in 2010. I have worn them nearly everywhere for nearly everything since.


*What kinds of items do you wear that I have made?


Multiple pairs of Xmittens in multiple colors and styles (including my favorite custom patchwork pair of forearm length ones). I also have a hat, and a scarf, but I feel as if I have only started my collection.


How awesome are you?


We are all pretty, freaking awesome.


Gary Jackson in Convertible Xmittens and hand-dyed shirt by Amber Coppings Designs

What inspires you?


Is it cliché to say “nature”? Every day I find a little something inspiring wherever I look. I find that remaining open to change helps.


Superhero power?


Grant me with immeasurable patience. That would be grand!




Anything else you may want to share?


Xmittens rock!

Keep up with Gary on Facebook:




Leave a response »
« Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ... 18, »