This past weekend, I attended the American Craft Council show. It. Was. Amazing. One of the things I like best about art is the infinite ways in which it is constantly being interpreted. I love that I saw so many things that I had never even thought-of/heard-of before!
The art educator in me loved that the Show offered children an opportunity to get involved in the arts through free workshops. Truthfully, the show cost $13 a person to enter (I had a coupon), so I think "free" is a little relative. . . But it was still a bargain.
I was there on Saturday and during that day there were courses for children on book-making and plush sewing. For real. No cookie-cutter, kiddie-craft art at the American Craft Council! I attended the workshop for plush sewing (y'all know I love me some sewing for kiddos!).
The speaker was Felicia of Fluffy Flowers and I can't imagine a better person to introduce plush to anyone! First, she is incredibly enthusiastic, kinetic, and charismatic. Second, she is brilliantly talented and very knowledgeable. Third, she is a librarian, so she knows how to break down information into bits for learners!
Felicia (it was hard to get a still photo of her!)
For the first part of the workshop Felicia defined plush and the art form of plush for a group of extremely excited children. She had tons of great examples of her own work (seriously. I needs me a Gnudie Gnome). One of my favorite pieces (and my boyfriend's favorite piece) was the plush trailer Felicia made. It is insane!
For the second part of the workshop Felicia walked learners through how to make a plush OctoPirate. It is so cute I get excited every time I think about it. She had these unbelievable kits she had put together for each student. They were in these little Chinese-take-out-inspired boxes with pirate treasure maps on them!! Inside the kit were all the things needed to make the plush OctoPirate. SOOOO much work went into those kits; I am so impressed with the work and care that Felicia put into those kits!
The contents of my kit
Felicia was so awesome that she let a few adults (including me) participate in the workshop because she "had a few extra kits." I can't believe how generous Felicia's was/is. I've seen/participated in workshops like this wherein it would've cost a minimum of $10 (most likely more). And, she donated her materials and time.
So, I proudly walked home with my wee kit (we got to keep the boxes even!!!!!) and my OctoPirate and wrote up Felicia's directions (with a few modifications in a nod to the materials in an Elementary classroom) in a lesson plan. I'm going to share the lesson plan here with you.
I want to encourage you to visit Felicia's blog and Etsy shop. She is really out there celebrating art in a profound way. And, like most of us art educators, she is making her own art in her own free time. . . And, she is going waaayyy beyond by donating her time and materials to celebrating art in workshops like this one for children.
His "bad" eye