Friday, April 23, 2010
Monday was my last day of the season to work with our wonderful Sewing Ladies. My awesome co-hort, Bev, and I are both heading north in a few days, so the ladies had a celebration for us, a day of food and friendship and more food and more friendship. These are the moments I live for. We took this opportunity to hand out diplomas for the different programs we have been teaching this winter. (The ladies giggled with delight at being honored for their efforts.) Bev taught English each week to this fine group of twelve. They interact each week with tourists at different market venues and English skills are invaluable to them. Fantastic job, Bev! Fantastic job, ladies!
My role this winter has been my usual attempts to help them enhance their sewing work with artistic expressions and personal touches. This year I wanted to teach them paper piecing which I was pretty sure they had little or no experience. (I was inspired by Pippa Moore, a fellow quilter from Vancouver Island who has done a similar program with women in Africa. I attended her slide show just before coming to Mexico in October.) Each Monday I brought a new pattern, demonstrated it , and sent them home with the homework of finishing it. We started with simple stripes and finished off with a more complicated sailboat. All twelve gave it a try, some liking it and others struggling through the process. Here's Sylvia with one of her boats...she was one who really took to this activity and I'll be sure to bring her more patterns next year. Then on to silk painting. This was a project we started last year. I had seen an article on Dharma's website about a silk painting project in Haiti, so of course I wanted to try it here too. I think I brought 50 scarves last year and each woman painted 4 or 5. This year they requested more, so I brought another 80 down and we set up shop each Friday at their community center with our pvc frames, silk blanks and colorful silk paints. Ivan, the art teacher at the center was instrumental in helping with painting skills (hey's a great watercolorist!) and design. In the end, the 8o blanks turned into beautiful scarves that are now for sale at their venues. How they loved using salt in this process. I'm wondering if they'll be continuing this next year. Sales will tell and I'll await an email in September with their "wish list".
I was gifted an extra three weeks here as our plans for leaving changed, so with a bit of time at hand, I taught them the ladder stitch I so often use to applique shapes to fabric. It was a quick one hour class, and they loved it. For the next two weeks, they brought in items they had made using this stitch. They are so proud of their new skills and I am incredibly proud of them too. My summer will be spent thinking about what to teach next year. Any ideas?
Take a look at the feast that Bev and I were treated to that day...as a way of saying thanks to us for our classes and friendship. These truly are the moments I live for!