Fashion/Sewing and Ceramics Classes at the Northwest School Summer Camp: Day 1&2
This is my second year teaching at the NWS Summer camp. It’s good to see familiar and new faces, have fun teaching some fantastic kids, and to enjoy the school lunches! I have moved to teaching full time and am thrilled. Currently teaching: 1000 things to do with a T-shirt, Re-fabulous refashioning (co-teaching with Katy Flynn of KFLY) and Functional Ceramics (co-teaching with Curtis).
The first day was hectic as usual. People were everywhere! I met my students in the commons and brought them to class.
In my first class, 1000 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt, I had 11 students, many were from Asia- mainly China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. I had 1 boy in my class, which was cool. Only a few of my students were native English speakers, so I had to slow down and explain things in as simple of terms as possible. Class flow was as follows: Self introductions and goals for the class ( we will make small projects and work to something bigger plus a trip to the thrift store); showing students the classroom tools, safety, and etiquette ( starting with notions, fabric, sewing machines, and ironing board); my emphasis was on slowing down and taking time to do consistent work. Then I showed a demo of how to thread a sewing machine, had students partner up and practice how to thread the machine themselves (I mentioned that on day 2, we would practice again and then have a contest to see who could thread the fastest). After they were comfortable, I did a demo on sewing two knit fabric squares together, taking the time to pin, backstitch and press. Finally, students were shown how to do a non-sewing project of making a fringe banner. Most students did not finish the banner project by the time class finished.
Class prep notes for 1000 ways to Transform a T: Before class– Write daily agenda on board. Prep enough knit squares for each person in the class. During class, while students are threading the machine- draw a picture of and define these terms: “Seam allowance” and “Backstitch”. During demo of fringe making- be sure to have them use chalk and rulers; this enforces “slowing down” and focusing on quality work.
In my second class, Re-fabulous Repurposed Clothing, Katy and I had 8 students; again many were international students. We had 2 boys in our class. We began our day with self-introductions, class etiquette and safety, and showing them the tools of the trade. Again, we led a sewing machine threading demo and had the students partner up to practice. This time, we had students sew together their squares on 3 sides, requiring them to pivot in the corners and trim after pressing. I was happy to have those sewing terms “seam allowance” and “backstitch” on the board. After doing a pressing demo, we began a simple bowtie project. Students finished their first squares off, then were able to pick and finish a bowtie of their own fabric choosing.
Prep for Refab- cut squares from woven fabrics for the students to use. Write agenda for the day.
Finally, in Functional Ceramics, Curtis and I had 16 students! Half of our students were from China, and half from the USA. We didn’t do any personal introductions, and just got right to it. Curtis began by talking about ceramics, the room, and the flow of the class (week 1- build create make dry and fire; week 2- paint paint paint and fire). He showed students the kiln area and the stages that clay goes through from start to finish, as well as where the clay lives and about the buckets of slip on the table. Game time! Groups of 4 must build the highest mushroom tower! 1 rep grabs clay and brings it to the table. Winner! Then we balled it all up and wrapped it in plastic. Afterwards, we did a demo involving a rolling pin, pieces of yardstick, and a lump of clay. Functional ceramics- we made a tile/plate. Then he discussed the different types of tools to use, scratch to attach, showed a few slides, and set the students to work. At the end we went through the cleanup process. Excited for day 2!
This is the day that students are given the opportunity to switch classes. To my surprise, no one switched from any of my classes, and we had a few new arrivals. Session 1, my 1001 T-shirt peeps practiced threading the machine and had a contest to see who could thread it the quickest. After that, we finished up making a fringe thing and then they went on to begin their second project- a beanie. I introduced them to a pattern and they drafted their own following a few sets of measurements. After cutting their pattern, they selected fabrics (need to change pattern for next sessions because we only have a bunch of youth L sized t shirts in blue), and laid out and cut their pattern pieces. Some students got to sewing their beanie up. Those who finished early moved on to sketching out their dream beanie.
In session 2, re-fab, it was tote bag time! We began by having the students select, press, and cut their pieces. At the end of class, almost everyone was finished cutting out their pieces (18″x18″, 2pcs; 8″x8″, 1 pc, and 45″-60″x4″, 2pcs) and had all experienced using the sewing machine.
In ceramics, day 2, our project was to make a cup. The demo was similar to begin with- grab sticks, a roller, fettling knife and a scratcher tool. We showed the 2 different ways to make a cup- 1 by making and rolling a slab, and 2- a deconstructed cup- by cutting out a rounded trapezoid. Talked about handles, feet, lip/mouth flare, busted out 500 cups book. Cool!